Sunday, December 20, 2020

BLM Wild Horse Sterilization Plan Causes Backlash

horse-canada.com - full article

The latest move to control US wild horse populations involves rounding up and spaying mares before returning them to the wild.

By: Kim Izzo | December 16, 2020

The latest attempt to control wild horse populations in the United States has come under fire from wild horse advocates and members of the US Senate and House of Representatives. The current scandal revolves around the plan by the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to round up horses from western Utah and surgically sterilize the mares before returning them to the wild.

According to news reports the procedure has not been “performed before on wild horses under the purview of the Bureau of Land Management, was done on mares occupying a national wildlife refuge in Nevada with success, federal officials say.”

This move has been condemned by advocates as “unwarranted and cruel”, including by the American Wild Horse Campaign, whose communications director, Grace Kuhn, said in a statement last week. “It is not a population management tool. It is pretty barbaric.”

Read more here:
https://horse-canada.com/horse-news/blm-wild-horse-sterilization-plan-causes-backlash/?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Helping+Canadian+Ponies+%7C+1872+Horse+Flu+%7C+Wild+Horse+Sterilization+Plan+%7C+Equine+Safety+Course&utm_campaign=HC_Enewsletter2019-Wednesday+Dec+16%2C+2020&vgo_ee=pDmBh5FOsIwBMbVGZSaGqDpxdzkQNl9LgdxZ9pnzLRY%3D

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Horse Protection Groups Back Bipartisan Congressional Letter Supporting Humane Treatment of Wild Horses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 27, 2020

House leadership encouraged to preserve bipartisan amendment in final FY21 spending deal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., joined by 22 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, sent a letter dated November 25, 2020 to House Leadership requesting it retain his Interior and Environment appropriations amendment requiring the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to utilize $11 million in funding for humane, reversible fertility control for tens of thousands of wild horses and burros under the BLM’s protection. The measure, conceived by Cohen and Animal Wellness Action, passed the U.S. House in July by a voice vote, but was not included in the Senate’s version of the bill. Animal Wellness Action, the Animal Wellness Foundation, Horses for Life Foundation, Center for a Humane Economy, and other equine protection groups worked with Cohen in securing signors of the letter to House leaders and appropriators.

“We applaud Rep. Steve Cohen and the House Members who’ve joined our effort to implement the use of PZP birth control in wild horse and burro populations on public lands,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and a lifelong horseman who was recently honored by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, II for his work to protect horses. “Rounding up and incarcerating our iconic American wild horses and burros isn’t the answer. PZP provides a low-cost, long-term sustainable solution to protecting the horses whose very backs this country was built upon, and we call on appropriators to include this measure in the year-end spending deal.”

“We write to urge your continued support for the humane and sustainable management of wild horses and burros on our public lands,” wrote the 22 Members of the House in the letter sent today. “To that end, we request dedicated funding in any final spending package for the implementation of humane, proven and reversible fertility control, namely the porcine zona pellucida (PZP) immunocontraceptive vaccine by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We are pleased this amendment to support this effort was adopted by voice vote in the House of Representatives as part of its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.”

Read the entire letter here.

In addition to Rep. Cohen, the 21 Members that co-signed today’s letter include Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., Deb Haaland, D-N.M., Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., John Katko, R-N.Y., Ro Khanna, D-Calif. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., Barbara Lee, D-Calif.,Ted W. Lieu, D-Calif., Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., David Schweikert, R-Ariz., Adam Smith, D-Wash., and Dina Titus, D-Nev.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies, and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.

The Animal Wellness Foundation is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Wildish Podcast: When a horse goes ‘home’

Wildish Podcast on HCN.org - Listen

Episode Six: In Montana, two ranchers adopted ‘Delilah.’ They’re among the growing number of people actually getting paid to adopt wild horses and burros.

Anna Coburn Audio - Sept. 24, 2020

In this final episode of the Wildish mini-series, host Anna Coburn speaks to two Montana ranchers who adopted a wild horse named Delilah from the Bureau of Land Management adoption incentive program. Ashlin O’Connell and Barbara Armstrong were paid $1,000 to adopt Delilah. Their participation — and the participation of others like them — has become key to keeping horses and burros out of long-term holding facilities. Anna also speaks with Dianne Nelson, the co-founder of California’s first wild horse and burro sanctuary, where horses and burros can live with very little interaction with humans...

