BLM kills 14 wild horses during Triple B Roundup

Grey Mustang Stallion by Randy Harris. See randyharrisphoto.com.

Federal land managers say 14 wild horses were euthanized during a roundup in northeastern Nevada.

The roundup at the Triple B complex north of Ely gathered more than 800 horses to be removed and shipped to holding facilities.

The Bureau of Land Management says the roundups are necessary because there are more horses than the land can sustain.

Source: Nevada Public Radio »

This is not so. There are not more horses than the land can sustain. Read on.

FEDERAL LANDS — A Perspective

The federal government owns roughly 640 million acres, about 28% of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States.

Four major federal land management agencies administer 610.1 million acres of this land . They are the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS) in the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Forest Service (FS) in the Department of Agriculture.

In addition, the Department of Defense (excluding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) administers 11.4 million acres in the United States , consisting of military bases, training ranges, and more. Numerous other agencies administer the remaining federal acreage.

The BLM manages 248.3 million acres of public land and administers about 700 million acres of federal subsurface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM has a multiple-use, sustained-yield mandate that supports a variety of activities and programs, as does the FS, which currently manages 192.9 million acres.

Most FS lands are designated national forests. Wildfire protection is increasingly important for both agencies.

The FWS manages 89.1 million acres of the U.S. total, primarily to conserve and protect animals and plants. The National Wildlife Refuge System includes wildlife refuges, waterfowl production areas, and wildlife coordination units.

In 2015, the NPS managed 79.8 million acres in 408 diverse units to conserve lands and resources and make them available for public use. Activities that harvest or remove resources from NPS lands generally are prohibited.

Numerous issues affecting federal land management are continuously before Congress.

These issues include the extent of federal ownership and whether to decrease, maintain, or increase the amount of federal holdings; the condition of currently owned federal infrastructure and lands and the priority of their maintenance versus new acquisitions; and the optimal balance between land use and protection, and whether federal lands should be managed primarily to benefit the nation as a whole or to benefit the localities and states.

WE’VE BEEN THERE

Various individuals who work and volunteer for The Fund for Horses (The Horse Fund) have viewed great pieces of public lands managed by the BLM over the course of 15 years. They viewed these public lands by both helicopter and light plane.

It is virtually impossible to get across to anyone who have not seen the vastness of these areas just how immense federal lands are.

You can fly for large chunks of time — sometimes hours — and see absolutely nothing but land as far in any direction as your eye will take you.

A huge chunk of federal lands managed by the BLM are where our wild horses and burros roam.

ROOM FOR OUR WILD ONES

How is it possible there is room for cattle ranchers, miners, drillers, and all the rest, yet not space for our wild horses and burros, somewhere — no matter how remote? We do not care.

Our wild horses and burros would acclimate themselves. It may be unsettling at first. However they would survive.

It would be much better for our wild horses and burros to remain free roaming, even if it meant being captured and re-released, no matter where it was, than being robbed of their precious freedoms, breaking up their bands and confining them to holding facilities often in unsafe and deplorable conditions. Certainly anything must be preferable to submitting them to a brutal and terrifying death by slaughter. Castrating their males. Yanking the ovaries out their females.

We asked BLM personnel why this was not a workable solution, one that could surely offend no one and possibly delight quite a few.

The BLM spokesperson replied that the Department of Interior would not want wild horses and burros removed from their designated, herd management areas and moved to vast open spaces where the BLM might find it difficult or impossible to track and “manage them”. That they told us would be in direct opposition to the 1971 The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

Not so.

At any rate, it seems obvious to us that they could simply do fly overs (like the ones we went on) once or twice a year to see where the bands were and report on their size and condition.

Certainly this is doable and good economics. Would this not also benefit America’s public lands? Wild horses and burros actually refurbish the land, not destroy it leaving it barren the way say, cattle do.

Mostly importantly of all, this would mean no more deaths like those of the 14 murdered Triple B wild horses. At least out in the wild, our mustangs and burros have a fighting chance to survive.

HELP

At long last we finally won some introductions, and caught the ear of some valuable people at the Department of Interior. They have been much more receptive to our ideas than the BLM have been.  Please chip in with a contribution, any amount, to help keep us in nation’s capitol and active on behalf of our wild horses and burros, domestic horses, racehorses and walking horses. There’s a lot to do!

Click to Donate

Thank you for your generosity and support.

