Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Wipe Out Plan by Any Other Name ....

still smells the same.

October 27, 2011

Gary W. Medlyn
Field Manager/Egan Field Office
BLM Ely District Office
HC 33 Box 33500
Ely, Nevada 89301

Fax: (775) 289-1910

The following are my comments on the Pancake Preliminary EA DOI-BLM-NV- L010-2011-0023.

Page 3: Jakes Wash Herd Management Area has been returned to Herd Area Status consistent with the Record of Decision (ROD) and the 2008 Approved Ely District Resource Management Plan (RMP) at management action WH-5, which states: “Remove wild horses and drop herd management area status for those ... as listed in Table 13.” Removal of all excess wild horses from the Jakes Wash HA is needed at this time in order to implement this management direction ….

Yet, there are 132 horses living in Jakes Wash, evidently not in danger of starvation or they would have been removed earlier. It seems odd to me that the BLM couldn't facilitate a well or water guzzler in the area that would provide wild horses with water during the summer months. I realize the RMP is set for now, but I do NOT understand why the only solution is removal especially since, if the herds were in dire straits, you surely would have gone in there by now and removed them and not waited four years after the RMP was written.

Page 10: 2.1 Alternative A. Proposed Action – Phased-in Gather and Population Growth Control Alternative.

Under the Proposed Action, the BLM would gather approximately 65-70% of the existing wild horses (approximately 1,435-1,540 animals in the initial 2012 gather) every two to three years with a target removal of approximately 800-1,000 excess wild horses per gather over a period of six to ten years.

It is my understanding the giving the mares PZP will help maintain a stable population. If that is the case, why on earth do you think you'll need to go back in every two to three years to remove another 800 - 1,000 horses if you're only leaving a breeding population of 361 horses, 60% of those being males, after this winter 2012 gather. Even if you miss 30% of the horses on the range per gather, after the first gather that might be 600 horses which at 20% reproduction rate would produce about 120 foals the first year and only a few more than that second year. If your released mares are under the effect of PZP, then there would be very few foals from them the first year or two.

Your untreated horses would be breeding at a normal rate. The treated mares (144) would be breeding at a much less than normal rate. You would only have 1,000 horses on the range (assuming you gather 70%) after the treated mares were released at the end the first gather.

At the end of the second gather, you will have, at most, only a few hundred horses left. At the end of the third gather, you will have gathered nearly all of them. Sorry, I don't understand your math, your numbers or what you will achieve by going back in every two years and expecting to remove 800-1,000 horses unless you plan to zero out the HMA. It is physically impossible for 600 untreated horses and 144 PZP'd mares to produce enough horses to make your estimated gather numbers .. even if all the mares have triplets.

I also object to the sex ratio you are artificial creating. Band stallions attain a harem for a reason. To have more bachelor stallions will only harry the band stallions and cause them to lose their mares, creating artificial disruption in their society. Think of a summer camp where 60% of the attendees are horny males and you might understand the impact skewing the sex ratios will have on the females. Stable bands without the pressure of constant turnover in social structure are much better for equines, as well as humans. This seems to the latest attempt at population control and lacks field study. Not only that, since PZP'd mares are more likely to breed with bachelor stallions, creating this artificial ratio seems pointless.

Page 23: The management action to achieve zero wild horses within the Jakes Wash HA reflects the recent evaluation based on multi-tiered analysis from the Ely Proposed Resource Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (November 2007) table 3.8-2 and page 4.8-2. The components and herd characteristics: forage, water, cover, space, and reproductive viability. If one or more of these components were missing, or there was no potential for a stable shared genetic pool, the herd management area was considered unsuitable. The Jakes Wash HA has inadequate forage, water, space, cover, and reproductive viability. The current estimated population at implementation of the gather would be 132 wild horses following the 2011 foal crop.

The phrase I have outlined in bold says to me that any time the BLM decides to manage an HMA as a non-reproducing herd, the next step could easily be to zero it out since, per your EA it would lack "reproductive viability." Therefore, the BLM creates the scenario necessary to zero out an HMA after declaring it a non-reproductive herd area. Are you guys really that obvious?

Page 24: Concentrations of wild horses and cattle around the limited water sources during this time increases competition with wildlife for water resources and negatively affect the associated range resources.

At least you admit, though in a roundabout way, that livestock also negatively affect water sources.

Page 29: When gelding procedures are done in the field, geldings would be released near a water source, when possible, approximately 24 to 48 hours following surgery. When the procedures are performed at a BLM-managed facility, selected stallions would be shipped to the facility, gelded, held in a separate pen to minimize risk for disease, and returned to the range within 30 to 60 days. Gelding complications (eviscerations, anesthetic reaction, injuries during handling, etc.) that result in euthanasia or mortality during and following surgery of this type is rare and would be expected to be less than five percent of the animals treated.