Read more and listen at:
https://www.hcn.org/articles/south-wildish-podcast-when-a-horse-goes-home

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Wildish Podcast: The unsexy burro

HCN.org - Listen to the podcast

Episode Five: In Arizona, two incarcerated men rehabilitate wild donkeys for adoption.

Anna Coburn AUDIO
Sept. 17, 2020

From High Country News in collaboration with Alan Wartes Media, Wildish is a six-part podcast series that chronicles the complicated world of wild horse management in the Western United States. Wildish is meant to confound you. It does not offer a simple solution to one of the region’s most intractable natural resource conundrums. It is a serial on humans. You’ll hear from the activists who ache for freedom — for the wild horse to be wild — and from those who flinch at the mythology attached to the species. You’ll also get to know some of the well-meaning people inside the Bureau of Land Management, the agency stuck in the middle, faced with balancing the horse as a relic of the Wild West with its undeniable impacts on the modern Western landscape.

Wild horses get most of the attention, but donkeys have problems, too. A special kind of mutual rehabilitation is unfolding behind the scenes in the much less sexy world of wild burros. With few resources and very little funding, the Bureau of Land Management has turned to prisons to train wild horses and donkeys for adoption. Wildish host Anna Coburn visits an adoption program inside an Arizona prison, where two incarcerated men train burros with carts and saddles, preparing the animals for adoption. It is hard and dangerous work, with a lot of kicks and bites and even broken legs involved, but the men who do it have come to love the “Donk Life.” They currently work five days a week with the animals. “You don’t even feel like you’re in prison when you come out here,” said Daykota Varner, who is serving his sentence at the Arizona State Prison. “It almost feels like you’re free.”

Read more and listen at:
https://www.hcn.org/articles/south-wildish-podcast-the-unsexy-burro

Friday, September 11, 2020

Wildish Podcast: Why helicopter gathers are so controversial

HCN.org - Listen

Episode Four: The risks inherent in the Bureau of Land Management’s ‘most humane’ method of wild horse removal.

Anna Coburn
Sept 10 2020

From High Country News in collaboration with Alan Wartes Media, Wildish is a six-part podcast series that chronicles the complicated world of wild horse management in the Western United States. Wildish is meant to confound you. It does not offer a simple solution to one of the region’s most intractable natural resource conundrums. It is a serial on humans. You’ll hear from the activists who ache for freedom — for the wild horse to be wild — and from those who flinch at the mythology attached to the species. You’ll also get to know some of the well-meaning people inside the Bureau of Land Management, the agency stuck in the middle, faced with balancing the horse as a relic of the Wild West with its undeniable impacts on the modern Western landscape.

The Bureau of Land Management’s most controversial population control tactics are the helicopter gathers, which sometimes end up killing the horses involved. New legislation has been passed to increase wild horse gathers and offer funding to a new sterilization method for wild horses and burros. Wildish host Anna Coburn attends a helicopter gather in Range Creek, Utah, and speaks to Gus War, a wild horse and burro specialist, and public affairs specialist Lisa Reid, two BLM lead employees, about the gathers, their jobs and their hopes for the program. We also hear from Ginger Kathrens, the founder of the Cloud Foundation, a wild horse advocacy group that is fighting to allow wild horses to stay on the range...

Read more and listen:
https://www.hcn.org/articles/south-wildish-podcast-why-helicopter-gathers-are-so-controversial

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Wildish Podcast: Australia’s wild horse conundrum parallels the West’s

HCN.org Wildish Podcast - Listen

Episode Three: The ‘Brumbies’ are protected, but their abundance has degraded the land Down Under and sparked heated debate.

Anna Coburn
Sept. 3, 2020

From High Country News in collaboration with Alan Wartes Media, Wildish is a six-part podcast series that chronicles the complicated world of wild horse management in the Western United States. Wildish is meant to confound you. It does not offer a simple solution to one of the region’s most intractable natural resource conundrums. It is a serial on humans. You’ll hear from the activists who ache for freedom — for the wild horse to be wild — and from those who flinch at the mythology attached to the species. You’ll also get to know some of the well-meaning people inside the Bureau of Land Management, the agency stuck in the middle, faced with balancing the horse as a relic of the Wild West with its undeniable impacts on the modern Western landscape.

