Sunday, May 31, 2009

Grandstanding won't help preserve public land

Well I dont know if I agree with the sum essence of the title of this article. I am a firm believer in taking or making "Grand Stands" when necessary; our country was founded upon its people taking "grand stands" against oppression and exploitation. Why cant we? Anyways, heres the article, and I do agree with alot of other statements this (otherwise) insightful authoress makes;

"Grandstanding wont help preserve public land" By Laura Welp

Updated: 05/29/2009 04:43:53 PM MDT

On May 9, more than 100 off-road vehicles roared up the bed of the Paria River in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The river canyon has been judged wilderness-quality in more than one different government process, and has been closed to motor vehicles by the monument management plan for nearly 10 years, though that rule has rarely been enforced.

Another group came to the Paria River that day, and stood by the river asking people to respect the laws that protect the river. Bureau of Land Management and county law enforcement stood aside to let the vehicles pass, though driving in the Paria was clearly illegal.

This mass drive had a purpose: the promotion of a political viewpoint that rejects federal government control of the monument on principle (and is willing to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to do it). Before the drive, Kane County Commissioner Mark Habbeshaw and Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, incited the crowd with anti-government rhetoric, and the rally ended with, "Let's ride!"

The problem, however, is that Utah isn't the pioneer world that Utah's "cowboy caucus" politicians evoke in their speeches. Off-road vehicle abuse is already rampant on public lands in southern Utah, even on monument land. Really, this is only a monument on paper. For years now, the county has been allowed to run the BLM, to the detriment of the lands the BLM is charged to oversee. That situation needs to change.

The Paria riverbed was sometimes traveled by vehicles, with little harm done, when only a handful of people lived or traveled nearby. But past use is not a good reason to allow an ever-increasing number of motor sport vehicles to drive up the streambed. The ability to drive on something doesn't make it a road. That's simply common sense.

Though opinions around here don't lack diversity, there is one thing that rural Utahns hold in common: a deep connection to the land around us. Whether our families have worked the land for generations or we moved here because we fell in love with the place, our quality of life depends on a healthy landscape. Using the motor vehicle access issue to promote an anti-government ideology held by a small minority will rebound on all of us.

Those who stood by the Paria River last weekend believe that all of us have a responsibility to be good stewards of the land around us. To be worthy of this sacred trust, we must look beyond political grandstanding, partisan anger and fear of change. This place will inevitably change, but the nature of that change is up to those of us who live and work here.

In the Utah of the future, we want to see flowing water, abundant wildlife, clean air, plenty of peace and quiet, good work for everyone and a culture that reveres life. We want to see a protected Paria Canyon.

Laura Welp lives in Kanab and is co-chair of the Land Use Volunteers of Kane County.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Cowboy Nation Destroys the Horse It Rode in On

Posted by Deanne Stillman, May 26th, 2009

In the annals of the modern West, 1998 was an especially violent year. In May, Kip Kinkel whacked his parents, then shot up his Oregon high school, killing two students and wounding 25, kicking off a wave of school shootings that has yet to subside. In October, Matthew Shepard was found stabbed to death and tied to a fence in Wyoming, like an unwanted coyote. By the end of the year, the situation had reached a bizarre crescendo: in the mountains outside Reno, just beyond the old mining town of Virginia City, 34 wild horses were gunned down at Christmas time. I learned of the incident in a series of newspaper articles published as the crime scene unfolded. Each day, they became more horrifying. At first, there were six dead horses found in the Virginia Range. A couple of days later, there were 12. By the end of the year, as people gathered at Times Square to ring in the New Year, 34 horse carcasses had been found in the mountains, and the crime scene stretched for five miles.

That incident propelled me into writing Mustang, and during the 10 years that I worked on it, I learned that a bizarre war is underfoot across the American West. It is a variation of the old range wars of the 19th century, and it is waged by stockmen and sagebrush rebels with copies of the Second Amendment tucked into their back pockets, and it is backed by Republicans and Democrats and a federal agency that circumvents the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, along with small-town officials who march to the great American battle cry "Don't tread on me." Their target is the wild horse, and it has been going on for decades.

In 1973, in Howe, Idaho, ranchers on snow mobiles and saddle horses chased a herd of 32 mustangs for 45 days, driving them into a narrow canyon and trapping them on a shelf. Some jumped off the cliff to their deaths. Others panicked and jammed their hoofs into rocks. To make them more manageable, ranchers sewed hog rings into their noses. The fright escalated, and some horses broke their legs as they scrambled on the rocks. "We didn't know what to do," one rancher said. "We disposed of them by cutting their legs off. I mean it was gruesome. We sawed that one sorrel mare's legs with a chain saw." When it was over, the six surviving horses were shipped to a packing house in Nebraska. A few days later, the dead and mutilated horses were found at the foot of the cliff.

In 1989, over a period of months in Nevada, at least 500 mustangs were mowed down by rifle fire. When coyotes came to feed, they, too, were killed. In 1992, 54 burros — protected under the same law as wild horses — were gunned down on Good Friday outside Oatman, Arizona. In 1999, four wild horses and two burros in the Spring Mountains in Nevada were shot and killed. (In the same year and the same state, this time in Fallon, a grazing and military town, eight cows were raked with automatic weapons, one while giving birth, by two Navy airmen.) In 2000, 37 wild horses were shot to death in the Rock Springs area of Wyoming — one of the largest federally sanctioned livestock grazing regions in the country. In 2001, seven wild horses were shot to death in eastern Nevada, and six more later that year. In 2002, nine wild horses were gunned down by two ranchers in Utah. In 2003, possibly as many as 500 Nevada mustangs — known for the record as the Fish Creek horses — died after being rounded up in an ongoing territorial dispute between a pair of Shoshone Indians and the feds. They had been adopted by a rancher in California, but left without food in government corrals as they awaited relocation, and then dumped in the wilderness after they starved to death. In 2006, a mare and stallion were shot to death in Gerlach, Nevada. The mare had aborted her foal during the incident and it too perished. In fall of that year, seven horses were shot and killed near Pinedale, Arizona. The Bureau of Land Management offered rewards, but no one has come forward, and more recently the agency has done so again, in the case of 13 burros gunned down outside Phoenix this year as the Easter season unfolded.

In the beginning of my research, I didn't know what to make of these horse and burro killings, other than the fact that they were a scourge on a nation that reveres freedom and names its greatest road-trip car, the Mustang, after the one animal that most represents the open road. I had known for a long time that people go out into the wilderness to whack wild animals, and also that the government has its own brutal policies to take out animals it views as unnecessary — often at the behest of the cattle industry. As I began to investigate how we had gotten to this place, I saw a disturbing pattern emerge: horse murders on a large scale began in the 19th century during the war to wipe out Native Americans.

As settlers advanced into the frontier and wars broke out on the Great Plains, the cavalry was stymied by the formidable horsemanship of the tribes. It became clear to the U.S. government that the only way to vanquish them was to strip them of their ponies. And so began the brutal campaign that prefigured the government's war against the wild horse today. In 1858, Colonel George Wright ordered the massacre of 800 horses that belonged to the Palouse tribe, east of what later became Spokane, Washington. The site is now known as Horse Slaughter Camp, and it has a stone marker. On Thanksgiving night in 1868, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer attacked Black Kettle and his tribe along the Washita River in Oklahoma, killing the chief and many of his people, and then their 800 ponies. The Cheyenne woman Moving Behind, who was 14 at the time, would later remember that the wounded ponies passed near her hiding place, moaning loudly, just like human beings. There would be other horse massacres, including the mowing down of 1,500 Comanche steeds in 1874, carried out by an army colonel known to the Indians as Bad Hand. Like others who have trafficked in violence against horses, he later went mad.

By the end of the 19th century, Native Americans had been dismounted and conquered. At the time, there remained vast rivers of horse running across the West, descendants of the four-leggeds that had returned to this continent with the conquistadors after disappearing during the Ice Age. With the Indians and buffalo and wolves purged from the range, and the car and train upon us, the horse was no longer needed and it was time for it to go. Thus began a sad era in American history, known in some circles as the great removal. Hundreds of thousands of mustangs were taken from the range in brutal round-ups. Many were sent back to Europe in tin cans and others were shipped to foreign wars, where they perished in battle or were consumed by famished soldiers. Alas, the campaign to purge wild horses from the land where it came from continues to this day.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were two million wild horses in the West. Today there are at most 20,000, their ranks depleted by repeated and voracious round-ups carried out by the agency tasked with their management, the multi-use Bureau of Land Management, which is dominated by the cattle industry and various other industries based on extracting natural resources from public lands. The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act that protects mustangs is often not followed and was rolled back in recent years; a new bill, H.R. 1018, now on the House floor, seeks to expand it. But meanwhile, the wild horse remains imperiled, with the BLM now actually offering payments of $500 to anyone who wants one of the thousands of mustangs now in government housing. In this time of economic turmoil, this is a bribe that can quickly double and triple itself, as desperate and unscrupulous people take the cash and then turn around and sell the horse to "killer buyers" — who sell it again to the slaughterhouse.

