Monday, February 28, 2011

Rep. Wallis is Perfect Embodiment of Horse Slaughter

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Article by Laura Allen of Animal Law Coalition

“Slaughterhouse” Sue is the Lowest of the Low

Rep. Sue Wallis, a life dedicted to killing and eating horses
Wyoming state Rep. Sue Wallis, is the self-styled leader of an effort to legalize commercial horse slaughter for human consumption. It’s not often that you see someone making animal cruelty their life’s work, their raison d’etre.
It’s just not inspiring.
But if anyone personifies the grizzly and sleazy practice of horse slaughter, surely it’s Rep. Wallis.
As a state legislator, Rep. Wallis is supposed to be bound by certain ethics laws. Under the WY Constitution, for example, a legislator “who has a personal or private interest in any measure or bill proposed or pending before the legislature shall disclose the fact to the house of which he is a member, and shall not vote” on it.  Wyo. Const. Art. 3, § 46  Under the state Ethics and Disclosure Act, Wy. Stat. § 9-13-101-108, specifically, § 9-13-103, “[n]o public official…shall use his office or position for his private benefit”; and § 9-13-106, ”A public official…shall not make an official decision or vote on an official decision if the public official…has a personal or private interest in the matter… A public official… shall abstain from voting on the decision and from making any official decision in the matter. The public official’s… abstention from voting must be recorded in the governmental entity’s official records.”
A recent request to investigate Rep. Wallis for ethics violations was sent to the Wyoming state House of Representatives, Secretary of State and local prosecutors. It was alleged that despite these clear laws, Rep. Wallis has failed to disclose her personal and financial interest or abstain from voting on legislation to promote horse slaughter. Worse, she has actually sponsored bills to try to pave the way for opening horse slaughter houses.
Why does this matter? Wallis has formed a company, Unified Equine LLC, and has been soliciting investment for the design and operation of a horse slaughter house. She has announced the production of “Unified Equine Products” and stated “meat, hide, hair, byproducts – will be marketed through every available legal market.” She has announced that “Unified Equine Programs” “will be creating new jobs” at a horse slaughter house her company would own and operate. She would profit personally from horse slaughter. It creates a blatant conflict of interest with her position as state legislator. She is using her position as legislator to introduce legislation that would directly benefit her company.
Also, Rep. Wallis as the self-proclaimed “Executive Director” of United Organizations of the Horse has acted as lobbyist for horse slaughter at the same time she is supposed to be serving as a legislator. She has boasted her position as state legislator is the pro-horse slaughter contingent’s “greatest resource”.  She has used her position as legislator to obtain a seat on the National Council of State Legislatures, Agriculture and Energy Committee, a non-governmental lobbying organization that promotes state interests. She has used the position to promote horse slaughter. All which benefits her company.
On top of that, her company is soliciting investors for a business that is not legal or economically viable:  Not only is commercial horse slaughter for human consumption illegal in the U.S., there is no market in the U.S. for human consumption of horsemeat or its use in pet food. To be a viable business within Wyoming which is what Rep. Wallis proposes, with its population of 544,270, such a facility “would have to …sell approximately 10,000,000 pounds of horsemeat per year, or 18 pounds for every man, woman and child in the state”.
Rep. Wallis’ fellow Wyoming politicians refused to hold her accountable under these ethics laws, saying her plans to build a horse slaughter house are just so much talk. Tell that to the investors and public she is soliciting to invest in her horse slaughter house under the name Unified Equine LLC.
So much for the WY Ethics and Disclosure Act.
The local prosecutor in Rep. Wallis’ district also decided not to pursue other claims of criminal fraud such as her “truck raffle” that was supposed to raise money for her horse slaughter efforts. Yet, there was never a truck that was actually raffled and at one point, Rep. Wallis asked participants, people who purchased tickets, if she could just keep the money and dispense with the raffle.  After the prosecutor declined to pursue the allegations, evidence surfaced of missing money and a bait and switch in connection with the truck raffle. Hopefully, the  prosecutor will take another look.
This doesn’t even include the allegations still swirling about (1) Wallis’ questionable use of IRS designated charities to raise money, (2) her Food Freedom Act dubbed a fraud by a local health department official and which would allow consumers to eat tainted horsemeat produced presumably by her slaughter house, and (3) her alleged failure to comply with securities laws in connection with investment solicitations for her horse slaughter house. Then, of course, there is the misuse of Temple Grandin’s name in connection with the misnamed “Summit of the Horse” and in promoting Rep. Wallis’ planned horse slaughter house….
Rep. Wallis should not be “emboldened” by her fellow politicians and local prosecutor’s failure to hold her accountable. Instead, they should be ashamed.
It should be no surprise that someone like this is the ”leader” of the pro horse slaughter effort.  As the Equine Welfare Alliance documented in a report submitted to the Government Accountability Office in 2010, horse slaughter is “violent…and cruel”. “Documents obtained by the Freedom of Information Act from the USDA depicts how cruel and inhumane the transport to slaughter is”. Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector, testified before Congress in 2008, ”The captive bolt is not a proper instrument for the slaughter of equids, these animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected.”
Horse slaughter creates a culture of cruelty.
As a business, horse slaughter is sleazy. This practice devastates communities, taking resources and leaving waste and blood literally flowing in the streets, odors, pollution, and debts that leave communities struggling to absorb tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid fines and other costs.  For more….
The vast majority of Americans oppose horse slaughter. They understand it is an arcane, cruel practice best left in the past. In 2010 Americans fended off the pro-horse slaughter efforts of the likes of Rep. Wallis, and there appears to be little stomach for resurrecting horse slaughter in this country. We may not be able to get rid of a sleazy politician, but we can take away her “cause”: In this Congressional session, 2011-2012, let’s put an end to the sleaze, the cruelty, the suffering of these animals, and ban the export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. It’s the perfect time.