Eviscerations? This is unbelievable. I have never heard of a properly trained veterinarian eviscerating a stallion during gelding. Is it possible that un-trained, improperly supervised and/or the simply incompetent are performing these procedures?

The damage to rangeland resources that results from excess numbers of wild horses is also contrary to the WFRHBA, which mandates the Bureau to “protect the range from the deterioration associated with overpopulation”, “remove excess animals from the range so as to achieve appropriate management levels”, and “to preserve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship in that area”. Once the vegetative and water resources are at these critically low levels due to excessive utilization by an over population of wild horses, the weaker animals, generally the older animals and the mares and foals, are the first to be impacted.

No .. the overpopulation is the cattle which outnumber the horses by up to 10:1. Multiple use does NOT mandate that the horses have a smaller share of the range AMU's than livestock. To do so is to pervert the multiple use mandates to the benefit of the BLM livestock/welfare ranching program, (a program that costs many times what the WH& program costs and has a negative benefit to taxpayers).

Page 35: wild horses that have congenital (genetic) or serious physical defects such as club foot, limb and dental deformities, or sway back and should not be returned to the range.

A club foot is not a serious physical defect. If the horse could travel well enough to be gathered and has survived successfully in the wild with that "deformity", why does it need to be euthanized? Many domestic horses survive fine with a club foot and since these horses are now in the care of the federal government, will not be bred, and will probably be incarcerated in long term holding, what difference does it make if the horse has a club foot or a sway back? It is shocking to me that a horse can survive in the wild with certain deformities, but not in your care. I find this excuse used to euthanize an otherwise healthy horse to be an exercise in faulty logic. The horse is no longer in the wild. It is in the care of the United States government and is no longer considered a wild horse. Why apply standards that aren't relevant to the horse's circumstances?

Page 35: The BLM has been gathering excess wild horses from public lands since 1975, and has been using helicopters for such gathers since the late 1970‟s.

And there have always been problems using helicopters and the Sun J pilot is about to be charged with animal cruelty due to his gather tactics, his use of the helicopter as a battering ram and the way he puts the helicopter in such close proximity to the horses, often right on top of them. I hope you don't use this person unless his flying tactics have improved, he answers to Judge McKibben and he has taken some anger management classes.

page 42: Table 3. Pancake Herd Management Area
% of Permitted Ten Year Percent Actual Allotment Season of Use Allotment Use Average Use of Permit
in HMA (AUM)** AUM Use Use
Duckwater* Monte Cristo** Pancake Black Point Six Mile South Pancake
3/1 to 2/28 6/21 to 9/18 7/01 to 10/15 Cattle 4/15 to 10/31 Sheep11/1 to 4/15 3/15 to 4/30;100% 100% 17% 96% 100%
18,363 1,129 609 1,209 1,155
*Duckwater Allotment; South Sand

Thank you for showing the egregious over allocation to livestock instead of wild horses. The charts are very thorough and clearly show that livestock is favored over wild horse by several multiples ranging from a few months a year to nearly all year round in some HMA's.

Page 36: Trampling and trailing damage by wild horses in/around riparian areas would also be expected to increase, resulting in larger, more extensive areas of bare ground. Competition for the available water and forage between wild horses, domestic livestock, and native wildlife would continue and further increase.

Yet, in another section you state that the wild horse travel the HMA while the livestock stay close to the water sources. Wouldn't some 3,000 pound cow standing in a stream bed defecating and urinating do more damage to a riparian area than a horse that comes in, drinks and then leaves?

Page 37: The current over population of wild horses is contributing to resource damage and decline in functionality of spring sources.

The author of this EA has already admitted that livestock contribute to resource damage and should have included livestock damage in the above sentences as well.

Page 48: When the helicopter is working close to the ground, the rotor wash of the helicopter is a safety concern by potentially causing loose vegetation, dirt, and other objects to fly through the air which can strike or land on anyone in close proximity as well as cause decreased vision.

Those objects can impact the horses as well and since the Sun J pilot often gets closer than 10 to 15 feet (documented) he causes a dangerous situation on the ground to any horse he hazes. I have seen wash from the helicopter so dense that it was probably impossible for a horse to know which way to go as the copter was right on top of them (documented). I have never heard of an observer causing this to happen nor of an observer being hit by debris since they are often kept so far away from the roundup that telephoto lenses are necessary to see anything, that is if the view is not obstructed. The Sun J pilots hunt and terrorize flying tactics are a danger in and of themselves. Please speak to Judge McKibben if you have any doubt.

