Author Archives: Sam10Dev

$100K Reward: Mustangs Die Horribly After Water Supply Is Cut Off

Mustang Monument, a sanctuary in Nevada for mustangs who were rescued before they could reach the slaughterhouse, is seeking information regarding the deaths of at least a dozen horses who died of thirst after all water supplies were deliberately turned off. The withered bodies of the dead horses were scattered near the sabotaged water sources, which left them without a drop of water in the blistering heat. Dehydration is painful and slow, and the distraught owner of the rescue ranch is anxious to find the perpetrator or perpetrators before more animals suffer.

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$100,000 REWARD! Offered for Information Leading to the Arrest AND Conviction of These Heartless Vandals

Trespassing & Vandalism at Mustang Monument

In what can only be described as a heinous and horrific act of animal abuse, Madeleine Pickens has learned that outlaws have trespassed on her property, the Spruce Ranch in Elko County, NV, and cut fences and shut off water supplies to a herd of horses she rescued from the slaughter house pens. A number of horses have died in the most brutal manner possible, writhing in pain and lacking the strength to regain their feet, or their lives. Madeleine personally discovered one of her favorites, one she fondly named Scarlet, lying dead near a fence post and it literally took her breath away.

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Support Each Other and The Mustangs

I am writing to encourage and inform all of our supporters to take a stand for our wild horses before it is too late. The BLM recently released some startling statistics; they are spending $50,000 per horse for horses in their holding facilities and, by their own estimates, there are upwards of 100,000 horses that will require this expenditure for a lifetime of standing in a holding pen or pasture far from their home ranges. This dangerous situation foretells a much larger story.

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The BLM: Failure At Its Finest

The BLM manages to waste $5 billion in taxpayer money managing the Wild Horse and Burro Program while doing absolutely nothing new to manage the program. How much longer can Members of Congress and the American public sit idly by while the BLM turns its back on those who bring real solutions to the table to help solve the outlandish problems presented by the current management of our Wild Horse and Burro Program?

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Mustang Monument Prevented from Opening for 2016 Season

Please Read on for More Explanation.

Wells, NV- February 10th, 2016 -
Mustang Monument was started on a dream and personal goal of Madeleine Pickens to save the American Mustangs that once were numerous across the West. To this day Madeleine has saved hundreds of horses and spent a wealth of personal time and money to fight for this worthy cause. Mustang Monument Eco-resort is a way for Madeleine to share her passion for these animals with the public and spread the word of their plight.

As they say, the tall trees do catch the wind- and Madeleine is certainly a tall tree.  In her conservation efforts with the mustangs she has drawn not only immense support for her cause, but also strong conflict. Her pleas, legal battles  and  rallies for the animals are ongoing with politicians in Washington, and more specifically with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and private cattle ranchers in the Nevada area. The publicized issues with the BLM of late in Oregon as well as Nevada has increased scrutiny on Madeleine and Mustang Monument. The persecution of Madeleine and her ongoing battles for the benefit of these animals has this year bled into a thorough review of the operations at Mustang Monument with additional permitting requirements. In essence, we are at a stalemate.

One of the key aspects of Mustang Monument is the ability to appreciate the vast open spaces, sparsely inhabited by the magnificent mustangs for which we named our eco-resort. Unfortunately, to further observe these wonderful creatures, it is necessary to move from one privately owned portion of our ranch to the other, over roads that transverse public lands. To do this, we must obtain permission from the BLM; permission they regularly provide to others for far more mundane purposes, such as hunting and merely off-roading. However, in our case (as in many other aspects of our efforts to protect our heritage) the BLM has seen fit to delay and obstruct the issuance of the necessary permit- claiming among other things that they have lost or misplaced important public records necessary to resolve some of these issues. As we have no indication that the BLM will “find” these documents, or otherwise resolve the issues to permit access, we regretfully cannot assure our guests the experience we wish them to have.

To all the supporters of Saving America’s Mustangs and Mustang Monument, we appreciate your support in the past and as we push forward through these trying times. Please know that even though the resort will not be taking guests, we will be looking after the herd of over 800 rescued mustangs as always. That said, we will prevail and these majestic  symbols of the American West shall continue to be free.

Any queries on the above can be directed to Kristy deLange on kdelange@savingamericasmustangs.org or by phone on 858-759-5500 X242.

BACKGROUND:

In 2005, a soldier in fatigues and a force called Katrina changed Madeleine Pickens forever.

