The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

BLM horses seized in suspected slaughter ring

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on August 6, 2011

August 5th, 2011 @ 10:00pm
By Amy Joi O’Donoghue

(Video) HELPER  — Federal agents impounded 47 Bureau of Land Management horses Friday at the Port of Entry in Helper, preventing the likelihood of the animals being hauled by truck for slaughter in Mexico, officials said.

Gus Warr, the Utah director of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program, said the horses were safely delivered to the agency’s center in Herriman while the investigation continues.

“There were a number of red flags that went up in the beginning and it remains an active investigation with our agency, the FBI, state agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Warr said.

Multiple people are the target of the investigation, which spreads to Willard where some of the animals were held before being stopped in Carbon County, Warr said.

The sale of the animals occurred on paper at the Herriman facility but involved animals in the agency’s long-term holding pasture in Oklahoma.

A truck hauling horses travels the highway near Helper, Friday, Aug. 5, 2011. The horses were impounded by federal agents at the port of entry. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Unlike the bureau’s adoption program, these animals are direct-sold to buyers under an agreement that includes an intent clause that prohibits subsequent sale for slaughter, Warr said. The horses are 11 years or older and may be bought for use as brood mares, for private equestrian pleasure or simply put out to pasture by the purchaser.

The last U.S. slaughterhouse for horse meat intended for human consumption closed in 2007 under a ban that went into effect that year. The prohibition has not stopped wholesale shipments of live animals to either Canada or Mexico where they are slaughtered for human consumption — mostly to supply overseas markets.

Warr said the BLM is keenly aware of the demand outside of the United States and watches for so-called “kill-buyers” who purchase the horses for such a destiny.

“The BLM is trying to be proactively ahead of the game, which is what happened here,” he said.

But the owner of the truck that was hauling the horses said late Friday that her husband was only helping out a friend by allowing the horses to stay on their property, the DK Ranch in Willard.

KSL News is not naming the woman or her husband because the investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

“We are known for buying slaughter horses,” she said, “but it was just our truck that was being used.”

She said the animals were bound for Texas, but were not going to be slaughtered, adding that the type of truck they were being hauled in was not a slaughter-style truck.

But Warr said the paper trail of where the animals were headed did not match up to the reality of where they were impounded — leading his agency to believe they were intended for slaughter.

“Our primary concern at this point is that they were not going where they were supposed to,” Warr said.

—-

Written by Amy Joi O’Donoghue with contributions from Alex Cabrero.

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Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 3 Comments »

What’s ‘green’ about destroying our water and knocking birds out of the sky?

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on July 28, 2011

I’ve attached a copy of a position statement on the proposed Wilson Creek wind farm that was prepared by the Coalition for Nevada’s Wildlife, a sports – hunting group.  I’m forwarding their information as they have researched this project and have identified areas of concern.  Even though they don’t address horses as that is not their focus area (and I’m not sure if any horses are left in the area,) the impacts on wildlife will have a ripple effect across the region.  Furthermore while we clearly are going to see solar and wind projects in the West, we need to insist that they be properly researched and designed so as to have the most minimal impact as possible on our fragile ecosystems.
The deadline for comments appears to be FRIDAY, July 22.  A link to send comments to BLM is provided on the Coalition’s comment paper.  Comments are generally given consideration when they address technical aspects of a project and its EA, so my advice is to pick one or two issues raised by the Coalition and include them in your comment message.
BLM needs to see that there is public interest in seeing that these kinds of projects are done right and that they don’t shift a new burden to the agency and taxpayers resulting from unintended consequences.  Or as a NDoW wildlife biologist once said, “What’s ‘green’ about destroying our water and knocking birds out of the sky?”
Thanks for spending a few minutes on this and passing it on.
“:O) Willis

CoalitioncommentsMtWilson

 

 

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 3 Comments »

The Federal and State Renewable Energy Action Team launched a joint environmental review for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan aimed at streamlining permitting of renewable energy facilities in the California desert.

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on July 28, 2011

Contact:       Jane Hendron, USFWS, 760-431-9440, ext. 205

Erin Curtis, BLM, 916-978-4622

Susanne Garfield, California Energy Commission, 916-654-4989

William Condon, DFG, 916-654-9937

Date: July 28, 2011

Public Input Wanted on Largest Habitat Conservation Plan

Aims to balance desert conservation and renewable energy development

Sacramento, Calif. – The Federal and State Renewable Energy Action Team (REAT) launched a joint environmental review for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP or Plan) aimed at streamlining permitting of renewable energy facilities in the California desert.

The REAT is preparing a joint Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the DRECP, and the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed amendment to the California Desert Conservation area (CDCA) Plan.

Agencies are looking for public participation as they begin this process, and will hold three public meetings in August to gather input on the proposed Plan.

  • August 16, 2011, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Doubletree Ontario Hotel, Lake Gregory Ballroom, 222 N. Vineyard Ave., Ontario, CA 91764
  • August 24, 2011, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the California Energy Commission, Hearing Room A, 1516 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95814
  • August 24, 2011, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the California Energy Commission, Hearing Room A, 1516 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95814

Remote Attendance and Availability of Documents

Presentations and audio from the scoping meetings will be broadcast by WebEx web meeting service. For details on how to participate by WebEx, please see http://www.drecp.org/meetings.

DRECP Background

The DRECP is focused on the desert regions and adjacent lands of seven California counties – Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. It is being prepared through an unprecedented collaborative effort between the California Energy Commission, California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service known as the REAT.

The DRECP will result in an efficient and effective biological mitigation and conservation program providing renewable project developers with permit timing and cost certainty under the Federal and California Endangered Species Acts while at the same time preserving, restoring and enhancing natural communities and related ecosystems.

Approximately 22.5 million acres of Federal and non-Federal California desert land in parts of Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties are in the DRECP planning area.

Providing Comments

All interest parties are invited to provide comments and information regarding species to be covered, the range of alternatives to analyze and other issues associated with the DRECP and possible CDCA amendment during the comment period.  Comments and information will be accepted until September 12, 2011.  Comments will be accepted in writing at the scoping meetings and may also be sent to the contacts listed below.

Written comments may be submitted to Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 Hidden Valley Rd., Suite 101, Carlsbad, CA 92011.  You may also submit comments by email to FW8DRECP@fws.gov, and include “Scoping Comments” in the subject line, or by facsimile to 760-431–5902.

Comments may also be submitted in writing to California Energy Commission, Dockets Office, MS-4, Docket No. 09-RENEW E0-01, Scoping Comments, 1516 Ninth St., Sacramento CA 95814-5512.  Or by email to docket@energy.state.ca.us, and include “Docket No. 09-RENEW EO-01/Scoping” in the subject line, or by facsimile to Kristy Chew at 916-654-4421.

At the close of the public comment period, all written comments received by the Federal and State lead agencies will be posted on the internet at http://www.drecp.org/document.  For more information about the DRECP or instructions on submitting a written comment, visit www.drecp.org.  The REAT anticipates releasing a draft DRECP EIR/EIS for public review and comment in the summer 2012.  The final EIR/EIS is expected to be completed at the end of 2012 and, if approved, permits are expected to be issued at the beginning of 2013.

David C. Briery,
External Affairs
BLM California Desert District
22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos
Moreno Valley, CA 92553
951.697.5220 (office)
951.842.9018 (cell)
dbriery@blm.gov

 

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | Leave a Comment »

MESSAGE FROM “WILD HORSE ANNIE”

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on July 21, 2011

Carrol Abel
July 20, 2011

I sat down with Wild Horse Annie today. We had quite the conversation. I complained of how convoluted her law had become, how it was now a life sentence for the very animals it was intended to protect. She listened quietly, never uttering a word. “We really need your help.” I told her. She offered no reply.

The grass surrounding us was cool & refreshing, the day warm & clear. I closed my eyes and imagined a band of wild horses grazing peacefully nearby. How fitting it would have been. But alas! Imaginings are nothing more than imaginings. There were no wild horses and Wild Horse Annie was not going to answer.

Beside me was a small and unassuming grave marker. In that, it was much like the woman buried there. Beneath the name Velma B. Johnston, Wild Horse Annie and the dates March 5, 1912 – June 27, 1977 are three mustangs, running wild and free. As I ran my fingers across the relief and looked closer at the image, I realized there was something unexpectedly ominous portrayed there.

The running mustang trio has reached the edge of a dangerous precipice with no choice left but to jump. The last of the three is rearing and looking over his shoulder as if deciding whether to fight or flee. Tears started flowing when I put the scene in the context of the battle we’re waging today. I started sobbing like a crazy fool and blurted out, “Help me! I don’t know what else to do.”

It was then that a voice came to me, a gentle but strong whisper in my ear.

“FIGHT” it said, “Fight like a wild stallion.”

Carrol Abel

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 2 Comments »

Mighty Mouse the Mustang ~ the Before & After…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on July 20, 2011

I found this picture of Mouse while cleaning up my hard drive this morning. I knew he had changed over the past year, but I had completely forgotten just how poor he really was at the adoption. Looking at him now, I almost wouldn’t believe he was the same horse if I didn’t know better. He truly proves the old adage… “Never judge a book by its cover!” 

