Animal advocates Sue Bureau of Land Management

PRESS RELEASE

Roundups of Wild Horses on Public Lands Stir Controversy, Feature in Documentary Exposé

James-Kleinert

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit was filed this month against the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for withholding public records from filmmaker James Kleinert.

The BLM has been investigating Kleinert and his film company, presumably in retaliation for making documentary films Wild Horses & Renegades, Saving the American Wild Horse, and Wild Horse Spirit, which expose the BLM’s cruel roundups of wild horses on public land and allege corruption within the Department of the Interior. “Roundups” involve herding horses into corrals using helicopters and separating them from their families.

The national non-profit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has reason to believe that wild horses corralled by the BLM end up for sale for slaughter in Mexico and Canada. The federal lawsuit was filed September 3, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. ALDF is providing consulting assistance to Kleinert’s attorney, Daniel J. Stotter.

The lawsuit, Kleinert v. Bureau of Land Management, alleges that the BLM violated its duty under FOIA to provide records documenting the BLM’s investigation of Kleinert and his film company as he filmed roundups over the last decade. The BLM was required to provide all records and respond to this FOIA request within 20 working days of receiving it. The BLM now has 30 days to file a response to Kleinert’s lawsuit.

“Rounding up wild horses from public lands for the sake of private ranchers who want to graze cattle and sheep is outrageous,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “The Bureau of Land Management should be protecting wild horses, not virtually guaranteeing their slaughter or targeting filmmakers who expose what’s going on.”

Copies of the lawsuit are available upon request.

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11 thoughts on “Animal advocates Sue Bureau of Land Management”

  1. BLM uses the term “science” when it serves them best. They dismiss the fact that wild horses in open environments can seek out shelter in riparian areas, rock formations or under tree growth. Yet, they brag with using UCDavis “scientists” no doubt bought out with grant money on reverberating on their gospels. It is beyond pathetic. Also, the photo and research links below did not open.
    —–Original Message—–
    From: Collins, Deborah
    To: Tcourt5096
    Sent: Fri, Sep 19, 2014 12:38 pm
    Subject: Re: SOP / WY roundup

    Hi Monika. Sorry for delay. The Wyoming gathers will be conducted according to the Animal Welfare Standards for gathers that are outlined in Instruction Memo 2013-059.
    A revised set of standards that UC Davis assisted BLM to develop will be implemented when new helicopter gather contracts are issued in about six months. Also, I have gotten some photos of the shade structures going up in Fallon and will try to send those to you later. In the meantime, here’s the info on the PVC shade structures. Sorry for delay. I am super behind since we lost some staff this summer. Have a nice weekend.

    http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/history_and_facts/from_the_public.html
    Question: What is the current status on shade at Palomino Valley Corrals (PVC) outside of Reno, Nevada? (Updated August 2014)

    Answer: Part 1. In August 2013, the BLM conducted a public workshop to discuss the issue of shade at the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center. As part of the workshop, the BLM invited animal welfare experts to speak on the subject of shade and the use of shade structures with domestic horses. One of the recommendations provided by the animal welfare experts was the BLM provide shade for animals that may be compromised due to injury or illness.
    In response to this recommendation the BLM has placed shade structures in its two compromised animal pens and one large free standing shade structure in a pen often used to house foals. Click on each photo link to see photos of the shade structures (photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, and photo 4).
    Part 2. The BLM is committed to providing humane, science-based care for wild horses and burros it manages both off and on the range. As part of this commitment, the BLM is commissioning research from UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine to determine horses’ shade preferences and needs at PVC. This will enable science-based decisions on provision of shelter at BLM corrals. The study will compare horses of different body conditions in order to evaluate possible differences in:

    a) Total amount of shade use; b) Frequency of entering shade; c) Duration of time the horses spend in the shade; d) Time of day in shade; e) Level of UV radiation at time horse enters shade; f) Length of time in sun before entering shade; and g) Relationship between shade use and weather factor.
    The study will investigate the differences in total time spent in shade and the frequency and duration of each visit to the shade. This knowledge will help inform BLM management practices for the care of captive wild horses. Click on each photo link to see photos of current shade research structures (photo 1 and photo 2).
    The research study officially began on August 14, 2014 and is expected to take 8-10 weeks to complete, weather permitting. To learn more about the research study click this link.
    PVC has the capacity for 1,800 wild horses and burros. The animals have a continuous supply of water and are fed daily. PVC, as with all BLM facilities, has a veterinarian that visits the site regularly and is available on an as-needed basis.
    Wild horses and burros are accustomed to open environments and when their nutritional demands and need for water are met, they do well in coping with the natural elements, including sun, rain, snow, and hot and cold temperatures. For more information, contact the BLM at 866-468-7826 or by e-mail at wildhorse@blm.gov.
    Debbie Collins
    BLM National Wild Horse & Burro Program
    Adoptions and National Information Center
    405-790-1056
    dacollin@blm.gov

