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Terri Farley
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Monday, June 27, 2016

Where's Mama? : What Happens to Foals After a Wild Horse Roundup


WASHINGTON, DC (June 23, 2016 ) Republicans on the Federal Lands Sub-Committee launched a plan for the extinction of America's wild horses. Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming purred that euthanasia is "such a lovely way to die." An alternate strategy? Round up 100% of America's wild horses so they won't suffer on the range. 

Here's what happens to wild foals if they survive roundups. I was at Palomino Valley Wild Horse corrals with photographer Karen Hopple a few years ago when these foals arrived.
The first filly out of the contractor's truck tumbled out backward, but kept her balance. Most horses were sorrels, but there were also bays, duns and paler horses, including a palomino.
Bodies huddled together as close as possible, the foals stared at the truck which still held their mothers. Only a few pairs were reunited. 

The red chestnut foal with blaze, pictured at blog-top, was so traumatized by roundup, shipment and loss of her family, her face was frozen in this expression the entire time I was there.
She and a few others tried to nurse from other foals.     
This method of self-soothing indicates these babies are too young to be separated from their mothers, even though they met BLM's guidelines for weaning.
This is a perversion of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and if you're an American tax-payer, you're paying for it.

Too young to be taken from her mother, a foal tries to nurse another baby (Photos by Karen Hopple)

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Message from Wild Horse Annie

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Velma "Wild Horse Annie" Johnston's death and this year she has a partner in Heaven. 
Our friend Carrol Able, long-time fighter for the lives of wildlife, especially wild horses, passed away in April. 
In 2014, Carrol gave me permission to share this message and I think it's time to do it again.  
I would tell these two gritty wild horse angels to rest in peace, but as long as our mustangs are in danger, they won't. 

Carrol Able                                                                                                             July 20, 2011 

I sat down with Wild Horse Annie today. We had quite the conversation. I complained of how convoluted her law had become, how it was now a life sentence for the very animals it was intended to protect. She listened quietly, never uttering a word. “We really need your help.” I told her. She offered no reply.
The grass surrounding us was cool damp; refreshing, the day warm and clear. I closed my eyes and imagined a band of wild horses grazing peacefully nearby. How fitting it would have been. But alas! Imaginings are nothing more than imaginings. There were no wild horses and Wild Horse Annie was not going to answer.
Beside me was a small and unassuming grave marker. In that, it was much like the woman buried there. Beneath the name Velma B. Johnston, Wild Horse Annie and the dates March 5, 1912 - June 27, 1977 are three mustangs, running wild and free. As I ran my fingers across the relief and looked closer at the image, I realized there was something unexpectedly ominous portrayed there. 
image by Melissa Farlow

The running mustang trio has reached the edge of a dangerous precipice with no choice left but to jump. The last of the three is rearing and looking over his shoulder as if deciding whether to fight or flee. Tears started flowing when I put the scene in the context of the battle we’re waging today. 
I started sobbing like a crazy fool and blurted out, “Help me! I don’t know what else to do.”
It was then that a voice came to me, a gentle but strong whisper in my ear.
                          “FIGHT” it said, “Fight like a wild stallion.” 

*Wild Horse Annie drew attention to the bloody deaths of mustangs, all sacrificed for greed and fought for them. She organized a children's campaign that created bipartisan support for a protective law in 1971.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Wild Horse Politics: Constituent of Congressman Mark Amodei (Nevada)

 6/15/16  1:10 PM pst  source: legislative assistant Stephanie Walker, Con. Amodei's office
By voice vote, Appropriations Committee adopted a bi-partisan proposal to transfer captive wild horses to Federal, State and local governments for use as work horses with a limiting provision stating they cannot be slaughtered.  BLM was also encouraged to continue exploring contraceptive options with universities, but OSU's experimental ovarectomy program was not specifically mentioned.
Velma Bronn Johnston -- Wild Horse Annie -- was responsible, along with America's school children, for passing the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act which sheltered wild horses from mechanized round-up and slaughter. Since her death, the Act has been legally perverted. Between now & tomorrow, we have a chance to stop a new way to make it legal to kill mustangs.