Around the world, we continue to fight wars. But in the West, we are at war with ourselves. In the Virginia Range on Christmas a little over ten years ago, one of the mustangs died as she faced the setting sun — land of the Thunder Beings, according to the Lakota Indians, the place where horses come from. I like to think that as the light faded, she caught a glimpse of her ancestors and then closed her eyes and joined them.

Alas, what we have done to Native Americans we are now doing to ourselves, stripping ourselves of our great partner — the animal this country rode in on. As the horse goes, so goes a piece of America, and one of these days, bereft of heritage, we may all find ourselves moving on down the road.

÷ ÷ ÷

Deanne Stillman is the author of Twentynine Palms, which Hunter Thompson called "a strange and brilliant story by an important American writer." It was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and one of its Best Books of 2001. Her work appears in various publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, and Slate. For the past twenty years she has lived in Los Angeles, close to her beloved desert, which she has explored by foot and on horseback.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Privatization of Vally Forge National Park

This past weekend our nation remembered those who have suffered hardship for--and those who have even given their lives for--freedom and democracy. While much of this sacrifice has taken place abroad, one place on U.S. soil that symbolizes this struggle for freedom is Valley Forge. Unfortunately, the historic landscape of Valley Forge National Historical Park is imminently threatened. A poorly-conceived development proposal on historically significant, private land inside the park is jeopardizing this hallowed ground. Despite widespread public opposition and an ongoing lawsuit, the American Revolution Center (ARC) has announced plans to break ground on its commercialized museum complex in June.

Take action: While the superintendent at Valley Forge has expressed his concerns over the development's impact on the surrounding national parkland, the Department of the Interior has yet to take official action to stop this development. The court needs to hear from the Obama Administration by June 15. Please write to President Barack Obama and ask him to join the legal action to protect Valley Forge's historic landscape.

Thanks for all you do,

Cinda Waldbuesser
Senior Program Manager, Pennsylvania Field Office


This message was sent to you by the National Parks Conservation Association.

E-mail us at, write to us at 1300 19th Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036, or call us at 800-NAT-PARK (800-628-7275).

BLM to U.S.; NO Public Comment Allowed!

Posted by AHDF President at 4:07 AM

The blog American Herds, written by one of the smartest women I know and am lucky to call a friend, recently posted an article that asks "Where is the Money?". In her blog she writes about the BLM writing the Policy Handbook which will guide the BLM in their duties and the fact that it won't be open for public comment. There are reasons for this in government, but in this particular case I feel they should allow for comments and I am asking for your help in seeing that we ARE allowed to comment.

First, let's look at why normally these things are not open for public comment. The government could be hampered in its operation by comments and frivolous law suits if they allow public comments on all policies set by various agencies that impact a certain segment of the population (for example the Army only sets policies that impact their service members and possibly their families). Usually policy is determined by the law and it is an internal document to clarify the law for employees or to address specific issues within an agency. An example is that Congress determines that a certain activity shouldn't be paid for with tax payer dollars, such as to pay for inspectors at a horse slaughter plant. The USDA has policy analysts that read the law and determine what exactly that means. As we know, they felt it meant that the plants could pay for their own inspectors. Why they made that determination, I don't know. The intent of Congress was clear during the debate, it was to shutter the nation's horse slaughter plants. However, they argued that other laws conflicted, they REQUIRED an inspector at plants slaughtering for meat that would be exported. I think that was a stretch and that the argument was thin, but if the public had been allowed to comment and our comments had been ignored it would have opened the door to law suits. Unfortunately it was a single policy that impacted a small percentage of the population, so we couldn't ask for them to allow comments at that time.

However, the BLM policy book impacts a number of environmental issues and impacts anyone interested in public lands, including ranchers. So, it should be open to the public. They have acknowledged that by allowing the various Advisory Boards to provide comment. However, this isn't broad enough. That policy handbook should be open to public comments as there are pending changes to a variety of programs (wild horse and burro program, sage grouse, big horn sheep, hunting, grazing...) that impact billions of people. Since the BLM is the most litigated government agency, allowing public comments could even actually lessen the number of law suits. Since it impacts so many they should be allowed to comment if it directly impacts their lives and livelihoods and directly impact the quality of lives of those of us who visit, care about or wish to preserve our national lands and we should be allowed to at least comment on those policies.

Everyone should contact the BLM and the Department of Interior (see below for contact info) and ask that an exemption be made for public comment on the Policy Handbook. Since it is doubtful that they will do the right thing despite public outcry you should also contact your Representative and Senators and ask that they move to allow the public to comment. For this to be effective we are going to need more than a few comments, we are going to need to literally FLOOD them with comments. So, please forward this information to everyone you know and every horse group out there.


Director: Mike Pool (Acting)
Deputy Director (Operations): Mike Nedd (Acting)
Chief of Staff: Janet Lin

BLM Washington Office
1849 C Street NW, Rm. 5665
Washington DC 20240
Phone: 202-208-3801
Fax: 202-208-5242


Mailing Address:
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

Phone: 202-208-3100
Feedback form:
Posted by AHDF President at 4:07 AM

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Can we turn cowboys into rangers for our public lands?

Submitted by Rocky Barker on Tue, 05/26/2009 - 12:24pm.

The fight this year in the Idaho Legislature over bighorn sheep demonstrated to me that Idaho and the West need a new vision for the future of public lands ranching in the state.

This session returned ranchers and lawamkers to “ghost-dancing,” a term I first heard from Luther Probst, of the Sonoran Institute in the early 1990s. It’s a play on the ghost dancing society among Indians in the late 1900s, which said that ghost dancing would make Indians invincible and drive the white men away.

Modern rancher ghost dancers think they can pass state laws and drive the environmentalists away. No need to change is necessary.

I have now covered the issue for a generation. I knew the old bulls who had the power to ignore the rising concerns over water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. I watched their sons and daughters take over amidst growing uncertainty over environmental regulation at the same time consolidation of beef and lamb markets reduced their economic options.

Some of them have adjusted very successfully, working collaboratively with environmentalists and others to meet the water and wildlife concerns. Still others have found ways to add value to their products by exploiting the growing “buy local” movement or green marketing their shifting practices like selling “predatory friendly wool.”

Still others added value to their operations by diversifying into dude ranching operations or selling access for hunters, anglers, hikers horsemen and cross country skiers. And others have loped off pieces of their land for real estate development, a practice most ranchers themselves consider an objectionable last resort.

The Western Watersheds Project and some other environmental groups’ vision for the future of public lands ranching is that it will end. They see few redeeming characteristics and believe eventually economics will solve their problem.

But ranchers have the continuing cultural ties that Americans have to cowboys working on their side. When public lands ranching opponents seek to kill the cowboy so to speak, they find a lot of push back, especially in western states among people who may never have even been on a ranch.

I visited a couple of weeks ago with the Idaho Conservation League’s Linn Kincannon, who has working public land grazing issues since the 1980s. She told me a supporter of the Idaho Conservation League proposed a new idea to keep ranchers riding the range - with a new mission.

Today, ranchers lease public lands, called allotments, for a small monthly fee and graze their sheep and cows on allotments across the west, she said.

“Ranchers often know every inch of their allotments and spend more time on them than the public or land managers do.,” Kincannon said. “Most have a love of the land they graze and value the freedom to roam.”

But after more than 100 years of grazing, many national forests and public lands have lost native plants that feed wildlife, streams have lost trees and bushes that shade the water for fish, and water quality has declined, she said. The supporter told her of a plan to improve conditions for the future, but keep ranchers in place to make the politics of change a little easier.

Instead of using the land for grazing, livestock would be removed and ranchers paid to restore lost values. Experts at the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management would help, and the rancher would retain the allotment, Kincannon explained.

The agencies would save money since they would no longer be planning and doing the environmental analysis for livestock grazing on the allotment. That money could be paid to the ranchers instead, to free them from uncertain weather and cattle markets.

Kincannon’s supporter’s idea is novel but I know that most ranchers would reject it outright. I doubt many would be willing to give up their herds though I’m sure they might be willing to dramatically reduce their grazing on public land if the incentives are good enough.

The fact is the ranch manager is already replacing the family rancher as the manager of hundreds of thousands of acres of ranchlands across the West already. Their absentee owners already want them to protect the blue ribbon trout streams that run through their private lands and the wildlife habitat that makes their ranch attractive.

Public land managers and policymakers can devise a new model for grazing allotments that would pay ranchers for essentially becoming rangers who patrol these lands and who create ecological services like land restoration and water quality improvement. I first heard this idea from Karl Hess Jr., a New Mexican who sought market solutions to environmental problems.

This approach wouldn’t have to mean removing cattle or even sheep.

In some areas grazing itself can provide ecological services by controlling invasive species and reducing fuels in heavily degraded areas that carry wildfires into important sagebrush steppe habitat.