 

 

Mighty Mouse the Mustang, May 22, 2010

Mighty Mouse the Mustang, July 20, 2011

Posted in Daily Posts, Mighty Mouse the Mustang | 1 Comment »

BLM Press Release: BLM to Begin Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas Wild Horse Gather

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 28, 2011

BLM to Begin Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas Wild Horse Gather
Public encouraged to attend, especially on Saturdays
Ely, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko District, Wells Field Office; and BLM Ely District, Egan Field Office will initiate the Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas (HMAs) Wild Horse Gather on or about Thursday, July 7, 2011, to gather and remove approximately 1,726 excess wild horses from in and around the HMAs, and the Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory (WHT), located about 30 miles northwest of Ely and 70 miles southeast of Elko, Nev.
Any horses gathered above targeted removal numbers will be released back to the HMAs and WHT so that the remaining population is within appropriate management level (AML).  The AML for the Triple B HMA is 250-518 wild horses; the AML for the Maverick-Medicine HMA is 166-276 wild horses; the AML for the Antelope Valley HMA west of U.S. Highway 93 is 16-27 wild horses; and the AML for the Cherry Springs WHT is 40-68 wild horses.
Any gathered mares released back to the range will be vaccinated with the PZP-22 (Porcine Zona Pellucida) fertility control vaccine. Additionally, sex ratios of gathered animals to be returned to the HMAs may be adjusted to achieve an approximately 60 percent male/40 percent female ratio. The gather, removal and fertility control are intended to slow wild horse population growth, maintain population size within the appropriate management levels necessary to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands and to extend the time before another gather to remove excess wild horses would be needed.
There will be no closure of the public lands and therefore, public lands within the HMAs and WHT will be open to the public during the gather operations, subject to necessary safety restrictions.  The public is welcome to attend the gather, and is encouraged to attend on Saturdays, when the media and public will have additional interpretive opportunities and can interact with staff.  The BLM has tentatively scheduled the dates of July 9, 16, 23 and 30; and Aug. 6, 13 and 20.  The dates are subject to change depending upon weather and gather operations, and the public is encouraged to check the gather hotline nightly (775-289-1880) for changes in the schedule.  For more information or to sign up, call Tiffany Trodahl, BLM Egan Field Office resource assistant, at (775) 289-1892.  The BLM will also regularly post gather information on its Website at: www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/ely_field_office.html.
The gather will be conducted in close coordination with the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s (NDOA) Brands Division.  The NDOA brand inspectors will verify that all gathered animals are wild horses and burros as defined by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.  Once verified, the brand inspector will provide the BLM a certificate to transport the animals. Without this cooperation and coordination, the BLM would not be able to remove the excess wild horses and burros which, if not removed in a timely manner, would result in degradation of our native rangelands.  The NDOA also may take jurisdiction of any estray, branded or abandoned domestic horse(s) under the State of Nevada estray laws.
The gathered animals will be transported to either the National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley (PVC), in Reno, Nev.;Gunnison Correctional Facility in Gunnison, Utah; or the Delta Wild Horse Corrals in Delta City, Utah, where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program or for long-term holding. Wild horses for which there is no adoption demand will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter. For more information, contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District public affairs specialist, at (775) 289-1842 or chanefel@blm.gov. Chris Hanefeld, 775-289-1842 Ely District Office public affairs

Posted in Antelope HMA, BLM, Chokecherry, Daily Posts, Ely FO, FY2011 | Leave a Comment »

High Rock & Calico Gathers to be Conducted Simultaneously…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 24, 2011

BLM Says: “The High Rock Complex Gather is being coordinated with the Calico Complex Gather proposed by the Winnemucca BLM District’s Black Rock Field Office in Fall/Winter 2011.” 

Advocates Ask: “Why?” (rather sarcastically I might add…)

According to the High Rock Complex Gather EA, BLM states the following:

“The benefit of coordinating these wild horse gathers is that it affords the BLM the opportunity to gather wild horses that have moved out of their designated HMAs (due to gather pressure) and have moved into adjacent areas which are subject to different administrative jurisdiction. In the past, horses that have moved out of the prescribed gather area during operations have not been gathered. By coordinating the High Rock and Calico Gathers to occur consecutively, the effective gather area would be increased, thereby improving gather success rates and the ability to achieve the AML within this broader area.”

The High Rock Complex is managed by the Surprise Field Office in California and consists of the Bitner, Fox-Hog, High Rock, Nut Mountain, and Wall Canyon HMAs, along with the Nut Mountain HMA. There is some minuscule light shining at the end of the tunnel though. In the first paragraph of the High Rock EA, BLM states the following:

“The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Surprise Field Office is proposing to implement a population management operation for wild horses in order to achieve desired population levels within the Bitner, Fox-Hog, High Rock, Nut Mountain, and Wall Canyon Herd Management Areas (HMAs), and from adjacent public lands outside of these designated HMAs. This would entail gathering and removing excess horses from four HMAs (Bitner, Fox-Hog, High Rock, and Wall Canyon) and potentially adding horses to one HMA (Nut Mountain). The Nut Mountain HMA did not have excess animals at the time of the last population inventory. All HMAs will be managed for Appropriate Management Levels.”

Whether or not this actually occurs will be the question on everyone’s lips from now until then. The Tri-State MOU includes the following Wild Horse Areas:

  • FWS Oregon: Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge
  • BLM Oregon, Lakeview District: Beatys Butte HMA
  • BLM California, Surprise Field Office: Bitner, Massacre Lakes, Nut Mountain, Wall Canyon, High Rock, Fox Hog HMAs
  • FWS Nevada: Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
  • BLM Nevada, Winnemucca District: Granite, Calico Mountains, Black Rock West, Black Rock East, Warm Springs, McGee Mountain HMAs

Contact Info:

Rolando R. Mendez
Field Manager
Bureau of Land Management
Black Rock Field Office
5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd.
Winnemucca, NV 89445
775.623.1500
e-mail: Tri-State-Calico_Complex@blm.gov

Comments need to be writing and should reference High Rock Complex Wild Horse Roundup, the specific document you are referencing, and include applicable section or page numbers.

Comments may be mailed toBureau of Land Management Surprise Field Office, P.O. Box 460, Cedarville, CA 96104, or emailed to: CA High Rock Complex Horse Roundup

Documents:

Tri-State Calico Complex Wild Horse and Burro Gather PEA (Public comment period ends July 18, 2011)

High Rock Complex Wild Horse and Burro Roundup  (Comments will be accepted until July 15, 2011)

For many, many more NEPA documents from the Surprise & Winnemucca Offices, click here…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BLM, Calico Complex Gather 2009-2010, Daily Posts, FY2011, Ruby Pipeline, LLC, Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge | 7 Comments »

BLM Releases Tri-State-Calico Complex WH&B Gather Plan, & Meets with Immediate Opposition…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 16, 2011

More to come on the Calico Complex from TMP soon… T.

BLM Nevada News
WINNEMUCCA DISTRICT OFFICE NO. 2011-24
FOR RELEASE: June 15, 2011
CONTACT: Lisa Ross at (775) 623-1541, lisa_ross@blm.gov

Preliminary Environmental Assessment Available for Tri-State-Calico Complex Wild Horse Gather

Winnemucca, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Winnemucca District, Black Rock Field Office has prepared a preliminary environmental assessment (EA) for the Tri-State-Calico Complex Wild Horse and Burro Gather Plan. The BLM is proposing to gather approximately 1,298 wild horses and 140 wild burros, of which as many as 268 wild horses would be released back to the range following the gather. The gather area is located northeast of Gerlach, Nev., within Humboldt and Washoe counties. The BLM would appreciate receiving substantive comments on the preliminary EA by July 18, 2011.
In the proposed action, of the wild horses released back to the range, approximately 87 mares would receive a 22-month Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP-22) immunocontraceptive vaccine treatment and 181 studs/geldings would be released due to sex ratio adjustments (60 percent male/40 percent female). The goal is to slow population growth and maintain population size within the appropriate management level, and extend the time before a gather to remove excess wild horses would be needed.
“Keeping the herd population in balance with the available forage and water helps keep these wild horses healthy,” said Rolando Mendez, Black Rock field manager. “It is the BLM’s responsibility to sustain the health of the rangelands, and achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance.” The BLM is proposing to finish the proposed action and decision made in the Calico Mountains Complex Wild Horse Gather Plan from 2010.  Although the Calico Mountains Complex was gathered in Jan. and Feb. 2010, the overall proposed action was not achieved due to winter conditions and wild horse movement within the tri-state area of Nevada, Oregon, and California, which necessitates the need for this follow-up gather.
The BLM estimates there are currently 1,602 wild horses within the Complex and 179 wild burros. The gather is proposed in order to return the wild horse and burro population to within the appropriate management level of 572 to 952 wild horses and 39 to 65 wild burros. The Complex consists of approximately 584,000 acres (public and private) but the gather area consists of approximately 1,041,000 acres to encompass wild horses and burros residing outside of the herd management areas (HMAs).
Wild horses and burros from the Tri-State-Calico Complex would be gathered as a Complex or unit as herds move and interact throughout. The proposed gather is being conducted in conjunction with BLM California’s High Rock Wild Horse Gather, which would take place immediately prior to this proposed gather. This is conducive because both gathers are located within the tri-state area where wild horse movement between these areas exists. The Complex gather involves areas beyond the HMA boundaries as wild horse and burros have moved outside of HMAs in search of forage, water and space, due to the current over-population of wild horses and burros in these areas. The Complex includes the following HMAs: Black Rock Range East, Black Rock Range West, Calico Mountains, Granite Range, Warm Springs Canyon, and McGee Mountain.  The proposed gather is tentatively scheduled to begin in December 2011 and will last approximately 40-50 days.
The document may be reviewed on-line at http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/wfo/blm_information/nepa0.html. Printed copies are available upon request from the BLM Winnemucca District Office. Questions and written comments should be directed to: Rolando Mendez, Field Manager, Black Rock Field Office, BLM Winnemucca District, 5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd., Winnemucca, NV 89445-2921.Comments may also be submitted by email to Tri-State-Calico_Complex@blm.gov. Email messages should include “Tri-State-Calico Complex Gather Plan (Whitman)” in the subject line. Public comments submitted for this project, including names and addresses of commentors will be available for public review at the Winnemucca District Office during regular business hours 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.
––BLM–

Immediately following the email distribution of this news, a reply-to-all message was sent:

Do you have any other documentation available to support the conclusions set forth in the EA? Names of the experts, their backgrounds, photographic evidence (specific locations, documented on the ground photos & aerial) and detailed examples of damage, over use, etc.? Please provide the methodology used to calculate the numbers of Wild Horses on the various ranges; dates, times, and methods used and the specific individuals utilized and their professional backgrounds. Do you have a new and specific proposed multi-use plan? If yes, please provide?
Best regards,
William M. LeRoy, President & CEO
American Legal & Financial Network® (ALFN®)

Posted in BLM, Calico Complex Gather 2009-2010, Daily Posts, Ruby Pipeline, LLC, You Be the Judge Series | 5 Comments »

SOS: Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 15, 2011

Back in April, I posted The Lone Star State is Brightly Burning… detailing the dire conditions of my fair state. Well, it is now June and we’ve still not received rain. Literally, in my area, we’ve had no rain to speak of since late March. Worse, the forecast doesn’t look too promising anytime soon. I cannot remember a time when we’ve gone for so long without any rain – at all. Luckily, I have an artesian fed well that supplies water for my livestock. The underground veins that lead to this well have also allowed for my North grazing pasture to remain somewhat green, albeit very short. However, not all Texans are as “lucky” as DeLoach Farms.

