FOIA document obtained by WHFF shows wild horses betrayed by RTF, ASPCA & HSUS

Desatoya Wild Horses in short term holding after being rounded up by the BLM.

The Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) has obtained an alarming report through the Freedom of Information Act clearly showing that “Neda DeMayo of Return to Freedom, Nancy Perry of ASPCA, Gillian Lyons of HSUS and Drew Lesofski of the American Mustang Foundation participated in a closed door, round table meeting with pro-slaughter groups.”

Jason Lutterman, a BLM public relations employee, stated in an attached email that the aforementioned advocacy groups agreed to “the need to reduce overpopulation and achieve appropriate management level quickly through gathers,” and “the advocates also expressed desire for BLM to follow gathers with intensive fertility control…”

You probably recognize the names except for Jason Lutterman. Lutterman states on his LinkdIn page that he is a Public Affairs Specialists for the Bureau of Land Management since July 2014. He has been one of the BLM’s most active campaigners for spaying and neutering Mustangs.

Here is an image of the cited email.

There is much more to this story. Read it all at the Wild Horse Freedom Federation website »


CREDIT

Featured image: Desatoya Wild Horses in short term holding after being rounded up by the BLM. Photographer Unknown.

American wild horses on path to extinction?

Two Mustangs. National Geographic. 2017.

PRESS RELEASE

by WILD HORSE FIRE BRIGADE

YREKA, Calif. – Oct. 14, 2019 – PRLog — In a certified letter delivered to Return To Freedom, Inc. (‘RTF’) and it’s board of directors on September 16, 2019, key wild horse and burro advocates demanded that Return To Freedom, a 501-C-3 non-profit, immediately withdraw its support of the so-called proposal titled; ‘The Path Forward For Management Of BLM’s Wild Horses & Burros’ (‘Proposal’) [1].

On August 28th 2019, naturalist William E. Simpson II had a phone call with the Executive Director of the Public Lands Council, Mr. Ethan Lane. In that telephone call, Mr. Lane alluded to Mr. Simpson that via RTF’s support of the Proposal, he arguably had the needed majority of all wild horse and burro advocates to support the Proposal’s acceptance by Congress. This is tantamount to an admission that, without the support of Return To Freedom, the livestock industry’s surrogates (BLM, HSUS, ASPCA, AMF, etc.) would have to go back to the drawing board.

A majority of wild horse advocates and organizations, including Friends of Animals (‘FOA’) feel that the current Proposal as written is seriously flawed and would likely lead to the final extinction of native species American wild horses and burros in America. This Proposal is particularly troubling given there is a superior alternative plan for managing wild horses and burros called ‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade’, which offers savings to taxpayers using an ecologically sound method for rewilding BLM and USFS wild horses and burros [2].

There is more than enough existing and new science, as well as decades of empirical experience, that argues compellingly against the flawed precepts upon which the Proposal RTF supports is built.

The current Proposal posits are premised upon known misinformation, including those found in four key precepts of the Proposal, each followed by a brief counterpoint made by experts who oppose the current Proposal:

Proposal: Conduct targeted gathers and removals at densely populated Herd Management Areas (HMAs) to reduce herd size and make progress towards AML.”

Counterpoint: This has been done unsuccessfully for decades and is by all accounts a draconian methodology only made necessary due to the large-scale decimation of the evolutionary predators of wild horses and burros, namely, mountain lions, bears, wolves and coyotes.

Proposal: Treat gathered horses and burros with population growth suppression tools prior to being returned to the range. Reversible methods must be administered to an appropriate percentage of mares (generally close to 90%) to control populations, with some flexibility depending on modeling of range and herd parameters.”

Counterpoint: The latest science proves that the use of chemical contraceptives in equids leads to the breakdown of critical social structures in family bands of wild horses as well as resulting in varied degrees of sterilization and erosion of genetic viability.

Proposal: Relocate horses and burros in holding facilities, and those taken off the range, to large cost-effective humane pasture facilities funded through public-private partnerships.”

Counterpoint: Here again, this has been an ongoing expensive failure that will continue to burden taxpayers.

