This site is taking comments… OPED news:
This site is taking comments… OPED news:
Sitting here editing video, crafting documents and need to get out to work with an old mare in pain… but wanted to share some things so you “get” my “head space.”
I am in the “thick” of it….
added this for Lisa G in comments…
Today in DC the new head of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, Joan Guilfoyle, will speak at the International Conference for Equine Welfare.
She has committed to speak for ten minutes to introduce herself. She will answer no questions from the public, nor participate in any dialogue. She has agreed to speak to address her willingness to “dialogue” with the public.
Sounds like the same old contradictions.
As Guilfoyle prepares to speak the last horses of the roundup were removed from Barren Valley in Oregon. Only two runs of the pilot were documented. Almost a week allowed no documentation at all.
This video is of the last two groups taken.
Please help support the work if you can.:
A quick post on
Barren Valley over.
(copyright Laura Leigh 2011)
will get the video edited. have to update Ninth case… pooped.
Filed a Supplement to the Court yesterday in the Inhumane Treatment case.
Came back to Barren Valley. BLM said public observation would be open again this weekend. I got a call that informed me that there may be no round up tomorrow. They may “call it.” But I will make the drive anyway and head to the Corrals for a “wrap up.”
I have two editorials in the works, a roundup report, and the two active cases. On top of that the field work that dominates the days as it is the vital component of all the rest. It is a massive amount of work.
If I do not return calls or emails it is not personal. Please resend and keep it in front of me. Those that know me know I do not feel “nagged” it is just part of the process.
I need your help to keep this going. Without your help I can’t continue. I receive no grants or funding from “large pockets.” ~Thank you.
I’m on the road… I think BLM is attempting to respond…
Are we surprised that the conduct is still “alleged” in BLM speak that was PROVEN in a Courtroom… But the concept that BLM will violate law if they stop rounding up horses that they “allege” are overpopulated is “fact.” AND that conversation ends up being the focus of the ONLY release that addresses McKibben.
I want to have a “live” debate with Bob Abbey… think he’d agree?
My FULL response to this drivel soon.
BLM Establishes Team to Review Recently Completed Triple B Gather in Nevada
Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey announced today that he is calling for a review of the adequacy of existing operating procedures that relate to instances of alleged animal abuse during the recently completed Triple B wild horse gather carried out in Nevada in a complex northwest of Ely and southeast of Elko. More than 1,200 wild horses were gathered and removed during the gather, toward the end of which U.S. District Judge Howard D. McKibben granted a Temporary Restraining Order to plaintiffs opposed to the gather because of his concern that a helicopter was flying too close to a horse being rounded up.
The review, to be conducted by a team of BLM employees who will be able to consult with specific non-BLM experts, will look at several incidents, some of which have been videotaped by the public. “The team will carefully review the incidents to determine what happened and to assess the gather operations,” said Abbey. “The review and findings will inform the Bureau’s development of a comprehensive animal welfare plan for the Wild Horse and Burro Program.”
Abbey added, “This fact-finding review is aimed at advancing the BLM’s ongoing efforts to strengthen humane animal care and handling practices. Any resulting changes in Bureau-wide standard operating procedures will apply to gather contractors, BLM employees, and volunteers.” The findings of the review, which complements the BLM’s effort to make the Wild Horse and Burro Program as transparent as possible, will be posted on the Internet (at www.blm.gov).
The BLM estimates that approximately 38,500 wild horses and burros (about 33,000 horses and 5,500 burros) are roaming on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states based on the latest data available, compiled as of February 28, 2011. Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years – even with increased efforts to administer fertility control to wild horse mares. As a result, the agency must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to protect rangeland resources, such as wildlife habitat, from the impacts of overpopulation. The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act mandates that once the Interior Secretary “determines…that an overpopulation exists on a given area of the public lands…he shall immediately remove excess animals from the range so as to achieve appropriate management levels.” In Fiscal Year 2010, the BLM removed 10,255 wild horses and burros (9,715 horses and 540 burros) from public rangelands as part of its overall mission to ensure the health of Western public lands for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations.