What I like about the idea Kincannon brought me is that it doesn’t seek to eliminate or denigrate the ranching culture and lifestyle, only to modify it for a new age. This is a good time for ranchers and others to begin having this discussion built on the collaborative efforts that are growing up across the West.

BLM Seeks Public Comments on Proposed Camping Fee Increases / Co.

Cañon City, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Royal Gorge Field Office (RGFO) is seeking public comment on its proposal to increase use fees for the two Shelf Road campgrounds; the Bank and Sand Gulch, located north of Cañon City. The RGFO has not raised campground fees since 1995 and maintenance costs have increased by more than 25 percent since 2006. The fee increase would enhance BLM’s capacity to maintain and improve these recreation areas.

BLM has received comments from visitors to this area that a reasonable fee increase would be supported in order to improve facilities and increase maintenance. The current fee charges are $4.00 per night for a standard campsite and $8.00 per night for a large group campsite. The proposed fee increase is: $10.00 per night for a standard campsite and $20.00 per night for a large group campsite. The proposed fee is comparable to facilities offering similar amenities on public lands in the state. The additional fees would support upgrades to the restrooms, campsites, roads, and signs.

The fee proposals are available for public review at the BLM Royal Gorge Field Office, 3028 Main St., in Cañon City or on the Web at Written comments may be submitted to: Outdoor Recreation Planner, BLM Royal Gorge Field Office, 3028 E. Main Street, Cañon City, CO 81212 or email with “Campground Fees” on the subject line to Comments must be received by August 25, 2009. For further information, contact Leah Quesenberry at 719-269-8547.

The BLM manages more land - 256 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

Buffalo Hazing in Montana Continues by Livestock Interest Despite Community Protests

Click on title above for full report from;

NC Wild Horses Attacked by ATV's

Wild horse euthanized after hit by ATV on Outer Banks

Posted: Today at 8:33 a.m.
Updated: Today at 11:42 a.m.

COROLLA, N.C. — Authorities are looking for the driver of an all terrain vehicle they think struck a wild horse that had to be euthanized after its leg was broken on the North Carolina Outer Banks.

The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reported Wednesday that the horse named Spec was struck hard enough to break its left hind leg during the night Friday or early Saturday. Karen McCalpin of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund says there were hoof prints and ATV tracks in the area and it looked like ATV riders chased the horse onto the beach.

“This horse doesn’t spend time on the beach. That’s why I feel he was chased," McCalpin told WRAL News.

A herd of wild horses lives in the Corolla area.

McCalpin says the horse tried to drag itself over sand dunes back to its home area but collapsed after about a mile.

Two other horses have died under similar circumstances in recent months, she said.

“I’m not naive enough to think they will step forward, but I’m hoping someone else would turn them in because somebody needs to be held responsible,” she said.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Europeans travel thousands of miles to see Nevada's wild horses

By Harold Roy Miller • Special to Dayton Courier • May 20, 2009

Just north of Silver Springs lies a stretch of rocky, sagebrush-covered range called Stockton Flat. It's bordered by treeless, lava rock-dotted mountains, where the landscape changes from rolling dry meadows and sandy washes to acclivous, unfriendly hills and deep ravines that provide a scenic background.

Stockton Flat is the local place to spot wild mustangs. Some of the most hardy and strikingly colored wild horse bands flourish in this harsh terrain. Besides the usual bays, sorrels and browns, there are cremellos, buckskins, duns, grullas, pintos, and roans. They are an inspiration for writers and photographers, and they are a true cowboy's delight.

So naturally I was excited when my friend Willis Lamm, a longtime friend of the wild horses, asked if I wanted to go to Stockton Flat to help a film crew shoot video, and maybe recite a wild horse poem or two on camera.

The shoot was intended to test scene locations and possible characters for a pilot reality show that renowned country singer-songwriter and wild horse advocate Lacy J. Dalton had been asked to develop. The fact that this was Lacy's project surely was going to make an interesting day even better.

The primary focus of this morning's shoot included a father and daughter from the Netherlands. The father had told his daughter they could go anywhere in the world she wanted for her 16th birthday, and she told her father she wanted to go to Nevada and see mustangs in the wild. Lacy planned to capture this adventure and then get the father's and daughter's reactions on camera.

Lacy planned to get some photos of riders on horses with wild horses in the background, and she was going to do a bit of riding herself, so Willis and Lee Graves brought out three of their own mustangs. My assignment was to drive Willis' Jeep, be the videographer's chauffeur, and to record the event with a still camera. I felt privileged just to be invited to come along.

The morning didn't start as planned. The production company needed the videographer for another assignment later in the day and cut the shoot time in half. Highway repaving caused another delay of about an hour. As a result, a six-hour video shoot involving animals now had to be done in about two-and-one-half hours.

(2 of 4)

I arrived at the shoot location with Willis and two of his mustangs, a gelding named Corey and a sweet mare named Kahlua. Lee Graves already was on site brushing out a third mustang, a little sorrel with a big attitude named Little Bit.

Since Lee didn't have a saddle with stirrups short enough for the somewhat vertically challenged Lacy, Willis had "borrowed" his wife's prized saddle for Little Bit to wear on the shoot.

We hastily saddled the horses. We had originally intended to work out any kinks in the horses just in case a cayuse decided to act up before the Dutch tourists, Lacy and her videographer arrived. The others drove up to the staging area just moments before Lee first stepped into the saddle.

Little Bit picked up on everyone's energy, suddenly put on a "horse gone Western" demonstration and went on a wild bucking spree. Lee looked at first like a rodeo bronc buster as he sat the pitching horse, but after a few hard bucks, he sailed through the air and landed on the rock-covered ground with a thud. He didn't quite make 8 seconds. The rest of us just stood there with our mouths agape.

Lee got up, brushed off a few tumbleweed stickers, then somewhat stiffly walked toward his horse. Either Lee was moving too slow, or the horse was moving too fast, because from our vantage point, the closer Lee tried to get to Little Bit, the farther away Little Bit seemed to be. Then Little Bit suddenly took off across the range at a gallop, with reins flying and stirrups flapping.

Willis mounted his mustang gelding and yelled to me to get the Jeep and try to get ahead of Little Bit before he got too far away. By now the horse was at least 500 yards out and moving straight toward a band of wild horses grazing on the side of the mountain.

This could be disastrous! The band's stallion was known by the locals as "Bubba," a real brute, who had the largest harem of mares on the range. Little Bit might have been quick and feisty, but he wouldn't stand a chance if he happened to meet up with Bubba.

(3 of 4)

These thoughts and many others went through my mind as I raced Willis' Jeep down the dusty road. I would have to get in front of the running horse and head him off. Lee was following Little Bit's tracks.

Willis was making good time along the lip of a ravine. When I thought I had gone far enough, I parked the Jeep and started out on foot across the desert. I sprinted across dry sandy creek beds and climbed up small rocky hills trying to find a vantage point where I could locate the escapee.

Every time I reached the top of one ridge, it seemed I had to climb yet another. I topped a plateau and finally saw the little gelding off in the distance. He then disappeared into an arroyo, and I lost him again. I started running in the direction I figured he was headed, all the while looking for Little Bit, Willis or Lee, but finding neither hide nor hair of any of them.

I scanned a ridge with my binoculars and caught the movement of two horses coming down a mountain. One was sorrel and the other was white. Then Little Bit came into view, and I saw he was headed straight for them. My first thought was that Little Bit was about to tangle with a stallion, so I started yelling at Little Bit to stay away, which, of course, had no effect. Little Bit ran right up to the sorrel horse and they started nickering. They appeared to fight as they charged in at each other, but then I saw that Little Bit was actually chasing the horse in my direction.

The horse was a mare, and her beautiful little cremello foal. I was dumbfounded. Little Bit had charged into Bubba's harem, had cut out a mare and her foal, and was chasing her right to where I was, as if to say, "Look what I found!"

When they got within 30 or 40 yards of me, Little Bit stopped, and the mare and the foal moved away, wanting nothing to do with a human. Little Bit held back with them, and then they took off down a dry creek bed.

Lee came into view. Little Bit abruptly left the mare and foal and started off in the direction where I had parked the Jeep. I could see he had a front leg through the rein and it was bothering him. Though I was running out of steam, I started running again to try to cut him off.

(4 of 4)

Then Willis arrived and positioned his horse right where he needed to be to make Little Bit stop. Little Bit recognized his buddy and stood still. Willis could see that Little Bit was starting to track in on me, and suggested that I back up. Little Bit followed, and in a few moments, I was able to take a tight hold on his bridle. Willis came over, lifted Little Bit's hoof and untangled the rein. The chase finally was over, and everyone seemed fine.

Lee, who can claim his own share of hard bark, caught up and climbed right back onto Little Bit. He and Willis rode back to the staging area while I returned with the Jeep. While we were back at the trailers discussing the event, and making sure Lee didn't have any seriously damaged parts, the sorrel mare and the little foal arrived and walked within 50 yards of us! The whole group just stood and watched. Willis and Lee, now riding Kahlua, herded them back towards their own band.