In addition, BLM employees should remember that the helicopter crew works for the BLM and the taxpayer, not the other way around so the BLM should be able to tell the temporary, contracted helicopter crew that the taxpayer should have a decent view of the trap site and gather route. You really should stop hiding behind the likes of Sue Cattoor and her counterpart at SunJ. Contractors generally do what their clients want them to .. not the other way around. If a contractor tells me only what I can't do and what they won't do if I hire them to repair my home, I fire them and find someone else to do the work that I want done. Certainly you have experienced WH&B specialists on hand and don't need to rely on a relatively new roundup outfit for all your decisions on the ground?

Page 49: Appropriate BLM staffing (public affair specialists and law enforcement officers) will be present …

Your continued use of law enforcement officers is an insult and a provocation to law abiding citizens as well as to members of the press who want to exercise their First Amendment rights.

Best Regards,

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hell holes in Michigan - CAFO farming and the common good.

I read most of the November article in "O" about the Michigan CAFO farms last week while waiting with Dad to see his doctor. If I wasn't so poor right now, I'd go out and buy the magazine. I guess I'll just wait for it to appear online but it's a must read article in terms of government failure to protect the common good. Its obvious how that failure has negatively affected the people, animals and environment around the CAFO's and how government is either too inept to deal with the problem, or is in cahoots with those who make their living from this blight on the countryside. Many thanks to "O" for this article. My heart goes out to the Michigan couple and others fighting this fight. They are as honest as the day is long and as right as rain in all they do .. yet they get nowhere.

As advocates, we must do a better job because if our government coddles and protects the CAFO system, then how can we help the horses? Clearly we must change our tactics. How to be more effective is the question and I have no idea what we need to do differently but still stay within the very narrow confines of the law and believe me, those confines get narrower every day. Why does a Colorado citizen claim that the BLM employees feel like they are targets when they have all the guns at the roundups and are constantly threatening the advocates if "we" speak too loudly or demand the right to a free press. I guess I'm tired of getting blown off by my duly elected representatives, especially the ones that should have a conscience but just can't figure out where they left it.

The following is reprinted (without express permission) from Dawnwatch:

O Magazine has done it again. Last month we read a column from the editor in
chief explaining that the magazine would never include fur on its fashion pages
-- and we saw a fur and leather-free fashion spread. This month the magazine
features a gripping tale of a woman's fight against factory farming.

I know many animal advocates don't want to see the end of factory farming alone
-- we look forward to the day when we no longer have to hear the word "protein"
used euphemistically to describe parts of animal bodies on plates. So I include
in this alert, below, a link to a thoughtful piece from the Atlantic Magazine
titled, "Only When Meat Is Stigmatized Will Factory Farms Stop Thriving." Yet
that stigmatization must be begin with awareness, and the O Magazine article is
bringing awareness to its millions of readers. Such awareness leads to dietary
changes. Media coverage of factory farming has been shown to reduce the public
demand for meat. (See
for more on that.) As I was brought into the animal rights movement not by
discussions of life and death but by photos of sows living in gestation crates I
understand the power of publicizing factory farming practices. The O Magazine
story focuses less on the an
imal cruelty and more on the environmental impact, but that is useful as
environmental issues are currently of great public concern. Our letters to the
editor can focus on the animals.

The magazine's monthly introductory column (p 20) by editor in chief Susan
Casey, opens with:

"When was the last time you read a story that stopped you in your tracks? That
inspired you to act? Or think differently? This month we have just such a tale,
starting on page 170. 'This is Not Farming,' written by journalist Kathy Dobie,
is an eye-opening look at a relatively recent development in American life, the
'concentrated animal feeding operation' or CAFO. Sometimes called factory farms,
these sprawling compounds can pack thousands of cows or pigs or chickens into
the tightest possible quarters; pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, they do
nothing all day but eat and excrete. Obviously this is a cruel existence for
any animal -- but the toll these facilities take on the people who have the
misfortune to live near them is equally brutal. Which is where Lynn Henning
comes in."

Kathy Dobie's story on Lynn Henning's efforts is gripping reading. Henning lives
in an area of Michigan where the factory farms have befouled the water and air
to the point that Dobie describes driving with Henning down a road past the
farms where the stench causes "that panic that sets in before vomiting or

We read:
"One elderly couple who lives across from a CAFO called Lynn to tell her that
they were considering suicide. Their well was contaminated, they couldn't go
outside, couldn't open their windows. They had to wear face masks. Their
children wouldn't visit because the stench was so bad, and they couldn't sell
their house because no one else wanted to live there. 'They felt they were worth
more dead,' Lynn says."

As for the Department of Agriculture's policing of the area we learn that Lynn's
husband, Gerald Henning, tried to complain, "But when Gerald called the
Department of Agriculture's complaint line, he swore, and was charged in a local
court with making obscene calls."