Grazing is Razing: The Big, Bad Impact of Livestock on Public Lands

Adventure Journal

If you’ve ever seen the trampling just a few cows can do to fragile cryptobiotic soil, a slow-growing, living desert crust, a new report on the impact of livestock grazing on public lands in the West will come as no surprise. According to a new study released today by WildEarth Guardians, across the Great Basin and beyond, wildlife is under threat by cattle and sheep farming, which have caused more destruction than mining and energy extraction and, despite grazing fees, cost the federal government millions annually.   MORE...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Here are your BLM Advisory Board Members

From Terry of American Horse Defense Fund

Wild Horse and Burro Advocacy (Representative)
Ms. Robin Lohnes - Executive Director of FAKE American Horse Protection Association:  consisting of Robin (fulltime, 4o hrs wk - paid) and 2 unpaid part-timers (.5 hours per week)
Term expires: 1/08/2012
Public Interest (Representative)
Ms. Janet M. Jankura
Term expires: 01/08/2013
Lives in OHIO - horseback rides
Township Trustee in Richfield, Ohio. Former human resource officer for units of Rockwell Automation and National City Corporation
Livestock Management (Representative)
Ms. Renee C. Taylor
Evansville, WY
Term expires: 6/14/2010*
Petroleum Association of Wyoming -
Wildlife Biologist, Taylor Environmental Consulting, LLC
Page 11 (or 12) at (WY Game & Fish Meeting Minutes dated 2002 :
Renee Taylor, Working Group member representing the oil and gas industry.....

(she has nothing to do with livestock management that I could find, none)
Wild Horse and Burro Research (Representative)
Dr. Vernon D. Dooley       (note the addresses of the college and
                                          Wy Dept of Ag are the same) 
Northwest College
231 West 6th Street
Powell, WY 82435
Term expires: 6/14/2010*
Teaches in the Agriculture department: sophomore anatomy and equine breeding courses.
Dr Vern Dooley Department Of Agriculture Wyoming -
Dr Vern Dooley
Branch Manager  -
Regulation of Agricultural Marketing and Commodities
231 W 6th Street Building 2
Powell, WY 82435-1898
Humane Advocacy
Term expires: 03/08/2013
Timothy J. Harvey - lives in NEW HAMPSHIRE
Horse trainer - big game hunter: Moose
Livestock Management (Representative)
Mr. Gary Zakotnik

Term expires: 03/08/2013
G Z Livestock Co
Wholesale Livestock Dealers
Wyoming Livestock Board - Brand Inspectors District #1, Supervisor Gary Zakotnik68a Eden 1st West S, Farson, WY 82932, (307) 273-9481
Page 10 at   (WY Game & Fish Meeting Minutes dated 2002)
describes Gary Zakotnik as a "rancher"
Page 14 Public Comment by Gary Zakotnik
(he was in the focus group for the Steamboat Elk Herd Objective, said being in the group was interesting, then quickly switched to wild horses) -
Gary Zakotnik thanked the Commission for the opportunity to speak.....  He advised he is on the National Board of the Wild Horse and Burro Act, and asked the Commission for some help to address the wild horse issue.  He advised the program is nonfunctional, and they don't have enough funds to do what they need to do.  He asked for a Department letter to get numbers down to management levels.  This is already a Commission meeting Action Item, and is being handled by Jay Lawson and Tom Christians.
The Commission then moved and seconded the recommendations on the Elk objective.
Gary is a public lands rancher -
Gary Zakotnik, Eden, WY -We have a cow-calf operation. Summer grazing is provided by Bureau of Land Management permits. We raise grass and alfalfa hay on the home place to provide winter feed. June 2008 marked the ranch’s 100th year in my wife’s family. Memberships include the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, Eden Valley Irrigation and Drainage District Board, Wyoming State Grazing Board (Rock Springs District), the Sweetwater County Predator Board and the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. I am also on the Little Sandy Grazing Association Board of Directors.
Natural Resources Management (Representative)
Dr. J. Wayne Burkhardt
Indian Valley, ID
Term expires: 6/14/2010*
"Ecological Consequences of Over Population"
at The 2009 Conference on Wild & Feral Horse and Burro Management and Policy
Sponsored by the Nevada Section: Society for Range Management
H. Paul Durbin
Chandler, AZ
Term expires: 03/08/13
lifelong hunter, angler, and outdoorsman
Dr. Boyd Spratling
Deeth, NV
Term expires: 01/08/2012)
Nevada large animal vet that believes:
"It's an irony that some of these (advocacy) groups blame grazing for all the problems," Spratling adds. "Getting rid of cows is not a solution. Horses can eat themselves out of house and home; they simply exceed in number what food is available."
He's also a public lands rancher:
Boyd Spratling, a rancher near Deeth, Nevada (between Wells and Elko) is (former) president of the Nevada Cattlemen.

Phoenix BLM 3/10 & 3/11 Protest info & schedule

For more information contact:
Makendra Silverman -
Garnet Pasquale - (please include your phone number)
Kathleen Wattle - (please include your phone number)

The Cloud Foundation, Respect4Horses, HfH Advisory Board, America’s Wild Horse Advocates, Grass Roots Horse, and many, many more horse advocates all over the nation, stand together in a unified call to stop BLM roundups.  

