RIP “Wild Thing”

Yesterday a mare broke her neck and was euthanized.

She was the last horse to load after receiving PZP-22 and was agitated and broke her neck on the panel. Story coming to Horseback magazine soon.

link to “gather” report: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/wfo/blm_programs/wild_horses_and_burros/TriState_Calico/gatreports.html

The young grulla mare was a beauty and full of spirit. RIP little “Wild Thing.”

"Wild Thing" during branding and PZP treatment

Please donate to keep observations going if you can. Calico will go on through the end of the year and without you this work can’t continue.

careless

here are several disturbing reoccurring issues with this contractor. From water, feed and pilot conduct. To access to witness actions facing further restrictions. Many revolve around simple carelessness.

This horse was driven into a chute that had the side panel open. He makes a break but the neck rope is in place. The struggle is impressive and on video. The contractors that should be on the opposite side of the chute are not present and the one wrangler is left to call for help.

Video will be up by Wednesday evening. I have to prep for tomorrow. Please donate to help this documentation of the management practices of BLM and their chosen contractors to continue.

Who is Flying, Why wont BLM say?

I have been told that they have changed pilots. I have been held to where I can not observe the mouth of the trap. I had a tripod today and, even though I was held where my view was severely obscured, was able to elevate the tripod… signature moves.

I also heard Ben Noyes say “Josh do you copy.”

It’s possible there are two pilots? It’s possible they gave him a reprimand? But is it possible for the BLM to answer?

Why wont BLM reveal the name of the pilot….?

Who is flying that chopper?

Let’s see if my access to view the mouth of the trap gets even worse now.

Trap was on a very bumpy road. Truck needs help. Please donate to keep this going.

11-26, very fast

I was told before I arrived at the trap there was a “great spot” for viewing. It would have been a good spot if I could have moved 15 feet. As it was I had to send a tripod up higher than they would let me keep my head… I was behind rocks and couldn’t see. I am reviewing tapes and it gets more interesting as I go….

I was also almost denied access to view processing. The situation was rectified and I did view processing.

Sharing an image for tonight… I actually have to review my video because I could not see what happened today… they really do not want us to see that trap mouth… hmmm…. why wont they say who is flying? More on that am. I have to make a few calls.

Studs to the right in release pen, the left to ship…

"Saying Goodbye"

More coming. Road was rough and truck has a new sound… Please help the work continue donate here: http://wildhorseeducation.org

Update for the week of Nov. 19-25 (fast)

There have been several folks (public and BLM) that have noticed that I have not updated the blog as I have in the past.

It has been a week of “roller-coaster” activity in several areas. I will try to give you a fast update on the avenues I have been working on.

Calico begins, first week breakdown

Of the seven days of operation (11/19-11/25) there have been six days of roundup operation. Day 2 was cancelled due to weather. Of the six days of operation I observed horses at the roundup site 3 days and in holding 4 days. (There was also a two day release of horses in the Fox Hog area of High Rock during this time, more on that later).

One group taken on Thanksgiving, 2011 before the wind kicked up.

First I would like to note that the atmosphere at the roundup so far has been relatively pleasant among those observing (including all government personnel). That said there are still access issues that include what appears to be a miscommunication among staff. Not one animal has been observed during proicessing. As animals are transported the “observers” are held on the range and are not even permitted to travel down a public road to wait on a public road (where processing could be observed, but limited) while staff sorts animals at holding. I have made a request to leave the trap site early and go to holding during my next visit. I had planned on being there today but my need for sleep had me fall out yesterday at 6 pm and not rise until 7 am this morning. (I will use the time to check on horses in short-term and get video up). Of note is that there have been 3 animals euthanized at the temporary facility: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/wfo/blm_programs/wild_horses_and_burros/TriState_Calico/gatreports.html

However it is “of note” that BLM’s gather report will look like this:

BLM "gather report" for Monday 11/21

Of note is the phrase repeated on just about every day “no incident.” If you follow the reports posted “incident” on the BLM page only translates into “fatality.” A change of terminology for the sake of accurate dialogue is in order. “Fatality” should be used as many “incidents” do occur.

If you look at the dictionary definition of the word it really does not apply. If they use the word “incident” things like horses being trampled or coming in exhausted should be included. So should each horse that is left behind and requires roping or any horses that show signs of injury to legs, face or appear sore. Perhaps they should change the vocabulary. It would be a shame if the public interpreted such omissions, in conjunction with the choice of words, as an attempt to mislead.