While focusing on the hideousness of human life in the area, the article also
reminds us what life is like for the animals. Dobie writes,
"The cows are kept inside steel structures that look like low-ceilinged airplane
hangars. There they eat and they excrete. They will almost certainly never walk
out in a field, chomp on grass, or feel the sun on their backs."
She later continues:
"CAFO cows die young. A dairy cow can live about 20 years but most CAFO cows are
slaughtered for beef at around 4, when their milk production declines or they
become too ill to be profitable."

The article is not yet available on line but you can pick the magazine up at
your newsstand, or, for animal advocates who subscribe to magazines, it might be
time to consider adding O to your subscription list. The magazine is clearly
going out of its way to make animal issues part of its regular conversations.
Reader appreciation influences such choices so please send an appreciative
letter to the editor. O Magazine takes letters at

As I noted above, a great companion piece of sorts to the O Magazine article is
the Atlantic Magazine article, by James McWilliams, titled, "Only When Meat Is
Stigmatized Will Factory Farms Stop Thriving."

This paragraph sums up McWilliams' strongest point:
"As long as we eat meat factory farms will be the dominant mode of production.
In other words, as long as humans deem it culturally acceptable to consume
animal flesh -- that is, as long as eating meat is an act that's not considered
taboo -- factory farms will continue to proliferate. The reason for this strikes
me as intuitive: An unfettered demand for meat, in conjunction with basic human
choice, provides political, technological, and scientific incentives to produce
meat as efficiently as possible. Unless you have a plan to displace capitalism,
density of production will rule, billions of animals will suffer, and our health
will continue to decline."

You'll find the full article on line at

I am not in love with whole piece as I have little patience for people who seem
to suggest that alleviating suffering is meaningless. There is a section in
which McWilliams describes the efforts of a farmer to spare a pig from any pain
or even emotional suffering -- the stress of a journey to slaughter -- before
the pig's death. When we are told that he kills the pig with a swift shot to the
head McWilliams snidely asks, "What am I missing?" Well, he is missing the
acknowledgement that all living beings will die, and many of us reading his
piece would have a strong preference for a quick, painless and unanticipated
death as opposed to a long drawn out period of emotional and physical torture
preceding death. If we would want that for ourselves it seems without empathy,
or simply speciesist, to suggest that it would make no difference to the pig. I
write that as somebody who does not condone killing the pig; we don't need to
kill animals to thrive so why would we? Yet I think
McWilliams implication that degrees of cruelty are irrelevant, and that being
spared from immense suffering would make no difference to a doomed animal,
weakens his credibility. It would be far better, I think, to acknowledge that
the farmer who wishes to spare the pig suffering is on the right track, then do
our best to move him further along that track, persuading him to open his heart
even more widely and question his need to kill the pig at all.

McWilliams would be on stronger ground if he would acknowledge that the farmer's
efforts made a huge difference to that one pig, then bring us back to the
reality that such efforts will never be made for the vast majority of animals
killed for human food. Indeed his argument that only making meat-eating taboo
will end factory farming is interesting -- though it is not flawless: The
imminent release of invitro meat, grown from cloned muscle tissue for which no
animal need die -- or burp, fart, shit and otherwise pollute the earth -- could
spell the end of factory farming. Yet flawless or not, McWilliams raises ideas
well worthy of consideration.

That's why I think McWilliams' Atlantic piece is a great one to read alongside
the O Magazine article about the impact of factory farming. Together they might
influence you to send letters that express gratitude to O Magazine while
reminding other readers that it is plant based diets, rather than better
regulation, that will solve the problem of factory farming.

You can also express appreciation for McWilliams' Atlantic Magazine piece in the
comment section right below it.

I send my thanks to Paula Fitzsimmons, Annoula Wylderich, Christine Cook and
Nina Borin for making sure we saw the O Magazine piece. I hope I didn't miss
anybody -- those tips are truly appreciated.

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the
media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can
learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at You may
forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts only if you do so unedited -- leave
DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line.)

Please go to to check out Karen Dawn's book,
"Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals," which in 2008 was
chosen by the Washington Post as one of the "Best Books of The Year!"

To discontinue DawnWatch alerts go to

Sunday, October 23, 2011

NDOA roundups begin

Video from Laura Bell taken Saturday, October 22, 2011.

Wild horses near highway 50 in Stagecoach, Nevada.

Roundups may have already started either (Friday or Saturday). They plan to remove nearly 100 horses. Her narration on this video outlines the issues and gets to the heart of why there is no safe, sane solution to the problem that would promote public safety as well as let these horse live wild and free.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bitner and Nut Mountain HMA roundup

Article By Craig Downer courtesy of Horseback Magazine

Cattle Invasion of Wild Horse Lands
October 19, 2011

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Wild Horse advocate and acclaimed Nevada naturalists Craig Downer issued a note of concern Tuesday about a wild horse “gather” being conducted by the federal Bureau of Land Management.