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be having their Advisory Board Meeting in Phoenix AZ on March 10th and 11th. They will be discussing strategies for further removal and stockpiling and perhaps even euthanasia of America’s Wild Horses and Burros.
We are asking YOU to come stand with us, demanding a screeching halt to the unsustainable, cruel, and un-necessary  BLM round-ups, before it is too late.  


Thursday March 10th:
Location: in front of and in the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 340 N. 3rd street, Phoenix, AZ 85004
11.30 am- 12.30 pm: Press Conference.
1.00 pm -5.00 pm : BLM Advisory Board Meeting
5.15 pm -7.00 pm : Horse Advocate Pizza Party/Meeting.  
7.00 pm - 8.00 pm: Candlelight vigil for all the wild horses and burros that have died and suffered at the hands of the BLM.

Friday March 11th :
Location: in front of and in the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 340 N. 3rd street, Phoenix, AZ 85004
8.00 am -12.00 noon: Attend the BLM Advisory Board Meeting and deliver our comments.
10.00 am – 2.00 pm Demonstration/ Protest in front of the Sheraton Phoenix downtown Hotel,
1 pm – 5 pm BLM Advisory Board Meeting.
6.00 pm Horse Advocate dinner. (going Dutch)
We need as many people as possible for the demonstration and the candlelight vigil.
Thurs noon 3/10 Press Conference led by Ginger Kathrens, The Cloud Foundation
Thurs. Candlelight Vigil led by AWHA, and The Cloud Foundation
Fri . Street Protest led by AWHA, and the AZ Wild Horse Team
Fri. Public Comment period at Advisory Board.* Some Advocates going to that – many others are Commenting (Protesting ) on the Street only.

*Excerpt. The public may address the Advisory Board from 9 a.m. to noon local time on Friday, March 11. Individuals who want to make a statement should register with the BLM by 8:30 a.m. that Friday at the meeting site. Depending on the number of speakers, the Board may limit the length of presentations, set at three minutes for previous meetings; however, this time limit may vary. Speakers, who should address the specific wild horse and burro-related topics listed on the agenda, must provide a written statement of their comments, which may be brought to the meeting.

America’s Wild Horse Advocates – Las Vegas, NV

Saturday, February 26, 2011

BLM Captures 1,400 Wild Horses: Releases 31

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Eye Witness Report from R.T. Fitch ~ Author/Director of HfH Advisory Council
Wild Horses Stripped from Nevada Public Lands  
Mare attempts to defend herself during BLM contractor's "Processing" ~ photo by Terry Fitch
The controversial Antelope Complex wild horse stampede was concluded on the 25th of Feb with nearly 1,400 federally protected wild horses removed from their rightful land with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) releasing 20 chemically sterilized mares and 2 studs back to the HMA the size of Rhode Island on Feb 26th.
Nine horses died in the much contested stampede with nine other horses released earlier during the “scorched earth” wild horse eradication operation.
The stampede was called off three days earlier than scheduled as wild horses advocates documented large numbers of near full term mares being run for miles by the BLM’s questionable helicopter contractor.  Early in the stampede both video and still photos documented the inhumane and abusive assault upon wild horses by an inexperienced contractor helicopter pilot but an “internal” review by the BLM found the horrendous attacks to be approved and within the norm accepted by the BLM and current administration. 
Although wild horse advocates applaud the early suspension of the mustang eradication program they heartily condemn the introduction of hundreds of privately own cattle upon the same range that the native horses inhabited BEFORE the stampede was even concluded. 
The Release of a Band 
Four Burned Out and Frozen Advocates Give a Closing Thought 

ASPCA Responds to Wild Horse Program Overhaul

Standard-bred Canada

Published: February 25, 2011 9:34 am ET
The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is encouraged by the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) announcement that it is accelerating the implementation of long sought-after reforms to how the agency manages America’s wild horses and burros.
Following reprimand by the U.S. House of Representatives in the form of a $2 million cut to its budget, the BLM has outlined extensive changes to its wild horse program, including reducing the number of wild horses removed from the range for at least the next two years, increasing adoptions, significantly expanding the use of fertility control to maintain herd levels, and improving its care and handling procedures to enhance the humane treatment of the animals.
“The BLM’s announcement is a result of intense public outcry to save America’s wild horses,” said Matt Bershadker, senior vice president of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty. “The ASPCA will be watching closely to ensure the BLM lives up to its new promises.”
Bershadker added, “The ASPCA reminds the American public that more than 15,000 wild horses and burros are still slated for round-up over the next two years, adding to the tens of thousands of wild horses currently languishing in long-term holding pens. However, we are encouraged that the BLM is taking the necessary steps to correct its inhumane and fiscally irresponsible policies before these iconic horses are completely eradicated, and we look forward to greater transparency in all aspects of the BLM’s wild horse program.”
Late last year, the ASPCA filed suit in New York against U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to challenge the BLM’s illegal roundup of the Piceance-North Douglas Herd in Colo. The BLM continues to violate the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which was passed to protect wild horses and burros from capture and preserve the land used by them. More than 19 million acres originally designated for wild horse use have slowly been whittled away for cattle grazing, making them both the victim and target for removal. The use of helicopters to run the terrified horses over miles of rangeland has resulted in serious injuries and several horse deaths.
For more information on the BLM’s mismanagement of America’s wild horses, please visit

Horses loaded with drugs, left in the desert

12 News Phoenix

Border Patrol agents say horses are being used for drug smuggling and then left to die.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Back to Back BLM Press Releases

From Equine Welfare Alliance

BLM Nevada News

FOR RELEASE:  Feb. 25, 2011
CONTACT:  Heather Emmons, 775-861-6594,

BLM Concludes Antelope Complex Wild Horse Gather 

Reno, Nev.- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has concluded the Antelope Complex Wild Horse Gather today.  About 20 mares that were gathered on the north-west side of the Dolly Varden Range in the Antelope Valley Herd Management Area (HMA) will receive fertility control and be released back to the HMA tomorrow.