Not an "incident," even though one of the horses demonstrates a hip issue at temporary.

There are some observations that are “of note.” First, the pilot (from limited observation) has a different “signature.” This was also noted during the last day of Barren Valley in Oregon. BLM will not disclose the name of the pilot. However at this roundup I was told it is not Josh Helyer.

This is an interesting “observation” as in Court documents BLM admits no wrong doing nor addresses any issues that have been brought forward in the case that lead to the TRO to pilot conduct at Triple B and is ongoing to conduct. IF BLM has taken steps to rectify an issue shouldn’t the public be notified? If mistakes are made and admitted to… and an issue actually being addressed… shouldn’t the BLM make the public aware even if they have to admit that a mistake was made in the first place? This agency  has a long history of discounting public concern and this would help create an area of public confidence instead of perpetuating the “veil of secrecy” that instills public distrust.

Second observation “of note” is that the tarps are still present in the loading area of the trap. The excuse that it helps horses “settle” is completely discounted through observation. Horses do not “settle” in the area of loading. Horses are being loaded most often immediately after capture with no “settle” time. If “settle” time is actually afforded it is done at the area on the opposite end of the trap. The only thing the tarps do is block the actual time of “handling” of the horses during loading.

Can you see how many horses are being crushed as they are flagged INTO the fence?

There is every indication that loading is still occurring in the manner it has in the past. Flagging at the opposite end of the pens still demonstrates a lack of understanding of equine behavior. Animals are often literally flagged into the panels instead of down the alley. Fast and hard flagging can still be observed (yet not the actual contact with animals as they are hidden) as the go down the alley. If you watch the horses feet (only part of them visible) you can still see the crowding of the alleys. Horse have been observed (in the area blocked by the saddle horses) “going down” during loading immediately after capture.

Observations as to the “drive” itself: Animals are coming in at between 1.5 hour to 2.5 hour intervals. The BLM line for this is that horses are being moved in “slowly.” However observations made can discount this assertion. On more than one run animals arrived at the trap visibly exhausted and “hot.” Animals were observed stumbling. Of note is that this trap location has now been used for 7 days. It would be logical to assume that animals are being brought in from greater and greater distances. BLM will not install GPS trackers nor cameras into contracted helicopters to confirm, nor dispel, their assertions.

Exhausted horses, video taped stumbling, reach trap area

Animals transported to the short-term facility (Palomino Valley Center) are not all in public view. Of those documented there are observations of note: Of the mares PZP treated at the roundup two years ago we have evidence that there have been late season births. This is evident in the body condition of several mares. At this time of year animals begin to conserve resource (in other words they travel fewer miles, slower speeds and “foaling season” has already past). Several mares have very young foals present and the resource used to give birth and nurse a young foal are evident. Also please remember the movement occurring in the areas due to construction for pipeline and geo-thermal and the adjoining roundup location. Many of these horses have travelled a lot in the last six months.

The majority of horses arriving at the facility appear in good health. A few arrived with superficial shipping wounds.

Observation of animals at holding and during roundup operations will continue.

High Rock Release

Also in the last week there was a return of horses into the Fox Hog area of High Rock. This is the first release and others are planned. I will update as I get info. But this almost did not happen… pat yourselves on the back. If we must address as distinct events than it works both ways.

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2011/november/NC1210_foghogrls.html

Jeff Fonatana of BLM has provided me with brand ID’s on horses released and has promised to notify me as other areas are prepped for release.

However horses were released by sex, not in mixed sex groups nor partial bands.

Fox Hog release (Fontana, BLM)

Last Reply Brief Filed in the Humane action case

Late on the 21st of November the last reply brief went to the Court in the Humane care case. This statement from my Declaration sums up my feelings

“I am astounded that the BLM reply in this case does not outline concrete action being taken to rectify this type of conduct. I am fearful of the capabilities of such an agency that will continue to skirt every attempt to address the lack of standard. It literally causes pain that my government would rather argue my right to address this issue instead of creating a policy to carry out the most basic premise in the 1971 Act.”

The last reply is in and we may get a hearing on the Injunctive Relief or a ruling from the bench. The Complaint is still active. BLM’s reply does not address the issue itself at all. It attempts to tie this case to a case brought by another organization in the same Court (it is not associated) and simply my right to address the issue.

