Updates and Year in Review from AOWHA…
Posted by Texas Mustang Project on December 21, 2010
1. Virginia Range Horses
The news of Governor-Elect Brian Sandoval showing Tony Lesperance the door made it all the way to the east coast. The Nevada Director of Agriculture, whom documents show sold Virginia Range horses to kill buyers, has been in battles with horse advocates for years, a point also noted in the news articles. Here’s how the story appeared in the Danbury, CT News-Times:
2. Nevada Wildlife Commissioners / BLM Water / Madeleine Pickens Project
The Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners tried to pull a fast one on BLM and Madeleine Pickens’ sanctuary project. Horse advocates called them on it and advocate Dorothy Nylen of the Wild Horse Preservation League filed formal complaints with the Attorney General’s office. What happened, how the Commission was running contrary to the law and what is being done about it can be viewed here: http://www.aowha.org/war/nbwc_editorial_101206-1.html
3. Pyramid Paiute Horses
The Pyramid Paiute Tribe is reducing their herd. The tribe presently has no proactive management of the horses. When the herd swells to around 1,500 head they get grant money to remove horses for environmental reasons. The horses typically go the Fallon Livestock Exchange where most are bought by the kill buyers.
Some of you might remember 2005 when the horse groups waded into a huge mess. Back then the horses were rounded up in the spring. Mares and tiny foals were shipped together. Foals were stripped from their dams so the dams could go into the sale ring and they weren’t provided with food. Advocates called for an investigation and the State Brand Inspector who signed off the shipments resigned.
These weren’t junk horses. One of the foals, Victoria, was the 2005 Western States WHB Expo champion halter horse. (http://www.whmentors.org/whcclo/victoria01a.html)
Things are a little better today. With something like 800 horses coming into the sales, advocates led by Lifesavers and Shirley Puga acquired most of the foals and mare and foal pairs so far at the auction. While the groups can’t take all the horses, the tribe has offered to simply turn the remainder of the weanlings and yearlings, approximately 130 head, over to the advocate groups in care of Lifesavers. Having recently taken in several hundred horses, Lifesavers can’t take in most of these themselves and the tribe has given the group about a week to locate enough takers to receive the load. Otherwise they will go to the next scheduled horse sale in Fallon.
On a brighter note, the tribe has shown interest in exploring fertility control and using horses for native youth projects.
4. Sue Wallis
Wyoming resident Pat Fazio has filed a complaint against pro-slaughter champion Sue Wallis, asking officials to investigate alleged violations of ethics laws and securities fraud. The charges include using her elected position for financial gain (to promote her slaughter business) and running an unlicensed lottery. More details surrounding these allegations can be viewed at the Change.org site: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/call_on_wy_authorities_to_investigate_ethics_and_fraud_allegations_against_rep_sue_wallis
This is the same Sue Wallis that tried to pass the “Wyoming Food Freedom Act.” House Bill 54 would have allowed unlicensed kitchens to produce food sold in farmers markets and other venues, scaring the pants off food safety officials. Fortunately, the bill went into the garbage disposal.
5. Utah Sulphur Horses
Judy Cubel has posted a call for help with the Utah Sulphur horses. She is trying to get these horses preserved on their home range. The Utah and Sulphur Horse groups are working hard on this project and the preservation of a viable Sulphur herd should be a beneficial ecotourism attraction if the herd were properly managed and promoted. Here’s a link to their efforts: http://www.americanspanishsulphur.org/SOS.html
– – –
Year in review:
We’ve had ups and downs this past year however, the trend regarding BLM horses is turning cautiously optimistic. Continued rational and effective advocacy gives these horses a voice and encourages more proactive and scientifically valid range management – approaches that could benefit the entire ecosystem. We need to stay sharp, stay focused, stay professional and stay the course.
Whatever holidays you celebrate, may they be joyful. See you in the New Year!