Human attempts to rein in the population of wild horses and burros give rise to a stubborn syntactical challenge: Are these animals truly wild — or something else? “They fall through the cracks,” says Tammy Colt, wildlife biologist. And this paradox is not unique to the United States. Brumbies, Australia’s wild horses, are as controversial Down Under as mustangs are in the Western U.S. Wildish host Anna Coburn speaks with Lacey Salabye, senior extension agent with the Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture, about the overpopulation problem and the controversy it’s causing on the reservation. We also meet Laura Wilson, a young woman who grew in Riverina, Australia, where she frequently encountered wild Brumbies when she rode her own horse in the Snowy Mountains National Park.

Read more and listen:
https://www.hcn.org/articles/south-wildish-podcast-australias-wild-horse-conundrum-parallels-the-wests

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Wildish Podcast: Why wild horses pull on our heartstrings

HCN.org - Listen

Episode Two: A wild mustang’s spirit stirs human emotion, making the Bureau of Land Management seem callous.

August 27 2020
Anna Coburn

From High Country News in collaboration with Alan Wartes Media, Wildish is a six-part podcast series that chronicles the complicated world of wild horse management in the Western United States. Wildish is meant to confound you. It does not offer a simple solution to one of the region’s most intractable natural resource conundrums. It is a serial on humans. You’ll hear from the activists who ache for freedom — for the wild horse to be wild — and from those who flinch at the mythology attached to the species. You’ll also get to know some of the well-meaning people inside the Bureau of Land Management, the agency stuck in the middle, faced with balancing the horse as a relic of the Wild West with its undeniable impacts on the modern Western landscape.

Episode Two

Horses and humans evolved together. Much as we do with dogs, we have a special relationship with the species. In this episode, host Anna Coburn speaks to Tracy Scott, co-founder of Steadfast Steeds wild horse sanctuary, about the family dynamics of wild horses on the range. Many advocates support the use of porcine zona pellucida (PZP), a birth control vaccine for mares that is administered with two yearly darts. This is expensive for the Bureau of Land Management, however, so most PZP darters are volunteers...

Read more and listen here:
https://www.hcn.org/articles/south-wildish-podcast-why-wild-horses-pull-on-our-heartstrings

Friday, August 21, 2020

Wildish Podcast: Wild horses in a not-so-wild West

HCN.org - Wildish Podcast - Listen

Episode One: Is federal mustang management reaching a breaking point?

Anna Coburn
Aug. 20, 2020

From High Country News in collaboration with Alan Wartes Media, Wildish is a six-part podcast series that chronicles the complicated world of wild horse management in the Western United States. Wildish is meant to confound you. It does not offer a simple solution to one of the region’s most intractable natural resource conundrums. It is a serial on humans. You’ll hear from the activists who ache for freedom — for the wild horse to be wild — and from those who flinch at the mythology attached to the species. You’ll also get to know some of the well-meaning people inside the Bureau of Land Management, the agency stuck in the middle, faced with balancing the horse as a relic of the Wild West with its undeniable impacts on the modern Western landscape.

Read more and listen to episode one:
https://www.hcn.org/articles/south-wildish-podcast-wild-horses-in-a-not-so-wild-west

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Majestic Icon or Invasive Pest? A War Over Australia’s Wild Horses

NYTimes.com - Full Article

Scientists say the animals, known as brumbies, must be culled because they are destroying rivers and endangering native wildlife. Rural activists call these efforts an attack on Australian heritage.

By Livia Albeck-Ripka
June 28 2020

ANGLERS REST, Australia — Coming over the rise, Philip Maguire gripped the mane of his white gelding and rose on his heels to survey the bush land. He had hoped to be photographed mustering wild horses, but the animals weren’t playing along.

“They were sitting up there on that ridge,” Mr. Maguire said of the horses, now spooked by the human intrusion. “They’ll come back,” he huffed. “I’ll run them again.”

Mr. Maguire, a 60-year-old cattleman, is leading a campaign to prevent the Australian authorities from culling the wild horses, known as brumbies. The clash traces some of the country’s biggest fault lines, including its urban-rural divide and the legacy of colonialism.