This mishap had set us back a notch, but we went ahead with the original plan, except Lacy decided to ride in the Jeep with me, and Little Bit remained confined to quarters in a stock trailer.

Willis and Lee rode to Bubba's band, which was now sunning on top of a sloping ridge about half a mile long and about that far away. The Dutch visitors got to view this beautiful wild band until it slowly vanished over the crest.

Lacy conducted her interviews, then we wrapped things up and headed back down the ridge. Josine, the Dutch girl, got to ride a mustang back to the staging area.

It was a lively time for sure, and I considered this to be one of my better days. I don't know what generated more excitement, watching Lee do his impromptu rodeo ride, chasing down and catching the runaway gelding or driving a celebrity around in a Jeep and hearing her sing her hit song "Sixteenth Avenue," a capella, at my request.

It turned out that Lee was okay, and Sharon's saddle had come through its amazing ordeal without a scratch. In the end, we all were happy the day had been blessed with a "little bit" of excitement.

We heard a little later that when Little Bit returned home, he lay down in a sunny spot and slept for three hours.

There are a few lessons to be gleaned from this tale.

If you do anything where Lacy J. Dalton is involved, you're bound to have an adventure.

If you don't remember that horses do things on their own time, and that they don't really care how rushed you might be, they can, and will, remind you of that fact.

You don't have to be the biggest, toughest stallion on the range to pull off a raid and come away with a great looking mare and foal; but if you're with wild horse advocates, they will probably make you put them back!

Click on title above to read full article;

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I-Team: Progress Made on Wild Horse Plan

The Bureau of Land Management's perpetually-troubled wild horse program has struck a deal with the bureau's most vocal critics. This fall, wild horse advocates working with the BLM will stage a nationwide wild horse adoption event to help relieve overcrowding inside government corrals, where more than 33,000 mustangs are warehoused.

Years of accelerated roundups on the ranges and an adoption program that has fallen far short of its goals have combined into a perfect storm of bad news for wild horses. So many horses are packed into government corrals that pressure is building on the BLM to take radical action.

The bureau says it can't afford to feed more than 30,000 mustangs in captivity, so it has floated an idea that might otherwise be unthinkable -- a final solution for the horse problem -- mass euthanizations.

BLM's national office knows what a PR nightmare it would create if it ever started shooting or poisoning mustangs in captivity, so the bureau has taken the bold step of partnering with the same wild horse advocates who have been its harshest critics. BLM and leading animal welfare groups have agreed to host a first-of-its kind event -- a national wild horse adoption day, the brainchild of longtime horse advocate Jerry Reynoldson.

"This plan will entail approximately 60 adoptions across the country at existing sites, satellite adoptions," he said.

The target date is a two week window around September 26, 2009. The goal is to find homes for 1,000 wild horses in one swoop, which is more than half of the number BLM adopts out in an entire year.

The BLM officials in the northern Nevada state office have displayed such hostility to wild horse groups that the national office decided to essentially bypass them as part of the adoption, though there will be a small adoption event locally.

After fighting the Nevada office for so long, Reynoldson is glad to be on the same page with the national BLM. "I think they recognize that something needed to be done to augment the adoption program in general and help move these horses out. If you look at these specific project we are doing, are budget is around $300,000. For 1,000 horses, for them to keep them for a year is $1.8 million," he said.

But it's not just a one-time event. Its backers hope the adoption day will serve as a permanent model for how to incorporate private marketing expertise into a government program. "These horses, they are standing there, head to butt, end to end, in countless different places with an uncertain future, and it's been that way for many years now. Some of them have been there for two to three years," he said.

BLM is also considering an even bolder plan for eliminating the backlog -- a proposal by philanthropist Madeleine Pickens to create a 1,000,000 acre sanctuary in northern Nevada.

BLM has said it doesn't have the statutory authority to transfer public grazing land over to the sanctuary. Reynoldson, a point man for Pickens plan, says that even though BLM has expressed doubts about the plan in public, it's been supportive in private.

"Finally, when someone spoke from the BLM, the response was, ‘No, we have nothing else Mrs. Pickens. You are the only game in town and we need to work with you,'" he said.

The Pickens plan would save BLM some $800 million over the next 12 years and would be much better for the horses while also providing an economic boost to rural Nevada. Pickens thinks it offers BLM a way out of a painful situation.

"I don't think they hate the wild horses, I think they hate the wild horse issue because they've created a nest and they can't live in it," she said. "I said, ‘I'm not here to be divisive but you don't need to have this ugly baby around your neck forever.'"

More than half of all the wild horses in the country roam the ranges of Nevada, but as mentioned, the Nevada office will play only a minimal role in the adoption day event.

First our Wild Horses Now our Domesticated Dogs: Who "Owns" our Public Lands? Mining Companies, hunters & ORV riders

Canine closure at Tent Rocks monument described as ‘a shame’

By David Alire Garcia 5/22/09 3:36 PM

According to the editor of PETroglyphs — “New Mexico’s independent, award-winning, animal newspaper focusing on community education for animal welfare” — the recently announced dog ban at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is “a shame… especially on a holiday weekend.” But at the same time PETroglyphs editor Nancy Marano is adamant that dog owners must be responsible for their animals. In responce to an e-mail seeking comment on the BLM’s recent decision, Marano wrote the following:

There are so many people who love to explore and hike with their dogs it is a shame to keep them from doing that especially on a holiday weekend. However, people who hike with their dogs need to be responsible for their dog’s safety and behavior by making sure the dog is well trained, controlled and on a leash if necessary. The public has the right to feel safe near a person’s dog.

The Bureau of Land Management announced earlier this week that dogs will no longer be permitted at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument beginning this Saturday. A short Associated Press story published yesterday detailed what appears to have been a pattern of unleashed dogs at the popular monument, in addition to the case of one hiker who was actually bitten by a dog whose owners immediately fled the scene:

Monument manager Danny Randall says a hiker was bitten on both arms last week by a loose dog whose owners sped away. The monument is popular with school kids, and Randall says loose dogs and kids are an accident waiting to happen. Randall also says many owners aren’t abiding by the monument’s rule that dogs must be leashed, and they aren’t picking up after their dogs.

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MadAngry 0 minutes ago
Well they now allow guns & hunting onto our public that not "an accident waiting to happen?" Id rather take my chances with a pack of dogs than with one crazy gun-totin' kill-happy hunter.

Maybe they want the dogs off the land cause they chase the ATVs and other ORVs that are now also allowed on our publc lands.
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Friday, May 22, 2009

S. Oregon gold mine operation faces lawsuit

May 20, 2009

Two environmental groups say the operator of the Benton gold mine in Southern Oregon has violated federal clean water laws, and they have filed a notice of intent to sue the company.

The notice was filed this week by the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center in Ashland and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center in Eugene. It says mine operators Dutch Gold Resources Inc. of Atlanta and subsidiary Dutch Mining LLC of Merlin violated the Clean Water Act by failing to monitor and report discharges and illegally dumping mining waste.

The 480-acre Benton mine is in the Whisky Creek drainage of the lower Rogue River. Whisky Creek flows into the Rogue about three miles downstream from the river's confluence with Grave Creek.

"Companies are accountable for their impacts to the Rogue River," said Lesley Adams of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center. "It is unacceptable for the mining industry to degrade public waters and salmon habitat through their illegal operations."

She said public files reveal the firms showed disregard for environmental laws.

Officials from both firms did not immediately return calls for comment.

The Benton mine originally opened in 1893 and closed in the 1940s. Dutch Mining reopened it under an exploration permit in 1994.

Since 1994, Adams said, operations have posed significant threats to water quality and to the fishery in the wild and scenic Rogue River, including increased acid mine drainage and water pollution from mining wastes.

Last year, both the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management ordered mine operations stopped, citing violations of mining regulations.

The closure remains effective until the owners either present the BLM with a notice of operations or a plan of operations, said Jim Whittington, spokesman for the BLM's Medford District.

Most of the mine is on privately owned land, but a portion, including the road to the mine entrance, is on the Glendale Resource Area of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.


Information from: Mail Tribune,

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Call in Day @ BLM: Protest Helicopter Round-Ups!

On Wednesday, May 20, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will conduct a public hearing to discuss the use of motorized vehicles or aircraft in the monitoring and management of wild horses and burros on public lands in Nevada.

Please contact BLM to protest the harsh practice of chasing wild horses and burros with helicopters, often over exceedingly long distances. Please also ask that what appear to be no-bid contracts to BLM?s primary round-up contractor, Catoor Livestock Roundup, Inc., totaling about 18 million dollars (our tax dollars!) since 1996, be subject to review.

BLM?s primary concern in round-up operations continues to be efficiency, to the detriment of the horses? welfare. Instead of helicopters, urge officials to use bait trapping, a much safer and more humane method of capture. BLM has refused to use bait trapping in such instances as the 2007 Jackson Mountain round-up, when 185 horses ended up dying at the holding facility due to stressed immune systems. Demand that limits on distances over which horses may be chased be enforced, and that accountability and penalties be established for round-up contractors who violate humane handling procedures.