Madeleine was not prepared to sit idly by and watch the devastation following Katrina unfold without getting involved somehow. In her headstrong way Madeleine motivated then husband T. Boone Pickens to go to Louisiana to witness the devastation first hand and to help load the first of the chartered planes with animals. The soldier in fatigues met them off the plane and asked about their purpose. Madeleine’s reply was simple. She was there to help the animals. It was then, when the soldier broke down. He told the story of his rescue mission earlier in the day in New Orleans where a puppy had managed to take a spot in the rescue helicopter and sat happily wagging his tail- proud to have made it aboard. The soldier noticed the joy of the puppy and shouted out for others to take note amidst such sadness. The pilot however did not share the soldiers opinion, and instead was clear in his order to make room for people and throw the puppy off. The man in fatigues had to do the unthinkable and place the puppy back in the contaminated floodwater…

Madeleine’s efforts to rescue the animals of Katrina included more than six aircraft filled with food, leashes, medicine, and transport crates. She organized a team of volunteers which flew over 800 dogs and cats out of Baton Rouge to California before reuniting many with their families again. The connections she made on the ground in Louisiana and in the following months immersed her into a world of people fighting for the rights of animals and protecting those creatures who cannot speak for themselves. It was late in 2005 when she heard of the horror that was befalling the American Mustang.

Again, Madeleine jumped to action and quickly made headway. In 2006 she met with Senator Harry Reid and Senator Dianne Feinstein and described her plans to start an eco-resort which works solely to benefit the Mustangs. Sen. Reid & Sen. Feinstein were supportive and asked Madeleine to go ahead and purchase the land, and then  they would endorse the project. Madeleine purchased 900 square miles of land in Nevada. Henri Bisson, then head of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was also in support and “sanctioned the project” at the Wild Horse and Burro meeting in Reno on 17 November 2008. Sadly Henri Bisson resigned shortly thereafter and with his resignation came ongoing battles and stalling by our government and the BLM.

Madeleine’s mission to save the Wild Mustangs and preserve the history of America has spanned over 10 years, and to this day the program is viewed with contempt by the government that is bound to protect these animals, and met with unnecessary challenges because of ranchers and government offices that are benefitting from the destruction of these magnificent and peaceful creatures. One hundred years ago there were two million mustangs roaming free, and now there are approximately 30,000.

The timeline below illustrates milestones in the road which was travelled. It was not an easy path, nor the one with least resistance, and it has been expensive with costs to Madeleine exceeding $25 million dollars. However, she will continue to fight for these kind and gentle animals not to be caged or separated from their family, not to be placed in trucks and sent over international borders to be slaughtered, and not to have them chased, terrified, and suffering before slaughter all to end up on a plate.

  • 2005- Madeleine learns of Mustang Round Ups
  • Early 2006- Madeleine approaches Senators with her ideas
  • July 2006- Madeleine and then husband T. Boone Pickens testify before Congress to ban horse slaughter calling it “Un-American”. Press release can be found here: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/t-boone-pickens-takes-on-horse-slaughter-legendary-oilman-calls-horse-slaughter-un-american-56982582.html
  • September 2006- H.R. 503 passes the House 263 to 146. The vote statistics can be found at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/109-2006/h433
  • November 2008- Henri Bisson supported the Mustang Monument project at the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Meeting in Reno, NV
  • Throughout 2009 & 2010- various meetings and letters to Senators, Congressmen, Bureau of Land Management officials with data and research to support Mustang Monument as a way to save the horses as well as save the taxpayers money to move these animals from short term & long term holding facilities
  • May 2010- Madeleine hosts an event at The Smithsonian in Washington DC to raise awareness for Saving America’s Mustangs. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/madeleine-and-t-boone-pickens-celebrate-americas-heritage-at-the-smithsonian-national-museum-of-the-american-indian-94205584.html
  • January 2011- Mustang Monument & Saving America’s Mustangs had a float in the Rose Parade with Mustangs and also supported by Native Americans, Wounded Warriors and their service dogs alongside to bring national attention to the cause
  • 2012 onward- various visits with the BLM and government agencies to move forward with the plan including data and research from professionals. Three different law firms are on retainer to work through the various permitting and hoops that must be overcome
  • 2013 onward- Employed A PR Company and Sales Team to showcase Mustang Monument and the mustang conservation effort through tourism.
    2013, 2014, 2015- Worldwide travel to showcase the property and the story behind it
  • December 2014- BLM and local officials demand Madeleine have a recreation permit to take guests from one property to her adjoining property which extends over a small portion of public land. To this day, the permit still has not been issued.
  • 2014 & 2015- Funded visits from various journalists & photographers to assist in getting publicity for the Mustangs and the fight to save them.
  • October 2015- BLM answers our queries for our permits by saying “the paperwork was misplaced”. Lawyers refiled the paperwork again and we were told that other issues prevented them from looking at the papers regardless.
  • January 2016- The BLM added pressure to the operation and placed pressure on local government to get Madeleine to carry out work on water supply pipes in the midst of winter at a huge cost, which was complete. They still then held up permits.