The folks at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society College Station, Texas work with law enforcement agencies throughout Texas to help starving, abused, abandoned and neglected horses. They also offer assistance in the form of education and advice to agencies, including other rescues, outside the state of Texas. BEHS is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of equines by educating and helping owners, assisting law enforcement agencies, rehabilitating abused and neglected equines, and placing them into safe, permanent homes. BEHS President Jennifer Williams, PhD won the 2010 Good Samaritan Visionary Award from the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation.

Currently, BEHS Pres. Jennifer is placing an SOS: “The economy and drought have had their toll on the horses in Texas. We’ve have a couple of very bad neglect cases where we need to assist law enforcement in seizing horses. We need more space and more money if we’re going to help any more horses! Please consider adopting (1/2 price fees!), becoming a foster home or donating. These horses are desperate for help our hearts are breaking for them.”

I know, I know… We’re all in a bind right now. Trust me; I know firsthand just how bad this economy and lack of rain is making things. But… If you have a dollar to spare, or an open stall, or even some much needed extra hay, it would be most greatly appreciated. Below are the contacts and one of the sponsor stories from BEHS. Also, don’t miss out on the Bluebonnet Rescue Horse Training Challenge (details below)!

Thanks, the TMP Team

Address: PO Box 632, College Station, TX 77841

Phone: (888) 542 5163

Website: http://www.bluebonnetequine.org

Email: info@bluebonnetequine.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BluebonnetEquineHumaneSociety?ref=ts&sk=app_198655166838433

Galeno and his pals at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society need you!

Galeno’s dam, Corazon, was emaciated when she arrived at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society last month. She is terrified of humans, and we couldn’t get close to her to determine whether she was pregnant or not. So imagine her foster home’s surprise when she walked outside and saw Galeno one morning! Because his mom hadn’t been cared for while she was pregnant, Galeno was small and poorly muscled. He saw the veterinarian right away and was treated. He’s a lucky boy – if his mom hadn’t been removed with negligent owners, he wouldn’t have received critical care. 
Sadly there are many other horses like Corazon and Galeno out there who need our help. But the economy and the drought are making times tough for BEHS and the horses we look out for.
Please help us help these guys – you can donate on our website at http://www.bluebonnetequine.org and all donations are greatly appreciated! And if you have room to foster, you can help us help even more horses in Texas. Please help us help them – and give them a brighter future!
Adoption Days are Here!  That means half price adoption fees for you!
June is half-price adoption days at BEHS. Any approved adopter will receive half-price adoption fees on any horse, donkey, mule, pony or miniature horse that they adopt during the month of June.  If you want to adopt but aren’t yet approved, get that application in! You can download one at http://www.bluebonnetequine.org/help/adopt.htm – you’ll receive half-price adoption fees on any equine you adopt within 30 days of applying to adopt. Our horses are current on vaccinations, Coggins, dental care, de-worming and farrier care – so if you are looking to add to your heard, give a rescue a chance!

Time to Enter the Bluebonnet Rescue Horse Training Challenge

For those who don’t know about the Challenge, it is a competition in which volunteer foster homes and professional trainers work with a Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society foster horse for three months (starting in early July) and show off the horse’s training at the Challenge at the 2011 Bluebonnet Horse Expo on October 22, 2011 in Austin, Texas.
The goals of the Challenge are to:

  • Introduce the public to talented rescue horses
  • Showcase the training abilities of Bluebonnet foster homes
  • Produce horses who are ready to go to work for their adopters

The competition is open to any BEHS member who applies to foster and is approved, as well as professional trainers whose property is inspected and approved. If you are not currently an approved foster home or BEHS member, you can join the rescue at http://www.bluebonnetequine.org/help/joinbehs.htm and download a fostering application at http://www.bluebonnetequine.org/help/foster.htm and we’ll get you set up to go.  
The Challenge will include the following divisions:

  • Professional trainer – anyone who is paid for their training services
  • Experienced foster home – someone who has been a foster home for at least two years
  • Novice foster home – someone who has fostered less than two years
  • Youth – participants 17 and under as of January 1, 2011.

Horses in the professional trainer division will compete under saddle. All other divisions will compete in either an under saddle subcategory or an in-hand subcategory.
At the Challenge, all horses will compete over an obstacle course and will be allowed an additional 10 minutes for a freestyle presentation. This may include riding skills, tricks, presentation of “before and after” history, etc. The contest will be judged by a panel of equine professionals.  Each horse/trainer combination will be scored on:

  • Improvement from initial assessment
  • Condition of horse
  • Obstacle course
  • Presentation/freestyle

The horses who participate in the Challenge will go up for Adoption the day of the contest. Horses who are not broke to ride will be offered for adoption for $300. Horses who are broke to ride will be offered for adoption for $750. Pre-approved adopters may adopt and take home the horse after the Challenge. If more than one pre-approved adopter wishes to adopt the same horse, they may bid up the adoption fee and the highest bidder will adopt the horse. Adoption applications will also be accepted the day of the Challenge but those adopters will not be allowed to adopt until their property is inspected and approved. Click here for more information and/or to download a Training Challenge application.

 

Posted in Daily Posts | Leave a Comment »

Will it ever change?

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 10, 2011

I was working on the TMP website today, updating things and fixing bugs. I came across our page “Clarification of My Position” that contains my speech prepared for the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Meeting, Reno, NV, in December 2009. As most of you know, I did not make it to that meeting. Texas hadn’t had snow in years, but it certainly came in that week.

Today, I found myself re-reading the statement I had prepared, and I realized that it was just as pertinent now as it was then. This is a very sad realization. So, in the interest of putting it out there and trying to reconcile some of the differences we see so much of still, here is that statement again. MF*T*

I do not affiliate myself with any one advocacy group or organization at this time because I do not personally agree with any one of the groups and organizations that have approached me with this proposition. I do not feel as though it would be fair to the wild horses and burros to devote any of my energies whatsoever toward the non-efficient and ill-fated blaming sessions that are so common in this campaign. In the end, the wild horses and burros are the ones who ultimately suffer. I also do not feel as though my participation from an internal standpoint would be beneficial to any party involved based on the knowledge of conflict of opinions between myself and other members at this time. The energies put forth should be directed at the ultimate goal, not toward conflict of any kind. I do not affiliate myself with any government agency or organization at this time for these same reasons.

However, I do feel as though the path to a viable and clear solution involves all of the voices among the sides of this situation. Each person has a voice, and each voice should be heard. In those voices, we can glean the information we need to come to the best possible conclusion for the wild horses and burros. We can use this information along with the information we have readily available to us to promote better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication.

I agree with the BLM’s mandate of protection and management of the wild horses and burros due to the need to maintain a balance of the ecological systems wherein they reside through population control. I do not agree with the methods currently in place to facilitate that mandate. To members of the BLM, the National Wild Horse and Burro Program, the Advisory Board, and to all other members of their affiliates, I put forth the following statements:

•No horse or burro should ever be struck with any object in an attempt to “make” him perform an intended task. He is a sentient being. He should not be struck for any reason by the hands of man. There are other ways to communicate without violence. The wild horses and burros have shown and taught mankind the language of Equus. It was only discovered by those members of mankind with an open mind to actually stop and see the fascinating methods of communication among the different members of the herds. Through this language, members speak as clearly as you and I are speaking now and its discovery has brought about an entirely new form of interspecies communication called Natural Horsemanship.

•No horse or burro should ever be pushed to step on or trample another member of his herd in an attempt to “speed things along”. Again, these are living and breathing creatures who do feel pain and who do feel emotion. There is no time schedule whose strictness is important enough that it causes injury or death to another creature simply because of man’s impatience or quest for promptness, efficiency or budget constraints. I ask you to place yourself in his place for just a moment. Imagine that you were forced to harm a member of your own family. There is no difference simply because we are human. These animals have a family bond that is unlike no other. Just because it is not understood by some members of mankind does not mean that it is any less real.

•No horse or burro should ever be placed in a position, physically, mentally or emotionally, where he will be forced to resort to fight or flight instincts. Mankind seems to forget somewhere along the path that we are not the rulers of any universe; we are the cohabitants of this universe. We do not have the right to force our hand on another soul with the misguided notion that we are somehow superior. Let us not forget that it is only through the blood, sweat, and sacrifice of these animals that we are in this very location today. Without their help, Lewis and Clark might’ve never made it to this range and we could all still be in the prehistoric era of our evolutionary timeline.

I agree with the various advocacy groups and organizations whose mission statements correlate with the mandate of better protection and management of wild horses and burros. I do not agree with the extremist point of view mission statements, nor do I agree with the opinion of letting nature take its course. To members of these groups, I put forth the following statements:

•If you want protection for the wild horses and burros, understand that with that protection comes management. You cannot have one without the other. Without protection, they are vulnerable to the cruelties of mankind’s lower and colder hearted members who would exploit these magnificent animals for their own profit and gain. In the process, the wild horses and burros would be subjected to unimaginable cruelties and inhumanities. With protection, they are not subjected to this situation at the hands of these members of society. They are however subjected to lesser cruelties and inhumanities by their managers. This is where we need compromise the most, from both sides.

•The facts are evident at this point in time that we cannot allow nature to take its course where the wild horses and burros are concerned due to the facts that mankind has altered the course of nature with its continual evolutionary processes and growth towards cleaner and brighter futures for our children and grandchildren, among other causes. As a result, the course that nature would have originally taken no longer exists. Therefore, the argument of simply letting nature take its course is not a valid position. Were this allowed to take place, the congregation of wild horses and burros would surely become extinct in a matter of a few decades. Furthermore, this process would be one of a greater pain and suffering that we see now at the hands of their managers.

•Remember that even though the wild horses and burros are our passion and point of interest, they are not the only integral parts of the natural system which they inhabit. There are other members of this ecological system who are equally as important as those members who have stolen our hearts. Just because the horses and burros are the sources of our passions does not give them immunity from the imbalance that their existence sometimes contributes to.

•If you start with misinformation, realize the error of your ways and work to correct them. Do not allow pride to cloud your judgment resulting in a non-factually based proposal. Find all the information possible to make your decision one that comes from a well informed standpoint. Do not stop with just the information needed to support a decision that best benefits you, individually or as a group. Remember that you are not the ones in danger, and that your ignorance of all information available does not physically cause you harm. The wild horses and burros are the ones who pay your debt of ignorance.