The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. in the Great Basin A and B conference rooms at the BLM Nevada State Office located at 1340 Financial Boulevard, Reno, Nev. To make oral or written statements to present at the hearing, contact JoLynn Worley at (775) 861-6515.

Written comments can be emailed to: or mailed to: BLM Nevada State Office, Attention: Helicopter Hearing, P.O. Box 12000, Reno, NV 89520 and must be received by Tuesday, May 19 to be considered at the hearing.

For eye-witness accounts of helicopter round-ups, please click here.

The AWHPC Team
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign
Click here to join our email list and receive the latest updates.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Counties, Oil Companys Sue Dept. of Interior

Click on title above to see full article;

Leave the Wild Burros Be

Officials at Red Rock Canyon National Recreation Area, above, and Lake Mead National Recreation Area are reminding visitors that burros might be adorable to look at, but interactions with them could be dangerous to both human and animal. They bite, for one, and they wander onto roadways as they search for food.

By Phoebe Sweet (contact)

Wed, May 21, 2008 (2 a.m.)

Sam Morris

A sign on Highway 159 warns of a fine for feeding burros.

Beyond the Sun
Nevada Wildlife Federation: Burros
To most tourists, Southern Nevada’s wild burros are long-eared cuties that eat Cheetos from the palms of their hands.

But wildlife biologists warn that the fuzzy equines can be problematic if not downright dangerous.

With Memorial Day weekend coming up and trips to Red Rock and Lake Mead in the works, the staffs at those areas are hoping visitors avoid asinine behavior during encounters with their year-round residents.

In most cases, of course, the trouble is caused by humans, rather than any burro character flaw.

Case in point: Douglas Nielsen, Nevada Wildlife Department spokesman, once saw a car with burro heads jutting into driver- and passenger-side windows parked underneath a sign at Red Rock warning tourists not to feed the burros.

“People see a sign ... that says ‘Please don’t feed the burros.’ And what’s the first thing they do? Stop at the sign and feed them,” he said.

Perhaps in an attempt to vie for a Darwin Award, some tourists have gone so far as to put their children on the backs of burros, said Jerrie Bertola, a wild horse and burro specialist with the Bureau of Land Management.

Which leads us to annoying burro habit Numero Uno: They bite.

“They are wild animals,” Bertola said. “You never know when one will kick you or bite you.”

So how does the relationship go so quickly from vending machine snack nirvana to violence?

If unsuspecting tourists don’t have an apple, a carrot or some junk food in the car, burros have been known to take a bite out of whatever else is available — even if that something is a person. Children’s ears, in particular, must look tasty to burros because they often get nipped, according to Bertola.

Even the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign — which disagrees with the BLM and other federal agencies on pretty much every aspect of wild horse and burro management — agrees that burros must be treated by visitors as the wild animals that they are. After centuries living in the wild in the Southwest, the burros, a symbol of the American West, have come far from their roots as domesticated pack animals abandoned by gold rush miners.

And when tourists feed the burros, it’s not just a danger to the tourists — it’s a danger to the burros, too. Which brings us to annoying burro habit No. 2: They wander into the road.

The burros are smart enough to navigate through fences and across cattle guards, according to Bertola, and a fistful of Doritos proffered from a Jeep window is enough to draw them out onto roads around Red Rock Canyon and Lake Mead national recreation areas. The animals then get hit by vehicles. The BLM says burros and humans are killed or injured in these kinds of accidents every year.

Annoying habit No. 3: They mill about camping areas near Lake Mead at night, noisily fighting among themselves for position in the herd.

Virginie Parant, campaign director for American Wild Horse Preservation, says humans have encroached on the burros’ habitat, not the other way around.

In other parts of the country, the National Park Service has resorted to shooting the animals — which burro advocates say flies in the face of a 1971 law protecting wild horses and burros. But in Nevada they are rounded up by the BLM and put up for adoption, said Ross Haley, a BLM wildlife biologist.

But encroaching on recreation areas isn’t the only reason the animals are rounded up, according to the feds. Annoying habit No. 4: They eat pretty much anything, and a lot of it. According to Haley, rather than just starving to death when drought eliminates high-quality food sources, as some other animals do during droughts, burros just eat more. And they hoard vital food and water sources, important to bighorn sheep and deer, even during wetter times. The plants they don’t eat, they are inclined to trample, so they’re hard on the desert and damage the range, some experts say.

But Parant and other wild horse and burro advocates say this is misinformation spread by the federal government, which is easily swayed by a hunting lobby interested in repopulating the Southwest with moneymaking bighorn sheep and eradicating burros and horses. She said burro populations are so small that the animals, which have been in the Southwest since the 1500s, are in danger of extinction.

According to BLM spokeswoman Jolynn Worley, there are an estimated 674 wild burros living in Nevada now, mostly in rural parts of the state. The BLM considers about 950 wild burros a manageable population for Nevada.

Parant says the land here could support many more burros than that.

The few burros that are rounded up each year are put up for adoption. The BLM actually has a waiting list for the adoptions. Some people use them as light pack animals for hikes or keep them as pets. Others turn the burros into “yard novelties,” even keeping them in front of their houses like living lawn ornaments, according to Bertola.

With the biting, kicking, braying and begging for junk food, who wouldn’t want one?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BLM Seeks Bids for New Pasture Facilities

Well we know right away who will get all these "wild horse holding" contracts; the very ones who want them off our govt lands,..the ranchers and cattlemen. Of course, money changes things. As long as the govt is paying them to "care" for the wild ones,...they will want all they can get now.

Wanted: Land for Rent for Wild Horses
Contact the BLM

by: Edited Press Release
May 12 2009, Article # 14156

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is soliciting bids for new long-term pasture facilities located in the continental United States.

One solicitation is for pasture facilities to hold 200 to 1,000 wild horses; the other is for facilities holding 1,000 to 5,000 wild horses. Both solicitations, which are open for 60 days, are for dry mares, mares in foal, and geldings. Each pasture facility must be able to provide humane care for a one-year period, with a renewal option under BLM contract for four one-year extensions.

The BLM's bidding requirements are posted in solicitations L09PS00366 (200 to 1,000 horses) and L09PS00367 (1,000 to 5,000 horses), the details of which are available at The solicitation form tells the inquirer what to submit and where to send it.

To obtain the solicitations:
(1) Click on "Search Public Opportunities";
(2) under Search Criteria, click "Reference Number";
(3) type in solicitation number (either L09PS00366 or L09PS00367);
(4) click "Search" and the solicitation information will appear.

Applicants must be registered at to be considered for a contract award. Proposals must be submitted by July 6, 2009.

The BLM manages wild horses and burros as part of its overall multiple-use land management mission. Under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the Bureau manages and protects the animals while ensuring that population levels are in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses. To achieve this balance, the BLM must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control the size of herds, which have virtually no predators and can double in population every four years. The current free-roaming population of BLM-managed wild horses and burros is more than 36,000, which exceeds by some 9,400 the number determined by the BLM to be the appropriate management level. Off the range, there are nearly 32,000 wild horses and burros cared for in either short-term or long-term facilities. All animals in holding are protected by the BLM under the 1971 law.

After wild horses and burros are removed from the range, the Bureau works to place younger animals into private care through adoption. Since 1971, the BLM has placed more than 220,000 horses and burros into such care through the adoption process, in which the adopter may gain the title of ownership after providing one year of humane care. Under a December 2004 amendment to the 1971 wild horse law, animals over 10 years old, as well as those passed over for adoption at least three times, are eligible for sale, a transaction in which the title of ownership passes immediately from the Federal government to a buyer committed to long-term care. Since that amendment took effect, the BLM has sold more than 3,300 horses and burros.

For information about the BLM's wild horse and burro adoption and sales programs, see the BLM's Web site.

Monday, May 11, 2009

NM Ranchers to run Spanish Mustangs off Promiced Land

Ranchers to displace New Mexicos spanish wild horses; calls the herds "nusiances" and wants them off the land

Horse Project Boss Considers New Home for Spanish Mustangs
Written by Lee Ross
Thursday, 07 May 2009 09:22
A group of wild mustangs may be taken out of the East Mountains for good.

"We don't feel that the community up there wants our horses up there," said Carlos LoPopolo, executive director of the New Mexican Horse Project. "People have been harassing the horses."

He said if something doesn't change, he'll have all the horses off the land in 18 months or sooner, if land becomes available.

LoPopolo's organization works to preserve the original bloodlines of the Spanish mustang horses because of their beauty and their importance to Western history.

Part of the reason the horses are unique is in their DNA. Their blood was drawn several years ago to compare to DNA found in horse bones discovered during an archaeological dig in New Mexico, and the mustangs were found to be direct descendants of the horses brought to New Mexico by the Spanish more than 400 years ago. The line was so unique, in fact, that a new registry was created for these horses, the "New Mexican." People book tours to see the wild horses and also have hosted events for autistic children and people with cancer on the preserve.