The estimated current free-roaming population exceeds by nearly 12,000 the number that the BLM has determined can exist in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses. Off the range, there are more than 40,000 other wild horses and burros that are fed and cared for at short-term corrals and Midwestern long-term pastures. In the most recently completed fiscal year (2010), holding costs accounted for $36.9 million (or 57 percen t) of the total enacted Wild Horse and Burro Program budget of $63.9 million. The Government Accountability Office, in an October 2008 report, found the program’s mounting holding costs to be unsustainable.
In response, the BLM is finalizing a new wild horse and burro management strategy as part of its ongoing effort to reform the Wild Horse and Burro Program and put it on a cost-effective, sustainable track.
The New York Times ran a piece by Phil Taylor of Greenwire (look up Greenwire, it is an “energy and environment” publication).
I took the time to submit an Editorial, but am not taking the time for the submission to be rejected.
There are several other areas of the piece I find disturbing besides what I address in the below submission, but there is only so much time in the day.
I urge you all to create your own submission to the Times.
I am crafting doc’s and editing and back on the road…
I always hate to ask… but I do need your help to stay out here and continue the work.
While applauding the Times for having covered the issue of Wild Horses and Burros on public land, the journalistic standard of the piece “Interior’s New Wild Horse Chief Confronts…” by Phil Taylor lacks authoritative bases.
Federal law does not “force” the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to “cull” horses. The law instead requires them to manage according to a “multiple use” mandate and to “protect” wild horses as “living symbols of the pioneer spirit of the West.” “Removal” of horses is only one of many tools in the BLM’s toolbox although by choice, it is the only one utilized thus far in the forty-year history of the mandate.
The “advocate community” is rightly concerned that wild herds are not managed under “multiple use,” but are managed at a non viable standard in an inhumane fashion. If an extraction company was forced to operate at the current capacity that our National Treasures are being managed, they would be forced out of business. Genetic bankruptcy is more than a concern, it is a stark reality that would ultimately lead to the extinction of wild horses in the West.
There is no “over population.” There is instead, competition for resources on public land.
If you give away a resource the horses rely on to an entity that operates in a subsidized fashion on public land, you have an “over population” of horses according to the agency. You have also created another avenue for public wealth to go into private pockets on the back of an already over burdened American tax payer.
The agency manages more public land than any other, approximately 262 million acres. All of that land is open to “multiple use,” two-thirds of it open to livestock grazing and a mere 10 percent is currently legal land for wild horse herds. Within that 10 percent, horses are often provided less than 2 percent of available resources.
Fences create artificial migration routes. Water sources are fenced off and roads are being widened for the high speed heavy truck traffic to accommodate expanding extractive interests. These extractive interests compete for water in arid western states. Their thirst for the liquid is rising at an alarming rate.
This agency determined that an “Appropriate Management Level” (AML) of horses for one Herd Management Area was sufficient at three animals. Why did they leave three? The BLM did not want their statistics to show another area “zeroed out” of wild horses.
Joan Guilfoyle is now sitting atop an agency guilty of severe fiscal mismanagement rooted in historic prejudice where private interests can profit. Its failed policy is running full steam toward disastrous consequence to the health of public land. Wild Horses are its chosen scapegoats. It is more than tragic that yet another bureaucrat who parrots the old regime has taken the helm.
Guilfoyle, claiming to have been at the Triple B roundup, states,
“It might be the one in a thousand that rears up against the corral and bumps up against the gate, and people go, ‘Oh my gosh, it got hurt,’” she said. “But that’s one out of thousand that came through more or less agreeably. Part of it, I think, is perception and understanding of what’s happening.”
I personally attended more roundups than any government personnel or public observer in the last eighteen months. I documented horrific incompetence and lack of the most basic of humane treatment. That documentation includes a nonstop testimony to numerous daily offensive actions. Triple B is no exception. Taylor, who accepted her words as Gospel, fell down on the job when not seeking where the truth lies.
