Advocates Demand Public Observation of Controversial BLM Wild Horse Sterilization Experiments

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Advocates Demand Public Observation of Controversial BLM Wild Horse Sterilization Experiments

Burns, Oregon (July 20, 2016) . Citing the First Amendment, two leading wild horse advocacy organizations have filed a formal request to observe and record controversial surgical procedures to be performed on wild horses at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon. 

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and The Cloud Foundation contend that the surgical procedures to be performed by BLM in conjunction with Oregon State University (OSU) are invasive, inhumane, outdated and dangerous, and that the BLM should not be allowed to conduct them behind closed doors.

BLM and OSU are moving forward with the experiments despite receiving tens of thousands of comments opposing them. 

The groups maintain that since the BLM has stated that a major purpose of the research is to determine “the social acceptability” of the procedures, it’s vital that they be observed and recorded so the public has the opportunity to witness how the federally protected animals subject to the surgeries are being treated.

“Given that these experiments will form the basis for the BLM establishing program-wide policies, public documentation of this project is essential,” wrote attorney Nick Lawton of Meyer, Glitzenstein & Eubanks in an official request letter to the BLM. The prominent public interest law firm is representing the groups in this matter. 

“The public’s right to know what is happening to our nation’s federally protected wild horses on public property is vitally important, particularly since these controversial procedures could become routine practice by BLM,” Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. “We firmly believe that once American citizens and our elected leaders see what the BLM is doing to our federally-protected wild horses, they simply won’t stand for it.” 

"The genetic viability of most wild horse herds is already at risk due to the small herd size at which they are managed. To further endanger herds by permanent sterilization is a formula for genetic disaster," said Ginger Kathrens, Humane Advocate on the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board and Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. 

BLM and OSU intend to perform a procedure on wild mares called ovariectomy-by-colpotomy which involves a veterinarian cutting into a mare’s vaginal wall, placing his hand and arm through the vagina into the abdominal cavity, manually locating the ovaries, then severing them with a rod-like chain tool called an ecraseur.  

The surgery puts mares at risk for death from hemorrhage and infection and for evisceration – the protrusion on the bowel through the surgical incision.

75 percent of the mares who will be experimented on will be pregnant, and the procedure will cause many to have abortions.

In wild horses, it’s not possible to provide the same post-surgical care available to domestic animals, or to forcibly restrain their movement after surgery, resulting in a high risk for infection and pain following the procedure. Removing mares’ ovaries will also cause serious behavioral changes, making this an inappropriate management tool for wild herds. 

The groups are asking BLM to respond to its request byJuly 28and, if denied access to observe and record the procedures, will file a suit to protect their First Amendment rights. They are also plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit against the BLM over its plans to convert a wild free-roaming horse population in the Saylor Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) in Idaho into a non-reproducing herd by sterilizing every mare and stallion living there. 

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is a national wild horse advocacy organization whose grassroots mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations. AWHPC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.

The Cloud Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana. Cloud is the subject of Foundation founder Ginger Kathrens' groundbreaking PBS/Nature documentaries.

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More information:

AWHPC/TCF First Amendment Demand Letter

The Cloud Foundation Comments

AWHPC Comments/Complaints

Comments of Dr. Don Moore, Veterinarian

Republican led Sub-Committee on Federal Lands turns “oversight hearing” on Wild horse and Burro Program into a One-Sided Attack on Wild Horses

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Kathrens was effectively muzzled as Republicans led a full-out assault on wild horses in the West; Democratic members were absent and staging a sit-in on gun control on the House floor

WASHINGTON, DC (June 23, 2016 ) –Republicans on the Federal Lands Sub-Committee launched a full out assault on wild horses on public lands in the West while Democratic members were conducting a sit-in on gun legislation at the Capital. What was supposed to be an “oversight hearing,” on the “Challenges and Potential Solutions for BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program,” devolved into a vicious political attack on legally Protected Wild Horses and Burros and the only advocate present to represent them. Subcommittee Chairman, Tom McClintock only asked questions that supported their position that wild horses are to be blamed for the destruction of western rangelands even though they roam on less than 12% of public lands where privately-owned livestock are allocated 82% pf the forage.

Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation and Humane Advocate on BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, was the lone expert witness to present the case for the wild horses and burros. Her fact-based, 5 minute summary was distilled from a detailed document the Colorado organization presented to the committee. Ginger outlined humane, financially sustainable and common-sense solutions to the BLM’s self-created crisis.

Ginger Kathrens Testifying before House Oversight Hearing on “Challenges and Potential Solutions for BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.”

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Kathrens will present humane and economically sustainable solutions to BLM’s beleaguered Wild Horse and Burro Program

WASHINGTON, DC (Tues, June 22, 2016) - Ginger Kathrens, Founder and Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud foundation has documented and advocated for wild horse herds for over 22 years. Known as the Jane Goodall of wild horses, Kathrens’ documentation of Cloud the Wild Stallion represents the only continuing chronicle of a wild animal from birth in our hemisphere. At the invitation of Representative Raul Grijalva, (D-AZ) she will testify before the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands oversight hearing entitled, “Challenges and Potential Solutions for BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program,” Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm (Eastern Time) in Room 1334 Longworth House Office Building.

On May 11, 2016 the BLM issued a Press Release titled Wild Horses and Burros on Public Rangelands Now 2.5 greater than when the 1971 law was passed, bemoaning problems which they themselves have created. Instead of embracing realistic management strategies, the BLM and some western politicians have attempted to derail the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (Wild Horse Act) aimed at protecting wild horses on public lands.

