Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Summit Focuses on Ending Export for Slaughter

Straight from the Horse's Heart

By Bill Heller as published on Blood Horse
“We’re safe, but what’s next?”
With the ban of horse slaughter for human consumption in the United States ensured for at least the next two years, equine advocates from around North America convened at the 2014 American Equine Summit in Chatham, N.Y., April 26-27 to push for a permanent ban and the elimination of exporting American horses to Canada, Mexico, and Japan for slaughter.
A huge, huge thank you to Victoria McCullough, FL State Senator Joe Abruzzo and Vice President Joe Biden. No matter what you read, they drove this effort from the starting gate to the finish line.
A huge, huge thank you to Victoria McCullough, FL State Senator Joe Abruzzo and
Vice President Joe Biden. No matter what you read, they drove this effort from the starting gate to the finish line.
“We’re safe, but what’s next?” asked Victoria McCullough, the owner of Chesapeake Petroleum and an international equestrian and equine activist. McCullough successfully enlisted the support of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to remove funding for slaughterhouses in an Omnibus Bill signed into law by President Obama Jan. 17. “We will end horses going across the borders,” she said. “Horse meat will kill you.”
While horse slaughter in the U.S. ended in 2007, a proposed slaughterhouse in New Mexico nearly opened last December before the funding for mandatory meat inspectors was removed in the Omnibus Bill. Yet, according to the Equine Welfare Alliance, more than 150,000 U.S. horses were exported for slaughter in 2013 despite increasing global concern over the toxicology of horse meat. Such meat may have been contaminated by the myriad of drugs that horses—especially Thoroughbreds—are treated with, especially the analgesic phenylbutazone, known commonly as bute.
A scandal erupted in France in mid-December when authorities discovered that horses that had been used to produce anti-rabies and other serums were discovered in horsemeat sold to the public. Twenty-one people were arrested in Narbonne on Dec. 16. Two months later in Germany, another scandal erupted when horse meat was detected in frozen lasagna being sold in supermarkets. Subsequently, the European Union advised all countries to test meat.
“There is a global concern about food safety,” McCullough said. “We must disqualify equines from the food chain. We have to win the EU and Canada. Science will win for horses, and we’re on the doorstep.”
McCullough has purchased the entire lot of horses offered at the Sugar Creek, Ohio, auction, known for selling horses bound for slaughter, on three occasions and said this about the demographics of these horses that were being sold: “The majority are former racehorses. Seventy percent are Thoroughbreds. The average age is 3 to 4 years old. It’s unbelievable.”
McCullough was one of a dozen speakers at the Summit, which was held at the 140-acre Equine Advocates’ Rescue & Sanctuary, now home to 80 rescued equines in Chatham, about 120 miles northeast of New York City.
Susan Wagner started Equine Advocates, a national non-profit 501 (c)(3), in 1996 after rescuing her first horse from slaughter, Gandalf. She opened her equine rescue and sanctuary, which is now home to 85 equines, in 2004, and came up with the concept of an annual equine summit. This year people came from as far away as British Columbia, California, Montana, Texas, and South Dakota to attend the event, which was by invitation only. Asked of her goal, Wagner said, “We have to close our borders for all time.”
Jane Velez-Mitchell, of CNN’s Headline News, was the keynote speaker and spoke passionately about wild horses and carriage horses, currently a controversial topic in New York City. “I live in midtown Manhattan and I look in their eyes every day when I walk my dogs,” she said. “They are miserable. They are terrified and they don’t belong there. Tradition? Chastity belts were a tradition. Carriage horses must be eliminated.”

Monday, April 28, 2014

Urge Your Legislators to Support Horse Safety, Ban Use of Double-Deck Trailers for Hauling Horses

Animal Welfare Institutute

Monday, April 28, 2014
Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013 - Photo by Lindsey Turner
Dear Humanitarian,
The Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013 (H.R. 4440/S. 1459), a bipartisan bill sponsored in the House by Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and in the Senate by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), amends Title 49, United States Code, to prohibit the transportation of horses in interstate commerce in a motor vehicle containing two or more levels stacked on top of one another (commonly known as "double-deck trailers.")
Hauling horses in double-deck trailers is dangerous and inhumane. These trailers do not provide sufficient headroom for horses to stand upright. As a result, they often endure long journeys in cramped positions and suffer serious injuries. There have also been several horrific traffic accidents involving these trailers, resulting in severe injuries and brutal deaths of many horses.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, "double-deck trailers do not provide adequate headroom for equines, with the possible exception of foals and yearlings. We do not believe that trailers that have two or more permanent levels that are not collapsible can be adequately altered to accommodate adult equines, especially tall equines."