Mr. Taylor cites one lawsuit that could not halt the roundup. Yet, he fails to cite the suit that succeeded in proving that the Agency is guilty of inhumane treatment. A temporary restraining order (TRO) was issued late last month by the Honorable Howard D. McKibben, a Nevada federal judge (Case 3:11-cv-608). His Honor expressed stern disapproval not only toward the conduct of the helicopter pilot who actually struck an exhausted horse, but toward the BLM’s justification process that “blames the horse” for such incidents The suit remains active in federal court. Meanwhile, Guilfoyle’s agency has yet to address Judge McKibben’s decision. Incredibly, the BLM refuses thus far to even recognize Judge McKibben’s remarks of his being “troubled” by the BLM’s conduct, nor has Guilfoyle’s agency issued parameters for pilot conduct in the wake of the judge’s ruling.
The press has yet to “do their job” and hold the government accountable as our forefathers intended they do when they wrote the Constitution. Taylor’s piece is evidence of spineless reporting where he fails to address press access issues in his warm “welcome aboard” message to Guilfoyle.
As camera lenses and observers catch atrocities, Guilfoyle’s agency closes its doors to observers instead of implementing corrective action. The BLM blames advocates for “not understanding” what they must do. Or, they”blame the horse” for “necessary” abusive treatment.
Two respected organizations, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the National Press Photographers Association, filed a brief in a pending Ninth Circuit appeal (Case 11-16088) over their concern for the Agency’s denigration of constitutional First Amendment “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” notions. The case addresses the repeated content control accomplished to minimize “bad press,” when Guilfoyle’s agency systematically excludes the press and public from viewing its horrific handling of wild horses captured from public lands. Remove the press and there is no problem.
It is more than a “shame on you” I send to Phil Taylor for failing to address either of these cases in his article. Mr. Taylor instead, chose the “easy way out,” avoiding the tough and gritty method real journalists employ when ferreting out the truth of their chosen topic. Taylor’s piece legitimizes an agency that is no friend either to America’s wild horse or to the true journalist.
Founder, Wild Horse Education
Vice President, Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Plaintiff in the above mentioned Federal lawsuits
He has a bit of a snotty nose… but I found him. He is nursing from a dark mare with a blaze. He seems ok.
I’ll have more info am. Heading back out… so many things to take care of!
I can’t leave my work in the field. But I have helped craft some things that have made their way into a few packets heading to Congress.
This video is a short statement about the responsibility of Congress to police the act they began and remove discretion from an agency that can not even manage to adhere to the most basic principle of that mandate.
While while sleep deprived and going roundup to roundup.
Video on Triple B coming very soon.
Dealing with the issues of the cases and observation and the things life brings… very busy.
But it always seems the busier I get the more waves of “stupid” that waft my way.
It is frustrating that I need to deal with these things…
There appears to be a new rumor about me flying around. I usually don’t address them because of the time… but instead of looking at the source and possible motivation… or asking me a question… the rumors just fly. They fan a fire that is not productive in any fashion.
There has NEVER been a case filed by Cattoor against me nor any subsequent injunction to keep me from roundups. I was just at Kiger, folks. It was Cattoor… Sue and I spoke. OK?
There was a case against someone else and a settlement. It was about an article that was written.
It was not me, nor my photograph.
ALSO please do not attribute statements to me that others may write that use my photos. I sign my own name to my words.
Update soon… after I eat and get everything offloaded.
new post on WildHorseEducation.org
I come from a long line of people that felt service to country was an honor.
My Grandad served in both World Wars. In the second WW his eldest sons went with him. Uncles served in Korea. My dad was too young and became a police officer and volunteer fireman. Many family members still live in the New York area. We had a family member missing that day as his office was in the Trade Center… he was ok but it was a very frightening time.
I am reposting an article I wrote that was published in a few venues over the winter… it just strikes me as appropriate for this weekend.
What Does America Stand For?
Our founding fathers made an incredibly brave stand and wrote the Declaration of Independence. They knew by making a stand for what they believed in that they would not win an across the board popularity contest.
Next came the great Constitution of the United States.