Draft Letter to Send to the BLM

Many of you have wanted to send letters to the Bureau of Land Management as your resolution in 2016. We have drafted a letter that you can use as a template if you wish. Please feel free to copy and paste and send to Washington. Thank you for your continued support!

Wild Horse & Burro Program
BLM Washington Office
1849 C Street NW, Rm. 5665
Washington DC 20240

To whom it may concern:

Following are my comments on the Department of Interior’s Wild Horse & Burro Program. This Administration has conducted little to no management of wild horses and burros on the range and has consistently rounded up, removed and warehoused horses at the expense of taxpayers and wild horses. As a result, for the first time in history, there are more wild horses warehoused in government holding facilities than free on the range.

TOPIC: Treasured Herds 
Every herd is treasured; I oppose how the BLM is interpreting the term because it involves manipulation and micromanagement. Congress already determined that every herd is treasured.

TOPIC: Preserves 
- I urge an immediate moratorium on roundups to prevent creating need for more preserves.
- Preserves must not replace on-the-range management and should only be used to phase out long- and short-term holding.
- I support using the authority the BLM always had to re-establish horses in zeroed-out HAs and HMAs.
- I support commitment to not killing horses deemed “excess” and “unadoptable.”
- Preserves should only be located in western states.
- Preserves must strive to maintain the social integrity of wild horse herds, allowing horses to live in more natural conditions instead of the current imposition of domestic conditions on horses who are still designated as “wild” under the law.
- Support private-public partnerships, but BLM must immediately pursue Soldier Meadows, Winecup Gamble, Madeleine Pickens and similar proposal now on the table to reduce long- and short-term holding.

TOPIC: Sustainable Herds 
- The concept of sustainable herds is based on the arbitrary AML system which is based on unfair allocation practices and incomplete, faulty range data by BLM’s own admission.
- I urge an immediate moratorium on roundups until a sustainable, solid plan is established.
- Only if proven necessary, I support fertility control with caveats.
- I oppose castration and spaying of horses and non-reproducing herds on the range.
- I oppose utilizing sex ratios to manage herds.
- I support increasing available forage through livestock allotment conversion to wild horses.
TOPIC: Adoptions
- I oppose reducing adoption requirements.
- Adoption programs should not be modified to accommodate financial incentives.
- I support exceptions can be made for international adoption only with bonafide humane association with authority to guarantee well being of horses.
- I oppose BLM’s double standard of care requirements for adopters and short-term facilities.

TOPIC: Animal Welfare 
- BLM must have complete transparency; I strongly object to the lack of transparency and support equal opportunity for all to participate – not only those invited by the BML, but for all public members to participate in internal BLM meetings, public observations and be given access to information.
- Interested members of the public must be allowed at all aspects of range monitoring, aerial counts, roundups and all holding facilities – must not be limited to specific individuals or organizations – must be representational and fair.

TOPIC: Science and Research 
- Currently the BLM does not have the science or research needed to manage this program; BLM acknowledges it’s lacking in this area.
- All gathering of information/data (i.e. census, etc) must be done with independent public observers or utilizing video technology to provide documentation to the public.
- A National Academy of Science (NAS) report must make a fresh and comprehensive review of the foundation of the BLM’s program – beginning with the scientific/legal basis for the establishment of Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs), the utilization of on-the-range management options, the environmental assessment process, operations of BLM as a whole and by field office, etc.

This Strategy Document is based on a flawed foundation given that the Salazar initiative does not represent the fundamental reform that is needed. While I agree with portions of the initiative, it is premature to forward to Congress. Actions speak louder than words. BLM talks about change, but actions suggest business as usual:
o 6,000 horses scheduled for roundup and removal before the end of October. Deepening the fiscal black hole.
o Proposals on the table offering a new direction and cost-effective solutions. Bob Abbey invites proposals from the public then ignores them.
o National office talks reform; field offices continue business as usual policies.