Finally, to all parties involved, I put forth the following statement:

•Where mankind is involved so shall there be error. This is inevitable. Therefore, I take this opportunity to remind you all of the fact that we are all human; we will all make mistakes. Our ultimate goal in any quest should be that we make the best decisions possible with all of the information we can gather in order to effect the end result with the least amount of adverse reactions possible. There are those among us today who have made the statement over and over of how they would have performed in a more suitable manner than the ones next to them if only they had been given the chance. This is usually a statement made with great pride. I say to you here and now: it is only with humility in our hearts that we can listen with an open mind to the plight of another and take that plight to the next step of positive action. Let he who has no sin cast the first stone. But let he who has humility in his heart be the one to wipe away the tears of the one who was struck with humility and with a kindness that does not expect any reward in return.

I do not disagree 100 percent with the BLM’s officials, personnel, or their mandates. I do not disagree 100 percent with the advocacy groups, organizations, or the individuals. I only agree with those members of the aforementioned persons who are willing to look at all sides of the information and who work toward the common goal of better protection and management of the wild horses and burros diplomatically. It is only through this cooperation that we can attain that goal. There is no completely right answer. There is no completely wrong answer. The job that we have all signed on to perform is to come to the best possible solution by taking the best points from the many answers and the vastness of information available and putting them forth into positive actions.

Because of my position, I have been accused of “riding the fence” by members of both sides of this argument. I put forth the consideration that there are many sides to this argument, not just two. Even among those of us present, there are different views among the individuals involved. You cannot say that your views are exactly the same as the person sitting next to you, nor could they say the same. There is nothing wrong with this. There is everything right with this. The key to the puzzle is how we go about using all of the views toward our common goal. The answer is that we use all of the views productively and with an attitude of acceptance. Accept that we are not going to get our way every time, and that this is ok. This is not a game. This is reality. This is the reality of lives, literally lives at stake, dependent upon our ability to reconcile our differences, work together, and compromise for the best possible outcome.

I am by no means without guilt in this situation nor do I proclaim to be such. I too have participated in the very actions that I speak out against in this statement in the respect of the “blaming game”. For that, I do apologize and ask forgiveness to all of those whom I have affected with these behaviors. However, I do not feel that the mistakes of mankind should be debts paid by innocent creatures.

It is not my wish or intent that this statement is taken as an insult or in a condescending manner. It is not meant in any derogatory way. My only wish is that we put aside our differences and focus on the reality of the problem at hand, and realize that this is the only problem worth our time and energy where this campaign is concerned. With this approach, I truly believe that we can help our beloved mustangs and burros, and that our children will not only have cleaner energy and brighter futures but will have the opportunity to look out across a rangeland plentiful with the Spirit of the West.

*Update: Over the course of the past couple of years, I have in fact become an ally to a specific advocacy group and its affiliates. The Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates (AOWHO) is a group that has stolen my heart and much of my time. Their program – the Least Resistance Training Concepts (LRTC) Wild Horse Mentors (WHM) – is one of inestimable value.  As most of you know, I am a Natural Horsemanship / Equus Trainer and Instructor. I firmly believe that manners are a two way street; if you treat your horse with respect, he will respect you. LRTC WHM are of the same belief system. More specifically, they’re goals are all about the American Wild Mustang. Their Mission Statement says it all: “To ensure appropriate and safe homes for adopted animals and a satisfying experience for adopters by providing pertinent education and mentoring assistance, and to develop programs that preserve viable herds on the range.” The group and it’s allies have received quite a bit of criticism over the years. Specifically, they have been wrongly “labeled” as BLM sympathizers, “on the BLM payroll”, etc. I find this to be very disheartening. The lives of Mustangs that have been saved over the years through this program can’t be truly counted. In order to accomplish the saving of these lives, certain relationships and cooperation with BLM / WH&B were required. What I don’t understand is how anyone could claim that AOWHO, LRTC, or WHM is in the wrong for doing so. LIVES WERE SAVED. ‘NUFF SAID. MF*T*

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 4 Comments »

Want Proof That Mustangs/Horses are Native to North America? Ok…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 6, 2011

Drs Jay Kirkpatrick and Patricia Fazio take on the debate of native or introduced species where the American Wild Mustang is concerned. Naturally, we know that they are in fact Native to North America, but to put this argument to rest from a scholarly perspective, the good doctors published the following paper and were gracious enough to give permissions to TMP to share it with you all. Some info you already know, but a heck of a lot that you didn’t know.
T.

Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife Updated January 2010 Final, Drs. Jay Kirkpatrick and Patricia Fazio

 

Posted in Daily Posts | 2 Comments »

IMPORTANT – CRITICALLY TIME SENSITIVE! Friday, June 3!

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 3, 2011

Please cross post on Friday, June 3! TIME SENSITIVE!
IF YOU HAVE NOT CONTACTED SENATOR HORSFORD AND ASSEMBLYMAN OCEGUERA
(and even if you have)
Today is the deadline to get SB364, the horse tripping ban, brought back up as an emergency measure. The problem we’re facing is that there is a pile of bills that the Legislature has to get through before Monday, so it’s not that these people don’t care, it’s a matter of what issues are given priority. Please call and/or email and encourage these leaders of their respective houses to let SB364 get to the floor for a vote. Nevada’s reputation and the welfare of a number of unfortunate horses hang in the balance!
Thanks “:O) Willis

The original messages are posted below.
On 6/1/2011 7:31 AM, Willis Lamm wrote:

IMPORTANT – CRITICALLY TIME SENSITIVE! Please cross post and respond today, June 1st.
We have a chance at a Hail Mary pass on SB364 (horse tripping.) The Legislature may consider a rules waiver so that the bill can be voted on before the legislative session ends this Friday. I’m forwarding a message from Eric Mills on the subject. Please take a minute and call the legislators listed in his message. Please be polite and responsible, but please urge them to let this bill come up for a vote. Nevada and its horses shouldn’t suffer because a committee was hoodwinked by people who misrepresented the facts in testimony.  But we literally have just a few hours to get a waiver signed.
PLEASE DO THIS BEFORE YOU GET DISTRACTED. The hourglass is nearly empty on this one.
Thanks!
“:O) Willis

[Begin forwarded message]
Thanks to the tireless efforts of lobbyist Beverlee McGrath, and Senators Mark Manendo and Allison Copening, there’s a good chance that Senator Copening’s bill to ban horse tripping, SB 364, could be resurrected in the next day or two. But the effort needs your help.
As you likely know, the current Nevada Legislative Session ends this Friday, June 3.
I got a call from Beverlee late this afternoon with some promising news.  It seems that SB 364 may be brought up again this week for A VOTE ONLY (no more discussion, no amendments, since the bill has already had a full hearing in the Senate Natural Resources Committee chaired by Senator Manendo).
Here’s the deal: Senator Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas), Senate Majority Leader, together with Assembly member John Oceguera (D-Las Vegas), Speaker of the Assembly, must BOTH sign the waiver to resurrect SB 364, apparently for another committee vote, followed by a full floor vote. A long shot, but possible…
PLEASE EMAIL AND/OR CALL THEM ASAP (PREFERABLY TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY MORNING), and ask that they do just that: PLEASE SIGN THE WAIVER TO RESURRECT SB 364. Emphasize that this bill would in NO WAY affect American-style rodeo, and that nine other states have already passed similar legislation. It’s time for Nevada to follow suit.
SENATOR STEVEN HORSFORD              — shorsford@sen.state.nv.us      tel. 775/684-1429
ASSEMBLYMEMBER JOHN OCEGUERA  —  joceguera@asm.state.nv.us    tel. 775/684-8595
And please ask all your friends to do likewise. These abused horses should not have to wait another two years for relief.
Many thanks,
Eric Mills, Coordinator
ACTION FOR ANIMALS
Oakland

Posted in Daily Posts | Leave a Comment »

The Story of Mighty Mouse, Part 2

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 2, 2011

It has been a year since Mighty Mouse came to live with us. There were hard times. There were easy times. But they were always the best times because they with Mouse. Our whole family instantly became enamored with this little spit-fire of a horse. From the moment my mother-in-law saw him at the adoption, she loved him. When he got home, the rest of the family quickly followed suit. My father-in-law, “Pa”, was a horseman of sorts in his younger days but has not been around them in a few decades. It took all of about 2.5 seconds for Mouse and Pa to become fast friends. Even when Mouse was mad at everyone else for whatever reason or another, Pa could walk out in the pasture straight up to him with no problems. Talking with Sandra awhile back, I realized in our conversation just how much Mouse meant to me. I’ve had horses all of my life, literally. From the time I was 11 months old, my Grammaw would mount me behind the harness knobs of her plow horse to plow the fields. She used to make me laugh when she’d tell me about it; said she had to wait until I could sit up on my own before she could get the fields done “properly”. I’ve had all kinds of horses, from the old plow horse to the best-bred barrel and cutting horses. But never before have I had a horse that was so kind, so gentle, and yet such a spunky one! Mouse is unlike any horse I have ever owned or even been around. He has the kindest eyes I’ve ever seen. He actually listens when I talk to him. (Seriously, we have full length conversations!) LOL we even watch our soaps together in the barn! (One Life to Live & All My Children are his favorites :D) I know some of this sounds silly, but the relationship shared between me and Mouse is one of extraordinary uniqueness. And neither of us would have it any other way. He is most definitely an Ambassador for the American Wild Mustang. So, without further adieu… 

Ladies & Gentlemen, we are proud to present… 

The Story of Mighty Mouse, Part 2!


Posted in Daily Posts, Mighty Mouse the Mustang | 19 Comments »

FY2011 Gather Schedule as of May 23, 2011

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on May 27, 2011

FY2011 Gather Schedule as of May 23, 2011 Available as a pdf from TMP for easier print out. ~T.

2011 Summer Gathers 2011 as of May 23, 2011

State

Agency

HMA / HA

Complex

Start Date

End Date

#Planned

Gathered

#Planned

Removed

Contractor

/BLM

Species

Mares

Treated

w/PZP

#Geldings

/Stallions

Released

NM

FS

Jicarilla

Bait

Trapping

1/1/11

9/28/11

150

150

FS/BT

Horses

 

 

CA

BLM

Centennial

HA

China

Lake

5/27/11

5/31/11

20

20

Cattoor

Burros

 

 

CA

BLM

Slate Range

HA

China

Lake

5/27/11

5/31/11

38

38

Cattoor

Burros

 

 

OR

BLM

Kiger

 

7/1/11

7/5/11

132

85

Cattoor

Horses

 

 

NV

BLM

 

Buck/Bald

Complex

7/1/11

8/16/11

1,687

1,579

Sun J

Horses

 

108

NV

BLM

Triple B

Buck/Bald

Complex

7/1/11

8/16/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

NV

FS

Cherry

Creek

Buck/Bald

Complex

7/1/11

8/16/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

NV

BLM

Maverick/

Medicine

Buck/Bald

Complex

7/1/11

8/16/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

NV

BLM

Antelope

Valley West

Buck/Bald

Complex

7/1/11

8/16/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

OR

FS

Big

Summit*

Bait

Trapping

7/1/11

9/29/11

50

50

FS/BT

Horses

 

 

OR

FS

Murderers

Creek*

Bait

Trapping

7/1/11

9/29/11

50

50

FS/BT

Horses

 

 

OR

BLM

Outside

Paisley

Bait

Trapping

7/1/11

9/29/11

10

10

BLM/BT

Horses

 

 

OR

BLM

Outside

Warm Spring

Bait

Trapping

7/1/11

9/29/11

10

10

BLM/BT

Horses

 

 

OR

BLM

Riddle

 

7/6/11

7/10/11

87

54

Cattoor

Horses

 

 

OR

BLM

Jackies

Butte

 

7/12/11

7/17/11

210

135

Cattoor

Horses

 

10

OR

BLM

Three

Fingers

 

7/19/11

7/24/11

210

135

Cattoor

Horses

32

10

UT

BLM

Winter

Ridge HA

 

8/10/11

8/15/11

200

200

Cattoor

Horses

 

 

WY

BLM

Little

Colorado

 

8/17/11

9/6/11

280

241

Cattoor

Horses

23

46

WY

BLM

White

Mountain

 

8/17/11

9/6/11

594

455

Cattoor

Horses

66

139

OR

BLM

 

Barren

Valley

9/10/11

9/30/11

626

258

Sun J

Horses

140

50

OR

BLM

Coyote

/Alvord

Barren

Valley

9/10/11

9/30/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

OR

BLM

Sheepshead

/Heath

Barren

Valley

9/10/11

9/30/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

OR

BLM

Sand

Springs

Barren

Valley

9/10/11

9/30/11

 

 

Sun J

Horses

 

 

CO

BLM

Spring

Creek Basin

 

9/15/11

9/18/11

90

60

Cattoor

Horses

10

 

CO

BLM

Piceance/East Douglas

 

9/20/11

9/30/11

250

250

Cattoor

Horses

 

 

Summer Totals

4694

3780

   

271

363



Posted in BLM, Daily Posts, FY2011 | 3 Comments »

Ruby Valley Guzzler #3, Elko, NV

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on May 21, 2011

While doing routine maintenance to the TMP site here, I came across one of the search requests that led a visitor to our site. The term searched stated “ruby valley guzzler #3”. I decided to check into this one myself as it seemed interesting given our most recent battles in the Nevada Legislature about water and wildlife. Imagine my surprise when the search engine’s results brought up Elko, NV as the location of this guzzler, and that the NDoW was in charge of this guzzler. The story below is from the Elko Daily Free Press. It was printed on May 13, 2011. What I found the most astonishing is the caption with the picture accompanying the article. MF*T*

Volunteers needed for Ruby Valley guzzler project

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2011 7:41 pm | (0) Comments

Courtesy Joe Doucette/NDOW Joe Doucette Jr. and Jerry Smith stretch wire around a guzzler that was built in 2005 just west of Spruce Mountain. A wildlife friendly fence is built around the drinkers and tanks, while an animal proof fence is built around the water collection pads to keep hooves from putting holes in them.

ELKO — On May 21, The Nevada Department of Wildlife  will reconstruct an old guzzler in southeastern Ruby Valley. Because of the labor-intensive nature of these projects, volunteers are needed to assist. 

No special skills are required and volunteers of all ages are welcome to participate. Tools will be provided, as will a lunch and dinner, which has been donated by Elko Bighorns Unlimited.

Anyone wanting to travel in convoy should meet at the NDOW office at 6:45 a.m. on May 21. For those who want to meet at the site, work will start around 9 a.m. Directions and a map to the project area can be obtained by calling Norv Dallin at 777-2300. 

A guzzler is an artificial water collection structure designed to catch and store water from snow and rain for wildlife. Guzzlers are installed in areas with good habitat, but little or no surface water, making the habitat available for wildlife to use. This guzzler is designed for antelope but may also be used by several big game species, birds, small mammals, and other wildlife. 

“The hundreds of guzzlers built in arid parts of Nevada have greatly increased the acreage of habitat available to wildlife,” said Ken Gray, game division supervisor for NDOW’s Eastern Region. 

Posted in Lifestyles on Friday, May 13, 2011 7:41 pm Updated: 7:43 pm.

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts, Elko DO | Leave a Comment »

FY2010 Completed Gathers…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on May 21, 2011

Messing around this evening with my Excel spreadsheet, I wondered just what the numbers would add up to if I plugged in a formula at the bottom of BLM’s FY 2010 Completed Gather numbers. I knew it had been a lot, but its different when you see it in black and white. T.

Estimated Pre-Gather Population # of Animals Gathered # of Animals Removed # of Mares Treated with Fertility Control Vaccine # of Animals Died/Euthanized Gather Related1 # of Animals Died/Euthanized Not Gather Related2 Estimated Post Gather Population
FY2010 Grand Totals

15,508

11,554

10,345

443

27

74

6,167

All of these totals came from adding together data listed on BLM’s chart, copied from this address, on May 20, 2011. Or, see below…

Completed Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Gather Reports (as of 11/4/10)

Herd Management Area Completion Date Estimated Pre-Gather Population # of Animals Gathered # of Animals Removed # of Mares Treated with Fertility Control Vaccine # of Animals Died/Euthanized Gather Related1 # of Animals Died/Euthanized Not Gather Related2 Estimated Post Gather Population
Onaqui 10/4/09 308 218 184 17 0 2 124
Four Mile 10/9/09 149 123 112 4 1 1 37
Sands Basin 10/13/09 122 102 69 5 0 5 53
Caliente Complex 10/14/09 277 301 301 0 3 5 67
McCullough Peaks 10/20/09 207 193 94 33 0 1 110
Garfield Flats 10/20/09 225 205 135 21 1 0 89
Fifteen Mile 10/24/09 392 378 301 0 2 0 89
Tobin Range 11/3/09 443 375 375 0 3 2 67
Hog Creek 11/11/09 64 36 33 0 0 0 31
South Steens 11/20/09 584 482 369 59 0 0 135
Red Desert Complex 11/25/09 1,391 1,234 843 191 6 6 528
Buckhorn 12/9/09 255 236 193 20 1 0 61
Coppersmith 12/11/09 177 117 116 0 0 0 61
Paisley 12/21/09 354 275 250 15 0 2 102
Palomino Buttes 12/24/09 120 103 80 0 0 1 32
Calico Complex 02/4/10 3,034 1,922 1,916 0 2 5 1,362
Black Mountain
(Burros)
02/19/10 175 84 80 0 0 2 635
Liggett Table 02/28/10 32  25 25 0 0 0 15
Cold Springs 7/16/10 187 159 115 0 3 75
Nuisance
(Burros AZ)
7/29/10 Nuisance 60 60 0 0 0 Nuisance
Owyhee Complex 8/1/10 1,548 1,224 1,097 64 4 24 454
Moriah 8/13/10 Data    Pending3  72 53 0 0 Data Pending3 
Stinking Water 8/25/10 215 210 210 0 0 1 40
Saylor Creek 9/1/10 200 198 198 0 0 1 Emergency Gather
Conger 9/11/2010 291 218 218 0 0 2 73
Reveille 9/14/2010 298 222 222 0 0 2 76
Confusion 9/18/2010 349 216 211 0 0 0 138
Twin Peaks (H) 9/23/2010 2430 1637 1575 14 1 4 851
Twin Peaks (B) 9/24/2010 262 162 159 0 1 0 162
Montezuma/

Paymaster

9/22/2010 220 149 149 0 1 0 71
Cibola 9/28/2010 600 103 98 0 0 0 502
Piute 10/1/2010 25 1 1 0 0 0 24
Silver King 10/15/2010 606 504 503 0 1 5 103

 1 “Gather Related Deaths” are defined as animals that died or were euthanized at field gather sites due to acute injuries or medical conditions brought about by the gather and removal process including those that occurred during capture, sorting and holding at the gather site. Includes animals found dead in pens overnight and all animals that died for known or unknown reasons thought to be related to gather activities.  These numbers only include deaths at capture sites and do not include deaths at short-term holding facilities.

2 “Not Gather Related Deaths” are defined as animals that died or were euthanized according to BLM policy at field gather sites for reasons related to chronic or pre-existing conditions such as poor body condition, lameness, serious physical defects, etc. Includes animals that were euthanized for conditions not brought about by the gather activity.  These numbers only include deaths at capture sites and do not include deaths at short-term holding facilities.
3 Final data pending.


Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 4 Comments »

BLM to Gather Wild Horses from Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, & Antelope Valley HMAs

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on May 21, 2011

I have some very real fears about this gather. The timing, mixed with the weather patterns across the US as of late, does not make for a very safe gather operation. Yes, we know that most all gathers conducted by BLM and FS are not safe to standards that we would like. The point here is that even by the meager standards of BLM and FS, this gather shows promise of disaster.

A) July? Most colts are only a few months old. Some may be almost weanling age if they were born early this year. Some are going to be just off the ground.

B) Again, July? The weather as of late has been showing great forecasts of heat, heat, and more heat. While granted, the heat in Northern Nevada is not as “hot” as it is in other parts of the country due to the low humidity, 95 degrees Fahrenheit is still 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

C) 1,726? Seriously??? Are you out of your ever-bleeping minds? Has history not shown you anything about gathering this many horses at once? For Pete’s sake, take a lesson learned!

D) Say what you will, but I still take serious issue with skewing sex ratios. I don’t agree with it, never have and never will. How’s about making you a mare in the middle of a bunch of studs? Outnumbered and overpowered.

I could go on all night with the reasons why this gather is a bad idea but someone said the world was gonna end in a couple of hours so I guess I’ll try to get some sleep. Don’t want to be all sleep deprived for the big day.

T.

