Calif. Sen. Feinstein to Forest Service: Do not slaughter wild horses

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, speaks at a Capitol Hill news conference in Washington. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, speaks at a Capitol Hill news conference in Washington. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 9, 2018) —Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called on the Forest Service to halt the sale of wild horses in California until concerns over potential horse slaughter are addressed.

“I write to request that you provide details as to the wild horse roundup that is set to begin tomorrow on the Modoc National Forest,” Senator Feinstein wrote. “According to the Forest Service webpage for the Modoc National Forest, the removal of ‘approximately 1,000’ wild horses from Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory in Northern California is set to begin as early as tomorrow, October 10th. According to the Forest Service, this is the first roundup of wild horses of this type in 13 years.”

Full text of the letter  is as follows:

October 9, 2018

Vicki Christiansen
Acting Chief, U.S. Forest Service
United States Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Acting Chief Christiansen:

I write to request that you provide details as to the wild horse roundup that is set to begin tomorrow on the Modoc National Forest. According to the Forest Service webpage for the Modoc National Forest, the removal of “approximately 1,000” wild horses from Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory in Northern California is set to begin as early as tomorrow, October 10th. According to the Forest Service, this is the first roundup of wild horses of this type in 13 years.

I understand that the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have a statutory obligation under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to protect wild horses and burros on federal land. However, it is also possible that many of these animals will end up being sold to slaughterhouses. I ask that you promptly respond to the following questions and halt any sales of wild horses until I receive a response to the following questions:

  1. How does the Forest Service determine the appropriate management levels (AMLs) for wild horses on the Modoc National Forest?
  2. How does the agency meet the requirements of the 1971 Act to “achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands”?
  3. What steps has the agency taken to enhance the safety of these roundups?
  4. What steps have been taken to enhance the likelihood of adoption or sale of wild horses?
  5. Can the Forest Service certify that no horses that are sold will be transferred to third-party buyers who may end up slaughtering the animals for commercial use?
  6. What are the funding needs to ensure that AMLs can be met in the future so the Forest Service doesn’t need to resort to roundups of this nature?

Thank you in advance for looking into this. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

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Source: Press Release (feinstein.senate.gov/) »


What say you dear readers? Too little, too late? Who believes it isn’t going to matter who speaks out, these are dead horses? That seems to be the goal, and tragically not a new one. Sale or no sale. —Editor


Related Reading

California wild horse round up means some may go to slaughter, Oct. 9, 2018, Tuesday’s Horse »

National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board to meet Oct 9-10

October 9-11 meeting will be livestreamed at http://www.blm.gov/live

Wild horses Utah. AWHPC image. Photographer not cited.
Wild horses Utah. AWHPC image. Photographer not cited.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet October 9-11, 2018, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to discuss the pressing challenges of wild horse and burro management.  This includes the backlog of unadopted and unsold animals in BLM facilities and the adverse effects overpopulation is having on public lands.  The meeting will be live-streamed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Time on Wednesday and Thursday, at http://www.blm.gov/live. The BLM will also host a field trip for the Advisory Board to one of the local wild horse herd management areas on Tuesday, October 9.

“The Advisory Board is comprised of stakeholders who bring diverse backgrounds, experiences, and expertise to the table as they take on some of the difficult issues facing the program,” said BLM Deputy Director Brian Steed.  “I look forward to hearing their ideas and recommendations for finding a path to long-term sustainable populations on the range through humane management practices.”

As of May 22, 2018, the BLM estimated public rangelands were home to nearly 82,000 wild horses and burros in 10 Western states – the largest population estimate since the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed – and more than three times the number the habitat can sustainably support in conjunction with other authorized land uses.  At the same time, the BLM continues to care for approximately 45,000 unadopted and unsold excess animals in its off-range corrals and pastures, costing taxpayers $50 million annually – nearly two-thirds of the Wild Horse and Burro Program annual budget.