What You Can Do:
Please ask your representative and both senators to cosponsor H.R. 4440 and S. 1459 to prevent the use of double-deck trailers, with two or more levels stacked on top of one another, for hauling horses in the United States.
You can send your representative and senators an email through theCompassion Index by clicking here. Once you are on the Compassion Index page, you will find suggested talking points to include in your email.
Contact Your Legislators - Urge Your Legislators to Support Horse Safety, Ban Use of Double-Deck Trailers for Hauling Horses
Please be sure to share our “Dear Humanitarian” eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to send a message also. As always, thank you very much for your help!
Chris Heyde
Deputy Director
Government and Legal Affairs

Friday, April 25, 2014

BLM Switching Tactics to Mismanage Wild Horses

Straight from the Horse's Heart

As reported by Reno’s News 4
photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
GARDNERVILLE, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) — The Bureau of Land Management is trying out a different approach to reduce the number of wildhorses. The new pilot project is designed to lessen the number of wild horses roaming around the Fish Springs community in Gardnerville.
The BLM started the project on Thursday, treating wild horses with birth control.
“We are looking at giving it to them once a year, so we’ll start out by giving them the initial inoculation,” said Leon Thomas from the BLM. “Then we will give a booster after two weeks, and then we will try and repeat again next year.”
Thomas said there are about 40 horses in the Fish Springs area. Over the next few days, 24 female horses will be treated. “We felt that this was a decent alternative to actually having to gather the horses. We feel that we want to try some creative solutions to see if there are other effective methods to controlling the population.”
Because the Fish Springs area is an open range area, the BLM said the horses come down here every morning. That is one of the reasons why they wanted to do this project. “And we’re looking at taking this isolated population, using it as a test base, getting some lessons learned and taking those lessons and possibly using it in other areas.”
The horses will be monitored to determine whether the treatment has lowered the population growth rate. If successful, the program may be continued next year, and in other areas of the Pine Nut mountains.
Click (HERE) to comment directly at Channel 40

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wild Horse Advocates Appeal Court Decision: Forest Service Fence Threatens Ongoing Survival of Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Herd

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Historical and critical range fenced off by U.S. Forest Service endangers the herd’s genetic variability

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. (April 23, 2014) On April 21, 2014, The Cloud Foundation(TCF), Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) and noted equine photographer, Carol WalkerDirector of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) filed anappeal in District of Columbia Circuit Court to US District Court’s November 2013 dismissal of a lawsuit against the Custer National Forest (FS)  and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). “We brought the FS into the suit when they issued a call for bids to build the new fence in 2010,  states Ginger Kathrens, Founder and Executive Director of TCF.  “The fence threatens the survival of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Herd by eliminating thousands of acres of vital late summer and fall grazing.”
The two mile-long, six foot high fence across a subalpine meadow blocks wild horses from historic and critical high elevation grazing in the Pryor Mountains of Montana and mars an otherwise pristine landscape. The controversy over this artificial boundary began long before the fence was built in October of 2010.  TCF contends that the fence, which is on the boundary line between US Forest Service and BLM land, only exists because the FS refuses to manage horses in an area the herd has used since long before the FS and the BLM were created.
Range expansion is crucial since the Pryor herd is small, isolated and vulnerable to genetic decline. An August, 2013 report by leading equine geneticist, E. Gus Cothran, PhD, Texas A&M University warns of declining variability in the famed herd.  Analyzing the genetics of wild horses removed from the Pryor range last year, Cothran urged the BLM to “increase population size if range conditions allow.”
“The Pryor herd is one of the oldest in the West, is a unique genetic link to the Spanish Colonial horse, and is a closed herd(i.e. no access from an adjoining herd).  Although the herd appears to be strong with remarkable longevity there have been several cases of limited vision or blindness, hernias, and cryptorchidism. These physical defects could be a reflection of narrowing genetic variability,” states Kathrens who has followed the herd for 20 years, producing three PBS Nature documentaries about Cloud, a pale Palomino stallion who lives wild in the Pryors. “Obviously with fewer horses on the range, the chances increase that individuals will be more closely related than if the herd were larger.”
In the late 1990s and early 2000s herd numbers were in the low 200s.  TCF would like to see the herd managed at numbers even higher than these, but that is difficult based on the current acreage available for their use. TCF and their partners will be working to return the Sorenson Extension in the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (BCNRA). “This will be great for tourism, giving the public a greater chance to see wild horses in the Dryhead area of the range, including mares that might be in the core breeding population and have foals,” Kathrens adds. Wild horse viewing in the BCNRA has increased over the years and is an important economic driver for the nearby community of Lovell, WY.