I urge the BLM to immediately place a moratorium on roundups and schedule public hearings to create a program that protects and manages horses on the range, rather than warehousing them in government holding facilities.
Sincerely,
________________________________________________________
(first and last name)
_________________________________________________________
(complete mailing address)

Epoch Times: What Will Become of the Wild Horses

What Will Become of the Wild Horses?

By John Fine | December 22, 2015

There are few places on Earth that are truly free. Those wilderness areas that remain are so isolated or inhospitable that the land will not sustain life. Where visionaries have set aside natural reserves they have been beset by poachers, pollution, and human entry for economic gain. In a world of economy competing for natural resources, what will become of public lands in the United States that are now home to wild horses?

“Ranchers pay $1.35 per animal unit per month to graze on public lands,” said Karen Sussman, a prominent wild horse conservationist. “[An animal unit] consists of a cow and her calf. You can’t feed a hamster for that,” she said. Where else can ranchers graze cattle so cheaply without buying land or paying real estate taxes?

Ranchers aren’t the only special interest group to want public land free of wild horses and thus open for their own purposes. Public lands are exploited by hunting interests and they contain many valuable natural resources.

In this mix of economy versus ecology, the wild horses must go.

In this mix of economy versus ecology, the wild horses must go.

Special interests with paid lobbyists in Washington demand that publicly owned horses be removed from publicly owned lands. They are aided by false and misleading information supplied by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to Congress.

The BLM is responsible for America’s public lands. Its self-expressed mandate is to “protect and manage wild horses and burros under authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to insure healthy herds thrive on healthy range lands.” This is the same BLM that approved the first production well in the National Petroleum Reserve in October.

Karen Sussman among the Gila Spanish mustang herd. These horses are descended from horses brought by conquistadors to the New World from Spain. (Myriam Moran)

Karen Sussman among the Gila Spanish mustang herd. These horses are descended from horses brought by conquistadors to the New World from Spain. (Myriam Moran)

Sussman rode into the wild horse conservation movement slowly. Since childhood she has been in love with horses. This grandmother of five adopted a mustang and rode it into Arizona’s deserts. She is a registered nurse by profession, but she took an interest in horse welfare organizations and started volunteering.

Living in Scottsdale—Arizona’s Beverly Hills, its Palm Beach, its French Riviera—Sussman did well as a socialite at the charitable galas frequented by the rich and famous. Then she focused her efforts on the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB), founded by friends of Velma Johnston (1912–1977). Johnston, better known as Wild Horse Annie, was a petite polio victim who worked as a secretary in an insurance office; she started a crusade to save America’s wild horses.

Sussman took up the reins from Wild Horse Annie, and she now runs the operation out of a double-wide trailer in Lantry, South Dakota.

Helicopter pilot Rick Harmon of KG Livestock rounds up a group of wild horses during a gathering in Eureka, Nev., on July 7, 2005. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Helicopter pilot Rick Harmon of KG Livestock rounds up a group of wild horses during a gathering in Eureka, Nev., on July 7, 2005. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Before the work of Wild Horse Annie, the U.S. government let contractors round up wild horses and send them to slaughter houses where they would be turned into dog food and fertilizer. Horse slaughter houses have closed in the United States, but the BLM still conducts regular roundups of wild horses using helicopters and ground vehicles. Some are released, but many are put in feed lots and offered to the public for adoption.

Mustangs languish in feed lots. And the new wrinkle is that any horse offered for adoption three times can be disposed of.

False statistics are used to bolster false claims that wild horses will become uncontrollable pests if their population isn’t culled.

False statistics are used to bolster false claims that wild horses will become uncontrollable pests if their population isn’t culled.

Furthermore, the BLM’s population control has put a kink in the course of nature that is devastating the conditions for the wild horses that remain.

False Statistics

Statistics are manipulated depending on how much money the BLM wants to suck out of Congress.

It gives high numbers when seeking appropriations. The BLM published statistics as of March 1, 2014, reporting that there are 40,815 wild horses and 8,394 burros under its jurisdiction.

Nobody really knows how many wild horses remain in the American West. Some put the figure low at 24,000, others at 37,000. These figures do not account for wild horses on Indian reservations or in private conservancies that have adopted them.