A roaming agreement that allows the project to keep the horses on Campbell Corp.'s 28,000 acre preserve was something that was donated by the corporation in 2001, and LoPopolo was quick to praise Robert Gately, the president of Campbell.

"Robert Gately has been right there, steadfast with us," he said. "(But) I'm getting nothing … but guff from ranch managers and their hired help."

But LoPopolo said that Gately has not returned his phone calls.

During a short conversation in late April, Gately said he had not been able to get in touch with anyone from the New Mexican Horse Project. Messages left for Gately after that have not been returned.

According to Paul Polechla Jr., the project biologist and lead tracker, the locks were changed on gates leading into the property. Polechla has been able to access the land on foot, but has not been able to get onto the land on horseback or by truck for the past three months. He said he can't do fence repairs or check on the health of the wild horses.

"I hope we can resolve this," he said

It is not a recent problem, according to LoPopolo.

"It's just 10 years of frustration," he said. "People threaten to shoot the horses and everything else, I just had to get them out of there."

LoPopolo said he's had nearby residents tell him that if the horses come on their property, they will be shot. People have cut the fences to drive their trucks onto the preserve, he said, and he even had a man who lives five miles from the preserve claim it was the horses that caused his foal to break its leg. The man, LoPopolo said, claimed that the foal got wound up when it smelled the wild horses from that distance.

"He said it's different because yours is wild and they know the difference," LoPopolo said.

The project does have its advocates, though, LoPopolo said. Nearby residents have offered to mediate a conversation between representatives from the horse project and the ranch managers and have offered to do what they could to keep the horses in the East Mountains, but LoPopolo said it isn't enough.

"The majority (of residents) don't want those horses around," he said. "You don't want to go where you aren't wanted."

LoPopolo owns land in Socorro and is working to get a preserve going in Utah. He said his goal is to have preserves set up throughout the western United States.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tribes claim struggle with glut of horses

Same old same old PS BS

Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times

WARM SPRINGS INDIAN RESERVATION, Ore. – Here on this reservation in north-central Oregon, horses are woven deeply into daily life. They are traditionally used by tribal members in their work and their culture, whether it be for rodeos or horse parades.

Gathering, breaking and selling wild horses has long been part of the tribe’s economy. Horses that don’t make the grade are sold for slaughter.

But the nation’s final three slaughterhouses were shuttered two years ago, and a perfect storm has formed with a glut of horses, lack of a market and economic recession.

Tribal rangeland managers now estimate 20,000 wild horses are overrunning Indian Country in Washington, Idaho and Oregon, with an annual foal crop raising the population by some 20 percent a year.

At the Yakama reservation, range managers say 12,000 wild horses are damaging medicinal plants, depleting forage for wildlife, eroding fragile rangelands and harming salmon streams.

“We have been spending billions on salmon and steelhead recovery, and it goes for naught if we don’t do something that fixes these other problems,” said Arlen Washines, program manager for the Yakama Nation Wildlife Program.

Agricultural and rangeland experts from five tribes have been meeting quietly since last winter to explore options to manage horse populations on reservation lands. Their ideas, still in discussion, run the gamut. The most controversial: opening a slaughter plant at the Warm Springs reservation, and maybe someday packing the meat for human consumption overseas, if the regulatory hurdles can be cleared and economics pencil out.

The Northwest Tribal Horse Coalition, as the working group calls itself, says it wants to save and care for the horses with better management of the herds. The group is exploring adoption and contraception, but issued a draft report that declares some wild horses will have to be killed to rebalance the ecosystem. The coalition believes horse-slaughtering facilities are needed now – starting with a plant at Warm Springs.

There used to be a thriving horse market in this country, with buyers bidding on horses for processing plants in Stanwood, Wash.; Maytown, Wash.; and more than 20 other plants across the country, supplying an eager trade, particularly in Europe.

But the country’s remaining three horse slaughterhouses, in Illinois and Texas, closed in 2007 after a sustained campaign by animal-rights activists that resulted in Congress forbidding USDA inspection of horse meat for human consumption. That ended any legal commercial packing industry for horse meat in this country.

Still, there is a demand for horse meat, particularly in Europe. But with no packer competition in the U.S. to supply it, and a glut of horses, foreign packers can set their price.

Trucking the animals long distances to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico also means buyers will take only the fattest, biggest animals.

For the sick, the old and the skinny, today there is often no market at any price. Buyers who remember paying 70 cents a pound at auction are today paying as little as 6 cents a pound – if the packers will even take the animal.

And the problem stretches far beyond Indian Country.

The bottom has fallen out of the horse market just as the recession is driving even owners of pedigreed, suburban stock to unload animals they can’t afford to care for, overwhelming rescue and shelter operators.

It’s the same story for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which is struggling to feed and care for some 30,000 wild mustangs gathered from public rangelands and put out to pasture in the Midwest in deference to opponents of slaughter.

The BLM is paying $27 million this year alone to feed and care for wild horses living out their days at taxpayer expense. So far, the BLM has no solution to the problem.

Jenny Edwards, executive director of Hope for Horses, a nonprofit horse-rescue organization based in Woodinville, Wash., said that while she is no fan of slaughter, it is a necessary option. “We have to be big boys and girls about this – be realistic,” Edwards said.

The Northwest Tribal Horse Coalition, composed of members of the Yakama and Colville tribes in Washington, the Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes in Oregon, and Shoshone Bannock in Idaho, wants a rendering plant at Warm Springs where live horses from the reservations and beyond could be slaughtered. The meat and carcasses would be processed for nonhuman consumption and disposal.

Markets for the meat, such as zoos, are being explored. Jason Smith, range and agriculture manager at Warm Springs, has traveled to Canada to examine packing plants.

Several states, including Montana, also are looking into the possibility of reviving U.S. horse slaughter.

They all face an uphill battle with animal-rights activists seeking to restrict slaughter even further. Legislation is pending in Congress to outlaw transporting U.S. horses to slaughter – anywhere.

“It’s not an option,” said Katie Merwick, president and founder of Second Chance Ranch, a horse-rescue operation in Elma, Wash. “It’s not conscionable, it’s not moral. It’s a horrible, scary transport and a violent death.”

She said euthanasia is the only acceptable alternative. While it’s expensive – it can cost $750 to put down and haul away a horse – it’s cheaper than keeping the animal, and can be paid for in installments, Merwick said. “I guarantee if it was to fix your car, you’d find the money,” Merwick said.

But people are simply dumping their animals because they see no other choice, Edwards said.

The lack of a viable horse-slaughter market has disrupted tribes’ traditional relationships with their horses. “They fooled with our culture and our livelihood and our right to work,” said Smith, at Warm Springs.

Here on the reservation, horses peer from rimrock cliffs, doze in the sagebrush, and streak in free-running herds across the flats at the base of Mount Jefferson, looking every bit the icon of the West some people think they are.

But on this reservation horses aren’t icons or romantic abstractions. “We break and sell the best of our horses, and with no horse market, there has to be an out for the old ones, the sick ones, the ones that just don’t make the cut,” Smith said. “That is a huge part of our management. Without it they are neglected, overlooked.”

At Yakama, other factors have also contributed to the horse problem, including the preference among some tribal horsemen for highly bred, pedigreed animals for use in rodeos and even for status, said Washines, at Yakama.

“It affects how people look at wild horses on the reservation. They are not papered, so … they don’t mean anything to anybody. It has affected the spiritual connection to the horse,” Washines said. “The two biggest problems is the shutdown of the market for the horse, and the lack of interest in the horse itself.

“… They just leave them out there and nobody thinks about them, they don’t have anything to eat, they eat themselves out of their home range areas, and they just stay in the same place. People say just leave them alone, they will be all right. Well, horses don’t eat rocks that I know of.”

BLM offers $500 to Adoptors

Wild Horses Up For Sale In Kellyville

Posted: May 08, 2009 5:24 PM EDT Friday, May 8, 2009 5:24 PM ESTUpdated: May 08, 2009 8:27 PM EDT Friday, May 8, 2009 8:27 PM EST

About 80 mustangs and burros are up for adoption.
News On 6

KELLYVILLE, OK -- The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is offering a little extra for adopting a wild mustang this weekend.

About 80 mustangs and burros are up for adoption. The department periodically takes them from the range to keep herd sizes from becoming too large.

The Kellyville adoption is a test site for a new incentive -- $500 for people who adopt horses that are more than 4 years old.

But for some of the new owners, it's not about the money.

"I just have always been in awe of them," horse owner Glo Wilson said. "Just a dream, a dream of mine always to own one. I'll go back to work tomorrow, and everybody'll think I'm crazy, but it's my dream, not theirs."

Said Tim Weaver, another horse owner: "It's nice to hear them run across your pasture in a group and listen to them thunder. I don't know, I just like having them."

The adoption continues Saturday at the Creek County Fairgrounds in Kellyville. The adoption fees start at $125.