“I was just up at the Bitner and Nut Mtn. HMA wild horse helicopter roundups on Saturday and Sunday” Downer said. “It is a shame to see these wonderful and healthy wild horses captured and removed. There are hordes of livestock here and they greatly outnumber and out consume the wild horses,” he said. “The grazing season for them is from beginning of May to the end of September, and there appears to be a considerable trespass problem from my observations and reports of locals and visitors to the area.”

The problem appears to be cattle competing for the horses’ forage and water.

“Of the app. 100 horses we saw gathered there were very few young of the year, foals or young colts or fillies, which indicates either that they dropped out before the final capture and perished in the desert, or the mares are simply not producing hardly any offspring. This could be on account of PZP treatment or high predation or poor survival due to weather, disease, etc.”

“One thing is certain, the wild horses here are being gutted and many of these animals are headed for a cruel life and or slaughter,” Downer said.

“These animals are being victimized and the livestock and big game hunters as well as Ruby pipeline and energy extractors are being given carte blanche!”

Craig C. Downer is a Wildlife Ecologist and author., also dedicated to saving wild horses and burros in the wild

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Contact Info to Protest Texas Shooting Of Wild Burros


Texas Parks Department is Shooting the Last Burros in the State

In 2007, the brutal shooting of 71 burros by rangers in the Big Bend State Park in Texas sparked public outrage that temporarily halted the state's lethal burro eradication program. But in December 2010, the state wildlife commission - under the jurisdiction of presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry - lifted the ban on "lethal controls." At least 50 of the estimated 300 burros who live in and around this 300,000-acre state park have been shot to date.

Burros living on state land are not protected by the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

The war on these historic animals - the last remaining burros in the State of Texas - is being waged on behalf of wealthy hunters who want to introduce bighorn sheep into the park so they can shoot them. State hunting permits for bighorn sheep are sold at auction, with the highest recorded winning bid reaching $152,000. These hunters view burros as competition for forage that would otherwise be consumed by bighorn sheep.

The Fort-Worth Weekly summarized the situation as follows: "Park officials appreciate those revenue-generating hunters. So, to keep bighorn sheep plentiful, Texas Parks & Wildlife employees kill the wild burros. Shoot them on sight, even though there are only a few hundred left."

Americans need to know that presidential candidate Rick Perry supports the cold-blooded killing of these historic animals, who have called the Big Bend area of Texas their home for hundreds of years.

What You Can Do

1. Please personalize and send the sample letter below to Governor Rick Perry and other key Texas officials.

2. Please click here to add your name to the petition to save the last burros of Texas; over 80,000 people have signed.

For more information, please see the Wild Burro Protection League and read the latest articles from the Star-Telegram and Horseback Magazine. As the Houston Chronicle reports the governor is not opposed to this burro killing.


Your Letter:

Governor Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Au, TX 78711
Fax:(512) 463-1849
Brent Leisure, Dir. TX State Parks
Texas Parks and Wildlife
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Carter Smith, Exec Dir TX Parks & Wildlife Dept
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Fax:(512) 389-4814

First Name*
Last Name*
Zip/Postal Code*

You will know that you have completed the action when the THANK YOU page appears.

If you would rather send your comments directly, they can be sent to:

Governor Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711
Tel: 512.463.2000
Fax: 512.463.1849

Carter Smith, Executive Director
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, Texas 78744
Telephone: 512-389-4802
Fax: 512-389-4814

Brent Leisure
State Parks Director
Texas Parks and Wildlife
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, Texas 78744
Telephone: 512-389-4866
Fax: 512-389-4814

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thirteen Year Old Video Finally Released to the Public

I have no idea why Ms. Doyle waited so many years to release the video but the pic below and reams of documentation (Presidio) taken show that little has changed.

Picture of stallion in a kill pen (7/30/10). He and his two buddies, all friendly, and all with their mouths bound like this one, were sent to slaughter. Likely their mouths were bound for the whole trip.

End Horse Slaughter

Observations and Comments of a Former Horse Killer

Cathleen Doyle who spear-headed the historic passage of "Proposition 6" in California in 1998," the first state initiative to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption, released never-before-seen footage of a former horse killer and killer buyer (middleman for the horse slaughterhouses). The interview was taken with a lie detector and in front of then District Attorney Michael Bradbury. This revealing testimony was released in two parts on YouTube by Doyle. Here are both segments Part 1 and Part 2.

