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American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

Hello Supporter,                July 19, 2011

Oppose Unnecessary Roundup in Wyoming's Red Desert Complex 

Removal of 840 Mustangs, Including 390 Yearlings & Foals, Planned for October

Wild horse families, like the one pictured above, will be torn apart and destroyed if the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) moves ahead with its proposal to remove 840 horses from the Red Desert Complex in southern Wyoming. The roundup plan includes permanent removal of 450 horses living outside of designated "Herd Management Areas" (HMAs)  as well as 390 foals and yearlings from within the Complex.

To make matters worse, the agency is including an option to castrate free-roaming stallions and return them to the range. As described in last week's eNewsletter, castrating free-roaming stallions takes away the drive and adaptability that makes these horses wild mustangs.

Please take one minute to strongly oppose this unnecessary, costly and inhumane roundup plan for the Red Desert Complex.


Federal Appeals Court Delays Triple B Roundup

In a late Friday July 15, 2011 decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency stay to halt the Triple B roundup, which the BLM intended to begin on Saturday. The stay will give the court time to review an appeal of a disappointing decision by U.S. District Court Judge Howard McKibben in Reno to allow the BLM to proceed with the roundup and removal of 1,700 horses from the 1.7-million-acre complex outside Ely, Nevada.

The lawsuit to block the roundup in the Triple B area, which is also known as the Buck/Bald Complex, was filed by environmental attorney Rachel Fazio and Nevada counsel Julie Cavanaugh-Bill on behalf of the Cloud Foundation and ecologist Craig Downer and horse advocate Lorna Moffat.

BLM had declined to delay the roundup by a few days to give the plaintiffs time to appeal Judge McKibben's decision. The emergency stay issued by the Ninth Circuit sends a strong message to the BLM, which continues plans for mass roundups despite strong public opposition.

Lawsuit Status Update: As of this writing the Ninth Circuit has yet to rule and the roundup is still on hold.

More information about the lawsuit and AWHPC's eyewitness account of the July 14 hearing before Judge McKibben is available here.


AWHPC Founding Sponsor      Advocacy Sponsor

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. Supported by a coalition of over 40 organizations, its grassroots campaign seeks:

    * A suspension of roundups in all but verifiable emergency situations while the entire BLM wild horse program undergoes objective and scientific review;
    * Higher Appropriate Management Levels (AML) for wild horses on those rangelands designated for them;
    * Implementation of in-the-wild management, which would keep wild horses on the range and save taxpayers millions of dollars annually by avoiding the mass removal and stockpiling wild horses in government holding facilities.


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Also of Note...

HSUS Report Calls for More Transparency and Humane Treatment in BLM Roundups

Last week, the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS)  issued a report that calls on the BLM to  increase transparency and establish stronger humane regulations for wild horse roundups.The report was based on the observations of an HSUS wildlife scientist who attended the Antelope Complex roundup in January.

Key recommendations from the HSUS report include: (1) placing temperature restrictions on roundups to prohibit stampede and capture of horses in temperatures above 90 degrees or below 32 degrees; (2) installing real-time cameras on helicopters used during roundups and at the trap pens, corrals and temporary holding pens; and (3) allowing HSUS to form an independent panel of equine experts to evaluate BLM's current roundup practices and offer recommendations.

The HSUS press release noted that the BLM has received more than 55,000 public comments on the agency's plans for the Wild Horse and Burro Program - nearly all of the comments criticized the BLM's management and called for stronger protections for wild horses and burros.

The HSUS report and press release are available here.

Understanding the BLM's Mismanagement of Our Public Lands

The BLM's routine inequitable allocation of public land resources to benefit livestock at the expense of America's free-roaming wild horses and burros is a fundamental problem with the federal wild horse and burro management program. The agency consistently allocates from 3 to 50 times more resources to privately-owned livestock than to federally-protected wild horses and burros in designated habitat areas. A report by Western Watersheds Project sheds further light on this situation.

Western Watersheds is a leader in the fight to protect Western public lands and has documented the mass-scale damage to those public lands that is being inflicted by commercial livestock grazing. Among the resources offered by this group is a report by Dr. John Carter that reveals: the "BLM is understating forage consumption by cow/calf pairs by a nominal 50% based on the average body condition and frame scores. The implication of this on stocking rates is obvious. ... BLM is over stocking allotments 33% based on failure to take into account current cattle weights and calves.

In essence, the BLM's current system for allocating resources does not account for the fact that cows are much bigger now than they were in the past, and thus consume more forage. This factor could explain the overgrazing and range damage that BLM attributes to wild horses. Fewer than 33,000 wild horses live on 26.1 million acres of BLM land. By contrast, 50 -200 times that number of privately-owned sheep and cattle graze on BLM land, yet the agency continually scapegoats mustangs and burros for range overgrazing.

Dr. Carter's must-read report is available here