To scientists and the politicians who support the policy, culling is a matter of environmental protection. The horses, an invasive species whose populations are booming, must be removed because they are trampling ancient ecosystems in the Australian Alps already hurt by climate change, they say.

To Mr. Maguire and his followers, the fight is about a way of life they perceive to be under threat...

Read more here:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/28/world/australia/brumbies-horses-culling.html?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Riding+Camps+Cleared+to+Open+%7C+Ugly+Duckling+Transformed+%7C+Create+a+Calmer+Horse+%7C+Helping+the+Herd+Outcast&utm_campaign=HC_Enewsletter2019-Wednesday+July+1%2C+2020





Friday, May 29, 2020

BLM Tests Fertility Drug to Control Wild Herd Growth

TheHorse.com - full article

Oocyte growth factor (OGF) lasts three years or longer and is a potential alternative to PZP.

Posted by Pat Raia | May 28, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has begun testing a new fertility-control vaccine it hopes will become an alternative to contraceptive porcine zona pellucida (PZP) for controlling wild herd growth. While some wild horse advocates believe the vaccine could reduce the need for controversial wild horse gathers, others maintain that the agency is not allowing enough public scrutiny of the testing.

In use by the BLM since the 1990s, PZP is injected into wild mares to produce antibodies that prevent sperm from attaching to an egg and fertilizing it. Mares on the range receive PZP via dart gun, while gathered mares are administered by syringe. The contraceptive is effective for about a year...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/189045/blm-tests-fertility-drug-to-control-wild-herd-growth/?utm_medium=Welfare+enews&utm_source=Newsletter

Saturday, May 16, 2020

BLM cites ‘staggering’ cost of reining in U.S. wild horses

SLTrib.com - Full Article

By Scott Sonner | The Associated Press
May 15 2020

Reno, Nev. • Federal land managers say it will take two decades and cost more than $1 billion over the first six years alone to slash wild horse populations to sustainable levels necessary to protect U.S. rangeland.

The Bureau of Land Management's latest plans envision capturing 200,000 mustangs over the next two decades. It also wants to build corrals to hold thousands more than current capacity and adopt regulations allowing the permanent sterilization of horses roaming federal lands for the first time.

"The overall funding requirements could be staggering," the bureau acknowledged in a report to Congress this week.

The strategy underscores the volatility of the decades-long controversy pitting horse advocates against ranchers whose livestock compete for federally subsidized forage across 10 western states...

Read more here:
https://www.sltrib.com/news/nation-world/2020/05/14/blm-cites-staggering-cost/

Friday, May 8, 2020

Mustangs and memories: BLM plan threatens Wyo’s wild horses

WyoFile.com - Full Article

May 5, 2020 by Chad Hanson

I won’t forget the first wild horses I saw: flared nostrils, churning hooves and dreadlock manes. I intended to go fly fishing on Green Mountain, but I made a set of mustang memories instead.

The unplanned meeting happened years ago. That doesn’t matter. I can still picture the scruffy but yet majestic animals. Experiences, and our recollections afterward, hold deep seats in our minds. Virginia Woolf considered memory “the seamstress that threads our lives together.” Our memories and the stories we tell about them are what make us people.

After you’ve seen mustangs running, sparring or caring for their foals, they stay in your thoughts. Today, the wild horses I have known make me smile in meetings at the office. They run beside me and lend a bit of grace to my ordinary old-man jog for exercise in the morning. They even lured me to the section of the library dedicated to equine lore and history. There, in the stacks, I learned that the oldest horse fossils on Earth were found in Wyoming.

About a year ago, I uncovered a map on the internet that included a wild horse herd area along the banks of Deer Creek, south of Casper. I also learned that the Bureau of Land Management removed those horses entirely. They no longer exist. At a public meeting, I showed the map to the director of the local BLM office. He looked surprised, even taken aback. He could not remember when the agency decided to eliminate wild horses from the prairie south of my hometown...

Read more here:
https://www.wyofile.com/mustangs-and-memories-blm-plan-threatens-wyos-wild-horses/

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

USDA Reveals Heber Wild Horse Management Plan

TheHorse.com - Full Article

The proposed action plan calls for contraception, gelding, and removals to control the herd’s population.

