All posts by VGrF

Horse advocate, animal lover, photographer, multi blogger, sports fan, creator of Hattingdon Horses and grateful vegan.

Wild horses and controversy — Notes from the range

Thanks to our good friend Terry we received an interesting email containing an embedded post.

The controversy surrounding wild horses on public lands and the cruel and often deathly mismanagement by the federal agency Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is not news to us and no doubt not news to you.

We have read numerous writings over the years by those out in the field from experts to interested observers.

What is pretty clear is that the BLM and their cohorts simply do not want wild horses off public lands. They want them dead. Historically this is a decades old problem.

Here’s the opening salvo from the post I refer to:

“Soon we will not have available our historic link to wild horses. Ignorance is dominating the wild horse issue, as if trading slaughter for birth control to extinction is an answer to save them! No! It is simply an overwhelming amount of ignorance, from those who have no clue in the matter of wild horse management nor anything of wild horse virtue and necessity. Our American Icon has so many positive attritbutes, and unless one knows of nature, our environment, and our natural ecological systems, they will never know, nor acknowledge the benefits of wild horses on our public lands. Below are notes and from limited distribution, so perhaps new information to many. . .” — John Cox, The Cascades

The writer continues by pointing out problems that the BLM and the federal government continue to ignore.

There are too many cattle on public lands. Check. Wherever they are, the cattle are destroying the ecosystems. Check. The Humane Society continue to promote its pesticide PZP they say to help control herd numbers when it appears to be destroying them. Check.

We have not heard the following before.

The BLM allow public land ranchers (or “welfare ranchers” — we will come back to that in a minute) to do as they please which he says results as follows:

“Public health hazards are developing, aggressively I might add, even while I am writing this, and beef from public lands grazing is diseased.”

Diseased. Interesting.

The writer goes on to say that he does not know to what degree (as in percentage) but cites the BLM’s inadequate checks and balance system as the reason for it.

Now you may think that public land ranchers — some of whose contracts with the federal government go back generations — do not contribute that much to the beef industry. We do not have the data. But even if we were able to get figures from the BLM could we believe them given the BLM’s history of playing with numbers.

We know it’s huge and it costs the American taxpayer an enormous amount of money — in the billions.

Let’s take a look at who some of these “welfare ranchers” are.

Here’s an excerpt from a Tuesday’s Horse post from 2015:

Years ago Ellen Cathryn Nash wrote an insightful report for our website called Rolex Ranchers and the Living Legends which she distributed as a Press Release in 2005.

Some of the names listed as “Rolex Ranchers” by Nash are:

Ted Turner
Baron Hilton
Mary Hewlett-Jaffey
JR Simplot
Hunt Oil Company of Dallas

If you will remember, in 2015 Vickery Eckhoff revisited this topic with an in depth look of her own and published “Forbes Billionaires Top US Welfare Ranchers List” on AlterNet.

Take a look some of the people on her monied list of who’s who. It hasn’t changed much in ten years has it?

David and Charles Koch (Koch Industries)
J.R. Simplot Corp.
Bruce McCaw (McCaw Cellular)
Barrick Gold
Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA)
W. Barron Hilton (Hilton Hotels)
Mary Hewlett-Jaffe (Hewlett-Packard)
James Barta (
T. Wright Dickinson
Stan Kroenke (Kroenke Group) & Ann Walton Kroenke (Walmart)
Family of Robert Earl Holding (Sinclair Oil and Hotels)
Ted Turner

Southern Nevada Water Authority is on this list? That raises some interesting questions doesn’t it?

At any rate, that is a helluva a lot of cattle producing a helluva lot of beef destroying a helluva lot of public land.

Wild horses are free roaming by nature. Cattle on the other hand have to be moved. Cattle will graze right down to the dirt. You can imagine how destructive that alone is. Never mind the dung and the enormous amounts of water cattle use.

Eckhoff sums up her report with this statement:

“The .01 percenters are the nation’s biggest welfare ranchers, according to numerous environmental and policy groups; and it’s time they brought some attention to themselves and the federal grazing program they’re exploiting to the tune of an annual estimated one billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies while causing long-term damage to one of the public’s most treasured assets.”

Nash states in her report:

“In reality, the wild horses and burros are not the problem, rather it is the privately owned livestock grazing on public lands subsidized by American taxpayers at great expense. It is important to note that cattle are ‘static’ animals in that they do not move much and they destroy the ground. It takes ten years to reclaim land destroyed by cattle, and longer in arid areas such as Nevada.”

Now back to the writer we started with.