Proposed new wild horse holding facilities criticized

By MARTIN GRIFFITH Associated Press Writer
Posted: 05/10/2009 01:57:47 PM PDT
Updated: 05/10/2009 06:55:56 PM PDT

RENO, Nev.—Federal land managers have announced plans for two more long-term holding facilities for wild horses, a move criticized by animal advocates who say it will leave more mustangs in permanent captivity than on the range.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is soliciting bids for the facilities that would together hold up to 6,000 mustangs because existing ones are full, agency spokeswoman JoLynn Worley said.

They're needed because the BLM plans further roundups of excess horses that roam the open range in Nevada and nine other Western states, Worley added.

The agency offers the horses for adoption, but those too old or considered unadoptable are sent to long-term holding areas located primarily in the Midwest.

"Some of the current facilities hold a large number of horses and we need more space," Worley said.

Horse defenders criticized the agency, saying the plans will lead to more horses in corrals than on the range.

The plans also violate the spirit of a 1971 law enacted by Congress to protect the animals, said Matt Rossell, Northwest coordinator of the San Rafael, Calif.-based animal rights group In Defense of Animals.

"It's tragic. It's not the right solution," Rossell said. "When Congress passed the act, it didn't intend for wild horses to be stuck in these long-term facilities. We believe the BLM should look at ways to protect them in the wild and end the roundups."

BLM officials estimate 36,000 wild horses



and burros roam the range, 9,400 more than what they deem to be the "appropriate management level." Off the range, nearly 32,000 of the animals are in either short- or long-term facilities. Nevada is home to about half of the wild horses.
Karen Sussman, president of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros based in Lantry, S.D., said she thinks major roundups in recent years may have already led to more horses in holding facilities than on the range.

Since 2001, more than 79,000 horses and burros have been removed from the range while more than 47,000 have been adopted, according to the BLM.

"What the BLM wants to do means the destruction of wild horses on public land," Sussman said. "They should not remove one more horse from public lands because 75 percent of the herds out there right now have less than viable populations."

BLM spokesman Tom Gorey said the 1971 act charges the agency with managing and protecting the living symbols of the Western spirit while ensuring that their numbers are in balance with other rangeland uses.

"To achieve this balance, the BLM must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control the size of herds, which have virtually no predators and can double in population every four years," he said in a statement.

BLM officials said last summer that one option for controlling the population was euthanasia. Horse advocates have urged the agency to step up birth control instead.

A recent Government Accountability Office report said the BLM this year will spend about $27 million caring for the animals. Continuing current practices would require a budget of $58 million next year, escalating to $77 million in 2012.

The report also noted that euthanasia, though unpalatable, is authorized under current law as a way to dispose of excess animals.

Last month, a House committee passed legislation that would prohibit the killing of healthy wild horses and burros to control their populations on federally managed lands.

"(A ban on euthanasia) won't increase the number of gathers," the BLM's Worley said. "But it'll increase the number of horses we care for in long-term holding."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Update on 3 Strikes Horses: A Botched Rescue?

Press Release

For Immediate Release. Friday, May 7, 2009
Contact Ray Field, Wild Horse Foundation, Franklin, Texas

---Franklin, Texas---In less than 2 days, "Habitat For Horses" President Jerry Finch will do the most cruel and unusual event of the Alliance Nebraska Wild Horse Rescue Case that has been dominating the media. Finch has stated that all the wild horses have had toxicology tests performed and Dr. Tom Furman confirmed on DSDZFM radio last Friday, May 1st that "he did not perform toxicology tests or any other tests besides Coggins and several necropsies." No horse has been given a clean Bill of Health to state if the wild horses are Healthy. Federal Law requires that before a veterinarian can issue such, a "Certificate of Health" the horse must be in range of weight/size ration limits and disease free" at least.

Along will Jill Star, President of Lifesavers out of Lancaster, California stated "The wild horses should not have been moved until determination was made of the health condition." The wild horses were moved anyway lead by Jerry Finch and HSUS, Humane Society of the United States, Scotlund Haisley, Director of Emergency Services through out other states. State laws require that a current "health certificate" be available as they go through each state. Upon inspection of the check points if the department of Agriculture inspects and see these horses are not of healthy criteria they can turn these vehicles back around to their originating point.

Dr. Evart was out April 30 to do more test work on 6 out of 211 horses to try and come up with some degree of illness. Dr. Evart states that "there is something going on but without the necessary tests we will never know." 6 is not a proper ratio to determine health issues.

Ray Field, Executive Director and Founder of the Wild Horse Foundation, the largest wild horse adoption center in the United States, second only to the Department of Interior, notes that 53 wild horses came in with disease and he lost 23 of the wild horses before the results could determine the illness and then another 6 after. Mr. Field's states that the "wild horses were losing weight, falling from the hips to the ground, drawing in and becoming dehydrated with loose stools". You could notice the face was close to normal but when the horse looks at you and is trying to tell you something is drastically wrong. Any animal according to Field's, can tell you when something is wrong if your tuned to the animal.

Anyone can google search the Jackson Hill Palomino Valley (Nevada) information and research to know that when the BLM set its' gather up in that HMA, (herd management area), in July 2007 and the company used to gather these could not make it. The BLM knew that the horses did not have enough vegetation or water to hold them and did nothing. When many citizens started to complain about the condition of the wild horses the BLM did make notice that over a hundred or so of the wild horses out in the area died from not enough water and food sometimes eating there own stools to survive. Overgrazing was due to 160 cows to 1 wild horse ration on federal lands.

Once the BLM removed these to Palomino Valley holding in late September early October, many horses were dying in the facility. The APHIS (Veterinarians of Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) after a week or so decided it was best to close the facility for a period of several months according to the BLM statement. The wild horses were isolated away from some other areas of the facility to protect them. The APHIS determine it was "Salmonella" which is highly infectious and can be spread by contact, water and air borne. There are no known preventative measures to take other than let it run its course. If the wild horses or any horse recovers from it then they are carriers for life and can at any time regenerate the disease.

The accused did in fact receive many horses from the BLM Palomino Valley holding area in January 2008. This was at the end of the Quarantine Period, just as the BLM was opening its facility back up. It is possible to leave a facility with "no signs" and then get sick after they arrive in a different climate, or due to stress or mishandling. The BLM does not send out notices that "your new wild horses maybe infected". It's the old rule, "Don't ask - Don't tell".

While Mr. Field does not support what happened to these wild horses from anybody, he states, "That the wild horses should be given every chance to recover before they are moved." Clinical tests are crucial and must rule out other diseases like Swine Flu so it would be prudent to take every precaution here. If the veterinarians were concerned about the out break and not who's paying the bills as much but protecting the integrity of medicine in the case. Again, Mr. Field's is stating the issue that the horses should be given the opportunity to recover. If designated tests can prove they are "within limits" then move the horses to new homes and only then once all else has been ruled out.

It's important to focus on the issue and the non-profits greed for money because they took on the challenge to save the wild horses. In every context you read about, it was all about give us money. Both Habitat for Horses and the Humane Society of the United States have the financial accounts to not need the public's money.

"It's about greed and power", states Field. Moving these wild horses that are a part of our American Heritage and Legacy without regards to their health is irresponsible. Finch claims the horse are gaining weight at the rate of almost a hundred pounds in a week, while Gina Berg had overheard a conversation with Jerry Finch in which it was stated about the sick horses; These horses are not adoptable, we are going to have to euthanize them. Dr. Richard Porter of Nebraska-based KV Vet Supply, in an email statement, Porter said "I'm thankful for all those who responded so quickly to the rescue effort. I estimate my horse is at least 150 to 200 pounds underweight and will take several months to gain that weight back.

If Dr. Porter states it will take several months to regain the weight, then how can Finch claim the wild horses gained 50 - 100 pounds in a week?

The Wild Horse Foundation and other large wild horse organizations knew this was not a quick fix. Both Habitat for Horses and HSUS are running this like a Hurricane recovery drill thinking that all the owners will claim there animals. It didn't happen and they need to settle in for the long haul.

Both Jill Starr and Mr. Field were going to take 30 and 100 wild horses until HSUS moved in and upset the wild horse groups efforts, all for the sake of "cutting their teeth in on wild horses".

Field continues to request that the "right thing" be done for the wild horses health sake and for the new owners sake. "Diseases spread, kill and contaminate".

The Wild Horse Foundation is the largest wild horse adoption group in the United States. For more information visit, Susan Calhoun, President, Ray Field, Executive Director. You can help by contacting them.

G. R. "Ray" Field
Executive Director
Wild Horse Foundation
13140 State Highway 7
P. O. Box 692
Franklin, Texas 77856
713-771-5855 fax

Fed appeals court rules against Wyoming ranchers; upholds reduction of grazing permits

By BEN NEARY , 05.06.09, 10:47 AM EDT

A federal appeals court in Denver has ruled that a group of Wyoming ranchers had no right to formal hearings before the U.S. Bureau of Land Management reduced their livestock grazing under federal permits.

Ranchers with the Smithsfork Grazing Association had sued the BLM and various government officials. The lawsuit challenged the federal agency's 2005 order to reduce grazing on the 91,000-acre Smithsfork Allotment located north and east of Cokeville, in southwestern Wyoming.