“The BLM will be adding the Administrative Pastures at the very bottom of the mountain and we applaud them for this,” states Carol Walker. The 3,000 plus acres contained in the Administrative Pastures are not productive lands but they will allow for the herd to grow a little and they provide the best chance for wild horse bands to get out of deep snow higher on the range. “This was an area used extensively by Cloud’s father, Raven, and his band until the gates were shut a few years ago,” Walker adds.
“TCF has worked closely with the Billings BLM office over the past few years,” states Kathrens.  We are confident they have the best interests of the horses at heart and we are a willing volunteer for any efforts to benefit the horses.” TCF volunteered last year to help the BLM apply the fertility control vaccine PZP to mares to curtail population growth with the shared goal of preventing future removals.
“However, it is critical that the Forest Service take down the fence which keeps the herd from the highest quality pastures – pastures the herd had enjoyed for over 200 years,” stated Kathrens.  Unless they remove the fence, I fear that not only the genetic stability, but the ongoing survival of the Pryor Herd is at great risk which would be a tragic loss for the American public.”
“Every summer and fall until the fence was erected I observed and photographed the majority of the herd grazing in these beautiful, rich pastures,” Walker added. “Seeing the horses go down the trails their feet had made over many years and now being blocked at the fence, and gazing over it, not understanding why they could not go there anymore is heartbreaking. This fence must come down.”

 Media Contacts:
Paula Todd King
Terry Fitch
The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is a Colorado based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our western public lands. 
Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is a registered Texas based 501(c)3 non-profit which puts people between America’s wild equids and extinction. 
 Front Range Equine Rescue is a 501(c)3 non-profit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue and education. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

THIS is your BLM!

Exposed- BLM Contractors Abuse a Donkey NBC News 04/12/13

Wild Horses and Burros are Just Meat to the Bureau of Land Management

Straight from the Horse's Heart

OpEd by Alana Marie Burke as published in the Liberty Voice

“all of the horses were sold off to the slaughterhouse bidder in just a few hours”

photo by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation
photo by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Apparently, the definition of “wild” is to the Bureau of Land Management(BLM) as the definition of “is” was to former president Bill Clinton. When Clinton was asked about whether he had engaged in sexual activity with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, he stated, “There is no improper relationship.” Later when caught in his web of lies, Clinton verbally scrambled claiming, “It depends on what your definition of “is” is.” The BLM just recently rounded up and sent to slaughter a herd of wild horses that they claim are not wild because they were “descended from strays” and thus are not officially “wild.” As it turned out, Clinton did have a sexual relationship with Lewinsky and in the BLM’s case, the definition of “not wild” is sketchy at best resulting in the horses being slaughtered for meat.
The BLM rounded up a herd of 41 horses in Wyoming that had been running free for several decades and the horses were sold to the highest bidder, a Canadian slaughterhouse called Bouvry Exports for less than $2,000. The BLM claims that the horses were not in fact “wild” and thus not deserving of the protection of the Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burro Act – especially because this herd of horses did not have a permit to graze on federal land. Their lack of a permit to graze was no doubt unknown by the wild horses who were simply grazing on the fodder of the landscape they had freely roamed for years. The agency claims the horses were not wild but were instead “abandoned” because they were descendants of “stray rodeo horses” from the 1970s owned by a deceased contractor of rodeo livestock.
Apparently having descended from “handled” horses, the herd in Wyoming that had been running free and procreating for decades was not quite wild enough and were just meat to the Bureau of Land Management. It would have been interesting to see an agent from the BLM try to saddle each rodeo descendent up for a little giddy-up just to see how domesticated these horses were before selling them to slaughter. That would have been a rodeo worth seeing. In this case, the definition of wild was conveniently in the eye of the beholder – that of a government agency ridding itself of pestilence not in the actual nature of the animals they rounded up…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the story in it’s entirety and to comment

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blame BLM Chief Neil Kornze, period