Del Mar starts its summer meet with two kills

ESPN and numerous other news outlets reported two deaths at California’s Del Mar racecourse which just opened its Summer Season of racing on July 17.

ESPN wrote:

Caslon Quote Left Black“Two horses suffered fatal injuries Thursday morning after colliding in an accident during training hours at Del Mar racetrack in California, a spokesman for the track confirmed on Thursday.

“The accident occurred around 6:30 a.m. P.T. when Charge a Bunch, an unraced 2-year-old colt trained by Carla Gaines, threw rider Giovanni Franco and ran the wrong way down the track.

“Charge a Bunch then collided with Carson Valley, an unraced 3-year-old gelding trained by Bob Baffert who was working in the opposite direction.


Bob Baffert who is reportedly worth $10 Million. That's a lot of blood money.
Trainer Bob Baffert, responsible for racehorse Carson Valley, is reportedly worth $10 Million reports an article published by COED.

“Del Mar told ESPN earlier Thursday that the horses were euthanized shortly after the accident but later clarified that the horses were killed in the collision.”

Yes, let’s get our facts straight if we can.

NBC Palm Springs reports:

Caslon Quote Left Black“From the clinical examination of the horses it appears both suffered cervical fractures and both were dead on the racetrack,” said Dr. Rick Arthur, a veterinary with the California Racing Board.


What we know for sure is that they are dead — and by all appearances the deaths were “accidental”, or in other words they didn’t “break down (as in a leg) and die”, as racehorses typically do these days as a matter of routine. This time they broke their necks.

How about this quote by Kathy Guillermo in a statement made by PeTA following the announcement of the death of these horses:

“Saying that deaths are inevitable in racing is like saying a swim team can’t compete without drowning.”

Normally the public would have heard nothing about these deaths. Most tracks don’t even report or record training kills. However, all eyes are on California horse racing following Santa Anita’s recent disastrous season of kills.

What’s not mentioned is the pain and mental suffering these two young horses endured as they died. Yes, mental suffering. These are sentient beings.

Source ESPN article by Katherine Terrell, “Two horses die at Del Mar after colliding” »

Related Reading Rancho Santa Fe Review; July 5, 2019; “Del Mar strengthens safety standards after Santa Anita deaths” »

Baffert Picture COED article by Josh Sanchez; May 4, 2019; “Bob Baffert Net Worth 2019: How Much is Horse Trainer Worth Today?” »

 

Field Guide to Horse Fencing

Horses grazing near a fence.

by SISTINE CAPOY

AMONG THE MANY investments you will make when rearing horses, fencing will be one of the most prominent ones. Fencing is a major investment, thus it requires careful planning before any form of action is taken. Fencing is crucial to keep horses on the property and unwanted animals off the property. There are also many other nuances to fencing as it should be constructed to aid facility management by allowing controlled grazing and segregating groups of horses according to age, sex and value.

For some, fencing is a do-it-yourself project while others prefer to hire a professional contractor to construct and install the fence. Regardless of how you choose to install your fence, make sure you have a plan that will guide you through the steps of constructing a good horse fence.

Good planning attributes for all fence types

Planning includes more than simply selecting a fence. It involves the aesthetics, efficiency, management practices, safety, proposed gates, fence lines, paths, traffic routes for horses and handlers, routes for suppliers and access to mowing equipment. A good plan also involves the financial aspects of fence construction.

A good fence should be at least 54 inches above ground level with round corners. Make sure that the top of the fence is at withers heights to ensure that horses don’t flip over the fence. A 20 cm clearance at the bottom will leave enough room to avoid a hoof getting trapped, and will discourage a horse from reaching under the fence for grass.

Fence post selection

The strength of a fence come from the posts, hence they are the foundation of the fence. Posts need to be strong and properly installed. Traditionally, wood is used for fence posts but some horse owners use concrete to set corner assemblies when using wooden posts. Others choose pressure-treated lumber as high-quality wood may be scarce of very expensive in their area. This manufactured lumber is treated with chemicals that resist rot, fungi, and insects. Look for treated lumber posts that are certified for in-ground use.

One con of using wooden posts is that it is time-consuming and requires hard work when installing the fence, but this hard work is not a waste of time because the wood has a highly sustainable.

Gates

Often, gates are made of wood and metal tubes because they should be as strong as the fence. Gates shouldn’t have diagonal cross-bracing because the narrow angles can trap legs, feet, and possibly heads. Gates and fences should have been equal in height, to discourage horses from reaching and attempting to jump over the gate, but wide enough to allow easy passage of vehicles and tractors.