When you have staff at the roundups going out of their way to try to “give a better show” it is an implied admission that something went wrong. When you have a different pilot, it is an implied admission. When Dean Bolstad comes out of the NAS meeting to have a smoke an assures me that there will be a policy in a year… it is an implied admission it is needed. But not one area is addressed by BLM in any of their replies.

Triple B, Do we stand for this?

MORE

I am working on several areas of research as well that may bear some very interesting fruit soon… more on that later.

Calico 2011.... history repeating itself?

Smokin' ... (Every once in a while you catch a very "interesting" image.

I started this post at 7 am and just finished… had to stop and stop… more tomorrow…

Please donate if you can…. http://wildhorseeducation.org Without you this work can’t continue.

Day 3… very condensed

VERY fast update. Today had MANY issues. We are filing reply tonight… working as fast as I can. NEED your support. Please donate if you can.

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Day 2 had no operations due to weather.

Calico Roundup 11-20-2011

Day 3. Full Report coming soon.

Older Palomino that came in the last load on day one was euthanized. Reasoning given was that mare would not make the ride to holding well. She was not eating like the others, therefore not good for release as she would most likely not make it through the winter. It is noteworthy that she did come in the last band (that took two and one half hours and three horses were witnessed stumbling. Was loaded immediately after capture and pushed into the panel by other horses and had a hard time regaining her feet). She was observed to be thin and weak in holding on Monday.

Today we had many things happen. I will get report out as I can. I need to sleep and get out very early.

“Flagging?” If you wave a flag at the back of a horse what direction does it run?

Calico 11-20 loading
Loading 11-20

On a bright note the lead dun stud (near back) will be released…. a couple of his mares are also in the release pen.

More asap….

Calico report, day one

 Calico report (11/19/2011)

PLEASE read: http://artandhorseslauraleigh.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/calico-then-and-now/  for background information on what is happening in the area.

Calico Complex Roundup, November 19, 2011

Operations in this Complex began in the Granite range. Granite shares a border with the now “complete” (release to low AML in that area still to occur, update soon).

This trap site is but a few miles from the last trap used at High Rock.

Present at the “public briefing” were Gene Seidlitz (district manager for Winnemuca), Lisa Ross (public relations Winnemucca), Leslie Coakley (public relations, Elko district), the Wild Horse and burro specialist, several BLM rangers, five members of the public and one from the media.

Four loads were brought in on the first day of operation. The public briefing began late and did not allow observation of the first load of six. Three more loads were brought in that were observed.

Temperatures of observation began at 23 degrees. Light snow was present in the area but the day was relatively clear and cold with little wind.

Observation report is limited to the very last part of the drive with trap mouth hidden from view behind “gravel” mound. Observation of horses in the trap pen limited to the very first portion of the trap pens as view was obstructed by saddle horses tied to the pens and tarps draped over the loading area. Handling during loading could not be observed, although the vantage would have allowed some observation were tarps not present.

Note on tarps: tarps are a new addition to the traps used by Sun J. The appearance of tarps came after the filing of legal action at Triple B. The documentation released to the public and filed in the Courts included the use of hotshots during loading as well as other disturbing images of handling during loading. Since the documents were filed no loading practices have been documented. 

The “excuse” given for the tarp is that it helps animals “settle.” 

This statement is disputed through observation as animals are most often given no time to settle and are loaded within minutes of capture. Most “settle time,” if any, is in the larger pens at the other end of the trap. Observation of movement of staff indicates the same practices and issues are occurring, but blocked from view.

Requests to place a camera at the alley end to capture the handling have been refused.

Each group brought into the trap (observed) took considerable time to reach vicinity of the trap.

First group observed entered the trap without incident that can be reported from the limited vantage. This group was immediately added to the first six and loaded for transport to temporary holding.

Note: District manager Gene Seidlitz was quick to say “isn’t it better” to me in reference to the pilot conduct. This comment was made in reference to the current litigation efforts that have final reply due Monday. Allegations in that case include inappropriate conduct by the pilot. Among the most egregious actions documented was contact between the helicopter skid and an exhausted animal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObXB0Wq3nRE

Current reply documents filed with the Court from the BLM do not address the conduct or any steps taken to address conduct. The attorneys for the BLM continue to ignore that issue in favor of bringing other arguments before the Court.

Yet repetitive statements that are made to “assure” that conduct is being addressed are constantly made by personnel on the ground. Yet those statements only address those actions taken that are witnessed with no written assurance that policy or protocol affords animals any differing treatment when public is not present.