Proposal: Promote adoptions in order to help reduce captive populations and costs. The BLM is currently spending $2,250 ($3,250 with incentive) per adopted horse to promote adoptions that ultimately provide considerable cost savings to the agency. Investing in the adoption process for each horse will reduce or eliminate the estimated $46,000 per horse expenditure in off range holding over the course of their lifetime.”

Counterpoint: Another paradigm that has proven relatively ineffective as evidenced by tens of thousands of wild horses and burros that nevertheless end up in off-range facilities at great ongoing cost to taxpayers. Even though a small percentage of native species American wild horses can be successfully gentled and thereby ‘domesticated,’ management of wildlife in this manner is costly and very limited in its scope and effect as any genuine solution.

Leading independent wild burro and horse advocates are of the opinion that if RTF rescinds support of the existing Proposal, it could then be amended to include what are arguably the minimal components to assure a future representation of free-roaming native species American wild horses and burros in carefully selected remote wilderness areas in America where the presence of a proper proportion of the evolved apex predators of equids will certainly control equid populations [3].

The 3 minimal components are:

1) Current management practices amount to an egregious misuse of the WHBA. Not only must helicopter roundups come to an immediate end, BLM and the USFS must provide greater protections to wild equids in existing HMAs by reevaluating HMA boundaries and AMLs, giving priority to wild equids over any human use of these public lands. These agencies also currently ignore any benefit wild equids have on the lands they currently occupy, including the potential to lower the risk of wildfire in the grasslands occupied by wild equids. Congress must ensure that wild equids and their benefits are given more weight in establishing HMA boundaries and AMLs.

2) All wild equids that are rounded up after considerations in no. 1 will be transported, families intact, unmolested (no treatments with any chemicals or castration of stallions) into carefully selected and appropriately remote wilderness areas. Where possible, such equids can also be used to establish larger AMLs on existing HMAs (or expanded HMAs) where such populations would benefit the grassland habitats.

3) A percentage (TBD) of 10-year old (and younger) wild horses and burros held in off range captivity will be rewilded into carefully selected and appropriately remote wilderness areas.

The following *advocates were signatories on the letter to RTF.

* Friends of Animals (https://www.friendsofanimals.org/about-us/)
* Board of Directors Coyote Canyon Caballos d’Anza Inc 501 c 3 –
Kathleen Hayden, Secretary
* Carla Bowers
* Lorna Moffat
* Darice Massey
* Dr. Sharon Greenleaf La Pierre – Red Raven Farms – Colorado & Kentucky
* Speak Up For Horses
* Jeff Hudson
* William E. Simpson II – Naturalist / Rancher

[1] https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=0869B02B-E9C5-4F0B-9AE8-9A8A1C85293E

[2] http://www.WHFB.us

[3] Impact Of Wild Horses On Wilderness Landscape And Wildfire – Preliminary Findings Report – By: William E. Simpson II -Naturalist – July 25, 2019 (https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/6a30c6_98642a78546849f0a94e2687cdf35654.pdf)

FEATURED IMAGE: (not filed with press release)
Credit: Two Mustangs. National Geographic. 2017.

Senate Committee approves bill to protect horses from soring

Tennessee Walking horse watches worriedly during horse soring inspections following an undercover operation by HSUS. Photo: HSUS.
Tennessee Walking horse watches worriedly during horse soring inspections following an undercover operation by HSUS. Photo: HSUS.

HSUS PRESS RELEASE

Congress moved one step closer to protecting horses from the cruel practice of “soring” when the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 1406/H.R. 1518) today by voice vote. The PAST Act will end the decades-long abusive training method of soring, which involves the use of chemicals and devices on the legs and feet of Tennessee walking horses to force them to perform the high-stepping “Big Lick” gait.

Keith Dane, vice president of equine protection for The Humane Society of the United States, said: “Horse soring is a disgrace, but growing momentum for the PAST Act means that reform is within reach. Today’s committee action was a significant step forward. Congress should ensure a sound future for Tennessee walking horses by passing this legislation on the Senate floor without delay.”