A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Tuesday upheld a Wyoming judge's earlier decision that ruled against the ranchers.

Several lawyers with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington represented the BLM. Carol A. Statkus, assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming also worked on the case. John Powell, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Wyoming, said Tuesday that Statkus had no comment.

Karen Budd-Falen, a Cheyenne lawyer, represented the grazing association. She did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment on the ruling on Tuesday.

Jonathan Ratner, director of the Wyoming office of the Western Watersheds Project in Pinedale, said Tuesday that his group has been following the dispute and is happy with the appeals court's ruling.

Ratner said there have been some improvements on the allotment since the BLM reduced grazing in the area. However, he said grazing is still causing major problems with streams in the area that support Bonneville cutthroat trout, a species that the BLM has listed as sensitive.

Ratner said he expects the issue of reducing grazing on the Smithsfork Allotment will now proceed to a federal hearing process. He said his group will continue to be involved in that.
*These "Western Watershed" (environmental) folk are real good at getting cows off of public land, they absolutly are against private cattle grazing on public lands. The problem with the environmentalists is, they dont much want our wild horses there either, but do they realize that the private cows outnumber the wild horses 200 to 1, and that the horses, when properly managed, are actually good for the eco-system?
Still, I dont think they care much about our wild horses, and that is precisely why we must convince them that free-roaming wild horses on our public lands are an important part of our American Heritage and must be preserved.

BLM Central Oregon gets $808,000 from stimulus

Posted: May 6, 2009 04:44 PM EDT

Today, the Bureau of Land Management's Prineville District Office announced $808,000 to fund four projects across Central Oregon under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. These investments will restore landscapes and habitat, spur renewable energy development on public lands and create jobs.

The $808,000 is part of the $32.4 million that will fund 60 BLM projects throughout Oregon and
Washington. Overall, the BLM will manage $305 million in investments nationwide as part of the
recovery plan signed by the President to jumpstart our economy, create or save jobs, and put a
down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st
century. The Prineville District stimulus projects are as follows:

• Prineville District Biomass: Three thinning and fuels reduction projects will generate about 16,000 tons of biomass from 2,400 acres outside of La Pine in Deschutes County. Work will begin immediately after the contract has been awarded and will continue for the next 9 to 12 months.

• Design for LEED Replacement Fire Cache Facilities with Office Space: This project will design new facilities to replace two warehouses and retrofit existing buildings to an LEED certified silver rating. The existing buildings are used by the BLM and Forest Service for a fire cache warehouse and offices for fire and law enforcement staff.

• Wild and Scenic River Weed Treatments: This is a joint project with the Vale District which will inventory and treat noxious weeds sites within the Wild and Scenic River corridors of the John Day, Deschutes and Crooked Rivers. The project will be accomplished over a two to four year period.

• Motorized and Non-Motorized Trail Construction and Rehabilitation: This project includes trail and trailhead construction at a number of locations in Jefferson, Crook, and Deschutes Counties. The project includes gravel surfacing of trailheads, purchase and installation of signs and interpretive kiosks, improving existing trails and construction of new trails.

The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on and on The Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force. Henderson and the Task Force will work closely with the Department of the Interior's Inspector General to ensure that the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency that President Obama has set.

BLM Wyoming office gets nearly $23 million


CHEYENNE - The Bureau of Land Management's Wyoming office will receive about $23 million in federal stimulus money.

The money will be used for various projects that include improving facilities, roads and sage grouse habitat on BLM administered land in the state.

The money for Wyoming is part of more than $300 million in federal stimulus money the BLM is planning to use for some 650 projects nationwide.

BLM spokeswoman Cindy Wertz says most of the money for Wyoming is going for deferred maintenance projects.

The BLM manages about 18 million acres of public lands and resources in Wyoming.

BLM closes land to target-shooters but leaves it open for hunters

Why is the BLM giving preference to the hunters? Could it be because there is no money to be made from the selling of "Target-Practice Permits" such as there is in the selling of BIG GAME Hunting Permits?


BLM closes Alamogordo-area gravel pit to shooters

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) - The Bureau of Land Management has closed a Dog Canyon gravel pit to target shooting, saying shooting is a danger to a nearby residential area and Oliver Lee Memorial State Park.

The area closed for target shooting encompasses 200 acres surrounding an abandoned gravel pit on public land along Dog Canyon Road in central Otero County, about 15 miles south of Alamogordo.

BLM recreation and cultural resources supervisor Tom Phillips says a lot of people were setting up unsafe targets.

He says residents and the manager of the Oliver Lee park say rounds have come through the park.

The area remains open to other public land uses, including regulated hunting.

Information from: Alamogordo Daily News, http://www.alamogordonews

BLM Closes Stuart Ranch to Everyone Except Hunters

(Press Release) 05-07-2009

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has closed the Stuart Ranch area on a temporary emergency basis to target shooting, vehicle traffic and camping.

The area is now open to pedestrian day use only.
The closure does not apply to hunting under the laws and regulation of the State of Nevada.

The emergency closure will be in effect up to two years while BLM completes a management plan for the ranch.

The BLM printed the notice of emergency closure in the May 4, 2009 Federal Register.

The closure is necessary to prevent further environmental damage and to ensure public health and safety at the ranch.

Stuart Ranch is a 278-acre property in northern Clark County northeast of Moapa that BLM acquired through the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, acquisition of environmentally sensitive land category in Round 5.

BLM purchased the property to protect and restore an extensive riparian corridor along a perennial reach of Meadow Valley Wash and protect significant cultural resources.

The corridor is habitat to several Federally-listed endangered and state listed sensitive plant and animal species.
Closure signs will be posted at main entry points.

Maps of the closure area are available at the BLM Southern Nevada and Ely district offices and are posted on their websites at

BLM Defies Congress, Authorizes Grand Canyon Uranium Exploration

by mcjoan

Thu May 07, 2009 at 09:26:03 AM PDT

This is not a positive development from Salazar's Interior Department.

The Bureau of Land Management has authorized several new uranium exploration permits near the Grand Canyon despite a congressional resolution last year barring new claims near the national park.

According to documents (pdf) released yesterday by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Grand Canyon Trust, BLM on April 27 authorized Quaterra Alaska Inc. to conduct eight uranium mine exploration operations at five separate projects north of Grand Canyon National Park and west of the Kaibab Plateau.

"Our understanding is that exploration can begin immediately," said Taylor McKinnon, director of CBD's public lands program.

Quaterra Alaska is a subsidiary of Vancouver-based Quaterra Resources Inc.

All of the projects are within the 1 million acres of BLM and Forest Service land that the House Natural Resources Committee ordered to be withdrawn from new uranium mining claims in June 2008, according to the groups.

We need to go back to last summer to sort this out. Mining on public land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park is permitted under the 1872 mining law. Last June, in response to vast increases in claims-staking near the Grand Canyon, the House Natural Resources Committee passed a controversial, but valid, committee resolution which would have pulled 1 million acres of public lands from new mining claims for up to three years. Democrats on the committee used a rarely invoked provision in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act that allows the committee to withdraw public lands from various uses in emergency situations.

The Bush Interior Department, run by Dirk Kempthorne refused to comply with the House panel's resolution. Current Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, has not yet agreed to comply. However, the BLM's quiet authorization of these permits seems like a pretty clear clue of what he intends to do. While it's possible that regional BLM officials did this one on their own, it doesn't seem too likely.

A number of environmental organizations, and local and regional politicians, have been working to block further uranium exploration and mining in the area. One of those groups, the Center for Biological Diversity, released this statement today:

"The Bureau’s continuing defiance of Congress on behalf of the uranium industry threatens one of our nation's most beloved national parks," said Taylor McKinnon, public lands program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. "It’s time the Bureau of Land Management received the leadership it needs to put the Grand Canyon uranium rush to bed."

Spikes in the price of uranium during the past two years have caused thousands of new uranium claims, dozens of exploratory drilling projects, and movement to open several uranium mines on public lands immediately north and south of Grand Canyon. Concerns about damage to wildlife habitat as well as surface- and groundwater contamination of Grand Canyon National Park and the Colorado River have been expressed by previous Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano; the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; the Southern Nevada Water Authority; the Arizona Game and Fish Department; the Navajo, Hopi, Havasupai, Hualapai, and Kaibab Paiute nations; and the Coconino County Board of Supervisors.

Note that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is on that list. Some 25 million people downriver from the Grand Canyon drink that water. A number of these groups banded together last year to sue Kempthorne for ignoring Congress. That suit is still pending, nonetheless, the plaintiffs did not receive notice of the BLM's new authorizations. As of now, the groups are evaluating how they'll respond to these new authorizations.

Meanwhile, Rep. Raul Grijalva introduced the Grand Canyon Watersheds Protection Act in March of 2008 and again in 2009, legislation that would permanently withdraw from mineral extraction the same 1 million acres encompassed by the Committee resolution. Congress needs to take quick action on that legislation, and pressure Salazar to rescind these authorizations.