Over 75% of the American people are strongly opposed to horse slaughter. Since the passage of "Prop 6" in California thirteen years ago, a federal bill that would ban horse slaughter in the US and prohibit the transport of US horses to other countries for the purpose of slaughter has been continually blocked and/or opposed by the Farm Bureau, the Cattlemen, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the American Veterinary Medical Association, most of the horse councils and all of the Big Ag groups.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Thousand New Jobs!

Soon after the SOTH I read a few of SW's manifestos and one of her claims was that re-opening horse slaughter plants would bring 1,000 new jobs to the US. Good jobs, too, or so she claims.

This Elko article from June mentions it as well:
Of the two options for action laid out by GAO for Congress to consider: 1) return regulation and inspection in the U.S., or 2) permanently and completely outlaw the use of horses for food animals, the choice for Congress will be very clear.
The first way will improve the welfare of horses, will create over a thousand jobs practically overnight, restore a multi-billion dollar overall horse industry to its former vibrancy, and allow U.S. businesses to participate in a thriving worldwide market thus providing tax revenues and improving the economy.

Last week, while listening to NPR on the new Alabama legislation aimed at illegal aliens, one of the guests spoke about how, since the 1980's real wages for slaughter house work in Alabama had declined by nearly 45%. While I can't imagine how returning horse slaughter to the US would create 1,000 new jobs unless SW is planning to slaughter nearly a million horses a year ((remember Cavel slaughtered 60,000 horses per year with 70 (??) employees)) so a thousand jobs equates to 800,000 or 900,000 horses slaughtered every year). I guess she doesn't plan to let any animal die a natural death .. old, sick, injured, all need to be put out of their misery and if she happens to make a dollar or two along the way then who can blame her?

So, here is some fairly, lazy, Yahoo research on real wages and conditions in slaughterhouses. If Sue expects the plant owners to pay Americans more than they would pay an illegal for the same job, that is more than naive, well, it's just plain stupid.

I'll add to this entry from time to time as I find more articles. People can use them or not when speaking to legislators about the "jobs" that pro-slaughter people think be created with the return of sanctioned horse slaughter to the United States.

Would You Work the Graveyard Shift at a Chicken Slaughterhouse in Alabama?
By Bill Berkowitz

Excerpt below:

Mentally, the chicken plant was pretty depressing. One of my jobs was to tear apart chicken breasts by hand. It sounds pretty nasty, and it was: I would go through more than 7,000 breasts a shift. Chicken fat and blood is everywhere, and my coworkers would often have to point out pieces of chicken that were stuck to my face. Like how you would point out a piece of spinach lodged between a friend's teeth. I'd come home reeking each morning -- I worked the graveyard shift--and take a long shower to get the smell of chicken carcasses off me.

I've been a vegetarian for twenty years, so that was pretty gross. But the truth is that I got accustomed to it very quickly, because it is so monotonous and fast paced. That's what I learned by doing the work for a number of weeks -- the real difficulty isn't the grossness factor, but not going crazy due to boredom and pain. You're wearing earplugs to block out the noise, so you can't talk to people, and you're standing in place for hours making the same motion. Like one co-worker told me, "A trained monkey could do this work." After a week, half of the folks that went through orientation with me had quit.

More semi-current articles below:



From Yahoo:
How much do slaughter house workers get paid?
I was watching this video, and now I wonder - how much do these guys get paid to do all the disgusting things that they do on a daily basis for a living?

This is the video:…

According to internet (Simply, they get paid an average of $14,000, which kind of really sucks.
1 year ago

Wages and conditions in American slaughterhouses

Right after the Summit of the Horse earlier this year I read one of SW's missive about a thousand new jobs created with the return of horse slaughter to the USA. Yes, one thousand new jobs. Very good jobs, too, she wrote. Just wish I had remember to save a link but can't find it now so I don't know if she continues to spew this misinformation.

Last week, while listening to NPR on the new Alabama legislation aimed at illegal aliens, one of the guests spoke about how, since the 1980's real wages for slaughter house work in Alabama had actually fallen by 45%. While I can't imagine how returning slaughter to the US would create 1,000 new jobs unless SW is planning to slaughter nearly a million horses a year ((remember Cavel slaughtered 60,000 horses per year with 70 (??) employees)) so a thousand jobs equates to 800,000 or 900,000 horses slaughtered every year). I guess she doesn't plan to let any animal die a natural death .. old, sick, injured .. she will cheerfully kill them all to save them any real or imagined pain or suffering.

Recently, I decided to do some Yahoo research on real wages and conditions in slaughterhouses and it's pretty much as expected, if not worse If Sue expects the plant owners to pay Americans more than they would pay an illegal for the same job, that is more than naive, well, it's just plain stupid.

I'll add to this entry from time to time as I find more articles. People can use them or not when speaking to legislators about the "jobs" that pro-slaughter people think be created with the return of sanctioned horse slaughter to the United States.

