Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wild Horse Annie's work continue

Read a book and help a wild herd get through the winter.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

THE BLM Armed and Dangerous!

Notes from Twin Peaks round-up, pt. 2

Monday, I could not see inside the Cattoor family's wild horse trap. With binoculars, I could see what went on just outside.
Men waved flexible whips attached to plastic bags, spooking mustangs into trailers. They also flipped the whips to prod the thick ends into mustangs' flanks, or slam them repeatedly over horses' backs. This wasn't encouragement. This was beating.
Law suits focused judicial eyes on our First Amendment rights, so members of the public are allowed to watch our wild horses on our public lands, but we were warned that BLM rangers would "take things to the next level" if we didn't obey orders.
Two days earlier, near the Litchfield BLM facility, my car was pulled over by two white trucks with flashing lights. A ranger asked for my i.d. while his partner looked in my backseat.
The ranger was polite, even smiled when I showed him the red tags from my wild mares' necks (yes, they are still in my purse), but he explained they were expecting trouble at the Twin Peaks round-up.
I'm pretty dialed-in to wild horse issues, I told him, and I'd heard of nothing brewing. He kept the details to himself.
After Monday's round-up, as wild horses were trucked to temporary holding pens, I overheard rangers describing how they'd been "primed for a riot."
I have friends and family in law-enforcement and fire departments. You're kidding yourself if you don't believe part of the excitement and fun of such jobs is based inconflict.
I get that. I've dedicated books to a bunch of emergency professionals because their work fascinates me.
I know they run toward trouble as most of us run away. And I admit I'm not in BLM's inner circle, but I'm confused. I don't know what to hope for.
Truth? That means threats have put BLM on red alert against horse advocates.
Lies? That means BLM rangers have been sicced on non-existent trouble.
Go see for yourself, please.

YOU can view the Twin Peaks round-ups 7 days a week. You can drive to round-ups from anyplace in the U.S. and see wild horses galloping -- for their lives, it's true, but this may be your last chance because BLM plans to round-up 6,000 wild horses by summer's end.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

War Continues Over BLM Wild Horse Roundups


War Continues Over BLM Wild Horse Roundups

Posting Date: 08-18-2010

By John L. Smith

It’s become one of the longest-running wars in the West. Not the battle over water, but the fight over the fate of thousands of wild horses on public rangeland.
The Bureau of Land Management is stuck with the task of listening to the concerns of ranchers, who consider the animals little more than pests competing for parched cattle grazing land, and horse lovers, who want the beautiful beasts protected at all costs.
These days the BLM is busy conducting horse roundups even as it schedules public hearings to discuss the controversial subject.

Friends of the roundup would call such meetings a sign the government is willing to keep an open mind and listen to critics and new ideas; those critics counter that the BLM’s mindset and methodology are substantially flawed.
Meetings or no meetings, in the coming weeks the BLM hopes to round up 2,000 horses to thin herds in the Twin Peaks Horse Management Area approximately 120 miles northwest of Reno.
One foal was found dead from a gunshot in the Twin Peaks area.
Taking an accurate census is just one of the problems faced by the horse bureaucrats.
If the horses are indeed damaging fragile rangeland, then it would make sense to count them accurately.
The BLM has approximately 38,000 horses in holding facilities with as many more roaming free.
Horse advocacy groups continue to attempt to slow or halt the roundups through media pressure, the courts, and the political system. The mustang lovers suffered a setback recently when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals failed to agree with the Defense of Animals group to postpone the BLM’s roundup program.
On July 30, 52 members of Congress signed a letter imploring Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar to discontinue the horse and burro roundups until improvements in the process can be made. The letter was signed by Nevada Reps. Shelley Berkley and Dina Titus, both Democrats from Clark County.
The letter was published following the news that 34 wild horses died during a round up of nearly 1,300 horses near Tuscarora.
“To address these and other flaws, we recommend an independent analysis of the National Wild Horse and Burro program, conducted by the National Academy of Sciences,” they wrote. “This analysis will provide a clear determination of the most accurate, science-based methodologies to estimate wild horse and burro populations, provide an assessment of Appropriate Management Levels based on the goal of maintaining sustainable herds and provide an assessment of practical, effective, non-lethal and publicly acceptable management alternatives to current BLM policies.
“We strongly urge you to refrain from any further action until a clear plan is in place to sustainably manage and protect our wild herds. Only then can we move forward with a more informed, open and deliberate process, based on input from all who are concerned with the health, well being, and conservation of this animal which embodies the spirit of our American West.”
After reading that letter, you can almost see the wild horse in silhouette crossing the desert with a Panavision and Technicolor sunset as a backdrop. It’s a powerful image, one the horse lovers and politicians aren’t shy about conjuring.
After a temporary delay, the horse roundup continued. With the mid-term elections approaching and political survival, the economy, and the unemployment picture on the minds of most members of Congress, it’s hard to imagine much definitive action being taken on the horse issue in the coming months.
The roundups will continue. And that means some of the horses will be injured or killed in the process.
The members of Congress wrote, “We are concerned about the inability of your agency to acknowledge these disturbing outcomes, change what seems to be deeply flawed policy, and better manage the gathers so as to prevent the unnecessary suffering and death of these federally protected animals.”
The suffering will continue. The roundups will continue.
The war goes on unabated.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Bloody noses, too many horses run into the chutes at once causing mayhem and fights. Oh, let's throw a stallion into a pen with a bunch of wild donkeys and take bets on the winner. First guess.. stallion loses. Second guess ... where is that stallion now?