    On Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 1:19 PM, Tcourt5096 wrote:
    Debbie,
    Please respond.
    Monika

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Tcourt5096 To: dacollin ; nkornze ; director ; jguilfoy Cc: clstull
    Sent: Thu, Sep 11, 2014 10:45 am
    Subject: SOP / WY roundup
    To whom it may concern:
    In May 2014 I inquired with Dr. Carolyn Stull on SOP and CAWP. She told me she was contracted to work on improving procedures of helicopter roundups. On May 5th, she emailed me that CAWP has been submitted to BLM. She also said, since “no gathers are held, we have not had a chance to beta-test our proposal”.
    Is the WY roundup, announced to begin shortly, affected by any improved standards thereof? Please let me know. I hear that CAWP is coming soon, but am wondering if this roundup will be held with more humane standards as SOP / CAWP could mandate, to minimalize the stress on horses, and to prevent unnecessary injuries/fatalities.
    I hope to hear from you soon.
    Sincerely,
    Monika Courtney

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Carolyn Stull
    To: Tcourt5096
    Sent: Tue, May 6, 2014 4:16 pm
    Subject: Re: Inquiry on Welfare Standards for BLM / Shelter for Holding
    Monika, you will have to request that from the BLM. Carolyn
    Carolyn L. Stull, PhD
    School of Veterinary Medicine
    University of California, Davis
    530-752-0855 (office)

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  2. —–Original Message—–
    From: Tcourt5096 To: nissa.erickson ; Nkornze ; dacollin
    Cc: AC3 ; janevelezmitchell ; gknapp ; publisher ; news
    Sent: Fri, Sep 19, 2014 11:31 am
    Subject: BLM: Living on burrowed time – US wild equines at risk
    Dear Nissa,

    Please let Congressman Jared Polis know what the BLM is planning to do with burros now, despite a huge public outcry and offers to help place the burros in homes. See below from the Humane Society.

    The burros in the West belong on the range, along with the other wild horses who are persecuted off their homes to unsustainable numbers – and stuffed in holding or shipped to unknown futures. The public has asked the BLM to find more humane management on the range since years, since then Director Bob Abbey promised “reform”. The recent death of mustangs shipped to Midwestern feedlots (aka “sanctuary) and the illicit slaughter trade by middle men for self-gain is of ongoing high concern.

    Furthermore, Comprehensive Animal Welfare Standards (CAWP) has been promised to the public since over a year, when a “workshop” for “public input” took place in August 2013 in Reno on this subject. High fatalities (with unfitting numbers), and suffering in holding due to extreme heat / weather, while NO weather protocol is in place, caused a national outcry as well as the insufficient animal husbandry standards currently in place. The minimalist set up of barren feed lots forces horses to endure extreme heat up to 114F. or higher – without access to shade or any cooling, which is animal cruelty. Foals are at extreme risk, trying to hide under the only source of shade, a metal feeder – or they slowly and painfully succumb to the extreme heat (Photo available).

    I furnished a detailed package with renowned US Equine DVM’s recommendations as to why these formerly wild, now captive horses need protection from harsh elements / heat, along with shelter/mister proposals, weather data charts of increasing heat patterns in that geographic area and heat stress info by experts. Up to today, our input is ignored or dismissed. A Ph.D. rep from UCDavis was contracted to speak in Reno… which reflected the same austere vision that the BLM upholds, contrary to her work on Code of Standards for equines in CA., which requires food, water and SHELTER as basic needs.

    My input was along with many other’s given by the public who traveled to this “workshop”. A “shade trial” was put in place… of inferior tarps, torn from the wind already – not able to withstand wind or torching UV sunlight – and definitely not providing ideal shelter to meet the horses’ needs. Photos available. Most likely, this pitiful trial will be used to announce that the horses “won’t utilize shade”… as the trial was not established in adequate character to even remotely reflect a functional “study”.