Part of the article below:

"Mentally, the chicken plant was pretty depressing. One of my jobs was to tear apart chicken breasts by hand. It sounds pretty nasty, and it was: I would go through more than 7,000 breasts a shift. Chicken fat and blood is everywhere, and my coworkers would often have to point out pieces of chicken that were stuck to my face. Like how you would point out a piece of spinach lodged between a friend's teeth. I'd come home reeking each morning -- I worked the graveyard shift--and take a long shower to get the smell of chicken carcasses off me.

I've been a vegetarian for twenty years, so that was pretty gross. But the truth is that I got accustomed to it very quickly, because it is so monotonous and fast paced. That's what I learned by doing the work for a number of weeks -- the real difficulty isn't the grossness factor, but not going crazy due to boredom and pain. You're wearing earplugs to block out the noise, so you can't talk to people, and you're standing in place for hours making the same motion. Like one co-worker told me, "A trained monkey could do this work." After a week, half of the folks that went through orientation with me had quit."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Update: on Tuesday I called the Director for Jarbidge and found there is a new person in the job. His name is Brian Davis and he has only been there since the middle of September. He came from STH. I asked him how many horses were removed from Saylor Creek in 2009, if any of the rounded up mares were pregnant and had any foals this spring. I also wanted to know how many of the Saylor Creek herd were adopted, if there were any still in STH in lieu of being released once the RMP is finalized or if the remainder were shipped to LTH and which facility? I also told him I have had problems finding the EA and if he knew where I could find it on the web would he send me a link to it. (I have searched the NEPA database for Jarbridge and didn't find it though its possible I made my search to narrow.)

I asked him why the Non Reproducing herd alternative was Preferred and he said he wasn't sure (he hadn't been there long) and started to say that they weren't sure how many horses the range could handle. I said if the draft RMP allowed for a non reproducing herd size of around 150 then surely the range could handle a viable herd of the same size with some controls for a stable population?

He seems like a reasonable person. He did say there was lots of discussion among the employees about the Preferred Alternative and that not everyone agreed with it. The RMP probably won't be finalized for many months and while it's too late to submit formal comments for the RMP, it might be possible for those who oppose the Preferred Alternative to call him and talk about concerns. I didn't get the feeling that he was at all defensive or unreasonable so reasonable people might call him and have a productive conversation.

Now, if he gets back to me with the information I wanted ... ....... ...... ......


This afternoon (Monday) I spoke with the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Specialist for the Jarbidge area. She is new to the job and didn't have any input into the RMP. She is, however, a little bit defensive, somewhat grumpy and acts like she will just do whatever they tell her. Good for her. We need more people like that at the BLM.

When I mentioned it seemed like a pretty top down process with the decisions coming from the top, the reply was that the RPM was "six years in the making" with input from employees, scientists, etc. They will issue the final decision once they finish going through the comments. I asked her why the Preferred Alternative was non-reproducing herd and she got very testy ... repeated she had nothing to do with the RMP process. Wasn't she even curious?

I guess we all need to remember that when we apply for jobs with the BLM. Don't ask questions, just do what you're told. I think this new WH&B specialist will be very successful there.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Saylor Creek - PART 2

I couldn't find the E/A * but have found the DRAFT RMP and the section on Wild Horses under Alternative IV ... which is the BLM preferred alternative. The information below is found on page 2-105. The date of the RMP is August, 2010. And the comment period was over on January 31st of this year, but during my conversation with Brian Davis, he indicated that they will still accept comments, but he added they needed to be reasonable.

Per the current WH&B specialist, any stallion returned will be gelded. ALSO of note, they plan to have a non reproducing herd of over 100 horses and plan to add supplemental water sources .. (so my question is this: If they can do this for a non-reproducing herd, why not for a reproducing herd??)

Chapter 2 Section 2.3.10

Management Specific to Alternative IV (the Preferred Alternative)
WH-IV-G- 1. The Saylor Creek Wild Horse HMA would be managed for a thriving natural ecological balance.
WH-IV-O- 1. Manage a non­ reproducing herd of up to 200 wild horses in the Saylor Creek Wild Horse HMA.
WH-IV-A- 1. Manage the entire Saylor Creek Wild Horse Herd Area as an HMA.
WH-IV-A- 2. Manage the Saylor Creek HMA for a non-reproducing population of wild horses. The initial herd size would be approximately 130 wild horses; the estimated herd size would be about 200 non-reproducing wild horses.
WH-IV-A- 3. Allocate forage sufficient to maintain the wild horse population according to allocation levels described in the Livestock Grazing section.
2-105 August 2010
Chapter 2: Resources Wild Horses
Jarbidge Draft RMP/EIS
WH-IV-MA- 1. Develop a Herd Management Area Plan.
WH-IV-MA- 2. The HMA would remain open to livestock grazing, although grazing levels would be adjusted on an allotment-specific basis to accommodate wild horse numbers.
WH-IV-MA- 3. Re-design pasture configurations and fences within the HMA to facilitate wild horse social interactions and free-roaming characteristics.
WH-IV-MA- 4. Increase the reliability of artificial water sources for horses within the HMA.
WH-IV-MA- 5. Commercial SRPs would not be allowed in the HMA.