"Applying fertility control will slow population growth and help us maintain population size within the HMA," said Amy Lueders, BLM Nevada Acting State Director.  "These actions also will extend the time before another gather will be required to remove excess wild horses."

To date, the BLM Ely and Elko Districts have gathered about 1,368 excess wild horses from the Antelope Complex.  The BLM had planned to gather and remove about 2,000 excess animals to reduce the wild horse population to within a range of 427 to 788 animals, which is the appropriate carrying capacity for the Complex based on available water and forage in the area.

The Antelope Complex consists of the Antelope HMA which is managed by the BLM Ely District and the Antelope Valley, Goshute, and Spruce-Pequop HMAs which are managed by the Elko District.

The gathered animals are being transported to either the Gunnison Correctional Facility in Gunnison, Utah; the Palomino Valley Center near Reno, Nev.; the Delta Wild Horse Corrals in Delta, Utah;  or the Salt Lake Wild Horse and Burro Center in Herriman, Utah, where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program.

Un-adopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their "wild" status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.

For more detailed information about the release of the mares, call the Wild Horse Gather Information Line at 775-753-0227 for a recorded message.  Daily updates of the gather and photos are posted on the BLM website at:



Ruby Pipeline Press Release
BLM Nevada News


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                       

DATE:  February 25, 2011

Contact:  Mark Mackiewicz, 435-636-3616

 BLM Amends Ruby Pipeline Project

The U. S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signed a Decision to amend the Right-of-Way (ROW) Grant and Temporary use Permit (TUP) for the Ruby Pipeline Project on February 24, 2011.  The 42-inch diameter, approximately 678-mile long interstate natural gas pipeline crosses 368 miles of Federal land beginning near Opal, Wyoming, through northern Utah and northern Nevada, and terminating near Malin, Oregon.

The Ruby Project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission April 5, 2010. The ROW Grant and Plan of Development were approved by a Record of Decision (ROD) issued by the BLM on July 12, 2010.  Potential effects were analyzed in an Environmental Impact Statement, released in January 2010. 

After consideration of agency and tribal comments the BLM has decided, with concurrence from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, to make changes to the ROW Grant for the project.  This Decision incorporates the Klamath County Reroute, developed to avoid sensitive resources that were identified in consultation with agencies and affected tribes.

Copies of the Decision, as well as the original ROD, are available at the locations listed below and on the on the Internet at:

· BLM, Kemmerer Field Office, 312 Hwy 189 N, Kemmerer, WY

· BLM, Salt Lake Field Office, 2370 South 2300 West, Salt Lake City, UT

· BLM, Elko Field Office, 3900 E. Idaho Street, Elko, NV

· BLM, Winnemucca Field Office, 5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd, Winnemucca, NV

· BLM, Lakeview Resource Area, 1301 S. G St., Lakeview, OR

· BLM, Klamath Falls Field Office, 2795 Anderson Ave., Ste. 25, Klamath Falls, OR

· BLM, Surprise Field Office, 602 Cressler St., Cedarville, CA

· Fremont-Winema National Forests, 1301 S. G St., Lakeview, OR

· Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, 324 25th St., Ogden, UT

· Bureau of Reclamation, Klamath Basin Area Office, 6600 Washburn Way, Klamath Falls, OR

Questions concerning the Decision may be directed to Mark Mackiewicz at: Mark Mackiewicz, BLM National Project Manager, c/o 125 South 600 West, Price, UT 84501.  


Obama Administration Challenged to Put Action Behind Rhetoric about Wild Horse Program Reform

American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

As public and Congressional pressure mounts, BLM pledges change but continues costly and inhumane mustang roundups
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Washington, DC – February 25, 2011 – The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), Saving America’s Mustangs, and Return to Freedom today reacted to the Interior Department’s announcement of “accelerated reforms” for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) wild horse and burro program with a challenge to the agency to put real action behind its rhetoric about change.
The first step toward reform, the AWHPC coalition says, is correcting the consistent misrepresentation by the BLM that wild horses are overpopulating the West. In reality, the BLM is systematically reducing habitat available for wild horses while allocating the majority of resources in the remaining wild horse areas to privately-owned livestock and setting artificially- low allowable wild horse population levels as a result.
“The Obama Administration is clearly feeling the pressure from increased public and Congressional scrutiny, and is to be commended for its desire to take the broken federal wild horse program in a new direction,” said Neda DeMayo, CEO of Return to Freedom and founder of the AWHPC. “However, we are troubled by the BLM’s plan to forge ahead with the removal of 15,000 wild horses from the range over the next two years, contributing to the fiscal black hole of holding captured mustangs at great expense to taxpayers and the horses themselves.”
In 2010, Return to Freedom offered a proposal which would serve as a model to redirect federal funding for on the range management alternatives. In a meeting with the BLM, RTF suggested that planned roundups in 2012 be utilized to initiate these pilot programs instead of continuing the broken cycle and increased expense of removal and long term holding.
“If the BLM is truly interested in change, the agency will stop the mass mustang roundups that are devastating America’s wild horse herds and bankrupting American taxpayers,” said Madeleine Pickens, philanthropist and founder of Saving of America’s Mustangs. “A token reduction in the numbers of horses to be removed is not a show of good faith.”
Mrs. Pickens and Saving America’s Mustangs have offered a public/private partnership with the BLM to create a wild horse eco-sanctuary on private and public lands in northeastern Nevada. Last month, BLM announced that it was rejecting Mrs. Pickens’ proposal. The agency is also entering the final days of the largest wild horse roundup of the year in Nevada’s Antelope Complex, on the public lands portion of a large ranch that Mrs. Pickens purchased for the development of the eco-sanctuary. Late last year, BLM rejected Mrs. Pickens’ cost-saving offer to house captured Antelope mustangs on her private lands adjacent to their home range; instead the agency is shipping horses 1000+ miles to holding facilities.
The majority of mustangs captured from public lands in the West are sent to government holding facilities, where they are maintained for life at taxpayer expense. The BLM already warehouses over 41,000 wild horses in holding pens and pastures, while just 33,000 are left in the wild. This year alone, taxpayers will pay nearly $46 million to house captured mustangs.
Congress has recently taken numerous steps to address the controversial and fiscally-unsustainable wild horse program, including the House of Representatives’ passage of an amendment to cut the BLM’s budget by $2 million to “send a very strong message” about the need for reform.
Yesterday’s announcement must not deter Congress from taking the actions necessary to ensure that the BLM’s promises translate into for America’s wild horses, the groups said.
Last year, at least 70,000 American citizens, including members of Return To Freedom, Saving America’s Mustangs, the Humane Society of the United States, and other AWHPC coalition partners responded to the Interior Department’s request for public comments on its wild horse proposal, yet the agency is reporting only 9,000 comments were received.
Return to Freedom is dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity and habitat of America’s wild horses through sanctuary, education and conservation, while enriching the human spirit through direct experience with the natural world. Return to Freedom provides a safe haven to over 300 wild horses and burros at its sanctuary in Santa Barbara, California and in Nevada where the group is planning to create a larger wild horse preserve.
Saving America’s Mustangs Foundation was created by businesswoman and philanthropist Madeleine Pickens to protect and preserve wild horses as living symbol of our American heritage and freedom. Through the Foundation, citizens from all walks of life are uniting to create a permanent home, a sanctuary, to save these magnificent national treasures.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. Supported by a coalition of over 40 organizations – including Saving America’s Mustangs and Return to Freedom, its grassroots campaign seeks:
* A suspension of roundups in all but verifiable emergency situations while the entire BLM wild horse program undergoes objective and scientific review;
* Higher Appropriate Management Levels (AML) for wild horses on those rangelands designated for them;
* Implementation of in-the-wild management, which would keep wild horses on the range and save taxpayers millions annually by avoiding the mass removal and stockpiling wild horses in government holding facilities.
# # #

Breaking News: Round-Up is OVER

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Eye Witness report from R.T. Fitch

Antelope Round Up is CALLED!

Photo by Terry Fitch
Roundup called early, today.  Terry, Laura and I arrived at the motel and only moments later Laura recieved a text from the local BLM PR rep that stated the roundup is over and tomorrow we will be witnessing a RELEASE!
No reason given but we are highly suspect that your efforts were heard and heeded.  Thanks to all for your support and we three will be there to record releases back to the range in the AM!
May the Force of the Horse be with You!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

BLM, Wild Horses and Truth: Washington words vs. real life

National horse |

Bloody legs Roundup 2011
Photo: Laura Leigh

March 3 Salazar Testimony Begins 2012 Budget Process on Capitol Hill

American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

Urge Congress to Say NO to $12 Million Increase

for BLM Wild Horse Budget
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's March 3 testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee marks the beginning of the 2012 fiscal appropriations process on Captiol Hill. The Administration is again asking for $12 million budget increase for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program, boosting the program's total budget to more than $75 million a year. Two-thirds of that budget (nearly $40 million) will be spent to roundup and remove wild horses from their homes in the West and to warehouse as many as 50,000 mustangs in off-the-range holding pens and pastures.
In FY 2010, BLM received a 30 percent budget increase, but instead of reforming the broken program, the agency used the increased funding to pursue the same failed and fiscally unsustainable management strategy. Last year alone, the BLM added more than 7,000 horses to those already in government holding facilities. Thanks to the Obama Administration's failed policies, for the first time in history, there are more wild horses in government holding facilities (>41,000) than living free on the range (<33,000). 
Secretary Salazar, a fifth-generation rancher, has continued the BLM's policy of authorizing 5-15 times or more privately-owned livestock than wild horses to graze the small percentage of BLM lands designated as wild horse habitat. This unsustainable policy continues at great cost to taxpayers and to the mustangs themselves.
It's time for Congress to say no to business-as-usual at the BLM. 

Please take a few minutes to take easy action below to send a letter-to urge your Representative today!
Please share this action alert with friends and family.  

BLM to round up fewer wild horses

Cruelty at Obama’s BLM Wild Horse Stampede Escalates

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Eye Witness report by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/Director of HfH Advisory Council
Live Coverage Today, signal permiting, in Comment Section Below
Last attempt for freedom heads south as wild horse gets caught on pen ~ photo by Terry Fitch
As the mean Antelope Complex wild horse stampede is allowed to continue the number of equine victims continues to mount.  Be it shattered bands as stallions escape and their families are taken or the large number of full term pregnant mares being harassed and hauled away, Obama’s wild horse agency (BLM) relentlessly stalks, hunts and inhumanely removes the natural natives of Northern Nevada’s Antelope complex never to know freedom again.
Yesterday, a stallion attempted to escape the claustrophobic and incorrectly designed holding pen only to be hung upside down by his hindquarters for an extended period of time.  Although contract wranglers rushed to free the imperiled horse their initial humane actions were quickly countered by their lack of care as they pulled and tugged the possibly injured horse by the neck and promptly released him back into the pen with rope still attached as they prepared to satisfy their greed by loading yet another group of incoming horses into the very same pen.

After the pen is loaded several stallions begin to fight with entangled horse caught in the middle with the rope pulling him to and fro.  It is an ugly fight but time does not permit the uploading of the video this night.  The horse is later separated with two others and put into a trailer where observers could not monitor his condition for several hours.  The final disposition of this horse is unknown at this time.

The embedded videos document this occurrence but were taken at maximum telephoto distance without the stability of a tripod.  These raw videos are unedited and contain the dialog between Terry Fitch and her husband R.T. operating the video camera who could not see into the view finder due to the glare of the sun.  Voices in the background are  those of BLM employees.
It is highly recommended that you boost these videos to “full screen” so that you can clearly see the events.
If you are concerned and/or interested in seeing an end to this inhumanity continue to “turn the volume up” by faxing your elected representatives and ask them to put an end to this insanity.  Congressmen, Senators, the President…they all need to hear and hear the message in a big way.  Crank it up and shut it down, NOW!” ~ R.T.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 Frigid Weather and High Winds as Heavily Pregnant ... Frigid Weather and High Winds as Heavily Pregnant ...: " As of late last night the Bureau of Land Management alleges they captured about 64 wild horses from what the BLM refers to as Antelop..."

Obama’s BLM Wild Horse Harvesting Machine Continues at Full Throttle in Nevada

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Eye witness report by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/Director of HfH Advisory Council

A Few Moments in the Day of a Wild Horse Stampede Observer

A last cry for his family ~ photo by Terry Fitch
The day goes something like this: we hear the distant sound of helicopter rotors.  Across the valley we see a small cloud of dust as a family band of wild horses runs to escape an overhead helicopter.  The cold, frozen wind roars in our ears as we watch the seven horses run one way and then another trying to escape the noise of the pursuing chopper.
Dozens tick by and watch the small group of horses grow larger as the run for their lives.  They disappear behind a bluff but we can still see the chopper hovering over their position.  But one lone head breaks over the bluff running for his life while the chopper stays on the bulk of the herd.  The escapee stops on top of the bluff, turns to his family and screams but no one can hear him over the roar of the deadly chopper blades.  He turns, runs and then calls again.  Frantic, he runs towards us but behind the lurking trap.  Down across the gully floor then up on top of our observation bluff.  He turns, looks at us, cries and runs away towards the trees as the chopper stalks his family.
Wet in below freezing temps with family destroyed ~ photo by Terry Fitch
We continue to watch the chopper move towards the mouth of the gully, unable to see the remnants of the family beneath him.  Once near the entrance to the gully we see the chopper twist and dive, it attacks to the left and then dive bombs to the right out of site as another ridge blocks our view.  We see three horses break over the edge of the ridge and head to the south, the chopper lunges like a combat aircraft and attempts to cut them off, they are having none of it.  Lost, the inexperienced pilot turns off to the north and repeatedly dives at the remaining unseen horses.  Moment’s later three lathered horses appear in the mean holding pen as we cannot see the approach to ugly trap or even the trap itself.  One tries to climb the fencing, they all scream.
The horses are met with plastic bags tied to short whips and are beaten into the end of the holding cell.  An open slat trailer is backed up to the pen.  The screaming horses are smacked in the face until they are caught in a small area only a few feet wide behind the trailer.  Over and over again they are hit, they lurch forward and they fall and trample each other while the contractors converge on our side of the pen to obstruct our view and camera lenses.
A final, failed break for freedom ~ photo by Terry Fitch
Loud bangs and the sound of hooves on unmated slippery floors echoes across the gully and the trailer is quickly pulled away down a dusty, rough back road for 45 minutes then an hour trip down the high way at 70 mph for more cruel handling at processing an hour down the road.  The ambient temperature is 28 degress, the wind is blowing 30 miles an hour, standing still the wind chill is below zero, the horses are wet.
Meanwhile, the survivors are scattered, terrified, lost, soaked and exhausted yet still running for their lives.  Then we hear the sound of a helicopter across the valley and the destruction of yet another family begins.  The cycle of terror continues all day, and day after day after day.
The wild horses of the Antelope Complex in Nevada are no more, they are finished.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Obama Agency Responds to California Congressman’s Accusation