The Cloud Foundation Appeals to House Appropriations Subcommittee to Reject BLM’s 2017 Budget Proposal

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Proposal would Amend 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and afford fewer protections to wild horses in BLM captivity.

WASHINGTON, D.C, May 25, 2016 - On May 24 The Cloud Foundation (TCF) sent letters to the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior stating: "The Cloud Foundation urges your opposition to dramatic policy changes affecting the Wild Horse and Burro Program as contained in Section 110 of the Administration’s FY 2017 Budget Request for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We urge that these policy changes be rejected during the Subcommittee Markup on the FY 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill this Wednesday, May 25."

BLM’s proposal would allow for unlimited transfers of wild horses to other Federal, State and local government agencies for use as work animals. The transfer of Wild horses under the provision would be unlimited, would be subject to immediate transfer of ownership (instead of a one-year wait required by the Act *) and the horses would lose their status as a wild free-roaming horse or burro as defined by the Act.

The Cloud Foundation Stresses Need for Protective Language in BLM’s Wild Horse “Transfer of Excess Animals” Proposal

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-Easy fixes in wording will demonstrate good intentions of BLM

COLORADO SPINGS, CO (Feb. 12, 2016) Efficacy and safety of Lexapro online no rxcokinetically enhanced -clavulanate at 2,000125. primary efficacy endpoint) as -clavulanate at 125. - As described by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the Cloud Foundation (TCF) this week, the BLM is attempting to increase adoptions of four and five year-old horses currently in short-term holding facilities by offering them to other government agencies. Currently BLM wild horses can only be offered to individuals. BLM states that this ability will create more time for BLM staff to work on other pressing issues, decrease the costs of holding, and provide a higher quality of life for the horses placed with agencies. With this in mind, they submitted the following language for inclusion in the President’s 2017 Budget:


SEC. 110. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Interior may transfer excess wild horses or burros that have been removed from the public lands to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals: Provided, That the Secretary may make any such transfer immediately upon request of such Federal, State, or local government agency: Provided further, That any excess animal transferred under this provision shall lose its status as a wild free-roaming horse or burro as defined in the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

New Information Reveals Unreported Death in Experimental Wild Mare/Burro Sterilizations performed by Dr. Leon Pielstick

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Dr. Pielstick is scheduled to perform mare sterilization research at Oregon State University.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. (May 17, 2016) - On May 10, The Cloud Foundation (TCF) received a call from an unnamed Phoenix resident who had witnessed deadly burro and mare sterilization operations performed in Arizona last month by Dr. Leon Pielstick, DVM, the veterinarian slated to perform such procedures on hundreds of wild mares and foals, currently being held in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Hines, Oregon corrals. The BLM funded mare sterilization operations would be undertaken through a BLM grant to Oregon State University (OSU).

Federal Agency Shifts Blame – Hiding Their Mismanagement of Wild Horse Program

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Agency has ignored humane fertility control for decades

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. (May 16, 2016) – The Federal agency responsible for controlling wild horse populations is seeking to rewrite their mismanagement of this program spanning the last 30 years. The Bureau of Land Management claims wild horses in holding are busting their budget, yet failed to address economic tools that have been at their disposal for decades to keep horses out of holding and on their legal ranges in the West.

“BLM’s recent press release fails to address economical tools that have been at their disposal for decades which can control wild horse populations in a humane manner on their home ranges as the Wild Horse and Burro Act intended,” said Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation. “BLM’s lack of on-the-range management has come at a very high price. Helicopter contractors make millions. Wild horses lose their freedom. And the American public foots the bill for large scale incarceration.”

Lawsuit Filed to Stop BLM from Sterilizing Idaho Wild Horse Herd

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Lawsuit Filed to Stop BLM from Sterilizing Idaho Wild Horse Herd

Boise, ID (January 4, 2016) . . . Today, The Cloud Foundation (TCF), the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), Return to Freedom, and Virginia Marie Hudson filed a lawsuit in the Idaho District Court against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), charging that the agency’s plan to permanently sterilize the entire herd of wild horses in the Saylor Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) violates the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (“Wild Horse Act”) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Happy Holidays

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All checks must be postmarked by Dec 31st to qualify for the 2015 tax year.

Taxpayer Subsidized Livestock Grazing Responsible for Destruction of Public Lands

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Protected wild horse herds victims of economic exploitation

COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. (Nov. 12, 2015) - The Cloud Foundation (TCF) applauds Vickery Eckhoff’s article, “Livestock Data Fills Gap in Ongoing Wild Horse Debate,” a statistical analysis of livestock grazing in comparison with wild horse use on public lands in the West.

The well-documented article, published in The Daily Pitchfork makes clear that our public lands are being over-run by welfare livestock at the expense of wild horses and burros and other wildlife species. Points made in the article include:

  • 2.1 million cattle graze on public lands -- 37 times greater than the 56,656 free-roaming wild horses and burros
  • Privately-owned livestock are allocated 97 percent of the forage across 251 million acres of BLM and USFS managed lands.
  • Wild horse and burros inhabit 12 percent of that land and are allocated 3 percent of forage overall.

"The media has taken the BLM and ranchers' word that wild horses are the cause of overgrazing and overpopulating of our western public rangelands for too long,” states Ms. Eckhoff. “How can one horse out-graze 37 cattle? It's simply impossible; the livestock figures show it. It's time the media reported the numbers, to get at the truth."

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