Habitat for Horses

From: The Las Vegas Review Journal
By: Sherman Frederick
Blame needs to placed all the way up to the top. Harry Reid pushed for Kornze to get the position and the nod was given all the way up to the Obama Administration. Talk about bungled! A “free speech” area will inflame anyone to anger. And it looks bad on the news. They should have just gone in and enforced the laws – quickly and be done with it. Instead it was mishandled and made to look like our government turns tail and flees from wealthy conservative ranchers. Mr. President – what are you going to do about this? ~ HfH
The Bundy hypocrisy fest
"Free Speech" zone during the Bundy confrontation
“Free Speech” zone during the Bundy confrontation
Let me start by saying that any kid from Elko gets a point from me. Right out of the chute.
So when Neil Kornze was appointed the new director of the Bureau of Land Management by the U.S. Senate, he got no guff from me or anyone in Nevada that I know of.
Some senators thought he was too young. But he worked for Sen. Harry Reid and that was enough to gain confirmation.
“Neil is just perfect for this position,” Reid said. “Raised in Elko, NV, Neil really understands the role of public lands in rural America, and natural resources across the West.”
Less than 14 days later, Kornze led a spectacularly botched roundup of “undocumented” cattle in Bunkerville. He charged in all Gen. Custer-like to the rural Nevada community, trying to enforce a federal order to stop rancher Cliven Bundy from grazing his cattle in the area without paying grazing fees.
Knowing he would encounter protesters, he even created a First Amendment area, which was not only unconstitutional it served to only aggravate matters.

Habitat for Horses is a 501.c.3 nonprofit equine protection organization supported solely by donations. We have around 200 donkeys and horses under our care, plus one ornery, old mule. Most of them are here because law enforcement removed them from their previous owner. Our ability to rehabilitate and rehome them comes from the financial support of people like you. Please support us by making a donation for the horses we all serve. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

BLM Criticized for Selling Wild Horses for Slaughter

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Sources: Multiple, story by By MEAD GRUVER

“How long does a horse have to live wild and free before it’s considered wild?”

 — The Bureau of Land Management rounded up a horse herd that roamed for decades on federal land in northwest Wyoming and handed the horses over to Wyoming officials. They, in turn, sold the herd to the highest bidder, a Canadian slaughterhouse.
Wild horse advocates are incensed, saying they should have had a chance to intercede in the March roundup and auction. But the BLM says the horses were abandoned — not wild — and that it publicized the sale beforehand.
“It would take very little to do this in a more effective way, so that horses are not just sent off to slaughter indiscriminately,” said Paula Todd King of The Cloud Foundation, a Colorado-based advocacy group.
According to the BLM, the Wyoming horses weren’t officially wild and protected by the Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burro Act, the federal law for maintaining many of the horse herds, some of which have roamed free in the West since the days of Spanish explorers more than 300 years ago.
The BLM bans wild horses from being sold for slaughter. Anybody who adopts a wild horse from the BLM must agree to provide it a home.
The horses in the Bighorn Basin’s sagebrush hills descended from stray rodeo horses that were owned by Andy Gifford, a rancher and rodeo livestock contractor, in the 1970s, BLM spokeswoman Sarah Beckwith said. Gifford had claimed the horses as his but never rounded them up before he died in 2009. That, plus the fact that the horses never interbred with wild horses, officially classified them as strays.
“Nobody had a permit to have these horses grazing on public lands,” Beckwith said.
King questions that policy. “How long does a horse have to live wild and free before it’s considered wild?” she said.
Area ranchers and farmers had long complained the herd grazed down pastures and damaged cattle rangeland.
On March 18 and 19, a BLM contractor rounded up the 41 horses and handed them over to Wyoming officials. Within hours, the horses were sold for $1,640 to Bouvry Exports, a slaughterhouse based in Calgary, Alberta.
The BLM follows state laws for handling stray livestock, Beckwith said, and had no option but to hand the horses over to the Wyoming Livestock Board, a state agency. The state took three bids for the horses, state Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa said.
Bouvry Exports shipped the horses out of state, Romsa said. Phone messages for Bouvry Exports weren’t immediately returned.
BLM officials had printed notices on the upcoming roundup in local newspapers and posted notices in local post offices.
The roundup wasn’t unprecedented. Last summer, a federal judge allowed an American Indian tribe to sell 149 mustangs over the objection of critics who claimed the unbranded animals were federally protected wild horses. The mustangs were among more than 400 on U.S. Forest Service land along the Nevada-Oregon line that the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe claimed belonged to them.
In the end, King said, more than 160 were sold to people who planned to take them to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, but local residents and rescue groups raised money to buy 150 of the horses to spare them.
The BLM rounds up stray livestock perhaps three or four times a year in the West. Usually they are cattle or sheep. Impoundments of large numbers of stray horses are far less frequent, said Robert Bolton, a senior rangeland management specialist for the BLM.
“That’s a pretty sizeable number and they have been out there a long time,” Bolton said of the Wyoming herd. “Normally, most of our impounds have been in the low numbers.”

