Sunday, December 6, 2009

Opposition grows to Salazar's wild horse plan

Dozens of wild horse advocates plan to go before a federal advisory panel here on Monday to try to persuade public land managers to change their plan to relocate thousands of free-roaming mustangs from the West to preserves elsewhere


Associated Press Writer

SPARKS, Nev. —
Dozens of wild horse advocates plan to go before a federal advisory panel here on Monday to try to persuade public land managers to change their plan to relocate thousands of free-roaming mustangs from the West to preserves elsewhere.
They plan to press the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for alternatives to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's plan to move about 25,000 mustangs to preserves and pastures in the Midwest and East. They insist the plan is based on faulty government data that exaggerates the damage the horses do to the range, as well as the extent to which they are suffering from a lack of forage.

Horse defenders have stepped up their efforts in recent weeks, suing to block a proposed roundup of 2,700 horses in northern Nevada and lining up the support of celebrities such as Sheryl Crow, Lily Tomlin, Bill Maher and Ed Harris.

Crow took her concerns directly to Salazar in a telephone call this past week.

"One of the first things he said was something must be done because the horses are starving. We (advocates) don't believe it," Crow said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"Part of the problem is the information he's getting is skewed," she said. "My main concern is that the horse numbers not be dwindled down to the point where they can become extinct. I think he's very concerned about it as well."

Salazar made no commitment on ending the roundups, but he pledged efforts to have a horse advocate appointed to the national advisory board, which has been less than supportive of the cause in the past, she said.

"I'll still be pulling and working for an end to roundups," said Crow, who has adopted a mustang herself.

Ginger Kathrens, executive director of the horse advocacy group Cloud Foundation based in Colorado Springs, Colo., said advocates believe the BLM's figure of 37,000 horses in the wild is grossly inflated.

Kathrens said their own analysis indicates there may be only 15,000 horses on the range, and she fears herds will no longer be healthy and genetically viable if too many horses are removed.

She's calling for an independent audit to determine the actual number of mustangs both in the wild and in holding facilities.

"I don't think there's anywhere near the horses they're saying," said Kathrens, an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker.

BLM spokesman Tom Gorey said a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office last year found his agency was undercounting mustangs.

"There's no evidence for the (advocates') position. It's mere speculation," Gorey said. "We're certainly open to refining our counting techniques, but there's no indication an outside audit is needed."

Gorey said his agency removes horses before they become starving as part of its "pro-active management on the range."

"The fact that there would be horses not in emaciated conditions is not surprising," he said. "We're not going to manage them in a way so they can get to that point."

BLM officials said they plan to remove 11,500 wild horses and burros from the range throughout the West over each of the next three years because booming numbers of the animals are damaging the range.

The agency has set a target "appropriate management level" of 26,600 of the animals in the wild, about 10,000 below the current level. An additional 32,000 of them are cared for in government-funded holding facilities.

Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire Texas energy magnate T. Boone Pickens, questioned the wisdom of gathering more horses at a time when holding facilities are full. She opposes relocating them far from their natural habitat.

"This proposed gather schedule threatens the very survival of the remaining horse herds in the Western United States and must be stopped," she said.

Critics argue that the real motivation for ongoing roundups of the mustangs - and Salazar's proposal to ship thousands to preserves in the Midwest and East - is pressure from ranchers who don't like the horses competing with their cattle for food.

Salazar has said his plan unveiled last month would avoid the slaughter of some of the 69,000 wild horses and burros under federal control to halt the soaring costs of maintaining them.

The animals are managed by the BLM and protected under a 1971 law enacted by Congress. Soaring numbers of horses and costs to manage them - expected to jump from $36 million last year to at least $85 million by 2012 - have prompted Salazar to propose a new approach.

BLM wild horse and burro program:

Cloud Foundation:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Keep up the Momentum: Call for a Moratorium on Gathers

Posted Oct 28, 2009 by lauraallen
Horse Slaughter© by Laura Allen, Executive Director, Animal Law Coalition

The wild horses and burros can be saved. There has to be a better way to manage these animals other than by hiring criminals to run them down with helicopters and penning some for life and sending others to slaughter. The Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act requires them to be protected in their herd areas where they were living in 1971. And that is what the federal government should do.

Please write or call your U.S. representative and senators and urge them to join in this effort to put in place a moratorium to stop the gathers, the roundups and removals pending Congressional action on the future management of the wild horses and burros.

Also, ask your representative and senators to hold a hearing on the course of the wild horses and burros program.

You can also go here and just sign a letter that will be sent to your senators and representatives!

Urge President Barack Obama and BLM Director Bob Abbey to put a moratorium on the gathers of wild horses and burros!

BLM Director Bob Abbey
Call: 202-208-3801 or 866-468-7826
Fax: 202-208-5242

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden
Phone: 202-456-1111 or 202-456-9000
Fax: 202-456-2461

Thousands including celebrities like Sheryl Crow have joined the call for a moratorium on these cruel BLM roundups and removals of wild horses and burros.