    The public has offered to help with shelter/increased welfare for holding, as well as for the burros below. Yet, all our inquiries are ignored or not answered.
    Please inform the Congressman on this current crisis – which is only one of many – either the public is stonewalled or appeased with promises that are never delivered while animals suffer terribly. BLM is not focusing on improving standards and humane, on the range management, to which less than 1% of their yearly budget of 77 million dollars is allocated (Cost analysis available). Most of budget is going to cruel removals to dangerously low, unsustainable numbers on the range, and to outrageous experiments such as ovariectomies which further doom the survival of our wild horses for our future generations.
    The public opposes BLM’s highly questionable, ongoing management tactics, our exclusion to be heard with our input for improvement, our assistance to herd management that is humane and reflects the 1971 Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act. and mostly the cruel and inhumane standards of helicopter round ups and BLM handling.

    Thank you for your time. I would still like to meet with your Chief of Staff, Lisa Kaufman, very soon if possible, and in person. Below is a link on the holding conditions and my trip to Reno/Palomino Valley Holding thereof. Please, I ask that you share this with Congressman Jared Polis. The public is alarmed again, at the most recent announcement by BLM in regards to their ill intentions to our wild burros. Thank you for your time.

    Respectfully Yours,

    Monika Courtney, Colorado

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/355910 Palomino Valley NV holding circumstances, my trip to PVC – must see.

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  3. The problem being the BLM uses your tax dollar to defend against law suits brought against them by tax paying citizens. The BLM uses your tax dollar to round up horses you don’t want them to round up. The BLM wastes your money, and has access to your money to defend their abuse of animals and their abuse of the American tax payer. These appointed people have too much power, and we the voter have no say.
    What is our recourse? You know the BLM even threatens advocates that they will not listen to them if they sue them. They get sued for not listening, then they say “We won’t listen because you sued us.”

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    1. That really grinds my gears; that our hard-earned tax dollars support an government-run organization that makes decisions that are FAR from the favor of the majority of the American people. To make matters worse, our cherished wild horses and burros suffer as a result.

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  4. We need to stop the systematic wipe out of our Federally-protected wild free roaming horses and burros, which is against the law. People need to read the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro act:

    Page 1, (c) “range” means the amount of land necessary to sustain an existing herd or herds of wild free-roaming horses and burros, which does not exceed their known territorial limits, and which is devoted principally, but not necessarily exclusively to their welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept for the public lands;”

    This means the wild horses and burros are entitled to 51% of their ranges and that it’s illegal to zero-out HMAs, or Herd Management Areas.

    Please also note:

    Page 1, (b) “wild free-roaming horses and burros” means all unbranded and unclaimed horses and burros on public lands of the United States;”

    This means trying to debate whether or not the wild horses and burros are native is irrelevant to their protection, although, they are most certainly a native species to North America.

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  5. Reblogged this on cindymendoza47 and commented:
    i guess the media other then local has decided this is not news worthy . It needs to be pulicized far and wide for the attention of the public to be invovled with what is happening to our public lands . all the people know is what is told to them by way of the idiot box because they won’t look it up on the computer unless they are told about it so please send to friends and families so they will know.I want to thank-you for caring .

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  6. My husband went with me to the American Mustang movie and it totally changed his perspective. Even though he would hear my complaints about the BLM and the horses, he didn’t realize how drastic the situation has become till he saw the movie. Now, he says that I need to get more involved, and when we get enough money, be part of those who protest against the round ups. I would really need to pray as I am not sure I could be as composed as those who are actively fighting this in person, on site.

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  7. it has been a long time coming but this agency needs to be accountable to us ( the advocates and first and not least the horses ) for the crappy people that are holding this office and that dirty little trail leads right back to dirty harry and the senate . I am not sure if he was acting alone when he appointed that ken kronzzzze but he sure has been junkie bout how he feels about our American west and the American people . Remember it was first the bundy ranch for a SOLAR FARM that dirty harry wanted to put on the opened public land enough to strongarm it from him.Now yesterday i saw a video from the rock what ever grazers talking about WIND FARMING . HOW F*******STUPID.
    We really need to make this public and make a grand stand to make people aware of what is going on with these horses so as the media wants to be there to get every gory details. that is all that is making the news now days how very sad this has become.

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  8. I have a copy of the Renegades film and gave one to my local library. It’s worth seeing including Ellie Price’s American Mustang movie coming to my area.

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  9. Yea, I love it that the BLM is being held accountable. Go after them!! The horses deserve the removal of the BLM off the American soils!!

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