EXCLUSIVE: Evidence of BLM’s Deadly Abuse of Animals Taken from Bundy Ranch

21 Wire 38

APRIL 16, 2014 BY  38 
21st Century Wire
The US federal government might have just evoked the fury of animal right groups over their shocking treatment of cattle at the Bundy Ranch, and may soon face legal charges of severe animal abuse in Clark County, Nevada.
Federal agency’s treatment of residents at the Bundy Ranch this past week included tasering, beating, wrongful arrest, threatening residents with attack dogs, and mobilizing a federal paramilitary force whose barrels were trained on US citizens, all in all, spending at least $3 million of tax payer money in an effort to sell stolen cattle over state lines in Utah and California. A legal argument has also been made that the US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is now guilty of racketeering under the federal RIC) statute (Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations). If all that wasn’t enough, evidence is now emerging regarding pattern of extreme cruelty and abuse, and suspected culling of animals from the Bundy Ranch.
Nevada Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore has released new shocking information and images which document the horrors which BLM agents have inflicted on previously happy and healthy livestock.
During a live radio broadcast of The Pete Santilli Show on GNM, Fiore reveals new details of “the BLM’s method of herding where they have slaughtered horses and cows. This time we have video of it, and pictures of it.”
“I did post the first picture of one cow who was shot in the back of the head from a helicopter (photo above).”
I personally helped save a calf who still had an umbilical cord attached to her as she was separated from her mom. It is such a disgusting event (…)… they (BLM) don’t herd cattle – they slaughter cattle.”
‘Abusively corralled’
“If you look at the stewardship of land, and herding of cattle, first of all these particular cattle that were grazing on 600,000 acres – understand that when the Bundy family would herd their own cattle, there would be water taps to where the cattle would go down to the water and herd them humbly and softly – no cruelty, no abuse, herding them to where the cattle could get injured”.
“We now have an evidenced-based argument now with how the BLM cannot take care of that cattle. We have cows giving birth (in the federal pen) where baby calves have been stepped and killed.”
“This is the BLM’s practice. They herd animals with helicopters, ATV’s, and shotguns… If any cows get out of line – they get a bullet in the back of the head”.
“Make sure the BLM are off state land and make sure the BLM are not allowed to herd cattle again”.
Mass graves
“Near their compound, right off the highway, they were digging holes (…)… They tried to bury some cows on the compound, but I guess they didn’t dig the hole deep enough, so throw a cow in and they dirt over him and you have cows legs cows’ legs sticking up out of the dirt”.
Daniel-P-Love-BLMEarlier this week GMN revealed a secret recording of the BLM Special Agent in Charge, Daniel P. Love (photo, left), who had stated that the BLM have not killed any cattle. Fiore’s reply to Love’s claim:
“He’s a flat out liar, period.”
It was confirmed by ranchers and observers last week of how the BLM and their “contract cowboy” had deployed aggressive practices whilst rustling the Bundy’s herd, using tactical helicopters (image, below) forcing cattle to removal zones, often times driving cows uphill in 90F heat – a lethal practice known to cause tremendous stress and exhaustion to the animals, causing sickness and even premature death.

Last week, farmers suspected that BLM agents were also scooping up the dead animals with heavy equipment like Backhoe diggers, and either burying carcasses somewhere on the 600,000 acre public grazing land, or disposing of them somewhere off site.
In addition, reports by observers confirmed that spring heifers who were subject to abusive BLM tactics were forced to abandon some calves behind to hide in the desert bush (a common practice by mothers who are being rustled, who later can backtrack to retrieve their young) putting the calves at risk of death.
Critics now believe the BLM and Clark County Sheriff’s Office could be facing a strong legal challenge for their reckless handling of the ill-fated operation underlined by a litany of both human and animal rights abuses.
PHOTO provided by Michelle Fiore – visit her @VoteFiore on Twitter.