BLM to Gather Wild Horses from Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas

Ely, Nev. –The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko District, Wells Field Office; and BLM Ely District, Egan Field Office have issued the Decision Record for the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas (HMAs) Wild Horse Gather. The BLM will gather and remove approximately 1,726 excess wild horses from in and around the HMAs, and the Cherry Springs Wild Horse
Territory (WHT) located approximately 30 miles northwest of Ely and 70 miles southeast of Elko, Nev., beginning in July.
At the time of the proposed gather, it is estimated that the population will be more than 1,460 wild horses in the Triple B HMA where the Appropriate Management Level (AML) is 250-518 wild horses; 636 wild horses in the Maverick-Medicine HMA where the AML is 166-276 wild horses; 28 wild horses in the portion of the Antelope Valley HMA west of U.S. Highway 93 where the AML is 16-27 wild horses; and 74 wild horses in the Cherry Springs WHT where the AML is 40-68 wild horses. The estimate includes the 2011 foal crop.  Wild horse numbers fluctuate between the HMAs and WHT, based on seasonal movement.
If more than 1,726 wild horses are gathered, selective removal criteria would be used to return horses to the range.  Of the horses remaining on the range, BLM would conduct fertility control measures on mares and/or adjust the sex ratios of the gathered animals to be returned to the HMA to 60 percent male/40 percent female ratios.
Removing the excess wild horses will help to prevent further deterioration of the range, and achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship as required under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as well as help to achieve and maintain healthy wild horse
populations.
The gathered animals will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center near Reno, Nev., where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program. Un-adopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.
The Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas gather and impacts are described and analyzed in the EA, which is available online at http://www.blm.gov/nv/.  Click on the Ely District map and then click on the EA listed “In the Spotlight.”  The BLM will also provide updates and information at the same Web address on a regular basis throughout the course of the gather.
For more information, contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District public affairs specialist, at (775) 289-1842 or chris_hanefeld@blm.gov.

Triple B, Maverick Medicine, and Antelope Valley HMA Wild Horse Gather

Newsroom

Documents and Maps

Ely District Office (Employee Directory)
702 North Industrial Way, HC 33 Box 33500 Ely, NV 89301
Phone: 775-289-1800 Fax: 775-289-1910 Email: eyfoweb@blm.gov
District Manager: Rosemary Thomas

Caliente Field Office
US Hwy 93 Bldg #1, P.O. Box 237 Caliente, NV 89008
Phone: 775-726-8100 Fax: 775-726-8111
Field Manager: Victoria Barr

Egan Field Office
702 North Industrial Way, HC 33 Box 33500 Ely, NV 89301
Phone: 775-289-1800 Fax: 775-289-1910
Field Manager: Gary Medlyn

Schell Field Office
702 North Industrial Way, HC 33 Box 33500 Ely, NV 89301
Phone: 775-289-1800 Fax: 775-289-1910
Field Manager: Mary D’Aversa

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 2 Comments »

BLM to Host Public Tours of Indian Lakes Facility

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on May 13, 2011

BLM to Host Public Tours of its Fallon Wild Horse and Burro Facility

Reno, Nev. —The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is offering public tours of its Indian Lakes Road Short-Term Holding Facility in Fallon, Nev., Friday, June 3, and Friday, July 15, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.  The tours can each accommodate up to 30 people and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.  The public can sign up to attend and get driving directions to the facility by calling the BLM at (775) 475-2222.  

The facility is located at 5676 Indian Lakes Road, Fallon, and is privately owned and operated.  Those attending the tour will be taken around the facility as a group on a wagon so visitors can hear information about the facility and program, ask questions, and to provide safety for visitors, since the facility is quite large to walk around by foot.  

About a one and one-half hour drive from Reno, the Indian Lakes Road Facility is the BLM’s newest contracted short-term holding facility, and provides care for up to 2,850 excess wild horses that are removed during gathers.  The facility encompasses 320 acres and contains 36 large holding pens that are 70,000 square feet per pen and can hold approximately 100 horses safely per pen.  The horses are fed an abundance of feed tailored to their needs each day, and a veterinarian routinely inspects the horses and provides necessary medical care.  

Once preparation for adoption is completed, and the animals have fully transitioned to a diet of domestic feed, they are ready for shipment to adoption venues and may be available to the public for adoption through the BLM’s Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program.  

The BLM plans to hold periodic public tours in the future.  Announcements of future public tours, as well as information about the Indian Lakes Road Facility and the public tours, can be found at the BLM Nevada website at www.blm.gov/nv/.  

Posted in BLM, Calico Complex Gather 2009-2010, Daily Posts | 1 Comment »

AOWHA Report: Nevada Legislature Continues Assault on Horses

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on May 13, 2011

Nevada Legislature Continues Assault on Horses

Issue: The Nevada State Legislature continues to make it tough to be a horse in the Silver State

Priority: HIGH

Status: Working Incident

Date: May 13, 2011

Through its unfathomable actions the Nevada State Legislature is continuing its unprecedented assault on horses of all kinds. A ban on horse tripping failed to get out of committee on the excuse that such things didn’t happen in Nevada, only to be followed a few days later by a KRNV (Reno Channel 4) exposé and video of horses being tripped in a Winnemucca mangana (Mexican rodeo.) (See story.) 

This fiasco came on the heels of Senate Joint Resolution 5 (SJR5) that opposed certain proposed reforms to the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program and it preceded the Legislature’s latest endeavor, Assembly Bill 329 (AB329,) that is aimed to prevent the Bureau of Land Management from being able to appropriate water within the state for wild horses.

Social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) have gone “viral” with angry posts from citizens across the world. An effort is underway to “blacklist” Nevada. Thousands of people are pledging not to spend money in Nevada as tourists or purchase Nevada products. The venom expressed on these sites is unmistakable. (See one example.)

Nevada residents are growing concerned because the image projected to the world by the state is essential to successful tourism marketing. The tourism industry is Nevada’s largest employment sector. According to the Nevada Commission on Tourism, Nevada is six times more tourism-dependent than the U.S. average with tourism accounting for 13 percent of Nevada’s overall statewide Gross Domestic Product.

Revenues from tourism and gaming produce 35 percent of the state’s tax revenues. It appears that the Nevada State Legislature could be about to receive a lesson in marketing and economics. However the Legislature’s answer may be to shift the burden of its folly onto the taxpayers. Senate Bill 495 would impose a “transaction tax,” or a whole new tax, similar to the sales tax on merchandise, that would be imposed on virtually every kind of labor service other than health care.

This Legislature needn’t worry about its impact on tourism revenues. If some of the tourists decide to stay home, Nevada citizens can be squeezed to provide the money needed to keep the state operating. What’s a State Legislature for other than to make foolish decisions and legally extract money from its citizens?

The reality is that some people in the Nevada State Legislature need to wake up. Provocative approaches to dealing with state issues can and will alienate the state’s “customer base,” particularly when these very issues could be addressed in a less controversial manner. Quotes made by a couple of legislators that were dismissive of non-Nevadans have further inflamed this situation. Citizen comments such as, “If you don’t respect my opinion, then you won’t get my money” are being voiced in response.

It is not that this Legislature hasn’t been warned by a number of people trying to preserve Nevada’s tourism image. This Legislature either doesn’t get it or it just doesn’t care. It could be that Nevada is headed for tough times and the citizens need to be figuring out who is responsible.

Please fasten your seat belts and keep your head and arms inside the ride until it comes to a complete stop. It’s likely to be a rough ride.

Get involved with legislative activities. Constructive interaction with legislators helps produce beneficial legislation. The Nevada State Legislature has a useful web site that can be visited by clicking here.

Additional Documents Worth Viewing

ASPCA / AWHPC Press Release

Nevada Wildlife Commission Proposed “Feral Horse Policy”

(More links will be added.)

Posted in Daily Posts | 2 Comments »

Dear Food Network: PULL THIS EPISODE NOW!!!

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on May 13, 2011

(Copied from Animal Law Coalition.) Food Network Canada Contact Us

Horse Advocates Call Foul on Food Network

Posted May 13, 2011 by lauraallen

Chicago (EWA) – Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) joins its Canadian partner, Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) in calling for the withdrawal of an episode scheduled to air Monday, May 16 on the Food Network’s program Top Chef Canada.

The program features “French Cuisine” including horse meat and foie gras, angering both horse advocates and animal welfare groups across the globe. The timing of this episode coincides with CHDC’s May Equine Awareness campaign.

In choosing these menu items, the program has completely ignored the cruelty involved in their production. Foie gras is diseased duck liver produced by force feeding ducks using a feeding tube thrust down their throats several times a day until they are too fat to even stand up. The liver becomes hugely swollen in an attempt to deal with the process.

Horse meat in Canada comes from horses that often suffer incredible abuse even before they arrive at slaughter. Beyond this, horse meat is likely to contain drugs that are illegal in food animals.

Last year, renowned chef at Pangaea Restaurant in Toronto, Martin Kouprie, removed horse meat from the menu because slaughterhouses cannot tell him where the horses come from and whether the meat is free of toxic substances. “I cannot in good conscience serve that to my customers,” said Kouprie. “Every ingredient in my kitchen has a story, and if I don’t know that story, I cannot serve it.”

The investigations into two of the major horse slaughter plants in Canada last year revealed horrific conditions and has caused outrage across the world. A recent European Union Food and Veterinary Office investigation into the horse slaughter plants in Mexico revealed numerous serious violations including drug residues in the meat.

North American horses are not raised or regulated as food animals. “Consumers need to be aware of the health dangers of eating horse meat and the cruelty the horses endure before ending up on their plates.” commented John Holland, president of EWA.

“Many Canadians consider horses to be as dear to their hearts as dogs and cats,” adds Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. “Companion animals are not likely to be well-accepted as menu items in our country.”

The Equine Welfare Alliance believes that the choice of horse meat was not an accidental social misjudgment, but more likely the result of influence from a well funded public relations effort on the part of horse slaughter supporters aimed at gaining acceptance for the meat and desensitizing viewers to horse slaughter in general. Case in point, The Toronto Observer also ran a story on May 11 defending the consumption of horsemeat.

It is in the best interest of the Food Network and consumers to withdraw the episode promoting food that is dangerous to consumers and cruel to equines. Fortunately, the French have many excellent sauces and dishes to choose from that do not involve cruelty and carcinogens as ingredients.


Posted in Daily Posts | 6 Comments »

TMP Tribute to Mamas, 2011

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on April 29, 2011

It’s a little early, we know; but then again, it’s never really early to tell your Mama Thanks!

There are many different variations of the names given to mothers. In the South, we call them “Mama”. Being a Mama is a very serious job with very big responsibilities. As Mamas, we don’t take it lightly. One of our most important responsibilities is to protect our children from the cruelties, hatred, and evil in this world. We strive to keep our children “kids” for as long as we can. And to do so, we preserve their innocence in any way that we know how. One of those ways is through horses.

