Sunday, October 31, 2010

Worth posting Again

Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: a public health risk.

Food Chem Toxicol. 2010; 48(5):1270-4 (ISSN: 1873-6351)

Dodman N; Blondeau N; Marini AM
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA, USA.

Sixty-seven million pounds of horsemeat derived from American horses were sent abroad for human consumption last year. Horses are not raised as food animals in the United States, and mechanisms to ensure the removal of horses treated with banned substances from the food chain are inadequate at best. Phenylbutazone (PBZ) is the most commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in equine practice. Thoroughbred (TB) race horses like other horse breeds are slaughtered for human consumption. Phenylbutazone is banned for use in any animal intended for human consumption because it causes serious and lethal idiosyncratic adverse effects in humans. The number of horses that have received phenylbutazone prior to being sent to slaughter for human consumption is unknown but its presence in some is highly likely. We identified eighteen TB race horses that were given PBZ on race day and sent for intended slaughter by matching their registered name to their race track drug record over a five year period. Sixteen rescued TB race horses were given PBZ on race day. Thus, PBZ residues may be present in some horsemeat derived from American horses. The permissive allowance of such horsemeat used for human consumption poses a serious public health risk.

Major Subject Heading(s)Minor Subject Heading(s)CAS Registry / EC Numbers
  • PreMedline Identifier: 20176071
From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The BLM - armed and dangerous

Video shows colt pushed by helicopter skids during Twin Peaks wild horse roundup

Thanks to the documentary efforts of wild horse advocate and videographer Elyse Gardner, we now have graphic evidence of the lengths to which the BLM and its hired helicopter contractor will go to intimidate and capture fear-stricken wild horses.

In just-released footage from the recently concludedTwin Peaks roundup in California, a 16-month-old colt is shown being literally pushed by the skids of the contractor's helicopter, even though he was already within the confines of the trapsite's fenced corridor, and moving steadily toward the corrals where he would forever lose his freedom.

A total of 1639 wild horses and 160 burros were forcibly removed from the 798,000-acre Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA), which spans the borders of California and Nevada. In her compelling nine-minute video, filmed on September 16th, 2010, Ms. Gardner movingly tells the story of just one of them, a young horse whose terrified silence is pierced by the menacing whir of the helicopter blades, and in the background, the sobs of the woman who bravely bears witness to the cruelty being wreaked down upon him.

In her Humane Observer post today, entitled"Inhumane Practices Documented by BLM," Ms. Gardner writes passionately about the contractor's oppressive treatment of this colt, whom she calls,"Banner," because he is, in a way, the poster child for what is wrong with the BLM's seemingly relentless campaign to chase and capture and warehouse wild horses in a way that lacks compassion or conscience:

"The use of the helicopter in this manner is wrong. The most chilling part of this may be the fact that the BLM and the contractors don't even recognize the wrongness of it. Their ability to have compassion has shriveled.

If this is what the public is seeing, what kinds of atrocities are happening about which we never learn? Does this not qualify as criminally abusive to animals? Doing something wrong for years will never make it right. It is definitely time for a mounted video camera with timestamps.

My hope with Banner is that as his story is shown, Banner will represent a pivotal turning point, be a "banner" horse, a portent for what is to come, a recognition and incentive for BLM to examine its ways and change, OR to have its wrist thoroughly slapped and for the President to recognize the need for change in his Department of the Interior, and Congressional and Senatorial representatives to look at this and demand some boundaries to protect these innocents from the inherent violence of a roundup to every extent possible.

These amazing animals so beautifully equipped to live in the most sparse, rigorous landscapes of the high desert, have no means to protect themselves from the likes of flying glass monsters used like a whip. This is wrong, and it needs to stop. I have all but given up hope that the Bureau of Land Management will police itself or its agents. All they consistently appear to do is try to marginalize the suffering of the horses and burros, and I am so sick of it I cannot tell you. But many of you are sick of it, too, and I don't need to tell you."