Horseback magazine

February 22, 2011

By Steven Long
Photo by Laura Leigh
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The chief Washington spokesman for the federal Bureau of Land management gave an answer to allegations by a California Republican congressman that wild horse were routinely going to slaughter to relieve bulging holding pens.
In a letter to a constituent, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R) of California implicated the bureau in the slaughter of North American Mustangs in the aftermath of their ongoing “gathers” which wild horse advocates claim will spell the end of the species.
In the letter dated February 10, Gallegly wrote, “I believe that the commercial sale and slaughter of free-roaming horses is a horrible and unnecessary practice. However, the BLM claims this slaughter is necessary due to overpopulation in holding pens and the rising cost of care for the animals.”
“The BLM’s position — that we do not sell or send any wild horses or burros to slaughter — is stated clearly on our Quicks Facts page( and on our Myths and Facts page”
Tom Gorey said, both pages can be accessed from our national Website (
The highly placed BLM official also challenged rumors spread by wild horse and burro supporters that horses are being transported from the secretive holding pens where tens of thousands are warehoused in the dead of night. The pens, on private property, are funded by virtully the entire budget of the BLM’s Wild HOrse and Burro Program.
“If anyone has any evidence whatsoever that trailer loads of wild horses are leaving holding facilities in the middle of night, we urge that this evidence be immediately turned over to law enforcement so the matter can be fully investigated.”
Wild horse advocates have long urged observers to turn over documentary evidence including film and pictures to federal law enforcement; however, they have also stated the documents should not be turned over to BLM security.
 The story broke Sunday night, however, Gorey did not respond to Horseback’s request for comment until Tuesday due to the President’s Day holiday.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Save Wild Horses from Inhumane Roundups! ASPCA | Advocacy Center

ASPCA | Advocacy Center

Amendment to the Interior Appropriations Bill to cut $2 million from the annual budget of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management
ASPCA Position: Support
Action Needed: Please email your U.S. senators and urge them to support U.S. Representative Dan Burton’s amendment to the Interior Appropriations Bill!

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) continues to mismanage the care of wild horses and burros. The agency’s current policies authorize inhumane methods of gathering and confinement that may result in the eradication of these animals. U.S. Representative Dan Burton of Indiana has recently succeeded in passing an amendment to the Interior Appropriations Bill to cut $2 million from the BLM’s annual budget in order to pressure the agency to stop its ill-conceived efforts.
This amendment was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives and will soon be considered in the Senate. Please let your two U.S. senators know that they should support the Burton amendment to cut $2 million dollars from the BLM program. It saves both money and wild horses.
What You Can Do
Please use the email below to contact your U.S. senators today, urging them to support a $2 million reduction in the BLM’s budget and save wild horses from the agency’s mismanagement.

Thank you for your help, animal advocates.

Take Action

Martinez among 7 Governors who ask Salazar to withdraw "Wild Lands" order

The Westerner

The seven Governors wrote to Interior Secretary Salazar to "express our extreme displeasure over both the policy and the process by which Secretarial Order 3310 (Order) was developed and issued."    MORE...

A National Injustice: The Federal Government’s Systematic Removal and Eradication of an American Icon

Ecology Law

Bruce Wagman[*] & Lisa McCurdy[**]
Brutal captures and deaths of American wild horses are occurring on the range. This is not a fictional western gone bad but federal policy. The government tries to justify this cruelty with junk science and is sheltered in its actions by procedural barriers and judicial deference. For nearly four decades, federal contractors have been capturing wild horses and burros across the western United States under the guise of “management” pursuant to the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.[1] The horses are often chased down by helicopters, sometimes for miles through rough terrain in the heat of summer, lassoed, and forced to the ground and then into trailers.   MORE...

Wild Horses: Symbol of American Freedom?

Our founding fathers made an incredibly brave stand and wrote the Declaration of Independence. They knew by making a stand for what they believed in that they would not win an across the board popularity contest.
Next came the great Constitution of the United States.
The premises within that document began to build the consciousness of a nation. When I walk through the law libraries and touch the pages (yes, I feel books give a sense that the electronic age desensitizes) you literally feel the development of the identity of this nation.   MORE...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Proper Access to Obama’s BLM Wild Horse Traps Continued to be Denied

Straight from the Horse's Heart

(In My Infuriated Opinion) by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/Director of HfH Advisory Council

1.5 Miles from Trap Site Doesn’t Cut It

Photographer Terry Fitch and Reporter Laura Leigh documenting horses at Litchfield during Twin Peaks stampede ~ photo by R.T. Fitch
For weeks taxpaying United States citizens have been attending the often brutal wild horse stampede being conducted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in north east Nevada.  These citizens have come of their own volition and funded by their own labor to stand as witnesses, in protest, for the wild horses while the very federal agency that they fund with their hard earned dollars, against their will, continues to push them further and further away from the dastardly deeds that are continuing to be committed.
Today, additional equine advocate journalists will join the team as Terry and I travel to support Laura Leigh and her efforts as credentialed journalists and photographers for Horseback Magazine.  The Nevada state office of the BLM subscribes to the Straight from the Horse’s Heart blog and will be fully aware of our arrival and attendance.  Likewise, the editorial staff of HB magazine have forwarded our credentials to both Washington D.C. and to the Nevada BLM offices.  We are curious if the added camera lenses and pens result in observation areas being pushed even further back from the current ridicules and insulting 1.5 miles away.  Time will tell if the BLM will step up to the plate and behave in a manner conducive of an agency of the United States or if they will continue to attempt to cover up their constitutional transgressions by denying the free press their first amendment rights of access and covertly brutalize the very horses that they are charged to protect.
Again, time will tell but either way the hay bale falls the readers of SFTHH and Horseback Magazine will be the first to know.
“We are Watching!”
May the Force of the Horse© be with us all.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