* I found out later that the E/A disappeared from the NEPA database once the decision of record was announced. The folks at Jarbidge have since sent me a copy of the E/A.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thirty returned After Idaho's Saylor Creek Fire

Wild horses return home to Elmore County
by Justin Corr


ELMORE COUNTY -- It's been about 13 months since a fire burned more than 300,000 acres south of Glenns Ferry and displaced a wild horse herd.
In 2010, the Long Butte Fire destroyed close to 100 percent of the habitat of the Saylor Creek herd.
"It was pretty devastating last year after the fire, and we sure have missed them," said Krystle Pehrson.
Krystle Pehrson is the Bureau of Land Management wild horse specialist for the Saylor Creek herd.
Managers were very worried about the herd surviving.

(more at above link)


Some background on the Saylor Creek horses and a real concern for their future.

The original Scoping Letter of October, 2010 lists alternative plans and clearly mentions its planned preference to release 50 - 75 wild horse and PZP the mares.

NEPA NO. DOI-BLM-ID-T010-2011-0001-EA

The actual Decision of Record varies greatly with the Scoping Letter and provides for the return of only 30 horses which was seen in the story below

However, as of this writing, I haven't been able to find the Environmental Assessment for comparison though the Decision of Record did state the impact of the return of the horse after the last fire in 2005. No mention anywhere that they planned to return the cattle to the range before the horses.

While the BLM Handbook on Wild Horse and Burro Management, H-4700-1, Chapter 3, page 12) does mention the four requirements for an HMA (forage, water, cover and space),

The WH&B Management Handbook also says on Page 22: Herd Size

"A minimum population size of 50 effective breeding animals (i.e., a total population size of about 150-200 animals) is currently recommended to maintain an acceptable level of genetic diversity within reproducing WH&B populations (Cothran, 2009). This number is required to keep the rate of loss of genetic variation at 1 percent per generation. Animal interchange between adjacent HMAs with smaller population sizes may reduce the need for maintaining populations of this size within each individual HMA. Research has not yet established a recommended minimum breeding herd size for burros."

It seems the Saylor Creek is actually above AML when the herd reaches an acceptable level of genetic diversity with 50 breeding animals.

And another thought on this roundup and return. Did none of the mares have foals while in captivity?

And finally, this not-so-feel good story might have a worse ending as it seems the future of the Saylor Creek Wild Horses is still not secure. This Magic Valley news article from January, 2011,states:

"Depending on the final version of the Jarbidge Resource Management Plan, the BLM may have the first of its own sanctuaries.The draft of that plan, which would guide management of 1.4 million acres of public land for up to two decades, lists a range of possibilities for herd management.

At one extreme, the BLM would eliminate the herd, managing the area for commercial development. At the other end is an option for managing a herd of 500 non-reproducing horses, where females receive annual birth control. “It would basically turn the Saylor Creek area into a sanctuary, where we add horses when others die,” Vander Voet said.

However, this won’t happen any faster than any other BLM action. With more than 2,000 comments to process, many months will pass before the final RMP is published."

and here it is again in the Jarbidge's office Decision of Record:

Conformance with the Land Use Plan
The 1987 Jarbidge RMP (p. II-4) identifies that one wild horse herd, Saylor Creek, will be managed under the approved plan. The Saylor Creek HMA would be managed to support 50 wild horses. The BLM will follow the direction provided in the 1987 RMP in crafting its range of alternatives in this EA.
The Jarbidge RMP is currently under revision (see A Draft RMP was released in September 2010. Various alternatives related to management of the Saylor Creek HMA are being considered as part of the RMP effort. The alternatives range from an unpopulated HMA to managing for a non-reproducing herd of up to 600 horses. If you wish to comment on the overall management of the Saylor Creek HMA in the Draft RMP, comments should be directed to the RMP revision effort. The comment period for the RMP revision effort is open until Janurary 31, 2011. Comments can be submitted electronically ( or in writing to the following address:

Jarbidge Field Office Attn: Aimee Betts Bureau of Land Management 2536 Kimberly Road Twin Falls, ID 83301
None of the alternatives being considered in this EA would preclude the options being considered under the Jarbidge RMP revision.

Link to BLM site on the status of the RMP: