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 

Friends of Animals’ court battle saves more than 2,000 of Wyoming’s wild horses

Wyoming Wild Horses free on the open range, where they belong.

PRESS RELEASE — (March 20, 2017)  Friends of Animals (FoA) just obtained another remarkable victory for wild horses—the organization challenged one of the largest wild horse roundups in Wyoming’s Red Desert Complex and won.

In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) authorized the roundup and removal of 2,096 wild horses from the Lost Creek, Stewart Creek, Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain and Green Mountain Herd Management Areas in south central and central Wyoming. The agency’s decision also allowed the forced drugging with fertility control of some mares to be released back to the HMAs.

“Friends of Animals challenged the agency’s decision because, among other things, BLM failed to consider the impact of its decision on the unique Iberian genotype of these wild horse herds,” said Jennifer Best, associate attorney for FoA’s Wildlife Law Program. “Our lawsuit argued that BLM had committed to preserve this genotype and was legally required to consider how its decision would impact these distinct wild horses.”

The Court vacated and remanded BLM’s decision, meaning BLM cannot remove these horses until it goes back to analyze the potential impact of roundups on the special genotype of these horses and issues a new decision.

“BLM has committed in its Range Management Plans to engage in management practices, monitoring and analyses to help assure a sufficient prevalence of these historically important breeds,” noted Judge Nancy Freudenthal. “BLM should not ignore such promises during periodic gathers, risking the loss of significant genetic resources.”

“This case is part of FoA’s ongoing effort to ensure BLM follows through with its commitments to the public and to ensure that all wild animals receive the ethical consideration they deserve,” Best said. “These roundups would have separated many wild horses from their close-knit families and homes on the range, caused significant stress and likely would have resulted in some wild horse deaths.”

Friends of Animals, an international animal protection organization founded in 1957, advocates for the rights of animals, free-living and domestic around the world. http://www.friendsofanimals.org

SOURCE
Friends of Animals Press Release »

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Wyoming Wild Horses free on the open range. Google search result. Photographer not specified.

Wild horse destruction and the question of PZP

Wild Horses Wyoming. Google image.

In an article by the Associated Press (via OregonLive.com) they report:

RENO, Nevada — (AP) United in their belief wild horses should remain free to roam public rangeland across the West, groups working to protect the mustangs are increasingly at odds over whether contraception should play a role in the decades-old dispute over efforts to reign in the natural size of the herds.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign — made up of more than 60 groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Welfare Institute and In Defense of Animals — has been willing to accept treating mares with the anti-fertility drug PZP as a more humane alternative to gathering and shipping mustangs to costly holding facilities.

“The use of birth control, in the form of the PZP vaccine, was recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and is in line with public opinion and taxpayer interests,” campaign spokeswoman Deniz Bolbol said.

Leaders of two dissenting groups who recently won a court order blocking a roundup in Nevada are harshly critical of the national coalition, accusing some members of abandoning the mustangs’ best interests.

The New York-based Friends of Animals and San Francisco-based Protect Mustangs say recent studies show use of the contraceptive, which keeps the horses from reproducing for two years, is having an unnatural impact on the herds’ social structure.

U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks in Reno agreed in February when he blocked a roundup based partly on BLM’s reliance on a 5-year-old study suggesting contraception prompts some mares unable to become pregnant to leave in search of stallions in other bands. Newer data disputes that finding.

“We champion the herd’s freedom and will prevent special interest groups from using them as pharmaceutical lab rats for drug research,” Protect Mustangs executive director Anne Novak said.

We are members of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign group and support their work.

On the PZP issue, we concur with the statement “. . . has been willing to accept treating mares with the anti-fertility drug PZP as a more humane alternative to gathering and shipping mustangs to costly holding facilities”.

In saying that, we do not favor the drug itself. We simply agree that it is a more humane alternative to gathering and shipping Mustangs to costly holding facilities. It is not mentioned, but we know historically some Mustangs are sent to slaughter. PZP is definitely preferable to that. But is it really a viable overall solution?

From the same article:

Holly Hazard, senior vice president of the Humane Society of the United States, said internal dissent is nothing new but acknowledged the “tone and tenor is ramping up.” She said the claim her group pushes PZP to raise money is “ludicrous.”

“We have been working with PZP for 20 years,” she said. “We believe it’s the best hope for getting the wild horse management challenges under control.”

Yes, 20 years of working with PZP. And look at all the destruction and empty herd areas.

The important questions are:

Has PZP actually spared any wild horses or saved a herd? Some wild horse advocates say that it has.

Are the groups espousing PZP selling out America’s wild horses and subjecting them to a harmful drug that no one truly knows the consequences of? Someone with more expertise than we have will have to answer that. We are currently canvassing experts for some answers.

We agree 100% with this remark by Hazard:

Hazard said the groups share the same “pure vision of what we’d like to see — which would be horses remaining on the range, untouched by man.”

However we disagree with this:

“But if the only argument you can make is they should be left free on the range, I say that they are not now and will not ever be — at least in the reasonable future,” she said. “We want a solution. We don’t want to rattle our saber toward a victory that will never come.”

A victory that will never come? That is totally unacceptable. And a typical welfarist response.

In the meantime, the “raging debate” about PZP among wild horse groups may be moot. The only opinion concerning PZP that matters at the moment belongs to the BLM.

Guess what?

The BLM doesn’t give a flip about what the National Academy of Sciences says about PZP.

The BLM claims that contraceptive efforts have failed.

In light of this “fact” the BLM states it will continue to round up America’s wild horses and dispose of them in the same fashion. And we know what that means. And the reasons for it.

It is about livestock, mining, and energy interests. It is also about keeping millions of dollars in Congressional funding coming into the Wild Horse and Burro Program making BLM contractors (and reportedly some BLM employees) very, very rich indeed.

So at the moment and for the purposes of this article the Friends of Animals and Protect Mustangs have the upper hand in the PZP debate. Only one solution. The one we always have and will prefer. Total. Freedom.

RELATED READING

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Animal advocates crash carriage horse retirement event

New York City carriage horse. ASPCA image. Image not filed with original story.

Cross-posted from NY1 News

New York City carriage horse. ASPCA image. Image not filed with original story.
New York City carriage horse. ASPCA image. Image not filed with original story.

A tense turn of events took place Sunday in Midtown as animal rights activists showed up at an event for supporters of the carriage industry.

Protesters rallied at an announcement about a new retirement plan for horses that can no longer pull carriages.

And while demonstrators disagree, supporters of the “Blue Star Equiculture” sanctuary say it’s a suitable home for retired horses.

“I have the utmost faith in the people that run Blue Star, who are former carriage people as well, that the care and everything he will be receiving will be paramount to any other rescue facility anywhere across the eastern seaboard,” said Carriage Driver Stephen Malone.

“This is shameful and disgraceful because we know so many horses are sold and thrown to the garbage pile of the slaughter auctions, and that’s the last stop before the slaughter house and that’s what’s been happening for years and years,” said Friends of Animals Director Edita Birnkrant.

The Horse and Carriage Association says the first horse being sent to Blue Star retired this weekend.

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