Fast update OSM and BLM, not

http://naturalresources.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=269357

Committee Approves Amendment to Keep OSM and BLM Separate, Independent Agencies
Move a Rejection of Obama Administration’s Unilateral Attempt to Merge Agencies

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 17, 2011 - Today, the House Natural Resources Committee approved an amendment by voice vote, to H.R. 3404, offered by Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-06). The amendment was a rejection of the Obama Administration’s recently announced intentions to merge the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Specifically, the amendment keeps OSM and BLM separate, independent agencies in the Department of the Interior and under the purview of the Under Secretary for Energy, Lands and Minerals.In October, Interior Secretary Salazar announced intentions to merge OSM into BLM, two agencies with distinctly different missions within the Department of the Interior. Since the announcement there has been significant, bipartisan concern regarding the Secretary’s statutory authority to perform the merger and its effect on coal mining jobs and coal production.“I’m pleased the Committee approved my amendment to protect the integrity of these two separate but equally important agencies. The attempt to merge these two agencies is yet another action by the Obama Administration in its ongoing war on American coal. There are serious statutory concerns with the Interior Department’s unilateral decision to merge OSM within BLM that could ultimately affect thousands of hardworking coal miners,” said Rep. Johnson. “This amendment protects American jobs, ensures that the Obama Administration cannot skirt the laws passed by Congress, and guarantees these two agencies stay distinct entities within Interior Department while maintaining their individual, critical missions.”

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Bad internet, more updates soon.

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But if you go to that website, poke around. Look at things like this article. The projects are coming in hard and strong, changing the landscape forever….

Chairman Hastings Joins Speaker Boehner in Announcing American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 17, 2011 - House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings released the following statement after joining House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican Members at a press conference today to highlight the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act – a bill to be introduced in the coming weeks that would link new American energy production to high-priority infrastructure projects:“For the past year, a top priority of the Natural Resources Committee has been expanding access to our own U.S. energy resources. Increased energy production is one of the best ways to create new American jobs, grow the economy, lower energy costs and generate new revenue. Unfortunately, there are numerous government roadblocks and barriers that stand in the way of U.S. energy development. This energy and infrastructure jobs bill, which includes proposals that have already passed the House with bipartisan support, will remove those barriers and unlock U.S. energy resources.

“The bill will include measures to open new areas for offshore energy production that contain the most oil and natural gas resources, open just 3 percent of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for future energy production, and set clear rules for the development of U.S. oil shale resources. These measures will not only create new energy jobs, but will generate significant federal revenue that can help pay for infrastructure improvements, thereby creating even more jobs.”



“Stand by me, as I stood by you”

Broken Family (Twin Peaks 2010)

Sometimes small pieces of conversation stick with you. Sometimes for a very long time…

I was recently asked by a reporter from the New York Daily News (that has not published their story yet) what the wild horse means to me. He was looking for the “advocate” to give him the emotional response. He wanted very few statistical statements or basic “this is” what is happening out here explanations.

He asked “Is the wild horse like the bald eagle or a dog?” I laughed because I knew what he was looking for.

“He is greater,” I said “Like the bald eagle he is a symbol of freedom (although Franklin would say the turkey is a better American symbol, maybe Franklin was right?) and like the dog he can be a loyal companion. He is capable of doing just fine without us yet can be a willing participant in our world. As a matter of fact our country would not be what it is without him. We owe him so much more.”

I went on to explain why…

note:

“In 1899 the Boer War in South Africa and later the Spanish-American War created a large demand for military mounts. Many wild horses were rounded up and shipped overseas.

During World War I, ranchers such as Harry Wilson went into business with the federal government raising horses for the Army. Wilson provided Standardbred mares acquired from the Miller and Lux ranches and the government furnished Thoroughbred studs.