Often, gates are located toward the middle of a fence line where horses get in and out of the enclosure. By placing the gate in the middle, horses don’t get trapped in a corner near the gate.

Safety

The inner side of the fence must be smooth — regardless of the fence material and design. Rough posts can cause injury to horses that run down the fence line. To avoid this exposure you might use an electric fence wire to create a psychological as well as a physical barrier.

Visibility also plays a major role in safety. Horses can easily see a white plank fence of wood or PVC post, but the wires are almost invisible to unruly horses or horses who are in a state of panic.

Barriers

Barriers are the functional parts of fences and are made of different materials. When deciding on which barrier to using, keep in mind that it should be safe, easy to maintain and aesthetically pleasing. Here are the most well-known barriers:

1. Wood board fence: most commonly used, low in cost and maintenance and are the most aesthetically pleasing.
2. PVC board fence: is liked by many horse owners because it is low in maintenance and gives the appearance of a wooden board fence.
3. Smooth wire: these are basically barb wires without the barbs and are the least expensive of them all.
4. V-mesh: Is praised by horse owners as the best fence material. However, its biggest downside is cost as it is the most expensive of them all.
5. Electric Fencing: these fences are both a barrier and dispense a shock that keeps horses within the enclosure.

In closing

In order to build a strong fence, a well thought out plan must be in place even before the first post is even placed in the ground. Thoughtful fence planning and layout will help make daily chores and routines more efficient. Fences differ from facility to facility, however all fences must meet the same goals and objectives: provide a strong barrier and safety. For optimal result, horse owners may combine electric-fence systems with other materials such as wood, PVC plastic, wire mesh, or high-tensile.


AUTHOR BIO

Sistine Capoy works as a content specialist in Horse Fence Direct and a pet owner.

Analysis of the “Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019”

Dead racehorse. Source: Pinterest.
Dead racehorse. Source: Pinterest.

Post by VIVIAN FARRELL

Remember that ‘fox watching the henhouse’ feeling I mentioned concerning H.R. 1754, The Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2019?

I was about to make a run at summarizing the lengthy reports I received from our own legislative and horse racing specialists on H.R. 1754 when the heavens opened and led me to a two-pronged report, entitled “Racing’s Proposed New Legislation: Setup for USADA to Fail?” on the Horse Race Insider website (horseraceinsider.com), posted July 12, 2019.

First off, Horse Racing Insider published the Press Release by Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity entitled, “Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity Blankets Capitol Hill.” I won’t sport with your intelligence by quoting from that. However, I instantly smelled a rat when I saw this:

“The Jockey Club Wednesday sent out an email alerting the public that the Coalition for Horse Race Integrity put on a full-court press in its lobbying efforts in Washington D.C., pushing for the passage of the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2019, aka Barr-Tonko.

The Jockey Club. The Coalition for Horse Race Integrity. Two rats, of the largest kind.

Where it gets interesting is what follows that nonsense, which is the analysis of the Barr-Tonko bill by Dr. Sheila Lyons, DVM. Dr. Lyons is the founder and director of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Dr. Lyons opens her analysis of H.R. 1754 with:

“After careful review of the House bill titled the “Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019” I would like to offer my thoughts and opinion regarding its proposed structure for anti-doping and medication control in horseracing. I offer this opinion based upon more than thirty years in clinical practice as an equine veterinarian in private sports medicine practice attending to racehorses and other equine athletes. I also provided testimony at the 2012 (Senate) and 2013 (House) hearings on the Pitts/Udall horseracing integrity and safety bills.”


Dr. Lyon’s analysis is in two parts. An Overview section, which I post in full; a discussion section where I am posting only her introductory points.

Note: USADA stands for United States Anti-Doping Agency (https://www.usada.org/)

Overview

The Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019 seems to directly accomplish only two things: 1) It will create uniform rules and regulations regarding the use of drugs in racehorses amongst the states through the creation of a national regulatory structure imposed through a newly created nonprofit entity; and, 2) It will eliminate the administration of drugs on race day.  Unfortunately, neither of these changes will directly impact the common abuse of drugs used to mask injury and or enhance performance.  This proposed legislation ultimately leaves the details of drug regulation in the control of members of the horseracing industry despite the reality that following decades of promises to regulate drugs effectively, it has failed to do so.

