Can anyone help observe the wild horse round-up in Oregon Sheldon Hart Wildlife Refuge this week and next? IDA is seeking humane observers and volunteers. Need videos and photographs.
Here’s further information and contacts from IDA:
Ignoring Public Plea, Government to Contract with Convicted Horse Thief to Round-up Wild Horses
Lakeview, Oregon — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is preparing for a helicopter round-up of wild horses at the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Northwestern Nevada, beginning the week of September 22nd; a removal that wild horse advocates including In Defense of Animals (IDA) and Return To Freedom (RTF) say is ill-timed, unnecessary, and inhumane.
Shockingly, the FWS is again contracting with its long-time horse gatherer, Dave Cattoor, who was found guilty in 1992 of “hunting for purposes of capturing and killing wild, unbranded horses on public land” from a helicopter, and conspiring with an Indian tribe to truck them and sell them for slaughter to Great Western Meats in Morton, Texas. (Details of Cattoor’s conviction can be found in the federal grand jury indictment and guilty plea, available upon request.)
“The government has absolutely no business contracting with a horse thief and this misguided action is a gross breach of the public trust,” said Dr. Elliot Katz, In Defense of Animals’ president.
With Sheldon’s wild horses and other wildlife thriving on the refuge, advocacy organizations In Defense of Animals (IDA), and Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary (RTF) call FWS decision to remove horses irresponsible mis-management. This round-up comes after years of ignoring proposals for humane management alternatives that would help the FWS achieve their goals of reducing horse populations over the long term, and follows a recent announcement by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that the agency may make the decision to kill up to 30,000 wild horses in their long-term holding facilities, claiming they can neither afford to feed them or find enough adoptive homes.
“It is ethically irresponsible to round up any horses at this time when tens of thousands of America’s wild horses are in BLM long-term holding facilities with nowhere to go, probably facing a bullet,” according to Neda DeMayo, founder and president of Return to Freedom.
Payments for this round-up will add to the more than $700,000 that Cattoor has already received in government contracts in fiscal year 2008 for rounding up wild equines and a staggering $13.4 million he has pocketed since 2000.
IDA recently confirmed with Paul Steblein, FWS Project Manager at the Sheldon Refuge, that humane observers will be permitted at any future round-ups. IDA is arranging independent experts to watch the process; particularly important in light of eyewitness reports of inhumane handling of wild horses during a 2006 Sheldon round-up that observers alleged resulted in the death and near-death by dehydration of both foals and horses.
Neda DeMayo (RTF)
Matt Rossell (IDA)
In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner Blvd
IDA is an international, California-based animal advocacy organization dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals by defending their rights, welfare and habitats.