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Terri Farley

Sunday, August 03, 2014

BLM Cowed into Eliminating Wyoming's Checkerboard Horses

Checkered Horse by Leslie Trewyn

WHO:  The Bureau of Land Management 

WHAT: hopes to bypass the National Environmental Policy Act to roundup nearly 1,000 wild horses as part of a plan to eliminate ALL wild horses from two million acres of land

WHEN: August 20, 2014

WHERE: Wyoming Checkerboard lands

WHY:   request from Rock Springs Grazing Association of Wyoming

What are Checkerboard lands?
 Though Congress mandated the protection of wild free-roaming horses and burros  “in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public land,” BLM declared millions of acres “unsuitable for management."
The largest percentage of these “unmanageable” lands – 7,522,00 acres according to BLM’s most recent (2011) statistics – were dubbed checkerboard lands. This meant that private and public lands shared boundaries that BLM found “infeasible” to manage.  (read more here:  BLM Myths & Facts)
Checkerboard lands may also include treaty lands which have not yet been transferred to Native American tribal holdings. 

Hope for Wild Horses 

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Monday, June 30, 2014

In Case of Emergency: Shuffle Wild Horses

On Sunday June 29, 2014 I drove by BLM's Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center. It was closed to the public, but that's not why it looked deserted.  
This morning I called Jeb Beck, temporary director of the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption center was that I saw so few horses.



I was told that although a few new horses had come in -- "nuisance" horses baited trapped in Ely -- and some horses were out of sight in corrals where there hooves were being trimmed --  I wasn't seeing things. There really were fewer mustangs.
  Instead of the usual 1300 captives, the corrals held 950.

Beck told me that young horses were being moved around for adoptions and older mares (5-6 years old) were trucked to the corrals at the Carson City prison, "...in case we ended up with an emergency and we're full."

I hope there's no emergency, hope the horses head uphill, find water and safe haven where they can raise their foals in peace.

But if there is a summer emergency, I sure hope it's not heat-related. 
I took this photo a few weeks ago when the horses were scrunched down in a low spot still damp from rain earlier that week. 

 Yesterday, I still didn't see shade for this week's 100+ temperature.
There's no where to get out of the sun.
             Eyes open, all.  The horses need our help.


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Tuesday, June 17, 2014





 Send your emails: 

Dear BLM:
A helicopter round-up begins far out on the range.  

If you sat on a butte with a crest flat as a table top, you’d still feel the helicopters, before you saw them.

Vibrations shudder down your bones and shiver your insides. You’d guess the feeling came from a far-off explosion, if it didn’t come in quick pulses like a heartbeat.      

Wild horses which have never experienced a helicopter round-up wonder if a thunderstorm is on its way. But the pounding is closer than the sky, closer than a predator, unknown and terrible.

I've been present at a dozen helicopter roundups and each year the contractors get greedier and the roundups more cruel. No longer are family bands kept together for days or even hours. They are instantly split up and traumatized.

Wild Horse Annie said "People have different degrees of humaneness." That's true, but it's not the issue addressed by the National Academy of Sciences which said that roundups are backfiring --- triggering higher levels of reproduction among wild horses.

Roundups are costing Americans millions of dollars, and a valuable piece of their heritage. Stop now.

Terri Farley 
Need more ideas for you letter?  Click here 

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

BACSI: remembering wartime compassion on Memorial Day

Dear Readers, 
I was still in high school and hadn't yet met my husband when he reluctantly joined the Army.
He volunteered for all the interesting education the Army would give him, thinking the Viet Nam war would end before he was done dawdling.  
It didn't work out that way. Cory emerged as a sergeant, an airborne Green Beret medic with demolitions training. Qualified to jump out of planes, blow things up and fix the friendlies, he was sent to war. 
The big gentle hand on the little girl's back, in the photo, belongs to to the Cory I know now, and I'm not surprised at his compassion for war's innocent victims. 
Maybe because we both hate war, Cory always puts a self-mocking spin on the good he did there. Here's what he posted on Facebook: 

"Found this, taken 46 years ago this month, in an old box of pictures. I was was the medic on a Special Forces team running a patrol of Montagnard troops near Pleiku. Our second day out, we came into a small village, six or eight hooches, and a father brought this little girl out to me. She had a high fever alternating with chills; I made an empirical diagnosis of malaria and we managed to get a helicopter in to fly her out. It didn't occur to me at the time, but it was a pretty remote ville, hunter-gatherers eating monkeys and rodents, and suddenly this giant American calls a Huey to fly the whole family to an American hospital. They may be remembered in Plei Bong Whatever as the people who got abducted by aliens...."