The agenda of the upcoming meeting can be found in the September 5, 2018, Federal Register at https://go.usa.gov/xPcdQ. The final meeting agenda will be posted on the BLM website at BLM.gov/WHB prior to the meeting. The meeting will be held at the Courtyard Marriott Salt Lake City Downtown located at 345 West 100 South, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84101.  The hotel’s website address is https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/slccd-courtyard-salt-lake-city-do… the phone number is (385) 290-6500.

The public may address the Advisory Board on Thursday, October 11 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time.  Individuals who want to make a comment should register in person with the BLM prior to 1:45 p.m. local time, on that same day at the meeting site.  Depending on the number of speakers, the Board may limit the length of comments, which has been set at about three minutes per person during previous meetings.

Speakers should submit a written copy of their comment to the BLM at the addresses below or bring a copy to the meeting.  There will be a webcam present during the entire meeting and individual comments will be recorded.  Those who would like to comment but are unable to attend may submit a written statement by October 2 to: U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, National Wild Horse and Burro Program, WO-260, Attention: Advisory Board, 20 M St. SE, Room 2134, Washington, D.C., 20003.  Comments may also be e-mailed by October 2 to the BLM at whbadvisoryboard@blm.gov.  Please include “Advisory Board Comment” in the subject line of the e-mail.

The Advisory Board is comprised of individuals representing a diverse range of stakeholders and interests. The Board provides advice and recommendations to the BLM as it carries out its responsibilities under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  The law mandates the protection and management of these free-roaming animals in a manner that ensures healthy herds at levels consistent with the land’s capacity to sustainably support them as part of BLM’s multiple-use mission. Because wild horses and burros have no predators capable of naturally controlling population growth, if left unmanaged herds can grow quickly and overcome their habitat’s ability to support them.

For additional information regarding the meeting or to register to attend the October 9 HMA tour, please contact Dorothea Boothe, Acting Wild Horse and Burro Program Coordinator, at (202) 912-7654 or at dboothe@blm.gov.  Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may reach Ms. Boothe during normal business hours by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

# # #

Source: BLM Press Release »

Note: If you have anything to say to the BLM about the management of America’s wild horses and burros, the deadline is October 2, 2018. See paragraphs 5 and 6 above for contact information and details.

Equine groups sue BLM over planned sterilization project of wild mares

Mustang Mare and Foal. Unaccredited Google search result image.
Mustang Mare and Foal. Unaccredited Google search result image.

(CNN, By Ellie Kaufman, Sept 25, 2018) — Nonprofit organizations are taking to the courts to try to stop an Interior Department project that would sterilize up to 100 wild female horses in Oregon through a procedure the groups deem “dangerous” and “inhumane.”

Front Range Equine Rescue, a nonprofit organization that works to stop cruelty and abuse of horses, filed a federal lawsuit in Washington D.C. challenging the Interior Department Bureau of Land Management’s project on September 24. The group claims that the project violates a number of laws, including the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

The American Wild Horse Campaign and the Cloud Foundation, along with two individuals, filed a separate federal lawsuit in Oregon on September 21 claiming the government project violates the First Amendment because it does not allow outside groups to adequately observe the proposed experiment. It also believes the project violates the same laws Front Range Equine Rescue argues in their suit.

Read more »

Group sues to stop roundup of 10,000 wild horses

Nevada Wild Horses. Las Vegas Review-Journal.

(WILD HORSES Jan. 30, 2018) — EcoWatch reports:

Animal rights group Friends of Animals has filed a lawsuit over a planned wild horse roundup in Nevada.

The suit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Reno, the Associated Press reported. It claims that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws by approving the removal of nearly 10,000 mustangs over 10 years in a 4,900-square-mile expanse of federal rangeland near the Nevada-Utah border.

Michael Harris, director of the group’s Wildlife Law Program in Colorado, said the roundups could occur without public notice or comment and without site-specific analysis of each individual gather.

The “roundup decision is unprecedented in size and scope,” the suit states, and would allow BLM to “continually roundup, remove, drug and castrate wild horses for 10 years after the initial roundup.”

Continue reading at EcoWatch »

• See also Nevada could give away nearly 3,000 free-range horses in May »

Featured Image: Las Vegas Review Journal