The premises within that document began to build the consciousness of a nation. When I walk through the law libraries and touch the pages (yes, I feel books give a sense that the electronic age desensitizes) you literally feel the development of the identity of this nation.
Case law that demonstrates the evolution of the premises within the Constitution can literally remind you of the pride that is “America.” Sometimes it appears this occurs in spite of ourselves. Civil and human rights cases exist that when you read the cases themselves there is shame that what seems like a “no brainer” in current times was actually an issue that had to be decided within the judicial system. The pages are filled with “bad children” being given rules filtered through the guidelines our “founding fathers” left for us.
Within the Bill of Rights a concept was so important to our “fathers” that it was listed first. (The right to bear arms was second).
“The founding fathers gave the press the mission to inform the people and promote the free flow of facts and ideas, however untimely or challenging or disagreeable those facts and ideas may be.” — Katharine Graham, publisher, The Washington Post, 1973
The concept of a free press is to allow the public an opportunity to investigate and report on the activities of it’s government without fear of reprisal and censorship. The intention is that the true power of decision making in a Democratic society comes from an educated public conveying ideas to a representative that then advocates those positions in debate within a Senate and House toward shaping our nation.
Within the dialogue of “Wild Horse and Burro Program” implemented by the BLM we have a serious breakdown of this process. Plain and simple the public, Congress and often BLM employees themselves are seriously uninformed.
There is currently a lawsuit that has been patiently waiting to actually be heard within the judicial system.That case has been joined in an Amicus brief by the Reporters Committee for a Free Press and the National Press Photographers Association. (This case is also one I am Plaintiff).
Congress asks for information and the BLM will chose an “independent” organization (read “pro-slaughter”) to do an investigation or an investigation occurs in house. The reports are continually bias or outright filled with omissions and inaccuracies. Would we allow the tobacco industry to self-police? Would we make an appointment before showing up to do a search of a crime scene with a suspected perpetrator?
It appears yet again that an “independent” review is being prepared for the BLM by those chosen by the BLM. Those doing the review were supposedly on site Wednesday and Thursday of last week. I was not given the same access to the trap that they were. Activity at holding was very different when the government observers showed up with BLM public relations.
Last week Representative Burton made these statements to the House as a proposal to cut the BLM’s budget in a “slap on the wrist” gesture was made: “It seems to me that we ought to be frugal with the public’s money. We ought to cut the Bureau of Land Management’s budget so that we can save the money and save the mustangs.”
The wild horse advocate community has expressed sincere gratitude toward Burton. He has demonstrated bravery displayed by our founding fathers in bringing this dialogue into a forum that has the power to effect the change needed.
But in all honesty how can any dialogue be effective if that dialogue addresses symptoms of a long standing problem without taking the time to look for the root cause? Any symptomatic reaction has the potential to create a reality that has consequence worse than the current situation. A full investigation of the program and the consequence of placing the implementation of the 1971 Legislation into the hands of an agency with an apparent conflict of interest and often literally “inbred” with those that perpetrated the actions that spurred the need to pass the 71 Act in the first place is sorely absent. Why would any “change” be expected to be implemented any differently? It’s like changing the product you put in a meat grinder… it still comes out in the same fashion.
Until a dialogue actually begins to exist that addresses the root causes, arbitrary boundaries and policy that caters to special interests, the change needed to protect the “living symbol of the pioneer spirit of the west” will not happen.
If the information about the hands on care being done “humanely,” the most basic premise of the 71 Act, remains in the realm of “content control” … how can dialogue in any real fashion exist?
The first step in achieving that dialogue are independent observations that can only occur when the rights of the public to investigate and formulate opinion is protected. The closed door facilities must be open. Records must be made available in a timely manner for review without the need to file Freedom of Information Act requests. The ability to independently observe the hands on actions of contractors and government employees must occur on an extended basis and not in “periodic windows” at the discretion of those under scrutiny.
“I have taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States more times than I can count,” said attorney Gordon Cowan, “that’s what this case is all about.”
Working VERY hard. …. I promise.