Another point he makes in his eyebrow raising post is one that could possibly explain some of the policies by some wild horse and burro advocates — so called — that have long puzzled us. The writer says:

“We also discover, through factual research and credible sources, several non-profits today are currently, or have done, [are] receiving money from BoLM grants or payroll money as well, applications for grants and even employment from the BoLM – we find this directly a conflict of interest, and a violation of their non-profit status . . .”

We may never get all or even many of the facts concerning most of the issues impacting America’s wild horses and burros.

However one thing is crystal clear. They are a far cry from being protected.

The history of America’s wild horses and burros on U.S. public lands is riddled with cruelty, deception, corruption and death.


Wild Horses and Controversy: Notes from the Cascade Mountain Range; Photojournalist — Journalist; Sept. 22, 2016.

Forbes Billionaires Top US Welfare Ranchers List, 10% of BLM Land Lease Subsidy Recipients are Billionaires and Control 65% of all BLM Lands; Vickery Eckhoff; Alternet; Mar. 24, 2015.

Rolex Ranchers and the Living Legends, 10% of BLM Land Lease Subsidy Recipients are Billionaires and Control 65% of all BLM Lands; Ellen Cathryn Nash; Tuesday’s Horse; Mar. 25, 2005.


Pesticide PZP Truth; Photojournalist — Journalist; Sept. 13, 2016.


Eureka, Nevada – A group of wild horses wait in a holding pen after a gathering July 7, 2005 in Eureka, Nevada. The Bureau of Land Management is gathering wild horses in the American West, where an estimated 37,000 wild horses roam free. Many of the horses that are gathered are put up for adoption while others are treated with birth control and released back to the wild. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A look at a PMU farm in China — and it’s not all about Pfizer

Pfizer’s international market for Premarin is open game for competitors without the U. S. Food & Drug Administration’s protection of the company’s monopoly trade secret.

The key component for the production of Premarin is the estrogen rich urine collected from pregnant mares. This business has become commonly referred to as the pregnant mare’s urine or PMU industry.

In 2005, a Chinese company — Xinjiang Xinziyuan Biological Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. — was formed for the express purpose of creating a Chinese PMU industry based in northwest China’s Nilka County, located within the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Breeding of PMU mares and sales of pregnant mare’s urine has since become the “sunrise industry” for the regional rural farm economy, providing a significant increase in income for the farmers and incentive to expand production and number of horses.

Pfizer is stated to be the reason for establishing Xinjiang Xinziyuan Biological, but the relationship described between the two companies is inconsistent.

On one hand, Xinjiang Xinziyuan Biological’s founding purpose is to dominate Pfizer’s international Premarin market as a Chinese competitor, while on the other hand Pfizer is said to be the primary contractor for pregnant mare’s urine produced by the “sunrise industry” that Xinjiang Xinziyuan Biological’s created, and which supplies Pfizer with the pregnant mare’s urine to manufacture the Premarin products.

Whatever the true circumstances are concerning Pfizer, the magnitude of gross cruelty to horses resulting from the creation of a domestic market in China for equine estrogen projects is in itself unthinkable.

Chinese version of Premarin cream.
Chinese version of Premarin cream.

The number of middle-age women in China presently within the target demography for estrogen products exceeds the total population of the rest of world.

The corresponding number of horses required to meet China’s domestic demand annually is greater than the the total number of horses used for Premarin production during the 75 years since FDA approval in 1942.

Here’s what a pregnant mare’s urine farm in Xinyuan County, China looks like.

PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).

PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).

This is only tip of the iceberg of what we will be bringing to your attention. The challenge has always been that the information we sought was quite naturally in Chinese. Now of course there are Chinese translation apps but as helpful as they are, they only get you so far.

We are working to find Chinese language translators with good English to help us not only with documentation but also to help us create alerts to the women in China through social media about the carcinogenic properties of drugs made with conjugated equine estrogens as declared by the World Health Organization. We are hopeful they will not be as blasé about it as American women seem to be. There are alternatives. Yet there may be a glimmer of hope on that horizon.

In the meantime, we have also received a tip that the bulk of PMU farms supplying Pfizer are actually in Latin America. Stay tuned.

Protest Big Lick Animal Cruelty at the Tennessee State Fair

Updated 9/13/2016 @ 2:58 pm

“Big Lickers” plan to exhibit recently crowned 2016 World Grand Champion – Honors – at the Tennessee State Fair.

Please join the Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruelty and fellow horse lovers in protesting “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty.