Aw shucks, the BLM is just havin' sum fun with the vermin.

Friday, August 13, 2010

BLM probes foal death at CA-NV wild horse roundup

Link to Washington Post article on Foal Death

The Associated Press
Friday, August 13, 2010; 1:45 PM
RENO, Nev. -- Federal agents at a contentious wild horse roundup on the California-Nevada line are investigating the death of a young mustang that may have been shot before the government this week began gathering 2,000 animals from herds it says are causing ecological damage to public rangeland.

The Bureau of Land Management is "actively investigating," but it hasn't determined the cause of death of the foal that a wildlife biologist from a horse protection group found Wednesday near the roundup, BLM officials said Friday.

"BLM rangers did an initial site inspection and observed the animal appeared to have been dead for some time, preceding the start of the gather," said Jan Bedrosian, BLM deputy state director for California. "BLM special agents are actively pursuing the case as to the cause of death."

The BLM plans to round up 2,000 horses over the next month because it believes the range cannot sustain the overpopulated herds in the Twin Peaks Horse Management Area about 120 miles northwest of Reno.

Critics argue that the horses have more of a legal right to be there than the thousands of head of livestock grazing under BLM permits, but that argument has been largely unsuccessfully in court. On Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to halt the roundup with an emergency stay sought by In Defense of Animals and others.

Craig Downer, a wildlife biologist working with the pro-horse Cloud Foundation, said he and a colleague came across the foal's carcass Wednesday.

The two-week old horse was shot in the belly and appeared to suffer other injuries, Downer said. He said it likely was killed within the past month.

"It looked as though the foal was abused, lassoed around the legs and dragged," added Chrystie Davis, an independent roundup observer accompanying Downer.

Downer, a fourth-generation Nevadan and longtime critic of BLM horse management, said he complied with a request from agency officials for copies of photographs he took of the carcass.

"They were not dismissive. They say they are going to give it a serious investigation," he told The Associated Press on Friday from Litchfield, Calif., near the roundup area.

Downer said he's worried the foal may have been the victim of growing tension between area ranchers and horse advocates over allocation of the precious forage and water resources on the high desert rangeland.

"I think it is related to the animosity against control, against having to be responsible and share the land," said Downer, who argues livestock also should be removed from the land if ecological damage is a concern.

The Twin Peaks Horse Management Area where the foal was found is not far from an area across the Nevada line where two men recently pleaded guilty to shooting and killing five mustangs in November.

Todd Davis, 45, admitted in federal court in Reno in June that he and Joshua Keathley, 36, had been drinking and used "poor judgment" when they shot the horses with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Prosecutors said they offered no plea bargain and intend to seek the maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $100,000 fine for each man at the sentencing set for Sept. 14.

"The intentional and malicious harassment, abuse and killing of federally protected wild horses should not and will not be tolerated," said Dan Bogden, U.S. attorney for Nevada

Monday, August 2, 2010

15 Mile Wide HMA

Link to Pam Nickoles Blog:

Lots of cows .. where are the horses?
Lawmakers sign letter to stop wild horse roundups.

Lawmakers seek to end horse roundups in Nevada
(AP) – 6 hours ago
WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of 54 lawmakers pleaded with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to halt a series of wild horse roundups on the Nevada range.
A letter sent Monday by Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, cites wild horse deaths in recent horse and burro roundups in explaining the request.
The letter brands the roundups "a deeply flawed policy" and points to reports that 21 of 636 horses died in a herd collection effort near Tuscarora in northeast Nevada.
Jordan Montoya, an Interior Department spokeswoman, said officials were reviewing the letter. Also, she said the department was committed to the protection of wild horses and the lands they roam.
The letter recommends that the National Academy of Sciences be assigned to review the Bureau of Land Management's plan to cull about 12,000 of 38,000 mustangs and burros from herds roaming 10 Western states.
Lawmakers said the bureau was making similar mistakes to a roundup during the winter that resulted in the death of more than 105 horses.
"Given this pattern, and the continued threat of death and suffering to these animals, we request that the Tuscarora Complex roundup be suspended, along with any pending gathers, until the agency demonstrates that it has addressed the failings of the current program and can ensure the safety and well-being of the animals you are charged with protecting," the lawmakers wrote.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.