The bond between a child and his horse is one that tempered steel and a diamond bit cannot break. Even as Mamas, most of us can remember our first four-hoof friend from our childhoods. They taught us more than we ever realized they were teaching us at the time, and some of us don’t even realize now some of our lessons learned on the backs of our mounts.

But for those of us who are fortunate enough to have the opportunity now with our children, our Equine heroes are continuing that tradition. I for one could not be more grateful each and every time I see Britton with his mare, India. I see that innocence in his eyes, his smile and in his loving care of her needs. Even at the age of 9 – which by today’s standards is practically a teenager – Britton is maintaining the essence of his childhood. I credit India with a great deal of that accomplishment.

Almost all of you have seen me write about Britton and India, how their friendship started even before he was born, and still continues today. The day that India gallops into the sky will indeed be a day of tremendous loss for our family. And even though India has never foaled, she is more of a “Mama” than many of the two leggeds I see in this world.

In tribute to India – and all Mamas like her – I dedicate the following compilation. The song is by the late, great Patsy Cline – who was taken too soon from her time here on Earth. It’s called “If I Could See the World”. She sings about seeing this world through the eyes of a child, with no trouble and no strife, just a big happy life, and a bluebird in every tree. The pictures are from family and friends. The message is simple: Thank you. 

Posted in Daily Posts | 5 Comments »

SpayVac Fertility Control Study Begins at Pauls Valley, OK

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on April 27, 2011

(Links and resources at the end of BLM’s Press Release)

Bureau of Land Management

Contacts: Paul McGuire (Oklahoma) (405-794-9624) Heather Emmons (Nevada) (775-384-7966) Tom Gorey (Washington, D.C.) (202-912-7420)

For release: Tuesday, April 26, 2011

BLM, USGS Begin New Wild Horse Fertility Control Study

The Bureau of Land Management and the United States Geological Survey  (USGS) have begun a five-year wild horse contraceptive study at the BLM’s short-term holding facility in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.  The pasture breeding study will test the effectiveness of two formulations of the investigational contraceptive vaccine SpayVac® to determine if the treatment can reduce foaling rates in wild horse mares.
The goal is to see if SpayVac®, a novel formulation of a glycoprotein called porcine zona pellucida (PZP), will provide a longer-term effect than other PZP vaccines currently used by the BLM.  If the vaccine is found to reduce foaling in this controlled setting, it will be considered for use with free-roaming horses to help control population growth rates on the
range.
As the primary agency responsible for management of wild horses on U.S. public lands, the BLM has a need for a long-lasting contraceptive agent to control herd growth rates.  Given the protection afforded by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and a general lack of natural predators, wild horse populations increase at an average rate of 20 percent a year and can quickly exceed the carrying capacity of their ranges.
The BLM, as part of its development of a new wild horse and burro management strategy, has been stepping up its efforts to reduce population growth rates in wild horse herds using contraceptive agents.  A main limitation of the agents currently available is that they are of relatively short duration or need to be administered annually.  Maximizing the duration of contraceptive effectiveness is especially important in wild horses, which in most cases must be captured in order for the treatment to be successfully administered.
In the BLM-USGS study, 90 mares have been treated with either one of two formulations of the vaccine or a placebo.  The mares will be followed for five years to measure anti-PZP antibody levels and compare the foaling rates between treated horses and controls.  Although breeding is not usually allowed to occur in BLM facilities, a clinical trial in this controlled environment will provide critical information on how well SpayVac® works as a contraceptive.
The mares and stallions enrolled in the study were selected from horses already in BLM holding facilities.  They are being housed in three 30-acre pastures and will be together during the next five breeding seasons.  Foals that are born during the study will be offered for adoption each fall after they have been weaned.  At the conclusion of the study, all adult horses
will be returned to the BLM’s Adopt-A-Horse Program or placed in long-term pasture facilities.
The BLM has an interagency agreement with the USGS for research and scientific support, and this study is a collaborative effort with scientists from the USGS, veterinarians with the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and TerraMar Environmental Research LLC.

Crooks and Liars: Nevada Agriculture Director Scuttles Birth Control Study October 17, 2008

SpayVac® Immunocontraception in Feral Horses

BLM FAQs Page

Q – Why doesn’t BLM consider other fertility control agents such as SpayVac or Gonacon?
A – GonaCon™ is an experimental fertility control vaccine. Presently, applications of GnRH are being researched in controlled field studies for potential use as a wildlife management tool for deer. Tests of the GnRH vaccine are ongoing in several states and countries, involving a wide range of wildlife and feral species, including horses. At present, the effectiveness of GonaCon™ as a fertility control agent appears similar to or less than PZP-22 which BLM is currently using, suggesting limited potential for development of an effective longer-lasting fertility control agent.
SpayVac™ is an experimental fertility control vaccine using PZPantigens. A single vaccination with SpayVac™ has maintained a high level of contraception throughout the 4-year Nevada estray horse study. There is no regulatory approval for the management or investigational use of SpayVac™ through EPA or FDA. There is no SpayVac™ available for investigational use and no one is currently making it. Data is not available that describes the impact of SpayVac™ on the behavior and physical health of the mares. SpayVac™ may have potential for use as an effective, longer-lasting fertility control agent in the future. It may also offer an alternative to spaying mares in the future. However, additional research over the next 5-10 years would be needed before it could be used on a population-management basis. 

Evaluation of Three Contraceptive Approaches for Population Control in Wild Horses (pdf)

WILD HORSE BIRTH CONTROL WITH PZP from Dianne Nelson of The Wild Horse Sanctuary, Shingletown, CA

A Similar Vaccine, American Herds Blog Post, October 02, 2010


Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 14 Comments »

The Lone Star State is Brightly Burning…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on April 18, 2011


The Lone Star State is Brightly Burning… So much so that it can be seen from space. Photo from a NASA satellite. The Rock House fire, which began in Marfa, Texas, became the fastest-moving wildfire to scorch the area in decades.

Yes, my friends, the Lone Star State is burning brightly. I am a Texan. I was born here. I was raised here. I’ve lived here all of my life and if I have anything to say about it, I will die between the Red and Rio Grande. I love this state. I love the birds, the hills, the prairies and – of course – I love the Aggies.

But right now, the state that I love and count myself among the most blessed to be a citizen of is hurting deeply. Her eyes are upon us, but they’ve dried up from all the tears she’s cried. And it breaks my heart to see the devastation all around.

I visited our family’s homeplace this morning. My grandmother and grandfather were given seven acres of land in 1932 as a wedding present to start their lives together, the homeplace. Since then, four generations of Walters’ have been born, raised, and settled there. My mom and dad still live there today. Driving down the dirt road towards the old gate this morning, I found it very difficult to look at all of the smoke in the air, the ashes landing on my truck, and the literally countless burned plantation pines and oak trees along the way. My family’s homeplace is still safe, as are the woods immediately surrounding it. However, our friends and extended family members ten miles north of us were not so lucky. No official reports yet on the severity of the damages except for one vehicle lost. Thankfully, no homes have been damaged, and no one has been injured.

The current wildfire threatening our area, Pipeline No. 204, began Friday and has now reached over 7,500 acres. Reports early this morning stated 75% containment. It began as a result of a flare stack on an oil field location backfiring as it was being lit. The worker said he tried his best to get the flames out before they spread but the brush was so dry that it quickly spread to the surrounding woods.

Loss of Wildlife, Livestock, Livelihoods and Lives

As a result of the Pipeline No. 204 wildfire, over a thousand acres of hay pastures have been lost from an already decreased harvest forecast. Several hundred smaller grazing pastures have been charred beyond their ability to heal within this year. But the most damaging aspect of this fire has been the thousands of acres of natural habitat that have been destroyed.

Our little neck of the woods is very well known for its birds, whitetail deer, and even a few re-introduced black bears. Our ecosystems are some of Mother Nature’s finest – with the exception of the feral hogs and the damages they incur on their own. We call it the Big Thicket.

The National Parks Service folks call it the Big Thicket National Preserve. Other people have called it “an American ark and the biological crossroads of North America” because of how many species co-exist here.  It is home to approximately 1,300 species of Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Daily Posts | 7 Comments »

Ranchers Win Round in Wild Horse Row, Murderer’s Creek Wild Horse Decision…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on March 24, 2011

Here’s the kind of stuff that happens when horses collide with endangered species, especially when the agencies that manage the horses don’t adhere to the law.  We need to be sensitive to this kind of issue in Nevada as there could be some competition between horses and the greater sage grouse (a species that is a candidate for ESA listing) and other threatened species.  When the ESA comes into play, it’s a game changer.
“:O) Willis

Ranchers Win Round in Wild Horse Row

By DEE MOORE

     PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – A Federal judge sided with ranchers who claimed the Forest Service let a wild horse herd living in a federal forest get too big, threatening endangered steelhead. The ranchers graze their cattle on the same land.
     In 2008, the same judge barred Loren and Piper Stout from grazing cattle on their allotment in federal forest of Murderer’s Creek Wild Horse Territory, after finding that stream banks in the territory had been trampled. The couple blamed oversize wild horse herds for the degradation of
streams in an area that is designated as critical habitat for endangered steelhead.
     In 2009, the Stouts sued the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service, claiming the horses were eating all the grass that their cattle used to graze on and were leaving the land damaged. They also said the Forest Service failed to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service about its Wild Horse Plan.
     The Forest Service’s Wild Horse Plan, implemented in 1975, stated that free-ranging horse herd sizes should not exceed 100 adult horses. That year, the service estimated there were 174 horses on the on the Murderer’s Creek Territory. The service said it hoped to reduce the herd by more than one-third.
     In 1984, the service revised the plan to allow 140 horses roam the area.  A 2006 census of the animals indicated there were more than 400 horses living around Murderer’s Creek.
     District Judge Ancer Haggerty found that the Forest Service violated its own plan by failing to keep the horse population in check. Haggerty said the agency also violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to prepare a biological assessment examining whether the plan would harm any endangered species. He remanded the matter to the Forest Service, ordering the agency
to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service within one year about whether the plan complies with the Endangered Species Act. http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/03/17/Wild%20Horses.pdf

 

Posted in BLM, Daily Posts | 4 Comments »

Fertility control team starts trials of PZP formula that should provide 3-4 yrs of fertility control

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on March 18, 2011

Issue: Alternatives to removing horses to provide stable populations

Situation: Fertility control team starts trials of PZP formula that should provide three to four years of fertility control.

