Sunday, December 27, 2009

Two More Wild Horse Foals Killed in BLM Roundup

From The Cloud Foundation

Sheryl Crow and Thousands of Advocates Call on President Obama and Senator Reid to Grant America’s Mustangs a Christmas Reprieve

Two More Wild Horse Foals are Killed in Most Recent BLM Roundup

Colorado Springs, CO (December 24, 2009)—Sheryl Crow asks Senator Reid and President Obama to grant a Christmas reprieve until the American people and Congress can find a better way to manage our living legends of the West. Now they are being managed into extinction. The Cloud Foundation also reports two more wild horse deaths, during the recent Paisley Wild Horse roundup in southern Oregon (December 16-18).

"I'm asking President Obama and Senator Reid to stop the Calico roundup of the American wild mustangs in Nevada NOW until Congress decides how to manage our living legends of the West." – Sheryl Crow

Two wild horses foals died, one that broke its leg during the helicopter roundup and another that was found dead in the temporary corrals where the horses had been held overnight. The Wild Horse and Burro specialist at the BLM Lakeview field office reported that the second foal was found dead in the foal pen the morning following his capture. The foals had been traumatized and separated from their mothers directly following entry into the trap.
275 horses in all were captured, 23 were allowed back out on the range, 15 mares and 8 stallions. All mares released were given infertility drugs. According to the Paisley Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, the estimated number of horses remaining in the immense herd area of nearly 300,000 is 102 animals. This number is below minimum standards to ensure their long term survival.

Many are demanding that the numbers of wild horses allowed on their home ranges be increased to guarantee they can survive into the future. At the December 7th National BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Meeting in Reno, Don Glenn, Chief of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, stated that 150 acres is necessary to maintain one wild horse on dry western areas. Yet, in the Paisley area, which is legally designated for wild horses, the BLM has left one horse for every 3,000 acres. As in most wild horse herd areas, BLM allows for cattle grazing and regularly cites the lack of forage in their decisions to remove wild horses.

The focus is now turning on the Administration in an effort to save the last stronghold of wild horses. Three days after Christmas BLM plans to wipe out 80-90 percent of the estimated 3,000 horses living in the Calico Mountain wild horse complex. The horses will be driven by a low-flying helicopter over dangerous terrain in winter conditions to traps and temporary corrals. Respiratory illnesses, permanent injury and death are expected should this winter roundup take place.

“Two foals and a mare have already been killed in the first two winter roundups and these deaths were in roundups 1/10th the size of Calico. I’m asking the public to join me in calling on our President to stop the Calico roundup now. No horse owner in their right mind would run their own horses in the winter the way the BLM does our wild horses. This is nothing short of government-sponsored cruelty.” – Ginger Kathrens, Naturalist and Emmy-award winning filmmaker- creator of the popular PBS Cloud Wild Horse Documentaries

In Defense of Animals (IDA) has filed complaints with the Department of Interior and White House Office of Environmental Quality (CEQ) alleging multiple violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
“The President should order a halt to this roundup until the legality of the long-term holding facilities is determined. The BLM itself says this (Calico) is not an emergency roundup, so there would be no harm in waiting for adjudication of this enormously important issue,”said William J. Spriggs, of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, which filed the case on behalf of IDA, Downer and Farley.

IDA charges that BLM violated NEPA by failing to adequately assess the environmental impacts of its massive wild horse capture plan. Over 10,000 public comments were submitted to the BLM in opposition to the Calico roundup, which the BLM has stated will cost taxpayers $1.9 million for the roundup contractor and BLM personal alone. Additional costs for branding, sorting, processing and transporting horses are expected to add at least another million.

“The thing these horses have to fear most is the very federal agency that is supposed to protect them.” —Howard Boggess, Crow Indian Elder and Historian
It would appear that there is a continuation of the Bush era policy of removing tens of thousands of wild horses from their rightful Western publicly-owned rangelands, often to make room for increased grazing of privately-owned livestock as well as for oil, gas and mineral deals. Judge Friedman questioned the legality of BLM’s warehousing of over 34,000 wild horses in government holding facilities. 9,000 more are expected to be added this year and in 2011 and in 2012 as BLM continues its unwarranted massive removals. Independent analysis1 of BLM’s own population estimates shows a dramatic decline in populations since 2000 and leaves in question how many wild horses and burros are even left on public lands. According to BLM the number of wild horses in government holding facilities will exceed those left on public lands around the time the government agency completes its desruction of the Calico horses.

“BLM only looks at removing or contracepting wild horses to manage what they claim to be exploding populations. BLM fails to look into restoring even a portion of their legally designated 24+ million acres that have been taken away from the wild horses and burros in the past 40 years.” —Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist.

“This is not only a humane issue, this is an issue about preserving a legacy that we have in the west.” —Congressman Raul Grijalva, in an address to wild horse advocates in Washington DC on September 29th, 2009.

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