Over 1,700 head of Wilson horses ran from High Rock Canyon north to the Oregon border, including all of the present day Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge.” (from “MUSTANG COUNTRY)

~~~~

The horses from Sheldon through High Rock and into Calico and Twin Peaks (and many other areas) are the horses that fought our wars. They stood beside my grandfather and yours as they defended freedom in World War I. Then we left them behind.

“You put a mask on him before you put on your own” said grandpa “He can carry you out, you can’t carry him.”

Today, in the name of “progress,” we are pushing what is left of these animals that truly represent a symbol of Freedom and the will to fight for it, into the pages of history.

Can’t you stand by them as they stood by us?

In every public relations piece our government puts out on the new fast track of progress in industrializing public land they claim to “protect” the interests on that land. Yet they continually fail to recognize our wild horses as the truly American Heritage species they are.

Videos of the treatment our government chooses to give these animals are all over the web. The agency tasked with humane care for forty years has no standard for that care. Even animals bound for slaughter have a standard, if not enforced.

Instead our government will argue our rights to “interest” of the most important animal in the history of our nation as it turns it’s back in the name of “progress.”

I need your help to watch over these horses. I need to track the High Rock Release and be able to stand at Calico.

I am adding this video to give you a flavor of what we owe these horses.

And this one to remind you of what we give them instead.

and one more…


Calico, then and now

I have several things on my plate at the moment but want to take a minute to focus on “where you are needed.”

High Rock holding 11-8 "Satanta"

Please continue to FAX

The release at High Rock to “Low AML” will happen. The plan to wait to see what quota is at Calico has been scrapped. However… the game is ongoing. Today we have a flyover of the Complex to determine how many to release toward low AML. If you remember 1300 were in the Complex and a few more outside the HMA’s (but remember HMA’s are manipulated boundaries from the original lines). So now we will get “numbers” of horses still in the Complex and the release will be adjusted by the numbers they give. So we will still have a release (brands and descriptions have been requested as well as access to photograph the horses released so we can actually get some data on what happens AFTER a population has been disrupted). BUT that also opens the door for a “number” to then reflect horses that will be taken during Calico. The flyover map and corresponding data will be requested. (Remember these will be handwritten numbers on a map… not hard photographic “evidence.”) We will keep a close eye on that.

If you can continue to ask for a partial release of related horses (ie. partial family bands, stallions with familiar mares that will be PZP treated… again we need to know how PZP really effects the ability of band structure to resemble anything “natural” in a wild population).

Requests should go here:

http://www.blm.gov/ca/forms/feedback/index.php?fo=15 and FAX :  530-279-2171 attention Allen Bollschweiler

~~~~

Calico, 11/2011

Calico 2011, Setting the Stage….

High Rock is part of the now dubbed “Tri State” Complex. Long convoluted evolution here and I will explain the history in a later post. But for now you need to understand that Sheldon (done this summer) High Rock (just completed) Calico (just beginning) and the Granite HMA’s (planned for later this winter) comprise a clean sweep of the North Western quadrant of Nevada.

To begin to comprehend (and I will expand on this later) you need to recognize that we are disrupting these areas in a way we have never impacted them before. We have geo-thermal, expanding gold mines, moly mines and the well-know Ruby pipeline. Horses are always the fist to pay the price for any interest that moves in… but the neighborhood is being over-run.

Horses are moving.

In the most easy to illustrate example it goes like this….

Ruby pipeline gets approval. (we wont touch on the state legislator that made a deal to give the pipeline access through his private property for an undisclosed sum of money at this point… but it’s always good to remember these things).

BLM creates a new “boundary” line called the Tri-state Complex. Legal action against USFWS has to be dropped because of a need to re-craft and lack of public support (Fall, 2009). WWP makes deal with Ruby for wildlife corridors, pisses off ranchers and state legislator that made the deal. Ruby never talks more than superficially with wild horse groups.

Construction begins after Calico and Sheldon are rounded up.

Roads are being widened and high speed MASSIVE trucks bring in construction equipment.

Mental picture time: Pristine wilderness where very few humans travel… now has dirt roads that can accommodate two way traffic of these monster vehicles. Dust is kicked up from those roads that has fallout that extends half a mile that literally covers plant life to an almost unrecognizable state. Springs located near these roads have heavy dust accumulation… horses flee the areas… North and South. (Also located in or near these areas we have a Moly mine, expanding gold mines and geo-thermal…)

Fast forward, 2011…

We now have a concentration (called “over-population”) of horses in a number of areas. Roundups are called for through new EA’s because the RMP’s call for the expansion of these other “public interest” projects.

In Sheldon horses are taken from north of the highway… AND I can tell you that the traditional herds (like Fish Creek) are non-existent to how they once were. The horses moved North to get out of the way.

In Calico we have movement as well. Horses moved into High Rock and South in Calico. In Calico we now have an “off-HMA” population that will be taken through “authority.”