31 horses, wild burros up for adoption in Safford in March

KGUN9 On Your Side, Tucson News, Weather & Sports

Horse Slaughter is Bad for the Economy, the Community and the Taxpayer

Straight from the Horse's Heart

article by John Holland from the pages of the North Platte Telegraph

The Great “Horse Sense” Debate is On

EWA President John Holland speaking before White House in 2010 ~ photo by Terry Fitch
Senator Tyson Larson’s bills LB 305 and 306 are the latest examples of bad legislation introduced in an attempt to bring back the U.S. horse slaughter plants. LB 305 would require the taxpayers of Nebraska to pay for the establishment of an ante-mortem inspection program designed solely at circumventing the Congressional elimination of funding for mandatory USDA inspection of horses killed for human consumption.
LB 306 would make it a crime for a horse rescue to refuse to accept any horse offered to it. These bills are part of a proxy war between corporate agriculture, breeders and what they see as the “animal rights” movement. LB 306 penalizes those working to compensate for over-breeding and is more a vendetta than reasoned legislation.
Larson claims that opening a horse slaughter plant would be good for Nebraska’s economy, but Nebraska already enjoys the second lowest unemployment in the country (4.4 percent). In fact, history tells us that it would bring only misery and loss to Nebraskans.
I will present evidence proving that horse slaughter is bad for the economy, the community, the taxpayers, horse owners and the horses themselves. American horse slaughter is a dying practice, and spending treasure to resuscitate it is folly.
Ignoring the worst economy in living memory, both [Charles] Stenholm and Larson claim that the closing of the slaughter plants has harmed the horse market and increased equine neglect. I will first prove this is impossible.
A brief history of horse slaughter:
In 1990, there were about 12 horse slaughter plants operating in the U.S. One of these was Central Nebraska Packing in North Platte. Along with plants in Canada and Mexico USDA statistics show they slaughtered a total of 419,133 American horses that year. Both the number of slaughterhouses and horses slaughtered declined steadily through the decade despite no legal restrictions until California banned slaughter in 1998. Nobody claimed that this 77.5 percent reduction caused any problems.
By 2000 there were only three, foreign owned, horse slaughter plants left in the U.S.; two in Texas and one in Illinois. Horse slaughter declined until 2002, and then rebounded slightly to a level just over 100,000 horses a year.
In January 2007 the two Texas plants were closed when the courts ruled that a 1949 law against selling horsemeat for human consumption was still in effect. The Dallas Crown plant in Kaufman Texas had earlier been ordered closed by the town Board of Adjustments because of pollution, but had successfully remained open through legal delaying.
The remaining Cavel plant in DeKalb, Ill., was shut down in September 2007 after unsuccessfully challenging a new state law against slaughtering horses for human consumption. The removal of funding for required inspections had also closed the plant temporarily and the work-around program allowing the plants to pay for their own inspections was eventually ruled to be illegal. Like Dallas Crown, the plant was also facing massive fines for its sewage discharge.
The key to the issue is what happened after the plants closed; virtually nothing. The plants relocated their plants to Canada and Mexico in weeks.
In the 10 years before the closings an average of 117,121 American equines were slaughtered per year, and in the three years afterward the annual average was virtually the same at 116,867.
Just as many horses are being purchased at approximately the same prices from the same auctions as before the closings. Therefore, any claim that the closures harmed the horse market or caused horses to be neglected is inescapably false.
We have had slaughter available and it failed to protect the horse market from the recession.

Click (HERE) to Comment in Support

Click (HERE) to read opposing view

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wild Horse Groups Win Another Round and Vow to Preserve Targeted West Douglas Herd

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Press Release from HfH Advisory Council
Groups Warn that BLM Withdrawal of EA for Roundup Doesn’t Ensure Agency Won’t Try Again
HOUSTON  (HfHAC) – The Bureau of Land Management has officially withdrawn its 2011 plans to decimate the West Douglas Wild Horse herd, a small, isolated herd of wild horses in northwestern Colorado.  Plaintiffs in two lawsuits challenging the BLM’s long-held efforts are claiming a victory, but are concerned BLM will issue another decision to eliminate the herd in the future.  Therefore, plaintiffs have vowed to continue their work in the courts and through public campaigns to prevent BLM’s long-held plans to destroy this herd.
The battle over the West Douglas herd is nearly two decades old, and only through the efforts of concerned citizens and organizations have the horses been saved from the BLM’s desire to remove them all from their homelands.  “The BLM has long known their management practices put them on shaky legal grounds, and they are worried they will be prevented from zeroing out this herd, as they have done to so many others throughout the West,” stated Barbara Flores of the Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition. “It appears they are trying to find legal grounds for eradicating this herd through a temporary retreat and regrouping.”
In 2009, the individuals and organizations won the first case in the United States against BLM’s practices of eliminating wild horse herds when Judge Rosemary Collyer set aside BLM’s 2008 roundup plans.  When BLM announced in 2010 that it was going to try again, Habitat for Horses Advisory Council, Inc. joined the efforts.  R.T. Fitch of HFH Advisory Council explained, “BLM’s path of destroying wild horse herds has got to be stopped.  We have supported the recent litigation with extensive resources, and we do not intend to back down.”  Another suit was filed in 2010, and a motion to hold BLM in contempt of Judge Collyer’s order was filed.
“Experts have predicted that wild horses and burros will go extinct in eleven years if BLM continues with its present course of roundups and removals,” advised Ginger Kathrens, Voluntary Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation.
For now, the groups remain vigilant.  They have presented suggestions for just how to accomplish this by a range science expert and professor, but BLM has so far refused to implement them.  “BLM’s promise to take a comprehensive look at wild horse management in the White River Resource Area is just window-dressing unless BLM agrees to find ways to maintain the horses among other multiple uses,” explained Hilary Wood of Front Range Equine Rescue, a plaintiff in suits against BLM since 2006.