The next roundup is scheduled for December 1 in the Calico Mountain Complex of Nevada where up to 2,500 wild horses will be removed and their herds destroyed.

To read more go to:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is supported by a broad-based coalition of public interest groups, environmentalists, humane organizations and historical societies representing over 10 million supporters.

Spearheaded by Return to Freedom in the summer of 2004 after a preliminary investigation into some of Nevada's Herd Management Areas, it was conceived as a campaign, as opposed to a new organization, specifically to allow its participants to present a united front for the horses' sake; it is not a fundraising operation, but a unifying tool with a firm grassroots base. For Campaign updates and alerts, please join our email list.

The AWHPC Coalition includes:

U.S. Public Interest Research Group
Humane Society of the United States
International Ecotourism Society
World Wildlife Foundation
Center for Environmental Education and Information
American Wild Horse Sanctuary (Return to Freedom)
Old West Living History Foundation
American Humane Association
Heritage Discovery Center
Wild Horse Observers Association
Public Lands For Public Use
American Horse Defense Fund
Habitat for Horses
National Wild Horse, Burro and Animal Sanctuary
Corolla Wild Horse Fund
Equine Tourism
Horse Nation Magazine
Wild Horse & Burro Freedom Alliance
Utah Environmental Congress
Wild Horse Preservation League
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Int’l Society for the Protection of Mustangs & Burros
Society for Animal Protective Legislation
The Cloud Foundation
Forest Guardians
National Horse Protection League
American Mustang and Burro Association
Vaquero Heritage Foundation
Wild Horse Spirit
Equine Advocates
International Fund for Horses
WindFlyers Mustang Sanctuary
Living Legends Magazine
Wild Hearts Horse Fund
Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue
Front Range Equine Rescue
Madeleine Pickens
Animals Voice
Horse Savers
Colonial Spanish Horse
Cascadia Wildlands Project
Wild Burro Rescue & Preservation Project
National Student Horse Protection Coalition
American Competitive Trail Horse Association
One Voice
The Silva Project
National Wild Horse Association

Wild horse advocacy is considered one of the most efficient grassroots movements in the nation. This was confirmed in 2006 by several Members of Congress polled by the Institute for a Democratic Future, who called AWHPC to congratulate wild horse advocates on their grassroots efforts.

Copyright © 2004-2008 AWHPC. All rights reserved.
Reproduction authorized solely for educational purposes,
provided is credited as source.

Help us save what is left of America's wild horses.

Please sign petition at:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Horse slaughter dream a financial nightmare

Horse slaughter gut piles at Natural Valley Farms, Canada
Contacts: John Holland
Vicki Tobin

CHICAGO, (EWA) – The dream of the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) and its affiliate the MQHA (Montana Quarter Horse Association) to bring horse slaughter back to the US may have just been dealt what may be its death blow. The blow came not from anti-slaughter advocates, nor public revulsion, nor Congress, but from a horse slaughter industry insider whose op-ed, Meat plant: a cautionary tale, appeared on April 30th in the Western Producer, a subscription-only Canadian online animal agriculture journal.
“Natural Valley Farms died the day the decision makers chose to kill horses”, says Henry Skjerven, an investor and director of the defunct Natural Valley Farms (NVF) slaughter complex in Saskatchewan, Canada. Skjerven tells the story of how NVF, which had originally been built to process cattle during the BSE crisis, ended in a $42 million financial disaster following its decision to kill horses for the Velda Group of Belgium.
The story broke just as the AQHA and Stan Weaver of the MQHA, were celebrating the passage of Montana bill (HB 418).
On April 5, EWA broke the news that the plant had been closed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in December. In his article, Skjerven refers to the plant’s confrontational interaction with the CFIA over the plant’s “composting” and other issues. Unlike beef that can be used in pet food, horse byproducts must be disposed of properly because they contain substances such as the wormer, Ivermectin, which can cause fatal encephalitis in some breeds of dogs.
Blood disposal appears to have been equally problematic for NVF as with other horse slaughter plants. Not only do horses have twice the quantity of blood as cows, but the blood is notoriously difficult to treat. The bacterial agents used in standard cattle digesters fail to provide acceptable discharge levels because of antibiotics often found in horse blood. As a result, pollution follows the horse slaughter industry where ever it goes.
During debate over HB 418, the Montana Senate Agriculture committee dismissed evidence of these problems as anti-slaughter propaganda. Even the testimony of former Kaufman, Texas mayor Paula Bacon was ignored when she told of blood rising into people’s bathtubs in her town. But unfortunately for NVF, the CFIA was not so easily assuaged.
Even Butcher has admitted that any horse slaughter plant that is built in the US will have to be operated by an EU group like Velda because the horse meat market is in Europe and they control it. Now Velda needs a new home, but in his op-ed Skjerven, says, “horse slaughter never brought a single minute of profitability to the company.”
In the end, it may not matter that HB 418 is unconstitutional, nor that a horse slaughter plant in the US could not export its horse meat without USDA inspectors, nor that the industry has committed a thousand sins against horses and the environment. If investors in a horse slaughter plant cannot be comfortable in knowing they will make a profit, there will be no plant built.
If Stan Weaver and the AQHA want horse slaughter they may have to do the killing themselves.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Help!!!!!! Must Leave Fairgrounds by May 9th!