 

To illustrate the discrepancies of the BLM reports, the gigantic state of Montana is said to have only 160 wild horses and no wild burros.  Wyoming BLM reports 3,771 wild horses and no wild burros. Nevada is said to have the most wild horses at 23,347 and 1,688 wild burros. Arizona is said to have only 333 wild horses, yet it has 4,411 burros.

The BLM decries population growth in wild horse herds. It even makes unfounded statements that wild horse herds will double every four years if not controlled. As part of its statistical summary, the BLM adds, “Wild horse and burro populations on the range typically increase an average of 20 percent per year based on the animal foaling rates.”

“Their statistics are wrong. Their basic premise is wrong,” Sussman said.

In the wild, population is controlled by nature. When humans interfere with natural elements that control populations, the result is usually a disaster.

Sussman has methodically followed the population and mortality rates of the four herds in the care of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros. She concluded from her 16 years of study—compiled from Jan. 1, 1999 to Jan. 1, 2015—that the birth rates in functional herds allowed to exercise normal herd behavior are far less than what the BLM reports.

BLM herds that reproduce at 20 percent per year are mismanaged herds, Sussman said. They are dysfunctional herds that have been interfered with, rounded up every year and sorted. They are not natural herds anymore.

Two wild horses walk through a field in Eureka, Nev., on July 7, 2005. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Two wild horses walk through a field in Eureka, Nev., on July 7, 2005. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“The White Sands herd started with 70 horses in 1999. We now have 220, that is a 7.42 percent growth rate. The Gila herd began with 30 horses and now we have 120, only an 8.83 percent growth rate. … The population keeps pace with mortality,” Sussman said.

What Sussman determined is not surprising. In the wild, population is controlled by nature. When humans interfere with natural elements that control populations, the result is usually a disaster.

Tampering With Nature

The Catnip herd is an example of a herd that has become dysfunctional due to the BLM roundups and selective releases. It is one of the four herds of wild mustangs—totaling more than 550 horses—Sussman manages on the International Society’s South Dakota ranch. The horses live as they would in the wild, yet they recognize Sussman and she knows every one of them.

 

She said of the Catnip herd: “Only young ones were let go back into the wild. They had no mentoring. There were no older stallions to maintain discipline, no dominant mares to guide the herd. Their breeding young mares and their behavior is typical of a herd that has been rounded up and sorted. It is like having a teenager running a school. There is no learned experience and no horse etiquette.”

We have become sorcerers on a grand scale. We try to adjust nature in one place to suit our purposes only to discover that we have created a disaster somewhere else.

We have become sorcerers on a grand scale. We try to adjust nature in one place to suit our purposes only to discover that we have created a disaster somewhere else.

The BLM’s arguments that wild horses destroy rangelands and eat down the grass, pollute water holes, and destroy the environment are also based on false statistics governed by greed.

Warnings Ignored

On May 16, 2014, Sussman sent a letter outlining her studies to Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell with copies to Neil Kornze, director of the BLM; and Joan Guillfoyle, the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Division chief. She has not even had the courtesy of acknowledgment let alone a reply from these officials.

As citizens, we cannot accept public employees who do not respond to important correspondence. They are paid to heed advice from the public. Certainly Sussman, as president of a well-respected and also the oldest wild horse conservation group, is someone to be heeded.

A group of wild horses wait in a holding pen after a gathering in Eureka, Nev., on July 7, 2005. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A group of wild horses wait in a holding pen after a gathering in Eureka, Nev., on July 7, 2005. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sussman wrote in her letter: “We have concluded that the method of BLM’s management of wild horses is actually increasing their fertility rates due to the heavy-handed disruption and destruction of the social structures from frequent roundups.”

A government agency is wasting money, destroying America’s heritage, and debasing the very mandate they have been given by the U.S. Congress.

What will become of America’s wild horses? They will eventually disappear. There will be conservancies that maintain horses received from the BLM. None of these horses will be complete herds with intact family bands. The genetic pool of special herds like the Gilas or Kiger Mountain Spanish Mustangs will be forgotten in time.

 

America’s memory is feeble when it comes to misdeeds and environmental genocide. The few advocates who still try to obtain proper government action are ignored. Wild horses, like bison and wolves, are anachronisms, victims of human greed and caprice.

John Christopher Fine is a marine biologist with two doctoral degrees, has authored 24 books, including award-winning books dealing with ocean pollution. He is a liaison officer of the United Nations Environment Program and the Confederation Mondiale for ocean matters. He is a member of the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences in honor of his books in the field of education.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Epoch Times.