The ferocious beat of the helicopter blades may have quieted at Twin Peaks, but it continues today with a vengeance in several other venues, including Wyoming's Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek HMAs, where almost 900 horses have already been taken from their pristine 2.5 million-acre range. Another 1100 will meet the same fate before the roundup shuts down next month.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Truth of the BLM's Multi-Use Mandate

Special interests control policy on our public lands while the BLM aides, abets and empowers the destruction.’s-multiple-ruse-mandate/

By guest columnist Debbie Coffey: PPJ Investigative Journalist

“Honesty” from Obama’s BLM is a Moving Target

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) empowers itself to do pretty much whatever it wants with itsinterpretation of the “Multiple Use Mandate” from the TheFederal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976(FLPMA). This should really be called the BLM’s Multiple RUSE Mandate.

For instance, if you ask a BLM staff person why they’re removing our wild horses from our public lands (the Herd Areas that Congress intended for primary use by our wild horses with The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971), they’ll probably say it’s “because of the Multiple Use Mandate.” To the unsuspecting, this might seem to imply that the BLM has to give a fair share of public land use to everybody – like everyone gets a piece of the pie. But in reality, the BLM’s use of the Multiple Ruse Mandate will only leave the American people with a dried up piece of crust.

The FLPMA defines the term “multiple use” as meaning “management of the public lands and their various resource values so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the present and future needs of the American people; making the most judicious use of the land for some or all of these resources…balanced and diverse resource uses that takes into account long-term needs of future generations for renewable and non-renewable resources…and coordinated management of the various resources without permanent impairment of the productivity of the land and the quality of the environment…and not necessarily to…uses that will give the greatest economic return …”

If you look at the projects in each BLM field office, you’ll see that corporations, often foreign owned, are getting the green light for projects that use massive amounts of our public lands, resources and water.

The BLM will soon be rounding up 1,506 of our wild horses in northeastern Nevada in the Antelope Complex (Wells and Schell Field Offices of the BLM’s Elko and Ely District offices). The BLM only plans to leave only 471-788 wild horses on 1,306,766 acres of public land. Even with 788 horses, that’s only about one horse every 1,658 acres. The BLM’s Environmental Assessment (EA) states that they need to round up these wild horses to “prevent unnecessary or undue degradation of the public lands and to protect rangeland resources from deterioration associated with excess populations of wild horses within the HMAs and use of rangeland resources by wild horses outside the HMA boundaries.”

Well, a horse only drinks about 15 gallons of water a day, and couldn’t possibly cause the massive degradation and deterioration of the land and water that just one mine causes. To give you a little background, just one mine, Barrick Gold’s Goldstrike mine, has used over 383 BILLION gallons of water, and excavates about 20 tons of earth to make one gold wedding band. (“The Mining of Our Aquifers” )

If you want to see degradation and deterioration of our public lands, take a look at some of the new projects the BLM has in these districts (these don’t even include existing mines and oil and gas projects):

The Rossi Mine by Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. – (in Elko county, located in the Antelope Creek drainage) Halliburton needs to expand the Queen Pit (and other pits), expand the waste rock dump footprint (I wonder if this is bigger than a wild horse footprint) and build a new haul road because there are international demands for the barite mined here. Barrick Gold controls 137.4 of the acres of “disturbance” with the remaining 269.6 acres of disturbance on land managed by the BLM. Barrick manages a storage area and Barrick Gold’s Betze Pit mine is only about 5 miles to the south. The EA notes that “The lowering of the water table at the Rossi Mine and the decreased production from existing wells indicates that the groundwater table in the vicinity of the mine is declining.”

They’ll probably blame that on the wild horses.

Pequop Exploration Project by West Pequop Project LLC (in Elko county Nevada) – The entire project is on public lands with a projected “disturbance” of about 400 acres. They’ve assured us that none of the drilling fluids used will contain hazardous substances and will not contaminate aquifers.

You could sigh with relief, except that many other hazardous substances have already contaminated our aquifers.

Betze Pit Expansion Project by Barrick Goldstrike Mines, Inc. (Elko and Eureka counties) – Another 315 million tons of waste rock will be generated by this expansion. New access roads disturbing 414 acres of public land. Expansion of the pit for a disturbance of 50 additional acres of public land. Construction of a tailings facility 46 acres of public land disturbance.

God forbid the wild horses dig a little hole anywhere.