My greatest concerns about the proposed structure for the new regulatory agency (“Authority”) that will be created through this legislation are as follows:

  1. USADA will not have independent authority to create and implement drug regulations;
  2. A committee of six horseracing industry representatives will have the ability to block any change in regulation proposed by the USADA committee;
  3. Only one veterinarian is included in the combined USADA and industry committees which means that discussions and decisions about drugs that will be officially deemed “permitted” and “therapeutic” medications will be made largely by individuals who have no expertise or authority on this subject and whose self-interests may be in conflict with the strict regulation of such drugs;
  4. USADA can leave the Authority after five years;
  5. When USADA leaves the Authority, regulation will be exclusively in the hands of industry representatives who will nominate their own successors;
  6. While the health and well-being of the horse is stated as the guiding factor for all regulation, there are no animal welfare representatives on the six member industry based committee;
  7. The Authority must publish and solicit industry and public comment prior to making any changes in regulation;
  8. There is no stated requirement that all state veterinary board statutes will be upheld and monitored for the practice of veterinary medicine on racehorses.  The bill also fails to mandate the review of veterinary records as a means to ascertain that all veterinary services are ethical and put the health of the horse first.

Discussion

Please Note: Introductory points only.

1) USADA will not have independent authority to create and implement drug regulations

2) A committee of six horseracing industry representatives will have the ability to block any change in regulation proposed by the USADA committee

3) Only one veterinarian is included in the combined USADA and industry committees which means that discussions and decisions about drugs that will be officially deemed “permitted” and “therapeutic” medications will be made largely by individuals who have no expertise or authority on this subject and whose self-interests may be in conflict with the strict regulation of such drugs;

4) USADA can leave the Authority after five years

I will quote Dr. Lyons from this section:

I find this to be revealing of the ultimate intention of this bill, which is to ensure that the sport of horseracing remains fully controlled by the industry itself, not by federally legislated mandate.

[No 5); jumps to 6) in the source]

6) While the health and well-being of the horse is stated as the guiding factor for all regulation, there are no animal welfare representatives on the six member industry based committee

7) The Authority must publish and solicit industry and public comment prior to making any changes in regulation

8) There is no stated requirement that all state veterinary board statutes will be upheld and monitored for the practice of veterinary medicine on racehorses

I must include this from Section 8:

“The bill also states that the Authority will create a list of “permitted” “therapeutic” medications. The concept of “permitted” medication is what led to the reckless and nontherapeutic use of drugs at the trainer’s request or by the veterinarian’s recommendation, in order to help the horse to race better than it naturally could through injury masking or performance enhancement.

“While this bill states that the health of the horse will be the over-riding goal of all medication use and that the principles of veterinary ethics will be a basis for all veterinary treatments, there is no provision that veterinary practices and veterinary records will be reviewed or monitored to be sure that drugs are strictly used in a therapeutic context and that no drug of any kind will be in any effect on the day the horse races.

“There is also no language that states that the Authority will refer cases of possible violation of state veterinary board statutes to the proper state agency for review and potential action against licensee veterinarians. This is essential for clean sport enforcement and the protection of health and safety for horses and riders.”

Link to full report »


You’re seeing what we’re seeing? Right?

At the end Dr. Lyons adds, “By contrast, I find the more recently developed Racehorse Doping Ban Act of 2019, aka Udall/Wyden, simple and straightforward. It defines the structure for regulatory oversight that will effectively control the flow of drugs in racing.”

Bingo.

See the Udall/Wyden bill S.1448 at Congress.gov »

More

There is another reason that this piece of legislative malarky is just that — malarky. It was something that hit me when reading about a racehorse doping episode in another country. I was already prepared to change our neutral position based on that, before I came across the above.

I will give you a rest first though, and post it about it later this week. Or so. There’s so much to digest here.

Our Position

Oppose H.R. 1754

Take Action

See if your U.S. Representative has cosponsored H.R. 1754 »

It they have not, ask them not to cosponsor H.R. 1754 and to vote against it.

If they have cosponsored H.R. 1754, ask them to withdraw their cosponsorship and vote against it. Yes, this is done!

Thank You

Thank you everyone for staying with us, and loving our horses.

Related Reading

H.R. 1754 — The Horse Racing Integrity Act, Tuesday’s Horse, 24 June 2019 »

In the article linked above, we wrote: “Isn’t it better than nothing”? Possibly. “Isn’t it better than what we got now?” Almost anything is.

We were wrong. It’s not better than nothing. It is nothing at all, just more of the same.