What: CCABLAC PROTEST – “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty
When: Friday, September 16, 2016, 4:00 pm to 6 pm
Where: Tennessee State Fair, 500 Wedgwood Ave, Nashville, TN
Who: YOU and Friends

Clant Seay, who is organizing the Protest, says:

“Let’s not let them get away with bringing the “Big Lick” World Grand Champion “Honors” to the State Fair this Friday in Nashville especially after our protest resulted in the lowest Celebration attendance in 46 years.”

Contact Clant Seay at Free t-shirts to wear at the protest.


“Honors”, the newly crowned “Big Lick” animal cruelty hero is a horse connected to a history of soring. How could he be anything else? There is nothing natural about the “Big Lick”. It cannot be gotten through anything other means which also happen to be illegal. Forget being suspended from participating in a show. Why are these people not arrested on the spot when soring is detected?

See Newly Crowned World Grand Champion Honors Owner Keith McSwain Salmmed by USDA in Complaint Filed in Washington »

Carriage horse abuse in NYC continues with no help from the City

“We know that we cannot be kind of animals until we stop exploiting them”. —César Chávez.

Here are two eyewitness accounts concerning a carriage horse in New York City who was later identified as Norman, and followed up by the Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages.


Collapsed carriage horse in New York City 2nd September 2016.
Image provided by Coalition To Ban
Horse-Drawn Carriages.

The picture above is from Friday, September 2nd when a horse collapsed at 12th Avenue and 50th St in the early hours of the morning. Thank you to the NY Post for running the story and for the eye witness who took the pictures.

Bogdan Paul Angheluta, of Farmingdale, LI, told The Post he was outside nightclub Space Ibiza when he saw a carriage-horse driver “screaming for the horse to make the green light.”

He says the horse then “collapsed” and was “breathing slow and hard.” “I’m 100 percent positive,” Angheluta told The Post. “He was forcing him to make the light. The horse was tired.”

“He didn’t collapse, he tripped himself,” said Christina Hansen, a [carriage driver and] spokeswoman for the carriage industry, who claimed Norman was heading back to the Clinton Park Stables on West 52nd Street at the end of his shift when he fell. “He’s kind of a klutz.”

Sure he did, Christina. Sure he did. And the Department of Health took her word for it rather than calling in an outside vet to determine what happened and grilling the driver.

No surprise there. The carriage industry continues to be one of the most protected businesses in this city.


From: [name withheld]
Date: Fri, Sep 2, 2016 at 2:23 AM
Subject: HDC accident at 2am

Hello, this evening on my way home from work I was driving north bound on the west side highway between 50th and 51st streets when I came upon an HDC that had been hit, the horse was laying on the ground and the carriage was turned over. This was so violent and sad. I called 911 and the operator sent the police. Please investigate this because it can probably help with the ban on HDC. It’s so sad that this had to happen and I never want to see such terrible mistreatment of animals ever again. Please let me know if you need any more information but I thought you guys needed to know first thing.

Elizabeth Forel writes:

I immediately reported this to the Mayor’s office, the NYPD and the DoH. They refused to do anything without proof that something actually happened. The Mayor’s office even said “if” it happened, trying to cast doubts on this eyewitness report.

It is not clear whether or not they already had the photos and report as the article states. This is why it is crucial to document accidents and report as soon as you can. The NYPD detective actually said they had no reports yet the article refers to a police officer in a black SUV. The DoH and the mayor’s office also claimed they had no reports. The article contradicts that. So why the lies?

Yes, we are worried about Norman, the horse. The carriage horse spokesperson, who is also a driver and has an inherent conflict of interest, claimed – “he tripped.” But did he? Was he sick; exhausted; did he spook? There is a car in the background. We will have to try to track Norman to see if they send him off to auction. The Mayor’s office should have demanded that Norman be examined by an independent veterinarian – not one used by the carriage trade. They should have taken this seriously instead of believing the “spokesperson” who was not even there.

When Bill deBlasio ran for mayor, he promised many times to ban horse-drawn carriages when he was elected. It never happened and since he too office, things are worse than ever. No one is enforcing the street laws. Drivers continue to make illegal u-turns and leave their horse dangerously unattended and untethered.

He got many of us to support and vote for him. And then we realized he had lied. He is running for reelection in 2017. Please do not vote for him – he is a liar and does not deserve a second term.


Please take a moment to sign at least one of these Petitions. Would be wonderful if you could sign them all. Know of a Petition not on this list? Please e-mail and they will include it.

We are showing the links to ensure you can “get there from here”. Let’s go.

In the United States









Outside the United States




Collapsed carriage horse Cartagena, Columbia.
“Some of these horses are actually being THROWN OUT IN TRASH DUMPSTERS when they die.” —Petitioner.




Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages

Carriage horse down. Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, bans horse drawn carriages, April 2015.