Genesis Project by Newmont Mining (near Barrick Gold’s Goldstrike Operations)- Expansion of the Genesis open pit mine, disturbing 43 new acres and reworking existing mine disturbances for a total of approximately 1,135 acres, with development and operation of the Bluestar Ridge open pit mine and construction of an access road. Approximately 450 million tons of waste rock would be removed to extract 60 million tons of ore over a 12 year operational life. Currently, up to 35 drains and 10 wells pump up to 250 gallons per minute for up to 10 years, are expected to be necessary to dewater the Genesis Pit.

Do you consider a pit mine, which will eventually be a pit lake that will, in perpetuity, suck water from the aquifer beneath it, to be a permanent impairment of the productivity of the land and the quality of the environment? Or is it just me?

Long Canyon Exploration Project by Fronteer Development and AuEx, Inc. (in the eastern Pequop Mountains, 28 miles southeast of Wells, NV) – Exploratory drilling for minerals on 5,348 acres of public land. The Long Canyon Joint Venture also owns unpatented mining claims on the public lands.

Emigrant Mine Project by Newmont Mining (10 miles south of Carlin, NV) - Estimated that it will use 130 to 140 MILLION gallons of water per year.

Leeville Project by Newmont Mining Corporation – This is a gold mine with a dewatering system scheduled to pump a peak of 23,000 gallons of water per minute (gpm) over the life-of-mine. And they’re going to pipeline groundwater from the Leeville mine to Barrick Gold’s facility.

Newmont Mining’s South Operations Area Project Amendment (SOAPA) (In the Carlin Trend) – This is an expansion of this gold mine. They want to deepen the quarry: “total tonnage to be produced for the remaining life-of-operations is approximately 118 million tons…” also, from 2010-2015, they’ll transport 915,000 tons of ore to Newmont’s Twin Creeks Mine near Winnemucca.

Papoose Canyon 14 Federal Well #1 by Fasken Oil and Ranch LP of Midland, TX(Pinion Range, southwest of Elko) Oil exploration, disturbing about 29 acres of public land.

You get the picture. And what about the fast tracked renewable energy?

Just in the Amargosa Valley of Nevada, the cooling process for one solar project could require 1.3 BILLION gallons of water a year.

Natural gas is touted for burning more “cleanly,” but Michigan and other states pump millions of gallons of water and thousands of pounds of chemicals into the wells under intense pressure to fracture the rock and release the gas. This has caused serious water contamination in several states.

There are many geothermal projects. In May, 2010, the Nevada State BLM office sold 328,020 acres for geothermal leasing. Who snapped up this land at $2 an acre? Barrick, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, and Michael A. Casey (who owns/owned the property where our wild horses are held in short term holding at the Indian Lakes Road/Broken Arrow facility in Fallon, NV), to name a few.

Any BLM field office can bypass an Environmental Assessment (EA) by determining there isn’t a significant impact. They can issue a FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact) or a CX (Categorical Exclusion).

In 2009, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report regarding BLM’s use of Section 390 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (GAO-09-872 September 16, 2009) that the “BLM’s use of section 390 Categorical Exclusions has frequently been out of compliance with both the law and BLM’s guidance. First, GAO found several types of violations of the law, including approving more than one oil or gas well under a single decision document, approving projects inconsistent with the law’s criteria, and drilling a new well after time frames had lapsed. Second, GAO found numerous examples – in 85 percent of the field offices sampled – where officials did not correctly follow guidance, most often by failing to adequately justify the use of a categorical exclusion.”

So, now we’re just stuck with those illegal decisions?

There have also been numerous challenges to the BLM’s FONSI decisions by groups including Great Basin Mine Watch, Northern Plains Research Council, Nevada Environmental Coalition, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Western Watersheds Project, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, In Defense of Animals, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Wyoming Wilderness Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Wilderness Society and The Sierra Club.

The BLM doesn’t even have to do an EA on wild horse roundups if they deem it an “emergency.” In July, 2010, the BLM got a judge to lift an injunction in Owyhee after telling him 75% of the herd could die because of a lack of water. ( ) Interestingly, the EPA fined Kinross DeLamar Mining Co. for violations of the Clean Water Act in 2009, when its inactive gold pit mine discharged water into Cabin Gulch, which flows into the Owyhee River. Then, in 2010, BLM Director Bob Abbey presented Kinross DeLamar Mine of Owyhee County, Nevada with the BLM Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award.