Can you say “duh?”

Heading right at me, pipeline construction truck 7/11

We create the problem and “blame the horse.” We create a situation without giving an alternative but the same old “dig those heels in” management that we have always done with our horses.

But today is different from yesterday… we are driving this mandated interest into bankruptcy. We are forcing a non-viability onto these populations without addressing any alternative. We are treating the “living symbol of the pioneer spirit of the West” as if it is simply a “bottom line” corporation being run out of business because the “profit” line has bigger fish looking to “industrialize” public land. This is aiding Salazar and Obama in furthering an agenda they have labelled “green” and “good for us.”

Are you starting to feel like a battered child? It’s the same psychology.

Don't forget Hope...

Lessons from history, Calico 2009

The Calico roundup of 2009 (in my humble opinion) was the birth place of a new kind of advocacy. It became the beginning of the “show me” (and I am not going to stop until I see it) school of thought.

Calico (for me) was the beginning of my “marathon” here on public land. The access games as images hit the public. The outright screaming matches that occurred (I am not kidding) from BLM employees because I disclosed images to the public of what I had seen. I had advocated for change prior (Sheldon lawsuit and anti-slaughter issues) but Calico was my “baptism of fire” into standing with the horses… wherever they are.

At Calico what we as an advocacy community witnessed was a herd of horses that were not “showcase.” We witnessed the handling on the range and tracked animals into the black hole of holding. The restrictions on documenting the facility were tightened and tightened as horrific images surfaced into the public dialogue. The facility was then closed to public viewing citing reasons that have never been validated. The only reason ever validated was that the public outcry was so great, it had to be stopped. (These issues and all ongoing access issues are the subject of the case that will be heard in the Ninth Circuit on January 9, 2012 and has taken a massive amount of work).

The images were so poignant that I edited (and then re-edited) a piece to tell as much of the story as could be told simply through picture. I added footage from other advocates and simply listed contributors alphabetically… that piece can be viewed here as it was made available free to the public: http://calicoinretrospect.wordpress.com/laura-leigh/theatre/

Among the images captured were those of an eight month old colt… whose feet literally began to fall off… and he was euthanized. His story, and the “bed of lies” he died in, can be read here: http://wildhorseeducation.org/essential-reading/calico-foal-hope/

At this juncture in time we are doing no better in recognizing that at the center of this program lies a beating heart… the beating heart of a living, breathing, wild horse.

BLM still denying the pilot made contact

Fast forward summer 2011 and Triple B, a small victory

Since Calico I have documented more roundups, wild horses ranges, horses in holding than any other government personal or single private citizen. This is not a “chest thump” nor brag, it is a testimony. It is an unbroken chain of gut wrenching situations that are not isolated events. Every day that I spend with our horses I witness something that  begs questions. Many of those questions are so contrary to common sense it makes your head spin. The obstinate adherence to outdated process is unbelievable. Many days I feel like I have been transported in time back to the days prior to the act and am watching the “mustangers” of old.

Among the acts documented was the striking of the horse with a helicopter skid at Triple B. This roundup has many outrageous occurrences from lack of water, hot shot use, no dust control, barbed wire at trap locations (caused fatality), pilot conduct and foals, foals, foals being run in the desert heat in July (with tragic consequence). (Note: these issues have also been documented at other roundups but many pieces need to be in place prior to having the ability to filing a legal action).

I filed in Federal Court and was granted a TRO to pilot conduct. The Judge leaving the Injunctive motion open to new evidence, if it arose. Well… low and behold the conduct did not abate, only the ability to document it. But enough has been captured to raise the question: Why, in an Agency tasked with humane care for 40 years, is there no care standard when the need for one can be so clearly documented?

In this action the Agency has not replied that it is providing any remedy… only challenging my right to address the conduct programmatically. Why they haven’t just said… “Ok. We made a care standard that we will review in six months” and we can all move on… is beyond me. It goes back to that obstinate adherence and an inability to address directly any area, even the simplest of issue.

That case should have a decision by the end of the month.

Lights, curtain, Action… Calico 2011/2012

Calico EA and final record of decision here: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/wfo/blm_information/nepa0/wild_horse_and_burro/tri-state_calico.html I can tell you that my comments were not addressed in the response to the public.

The roundup schedule has Calico starting 12/1. The flyover to locate populations is happening now in conjunction with the population survey at High Rock.

Calico will begin this weekend.