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

BLM Bloodlines Explain Lack of Horse Sense

A couple weeks ago, I walked into conversational ambush with a new retiree from the Bureau of Land Management, but it turned out okay. Because we met during a social occasion and the spirit of retirement was upon him, this man talked openly and I was reminded why I got along with BLM staffers years ago when we met for coffee and biscuits at Bruno's cafe, in sight of the Calico Mountains where we'd work at cross-purposes. 

Dinner was about to be served when he turned away, and then turned back to me, palms up.
 “You’ve got to realize, for the last hundred or so years, BLM’s had to measure every decision against the Taylor Grazing Act.”  

Of course I’d heard of the Taylor Grazing Act. It had something to do with cows being sovereign over wild horses and wild life on public lands, but I didn’t see it as that influential in BLM actions.  Wrong.

Everything that touches the lives of wild horses is part of my work in progress, a non-fiction book about mustangs, so I pursued this tip. I'm passing on what I learned, because just as a horse’s bloodlines can reveal his ancestors’ strengths and weaknesses, so can the bloodlines of government bureaus.  

In 1946, two Federal agencies merged and gave birth to the Bureau of Land Management.

Sire: General Land Office, the agency that surveyed and sold off the West’s public lands at such a speedy and profitable rate, it spawned the expression “doing a Land Office business.” 

Dam: U.S. Grazing Service, enforcer of the Taylor Grazing Act which “stops injury to the public grazing lands by preventing overgrazing and soil deterioration; to provide for their orderly use, improvement, and development to stabilize the livestock industry dependent upon the public range.” 

By GLO, out of USGS, what do you get?  

There could be room for hope. But BLM's hidden talents haven't shown themselves, lately.

For those of us watching BLM's mistreatment of wild horses, it's hard to see the agency as anything more than an a coddler of cattlemen and hawker of America's wild lands.

If BLM won’t fess up to it’s real plans for America’s wild horses, the public is left to fall back on an old expression that’s doubly true: blood will tell.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Nevada Governor must rescue Nevada Mustangs


The Virginia Range wild horses fall under the control of the Nevada Department of Agriculture. State laws designate them “stray livestock” no matter how many generations they’ve roamed the sagebrush hills of the Silver State.

This means they can be and are taken to livestock auctions where they are sold by the pound to kill buyers. 
Wild horse advocates worldwide asked Nevada Governor Bryan Sandoval to halt the “trap – castrate – destroy” cycle.
October 4, 2013: private-public partnership is created to cut NDA costs and save mustangs. 
January 2014: ,ASPCA’s Kevin O'Neill and wild horse advocates meet with NDA to express concern at the Department's failure to implement agreement. Advocates are told action is pending. 
February: wild horse trapping continues
March 2014 : silence from the governor’s office as NDA reverts to  “trap – castrate – destroy”
Today: Email, Phone, Fax  the Governor and tell him to act on this win-win way to humanely manage the Virginia Range horses ON THE RANGE through the proposed private-public partnership.

CARSON CITY -  Phone: (775) 684-5670 - Fax: (775) fax: (775) 684-5683
LAS VEGAS - Phone: (702) 486-2500 - Fax: (702) 486-2505
 Virginia Range filly photographed by Cat Kindsfather

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cow tongues, horse poop & Neil deGrasseTyson

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."              

- Neil deGrasse Tyson

Horse poop grass sprouts photographed by Palomino Armstrong

Cattle growers and the Bureau of Land Management blame wild horses for damaging Western rangelands, despite the fact that cattle out-number horses at least 50:1.

To paraphrase Neil deGrasse Tyson, the facts are true, whether or not you believe them.

Still, here are four facts to think about as you decide what's really happening to America's wide open spaces.

Fact #1: Cattle have no top teeth in front. To eat grass, cattle wrap their tongues around a clump, sling their heads to the side and tear the grass off against their bottom teeth.

Fact #2: Horses have teeth on top and bottom. To eat grass, horses snip with top and bottom teeth.

Fact #3: Cattle have very efficient digestive systems. As ruminants, they have several processing chambers in their stomachs. These chambers, plus second-chewing of semi-digested cud, mean that almost none of what a cow eats goes to waste. This is good news if you're raising cattle for beef.

Fact #4: Horses have an inefficient digestive system. Their single chamber stomach doesn't digest seeds. This means they need more forage to be nourished. This is time-consuming, but if you're a wild horse, it also means you are an inadvertent farmer, planting seeds in your own fertilizer, so that you can expect fresh grass at the same grazing spots year after year.

The next time you hear someone claim wild horses are to blame for damage to the range, remember: the facts won't go away, just because you don't believe them.

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