The HSUS and Humane Society Legislative Fund expressed their thanks to Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Mark Warner, D-Va., for their leadership on S. 1406, and to Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Ranking Member John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., for their support during today’s committee markup.

The PAST Act will fortify the federal Horse Protection Act, which was passed in 1970 but contained loopholes that have allowed soring to thrive in factions of the Tennessee walking horse industry. The bill’s needed reforms include eliminating the failed industry self-policing system, banning devices used in the soring process from the show ring, and strengthening penalties to provide a meaningful deterrent against abusing horses to cheat at horse shows.

The PAST Act is co-sponsored by 51 Senators and 269 Representatives. It is endorsed by the American Horse Council and more than 50 other national and state horse groups, the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, and state veterinary groups in all 50 states, key individuals in the Tennessee walking horse show world, and many others.

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New TV ads call for passage of federal bill to end horse soring

The Humane Society of the United States’ national ad campaign begins in Kentucky, urges support of H.R. 1518/S. 1406, the PAST Act

HSUS PRESS RELEASE

Tennessee Walking horse watches worriedly during horse soring inspections following an undercover operation by HSUS. Photo: HSUS.
Tennessee Walking horse watches worriedly during horse soring inspections following an undercover operation by HSUS. Photo: HSUS.

A new television advertising campaign urges viewers to call their federal lawmakers and ask them to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 1518/S. 1406. The ads began airing in Kentucky on Sunday, urging viewers to call Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and ask them to support the PAST Act. The ad campaign will expand to other media markets around the country in the coming weeks.

The commercial is the latest effort by The Humane Society of the United States to urge Congress to pass the bill that would end soring, the cruel practice of inflicting pain to horses’ legs and feet to force them to perform an exaggerated high-stepping gait—known as the “Big Lick”—at horse shows. The Senate bill has been introduced by their Republican colleague Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and it has 51 cosponsors. The House bill has 268 cosponsors.

The bill will fortify an existing federal law, the Horse Protection Act, which was passed in 1970 to eliminate the abuse of Tennessee walking horses and other similar breeds, but is so weak that cheating and violations have been rampant for decades. The PAST Act would end the failed industry self-policing system; ban the show-ring use of chains, stacks, and excessively heavy shoes (devices that are part and parcel of the soring process); and increase penalties for violators.

Pam Rogers, Kentucky state director for The HSUS, said: “Kentucky is the heart of horse country in the U.S., and Senators McConnell and Paul should support this critical legislation to protect horses from the cruelty of soring. No other breeds are subjected to this kind of intentional form of torture, and it is a disgrace that it exists anywhere. Only an upgrade of the federal law will put an end to the horrible horse abuse that still plagues the ‘Big Lick’ show world.”

The “Big Lick” segment of the industry worked with Rep. Marsha Blackburn to introduce a sham bill that would protect horse soring and further complicate USDA enforcement of the anachronistic law on the books. Senator Paul recently told one newspaper he was considering introducing a companion bill in the Senate.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said: “Senator Paul would only bring shame on himself to stand in the way of legislation to root out this form of malicious and intentional cruelty to horses. It is time for him to join a majority of his House and Senate colleagues and stand against people who put burning chemicals on the legs of horses to cause them pain and misery in order to win ribbons for themselves.”

In 2011, an HSUS investigation into Tennessee walking horse trainer Jackie McConnell’s stable in Collierville, Tenn., revealed shocking cruelty to horses to a national audience, which led to the introduction of the PAST Act. The investigator recorded horses being whipped, kicked, shocked in the face and intentionally burned with caustic chemicals. The new commercial shows footage from this investigation.

The narrator in the commercial, quoting recent editorials in the Tennessean, states “The Horse Protection Act bans soring but is “not sufficient,” and industry cheaters have “decades of violations.” “Republicans and Democrats, responsible horse breeders, trainers, and veterinarians support a bill to strengthen the law and stop abusers from getting away with these crimes.”

The PAST Act is endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association (and every other state veterinary medical association), the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and the American Horse Council, along with a host of other national animal protection, veterinary, and horse industry organizations.

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