HOUSTON, (WHFF) – An amended complaint was filed yesterday, September 8th 2011, in Federal District Court Reno, Nevada. The action was filed by attorney Gordon Cowan on behalf of Plaintiff Laura Leigh, Founder of Wild Horse Education (WHE) and Vice President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF), against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of Interior (DOI) asserting allegations of inhumane treatment of wild horses at roundups.
The amended Complaint comes after a Temporary Restraining Order was issued to inhumane helicopter pilot conduct at the Triple B roundup in Eastern Nevada. That decision was rendered more than a week ago by Federal Judge H. McKibben. The BLM has yet to directly address the ruling. Instead the BLM simply released a report completed by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) which claims that conduct is acceptable, but cautions helicopters to keep their distance, on the same day the Court ruled.
“This is the exact conduct that the Court found distressing,” said Leigh “Instead of saying ‘there is something wrong and this is how we have fixed it’ they continue to deny that there are any issues by simply ignoring the obvious consequences of their operations.”
On September 10th, tomorrow, the same agency, the same contractor and perhaps the same pilot will begin another roundup at Barren Valley in Oregon.
“Another roundup and still no clear parameters for conduct” stated R.T. Fitch President and co-founder of WHFF “once again it’s full steam ahead for the BLM’s Wild Horse Harvesting Machine regardless of an Order given by a Federal Court. I am neither surprised nor am I amused”
Viewing opportunities at the Barren Valley Roundup will be limited to ten observers that must obtain BLM approval to be added to the attendance roster. It has been reported that the agency has not returned calls made by concerned individuals attempting to be included on the listing.
In addition the BLM is a defendant in a First Amendment suit also brought by Leigh that is now in the Ninth Circuit. The suit alleges that discriminatory access, and limited access, to avoid public review of their actions is commonplace within the management of Wild Horses on public lands.
Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is a registered, Texas non-profit corporation with 501c3 status pending. WHFF puts people between America’s wild equids and extinction through targeted litigation against governmental agencies whose documented agendas include the eradication of wild horses and burros from public, federal and state lands. WHFF is funded exclusively through the generosity of the American public.
Wild Horse Education is a Nevada non-profit that supports the collection of documentation toward education of wild herds. Please donate to keep Laura Leigh in the field.
September 6, 2011 by ppjg
After reading the Federal Register notice (Sept. 6, 2011) announcing the next Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting in Arlington, VA, Oct. 13-14, 2011, it seems that the “Public Comment Procedures” as written here may be in violation of your First Amendment right to free speech.
The notice states that “Speakers must submit a written copy of their statement to the address listed in the ADDRESSES section above, or bring a written copy to the meeting.”
Why “must” you do this? It’s a public meeting and you don’t have to submit anything to have the right to speak at a public meeting. You can just tell them your name and tell them you want to speak. Period. The meeting will probably be recorded and the BLM could use the recording for transcription purposes, and any requested written comments should be voluntary. That is not what is stated in the Federal Register. Also, requiring that speakers submit a written copy of their statements could discourage some people (who don’t like to write) from speaking.
You also don’t have to “address the specific wild horse and burro related topics on the agenda.” This is a violation of your First Amendment right to free speech. You can talk about anything you want to talk about. If you want to get up and read “Little Bo Peep” for 3 minutes (or whatever time limit they set), you have the First Amendment right to do that. If the BLM only wants you to talk about topics on the agenda, and then controls the agenda, they could then possibly control the content of public comments, which might then be against your right to free speech.
I have been busy dealing with Court doc’s on the “Humane Issue” case and trying to make sure that the issues raised are not forgotten.
Doing “talk broadcasts” are a way for me to keep you informed without having to type and edit…
Join me tomorrow on “Truth Squad.”
September 5, 2011 by Barbara Peterson
Join us Tuesday evening at 8 CST!
|Listen Live HERE!Laura Leigh is an award winning artist, journalist and videographer. She is founder and President of Wild Horse Education, which funds her work and is on the Board of Directors and is Vice President of theWild Horse Freedom Federation which supports her legal efforts along with other noted advocacy groups.|