Tuesday June 14, 2016

11:30 a.m  phoned the D.C. office and was urged to leave a message so that my concerns could be passed on, I asked to leave two questions and get a call back or email response.

My questions: 

1) If tomorrow's Appropriations Committee "markup" meeting includes a proposal to transfer captive wild horses from BLM to Federal, state or local governmental agencies, where does Congressman Amodei stand? I noted that this would strip all equines in BLM custody of their legal rights as wild horses.  

2) Who does the Congressman consult for well-rounded, especially scientific, expertise on the wild horse issue?

 I was told I'd receive a response from Jason Riederer,Legislative Director at U.S. House of Representatives

2:15 pm. 

No word from the Congressman's office and it's getting late in D.C., so I called again and asked if there was an email address to which I could write a letter that would be read before the Appropriations Meeting tomorrow. 

I was transferred to Kate, who told me the Congressman was very aware of wild horse issues and she appreciated my call and that she was familiar with the content of tomorrow's Appropriations Committee meeting. I asked her to please make sure the Congressman looked at the fiscal impacts of keeping horses corralled vs. having BLM maintain oversight and the horses maintain their legally wild status if they should to to state or Federal agencies as "work animals."
Re: Congressman's consultants on wild horse issues,

When asked for a single name among the "vast number of constituents he consults" on this issue, Kate couldn't or wouldn't name one.  

Pressed, she gave me this contact: 


Dear Ms. Walker:

Kate in your office recommended I write to you for answers to my questions.

First, if tomorrow's meeting includes a proposal to transfer captive wild horses from BLM to Federal, state or local governmental agencies as work animals, how will Congressman Amodei vote? I urge him to stand against this idea. These horses have already been taken off the range, so the Congressman's loyalty to livestock interests is irrelevant. If he still chooses to shuttle horses to other agencies, I urge him to add language which maintains the horses' existing rights under Federal law. It costs little -- only occasional BLM welfare checks -- and keeps them from being legally sold for slaughter.

I have observed livestock auctions where wild horses deemed estray by the Nevada Department of Agriculture are sold at auction to kill buyers and this amendment would expand such practices. It is an obvious backdoor to horse slaughter which the vast majority of Americans oppose. There is no ethical reason for the Congressman to rubber stamp it.

Kate told me that the Congressman "consults a vast number of constituents" on the wild horse issue, and yet she could not or would not name a single one. That's when she passed me off to you. I hope you can tell me who Congressman Amodei consults for well-rounded, up-to-date scientific expertise on wild horses.

I am a journalist and the author of fact-based fiction about wild horses. My work has received science awards and been honored by the American Library Association.
My recent book was vetted and endorsed by the head mammologist of the American Museum of Natural History. I would be happy to share my experience and sources in a civil conversation with Congressman Amodei.

Terri Farley  

6 am Wednesday June 15 

No response from Rep Amodei's office


No response from Rep Amodei's office. 

Phoned Legislative Assistant Stephanie Walker and had a cordial conversation. She was in the Appropriations "marking" meeting 



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Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Wild Horses, Wild Fire and Politics

Cheat grass in the Great Basin dries out by mid-June, then drops seeds and becomes tinder for range fires.  
Partial Solution: “Wild horses eat cheat grass before it can drop seeds,” admitted Les Boothe Rangeland Management Specialist, adamant supporter of wild horse removal at the Beaty Butte Working Group sponsored by Beaty Butte Grazing Association, Oregon Natural Desert Association.

Question: Should we write off as coincidence the fact that massive round-ups of mustangs coincide with proliferation of cheat grass and the rapid return of wild land fires from every 60-100 years systems to less than 5 years?  


Western governors are concerned about the early start to the 2016 fire season and many, including Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval, support the round-up of wild horses. 

Tell Governor Sandoval to look at the facts

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