While the BLM is busy rounding up our wild horses to the point of eradication, they’re allowing our land, resources and water to be raped by mostly foreign owned companies. Do you think they’re managing our lands in a way that will benefit your grandchildren? Or, do you think they’re clearly in violation of the FLPMA?

Monday, October 11, 2010

You Could Have Knocked Me Over With A Feather

... when I read this on Saturday.

"The notion that American horses would be raised for slaughter as a food source for foreign consumption is very troubling to many Americans, including me. "

The above is an excerpt from a letter, dated October 1, 2010, from Congressman Boozman, R.- Arkansas. I mean, we don't know the numbers of horses raised for slaughter and maybe that part of his response is a little confusing but the thought behind the comment is good. Yes?

Who knew that I would get any kind of positive response from him?
I mean really, WHO KNEW?

I have contacted Blanche Lincoln's office many times lately regarding 503 and the Roam Act and have not gotten any written response at all. They have called me back, but no official (or unofficial) position from her and no indication that they think either bill should be supported, for any reason. Same with Pryor. Same with Snyder.

Boozman will, more than likely, be elected to the Senate by Arkansas in November. Keeping fingers crossed that there is something here that will be positive for the horses.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Blanche Lincoln - US Senator - Arkansas

Ms. Lincoln is in the fight of her political career against a Republican opponent who might be even less responsive to animal concerns than Ms. Lincoln. I have talked to her staff on and off over the past three years and can say that most of them just don't get it....

Interestingly I received a call on Wednesday from "Michael", who said he was calling for the Democratic Party and asked me if I was going to support her (Blanche Lincoln) in November. Normally, like any good American, I tell callers who ask me those type of questions that its none their dang bidness .. but I thought I would give him some food for thought ..

Contributions from Lobbyists for AGRIBUSINESS:
Top Recipients, 2009-2010
Lincoln, Blanche (D-AR)Senate $1,296,716
Moran, Jerry (R-KS)House $441,495
Blunt, Roy (R-MO)House $411,600
Peterson, Collin C (D-MN)House $410,230
Burr, Richard (R-NC)Senate $361,603

Contributions from Lobbyists for ENERGY:
Top Recipients, 2009-2010
1Lincoln, Blanche (D-AR)Senate$779,592
2Murkowski, Lisa (I-AK)Senate$679,022
3Portman, Rob (R-OH)$565,938
4Vitter, David (R-LA)Senate$456,107
5Boucher, Rick (D-VA)House$455,842
6Blunt, Roy (R-MO)House$444,273
7Burr, Richard (R-NC)Senate$400,775
8Barton, Joe (R-TX)House$388,030
9Reid, Harry (D-NV)Senate$378,694
10Bennett, Robert F (R-UT)Senate$341,700

Contributions from Lobbyists for BANKS AND FINANCIAL SERVICES:
Top Recipients, 2009-2010
1Schumer, Charles E (D-NY)Senate$4,858,039
2Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY)Senate$2,361,887
3Portman, Rob (R-OH)$1,974,302
4Kirk, Mark (R-IL)House$1,950,074
5Reid, Harry (D-NV)Senate$1,904,927
6Crist, Charlie (I-FL)$1,839,018
7Shelby, Richard C (R-AL)Senate$1,463,338
8Brown, Scott P (R-MA)Senate$1,337,364
9Lincoln, Blanche (D-AR)Senate$1,313,430
10Cantor, Eric (R-VA)House$1,301,497

Contributions from Lobbyists for HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY :
Top Recipients, 2009-2010
1Reid, Harry (D-NV)Senate$1,086,475
2Crist, Charlie (I-FL)$1,054,456
3Lincoln, Blanche (D-AR)Senate$917,833
4Burr, Richard (R-NC)Senate$836,828
5Schumer, Charles E (D-NY)Senate$812,800

She is one of the top ten recipients from every special interest group on the above lists. And that is exactly why Democrats who vote for her are going to be holding their noses while they mark their ballots. Will the 10% of the time she might actually listen to "the small people" outweigh the overwhelming attention she will give special interests? Not to me. I have it figured this way - as much damage as Boozman can do as a freshman senator, Blanche Lincoln, as the powerful head of the Senate Agriculture Committee, can do more damage with her opposition to the issues I care about. She is NOT getting my vote.