Hundreds of Mustangs Rescued from Nebraska Ranch Ready for New Homes
Rescue Agencies and Volunteers Continue to Care for the ‘Nebraska 200’

CONTACT: Jerry Finch 409-682-6621

1 May 2009
Alliance, NE – More than two hundred neglected horses and burros found at a Morrill County ranch are now available for adoption through Habitat for Horses, a Texas-based equine protection organization.

On April 22nd, more than two hundred horses and burros were seized from Three Strikes Ranch, a private mustang facility just outside Alliance, Nebraska. An additional 74 animals were confirmed dead. Necropsy results on a number of these animals revealed significant fat and muscle atrophy, which is consistent with starvation.

Jason Maduna, the ranch’s owner, was arrested on one count of felony animal cruelty, but additional charges are expected. The animals are now recuperating at their temporary home at the Bridgeport Rodeo Grounds. The Humane Society of the United States, Habitat for Horses and Front Range Equine Rescue have been working alongside the Bureau of Land Management and area veterinarians to feed, treat, and assess the 220 animals, including a number of foals born since the seizure. According to Jerry Finch of Habitat for Horses, “the outpouring of support from the local community is humbling. From home-cooked meals for the volunteers, to hay provided by the local Farm Bureaus, we could not ask for more or better support.”

Of the 220 animals at the Fairgrounds, 22 have been identified by their owners and will be returned to them. The remaining animals are available for placement with qualified individuals or groups. Those interested, should contact Hillary Wood of Front Range Equine Rescue at 719-481-1490. The horses have all received a negative Coggins and have been dewormed, vaccinated and microchipped. Finch strongly cautions that they are looking for those with experience in handling and training wild mustangs. According to Finch, "these are not back yard ponies."

A dedicated website has been setup which includes photographs and descriptions of the available animals, as well as forms and contact numbers. For more information, please visit:

Donations are still needed to help cover the cost of medical care. Credit card donations can be made online at Donations can also be mailed to: Habitat for Horses, P.O. Box 213, Hitchcock, TX 77563. Please notate on your check and/or credit card donations that it is for "Nebraska 200 ". Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
Habitat for Horses (HfH) is a not-for-profit equine protection agency committed to the prevention, rescue and rehabilitation of neglected, abused and homeless horses. The largest organization of its kind in North America, HfH operates a rehabilitation ranch in Texas. The organization has taken a leadership role in horse protection issues and has been instrumental in developing and promoting legislation to eliminate the slaughter of American horses. To learn more, visit

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Confederated tribes of the Umatilla, the Yakama tribe, Colville tribe, Nez Perce tribe, Warm Springs tribe, along with the Intertribal Agriculture Council,the U.S. Dept of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the BIAare planning on building a horse meat processing plant as a means to do away with the wild mustangs.
For more information on this issue, go to and click on confederated Umatilla journal magazine, then home page, then click on March 2009 and you can go page by page to page 10 "NW tribes want to reduce horse numbers."

Also April 2009, front page "Tribes unite over feral horse issue," and page 41 "Tribal horse coalition." (Starts on Page 1, then continue on to page 41.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Urge House to Pass Anti-Horse Slaughter Bill

Ask President Obama to urge Congress to support the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act.

Sponsored by: ASPCA

Goal: 50,000 • Progress: 34,988

Horses have been our trusted companions and are a historically significant part of American culture. They deserve a more dignified end to their lives than to be inhumanely slaughtered and served for dinner.
H.R. 503 would put an end to this practice by prohibiting the transport of America's horses to foreign countries for slaughter. Ask President Obama today to urge Congress to support H.R. 503! Sign the petition and tell a friend.
More info ...

Dear President Obama,
As a concerned animal advocate, I am writing you to urge Congress to support the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503). H.R. 503 would prohibit the possession, shipment, transport, purchase, sale, delivery, or receipt via interstate commerce of any horse intended for slaughter for human consumption.

Americans do not eat horse meat. However, every year, more than 100,000 American horses are cruelly slaughtered just over our borders to satisfy the markets for horsemeat in Europe and Asia.

Since the last horse slaughter plants in the U.S. were closed in 2007, unwanted American horses have been shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. Overseas processing plants are not subject to U.S. oversight or regulation.

Due to overcrowded transport conditions, many horses are injured even before reaching their final destination. Some are shipped for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water, or rest, and the methods used to kill these horses once they arrive at the plant can be exceptionally inhumane.

Please help end this cruel practice - support H.R. 503, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act.