Location: Carson City, NV

Date: March 15, 2011

Report by: Willis Lamm

At the March 10-11 meeting of the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board an announcement was made that trials would soon begin on a three to four year fertility control vaccine.

The following week, on a cloudy Tuesday morning in Carson City, a field trial started that could potentially change the parameters for managing free-roaming horses on public lands. Dr. John W. Turner, Jr. (University of Toledo College of Medicine, Health and Science) and Dr. Irwin K. Liu (U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine) initiated a trial on 105 wild mares that could validate such a breakthrough. Volunteer Palomino Armstrong and I were able to witness, assist and learn a great deal about this process.

Why pursue fertility control?

Although the Wild Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act calls for agencies to utilize designated herd areas principally for the welfare of free-roaming horses and burros, the Act and other laws place some constraints on horse populations. For example, agencies have to manage for multiple uses and to achieve thriving ecological balance, and horses are a dominant species on the range.

While it has been argued that various alternative management models could be applied, the current reality is that some alternatives to present management strategies would require changes in federal law before they could occur. Furthermore, huge sums of money are presently required to support tens of thousands of horses in long term holding and little money is available to implement new models or to collect data and monitor the effectiveness of alternative management models. Therefore as a practical matter the two choices presently available to BLM are removal of excess horses and controlling the rate of fertility within the herds.

The greatest advantage of applying fertility control is that it has the least negative impact on the genetic viability of a given herd. The numbers of breeding members of the herd are not dramatically reduced every few years. This broader “genetic platform” is allowed to continue to exist however each mare would simply produce fewer offspring over her lifetime. Genetic diversity would remain robust while the horse population would more likely remain within its resource limits.

Conversely, removing members of the breeding population is disruptive, reduces genetic diversity, and there is evidence to suggest that large reductions of ungulate populations actually stimulate compensatory reproduction. Thus overdependence on removals as a means to manage horse populations is in several ways counterintuitive.

What is PZP?

PZP is an abbreviation for Porcine Zona Pellucida Vaccine. It is actually a vaccine that inhibits fertilization of eggs in mares. Here is a simple explanation as to how it works.

Every mammallian egg is coated with a membrane called the zona pellucida which is basically a sperm receptor. The PZP vaccine produces antibodies in the horse that bind to the zona pellucida and prevents conception.

The PZP vaccine is derived from pig’s eggs. It is harmless to the horse when injected however it produces an specific immune response. Zona pellucida antibodies bind to the zona pellucida membrane during ovulation. This immune response is much the same as how harmless cowpox vaccine produces an immune response in humans that will protect humans against deadly smallpox.

PZP does not affect egg production, mares’ cycles or seasonal ovulation. It simply prevents the eggs that the mare releases from being fertilized. Physiologically, when the effects of the vaccine wear off the mare will simply stop producing antibodies and normal conception will resume without any specific intervention.

How can one vaccination provide three to four years of fertility control?

Time release medications have been around since the early 1960s, the most commonly known being SmithKline French’s “Contac 12 Hour Cold Medicine” with its “tiny time-release capsules.” As this technology evolved, a variety of polymers were developed within which specific medications could be encapsulated and that had specific degradation properties. Medicines and vaccines could be released anywhere from a few hours to multiple years. Presently the use of polymers to control the release of materials that they contain have been used in thousands of applications including the delivery of medications, fertilizers and insect controls.

Polymers containing PZP are tiny, about the size of a shard of mechanical pencil lead. A handful of tiny “pellets” release PZP at varying intervals. They are injected into a large muscle using a “jab stick.” Typically a mare receives a liquefied “primer” vaccination that triggers an immediate immune response that will last until the vaccine in the pellets starts to be absorbed. The mare’s immune system would be expected to prevent conception following the dosage received from each time release pellet.

The two greatest advantages of this formula and delivery system over their predecessors are that each mare only needs a single treatment and fertility control should be expected to last three to four years. Disruption of free-roaming bands due to catch, treat and release is minimal.

How the study will work.

A primary purpose of this study is to compare two versions of three to four year PZP with the two year formulation currently being used and also compare the effective of PZP formulations with untreated control mares. Periodic blood work will be done on the mares to track the biological efficacy of the vaccine as well as any side effects that might appear. PZP has been in use for decades, so what would be significant is how consistently this delivery method provides fertility control over long periods of time.

Approximately 100 breeding age mares have been selected for this trial. One-fifth received the current 2-year vaccine. One-fifth received one version of the 3-4 year vaccine. One-fifth received the other 3-4 year version. One-fifth received no vaccinations and will serve as a negative control group. One fifth is a “positive” control group that will receive the original two-injection vaccine upon which all subsequent PZP vaccines have been based. Of the two-shot protocol, the first shot is the primer and the second shot, which they receive three weeks later, is the booster. All the horses have been identified for tracking purposes and blood was drawn to provide a baseline for hematological study.

The mares were distributed into six large holding pens, each pen receiving an assortment of mares from all five study groups. The pens are sufficiently large to allow the mares to socialize, establish band hierarchies and to accommodate foals produced by the control mares. Stallions will be introduced (one per band) once the mares have settled and established social order.

One of the "bands" of mares from the various study groups.

At predetermined intervals the stallions will be rotated from one study band to another to ensure that the possibility of lack of virility in one or more of the stallions would not skew the study results.

Dr. Gerald Peck will monitor the health and condition of the mares and will do periodic blood work.

The delivery system.

The methodology to deliver PZP has improved dramatically over the years. It has evolved from crude darting of horses to “jab stick” technology. The most current version of the jab stick, as was demonstrated by Alan Shepherd, is a relatively sophisticated spring loaded device that simply requires the user to tap the horse in a large muscle, in this case in the medial glutial (rump) muscle. The spring mechanism injects the capsules into the muscle. The process is no more invasive than injecting an annual booster vaccine and actually takes a fraction of the time. The horses showed little if any reaction to being “jabbed.”

The vaccination and monitoring process.

The Stewart Conservation Camp horse program has a large, modern horse preparation facility where several hundred horses are maintained. It includes specially designed chutes and alleys that allow for the quiet and orderly movement of horses and a padded veterinary squeeze for safely confining horses to draw blood, provide vaccinations, hoof care and other veterinary treatment. The Camp Manager is Tim Bryant who has decades of livestock experience and the horses are handled by Hank Curry’s inmate horse training crew.

Each study group of horses, except for the control group, was brought into the chute area and went through the vetting squeeze one horse at a time. The ID of each horse was checked and recorded. Then Dr. Peck took a blood sample and Dr. Liu and Dr. Turner injected the primer and time release capsules. From there the horses were disbursed to their respective study bands.

Dr. Liu injects the primer.

Dr. Turner positions the jab stick.

Dr. Peck will monitor the horses through the test period.

Facts and myths.

There have been a number of concerns expressed among advocates with respect to possible unintended effects of PZP. In fact a number of bizarre theories have emerged. The following information is based on years of observations, including our direct observations of hundreds of Virginia Range horses, and from a better understanding of how PZP actually works.

PZP simply causes an immune response that affects the zona pellucida and prevents conception. It has no affect whatsoever on any embryo that the mare might already be carrying or any other ovarian or uterine tissue. Since PZP is a vaccine rather than some chemical agent, there should be no issues that would otherwise be generally associated with chemical exposure to sensitive tissues.

PZP does not affect a mare’s cycle or season. It simply prevents conception of those eggs normally produced. There is some anecdotal evidence that some mares that haven’t conceived could release one additional egg before seasonal shutdown but this effect is not significant.

There is a very small percentage of mares who ovulate out of season. In the wild we will see an occasional December, January and February foal from mares that have never received fertility control. Since PZP does not effect ovulation, it can neither decrease or increase incidences of mid winter conception and foaling.

Most horses’ lives revolve around the social structure in which the horses engage. Our observations of fertility controlled horses showed relatively consistent trends before, during and after fertility control. Lead mares remained lead mares. The social order remained intact. The social associations between mares appeared to be unaffected. (This was an important element for us to witness in order to be comfortable with this population control approach.)

Mares do get bred more often. In observing free-roaming bands with fertility controlled members the increased breeding seemed to be somewhat distracting, however most free-roaming stallions are pretty calm about this business when they have a decent sized harem. Consequently the mares appeared to come to no harm. Conversely immature two year old fillies weren’t becoming pregnant and older mares that during prior years constantly presented with a gaunt appearance were regaining lost weight and behaving more robustly. Aside from reducing the need for removals, the general health of the bands appeared to improve when mares were able to “rest” between producing foals.

We are also keenly aware that interrupting the production of foals is far less disruptive to the horses than the alternative of permanently snatching them off the range.

With respect to rotating stallions during the test, such activity will likely produce some social disruption. However on the range more dominant stallions commonly displace less dominant stallions. So long as the harem of mares stays intact, the mares seem to have little concern about stallion displacement, oftentimes not even stopping reciprocal grooming or foal care while rather intensive stallion battles took place nearby. “We’re supposed to go with you now? OK, then.”

While stallion replacement during the test would be more frequent than natural changes that would take place on the range, it is not likely to seriously disrupt the mares’ social fabric. Furthermore any stallion that exhibits aggressive breeding tendencies or demonstrates threatening behavior towards foals will be immediately removed from the trial.

Conclusions.

This activity is an efficacy test. How well these vaccines work will be established at the end of the test.

The test is being conducted by some of the leading experts in the field. There is high confidence that the conclusions produced will be valid and useful.

The Stewart Conservation Camp is a safe, suitable facility with sufficient staff to carry out the day to day objectives of the study.

The inclusion of study groups that are being given earlier versions of the PZP formula will expand the knowledge base with respect to those formulations. More data is always useful. The greater the amount of relevant data, the more reliable the conclusions are likely to be.

Equine fertility control is an advancing science. This study is an important step in producing safer, longer lasting population management techniques.

Equine fertility control allows for more proactive herd population management. If we are to achieve any significant improvements in herd management methods and ecosystem management models, we will likely have to relieve the significant drain on financial resources produced by accumulating and warehousing horses. To use an ER metaphor, we have to stop the bleeding before we can cure the patient. This test is an important step toward reducing the financial bleeding that impedes BLM’s ability to test and properly evaluate new range and horse management models.

Willis Lamm
March 15, 2011

For more information on PZP, see The PZP-22 Debate… post here on TMP.

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