Posted by Pat Raia | Feb 27, 2020

The USDA Forest Service recently revealed its proposed action plan to manage horses in Arizona’s Heber Wild Horse Territory, but some wild horse advocates believe the plan is not in the horses’ best interest.
Released on Feb. 14, the 47-page Heber Wild Horse Territory plan proposes managing herd growth by vaccinating wild mares with contraceptive porcine zona pellucida (PZP) and gelding wild stallions. The plan also calls for using removals to reduce the herd from its current population of approximately 250 horses to 50-104 animals.

As a result, some wild horse advocates believe the plan is more about decimating the Heber herd that it is about preserving it...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/185370/usda-reveals-heber-wild-horse-management-plan/?utm_medium=Welfare+enews&utm_source=Newsletter

Saturday, February 8, 2020

William Perry Pendley: America’s wild horses and burros need our help

SLTrib.com - Full Article

By William Perry Pendley | Special to The Tribune
· Published: January 28
Updated: January 28, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management, which administers 245 million acres of public land, primarily in the 11 Western states and Alaska, has the federal government’s most difficult mission. Under its statutory “multiple-use, sustained yield” mandate, the BLM manages a breathtaking array of uses of federal lands. Given the passion with which the public embraces those uses, folks sometimes disagree about the decisions the BLM makes.

There is, however, one matter for which the BLM is responsible on which there is unanimity. Today, scientists, veterinarians and federal land managers all agree that America’s wild horses and burros, the rangeland that supports them, as well as the people, communities and indigenous plants and animals across the West affected by them, need our help. That is why I must offer an alternative perspective to the opinion piece authored by Ginger Kathrens (“Wild horses groomed as scapegoats for public land destruction,” Dec. 19)

Since 1971, the BLM, along with the U.S. Forest Service, has been legally required to protect these “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West,” and to manage them as “an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.” When managed wisely, wild horses and burros can thrive in the American West. However, left uncontrolled, herds quickly overpopulate their habitat, overgraze the land and decimate the fragile desert spring ecosystems critical to their survival and that of other species...

Read more here:
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2020/01/28/william-perry-pendley/

Friday, January 17, 2020

Taming an American icon: A plan to curb wild horses, and save the West

CSMonitor.com - Full Article

The emotional debate over the growing number of wild horses in the West is about more than animals and public lands. It’s about people and values, which is why a compromise has been so elusive. Is one now at hand?

January 15 2020
By Amanda Paulson Staff writer
@AmandaPaulson

DESATOYA MOUNTAINS, NEV.
When the first wild horses come into view, thundering through high desert sagebrush, it’s easy to imagine they’re in the American West of 150 years ago. This part of Nevada is desolate and beautiful: massive plains that stretch for miles without a building – or tree – in sight, rugged snow-gauzed mountains piercing the sky.

But if the idea of wild horses is a romantic one in America, conjuring images of unfettered freedom and unfenced spaces, the reality, in today’s West, is far more complicated. These horses – herded by a helicopter and headed for relocation to private pastures or adoption – lie at the nexus of a human-wildlife conflict that is one of the most incendiary in the West. It is a dispute rife with emotions and with little common ground.

Wild horses may be beloved in America, but to some, they’re also a nuisance – a remarkably fecund one, with a population that grows by about 20% a year, wreaking havoc on rangeland vital to ranchers and other wildlife. Estimates put the wild horse and burro population at 88,000 on public lands as of this past spring, though most experts say it’s now closer to 100,000. That’s more than three times the target population of 26,700 that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management believes its herd management areas can sustainably support.

With limited resources and management options constrained by law, court order, and public opinion, the BLM is trying to handle the horses through a piecemeal solution of roundups, adoptions, and maintenance on taxpayer-funded private lands. But it’s a system that satisfies no one, is expensive, and is leading to growing populations of horses both on and off public rangeland.

About these ads
“It’s like a runaway freight train, and it’s not easily solved,” says Dean Bolstad, who retired from the BLM in 2017 after 44 years with the agency. “I can’t tell you how important [dealing with these animals] is to the health and well-being of public lands.”

Now, for the first time in years, there are glimmers of a solution...

Read more here:
https://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2020/0115/Taming-an-American-icon-A-plan-to-curb-wild-horses-and-save-the-West

BLM to increase wild horse gathers in coming year

Larisa Bogardus/BLM photo Wildlife.org - Full Article By Laura Bies January 20, 2022 The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will increase...