This is the BLM schedule: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/herd_management/tentative_gather_schedule.html

we can call this section a “public service announcement” …. PLEASE take note that the same type of operation (state sweep) is occurring in WY. I am not in WY and I hope someone can get there and document the activities on the range that not only include the horses… but the impacts of the other interests on the land. It is imperative that kind of documentation be done in WY. ALSO note the Ely/Elko roundup for this winter of Pancakes. That will complete the sweep began last year of horses up and down the Eastern side of the state and set Ely/Elko in the same danger of genetic bankruptcy we will see on the Western side of the state. It is my expectation that Pancakes will also begin ahead of schedule and hope someone is watching that area. That EA was not based on range conditions but had a very strong influence of fiscal consideration to any future action in that area. It also borders areas where we may have extreme change in water table due to extractive interests very soon. ALSO of note (to those of you still following me… is that we had Paymaster (Tonapah) brought to an AML of 3!!! and the Silver King heartbreak (trying not to swear) and a huge chunk of that land was just leased for natural gas exploration… and PLEASE note the CA heliostat project in the mojave. I have been hollering about that one for some time… WATCH anything labeled “green”and think toxic not safe.

General, no longer free, Soldier meadows holding

I need YOU!

This work is not funded by any large pockets. None of the groups that have grants and funding have ever offered to carry the fiscal needs of this. BLM shakes their head at the vehicle held together by duct tape and wear and tear on my equipment and body… “don’t know how you do this,” they say. I say “People care.”

Calico is my personal “ground zero.” It was my “baptism of fire.” My General, Commander and True boy came from Calico and are still safe because of Neda DeMayo. This area of the state from Sheldon to Reno… is my “home.”

PLEASE help me to watch over them…. I try to make my actions match my words… if I see it, I get it to you as fast as I can… if I can create a lawsuit I work my fanny off with my attorney and we file… if I see an area we can make a difference through public pressure I tell you exactly who to contact… I am trying very hard to be your eyes as we stand there with them and take that information forward… But I can’t do it without you. http://wildhorseeducation.org/mission-statement/donate/

I want to head in and stay like I have done before. I have situated myself where I can watch roundup, holding and transport to facility. I have an “extra set of hands” to post reports if I can’t… last time all I had was a borrowed camera and my cell phone… this time I have all of you.

Here we go again…

Litigation Intensifies

NOTE: I have been working my fanny off and things are going to intensify. Please be very patient with me if I can’t answer emails timely or return calls. Yes, there are two “organizations” represented here, but that is a framework. I am gathering info, researching, working on other issues of accountability on the ground, logging, editing, crafting documents and trying to keep the pulbic informed by writing the press releases and getting video up.

AND i do need your support. Without you this work does not exist. ~ Thank you. Laura

For Immediate Release: November 10, 2011

Contact: R.T. Fitch, President WHFF, 281-766-7566

Laura Leigh, Vice President WHFF, 800-974-3684

Litigation to Protect Wild Horses and Public Rights Intensifies

BLM Faces Multiple Legal Challenges

HOUSTON, (WHFF) – Two actions brought into Federal Court by Laura Leigh, Founder of Wild Horse Education (WHE) and VP of Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) moved forward this week.

Litigation filed referencing First Amendment claims against the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Interior that addresses areas of discriminatory access, and access denied, to document the governments care or lack there of wild herds will be heard on January 9 in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This case began in 2010 and addresses repetitive conduct by the Defendants toward hiding actions from public scrutiny.

Plaintiff Leigh contends that the activities addressed in that case are ongoing to date. Leigh says “the games continue.”

“If government becomes committed to silencing those voices of opposition, or to hiding their actions to avoid opposition,” states Leigh’s attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno “we have truly entered into dangerous times.”

This case has been signed on through Amicus brief by both the Reporters Committee for a Free Press and the National Press Photographers Association. The outcome of this case may have far-reaching ramifications into the ability of the American Press to address issues that create controversial conversation in the public sphere.

In Leigh’s other ongoing action against the Agency, that has become known as the “Humane action” case, the BLM has published their reply to the Court.

The agency’s defense includes statements that challenge Leigh’s right to address the actions she witnessed (including a helicopter skid striking a horse), and the timeliness of her claim, yet fail to address any measures the Agency has taken to rectify the situations that cause such activity to occur.

“It is so absurd that an agency tasked with humane care of our wild herds by Congress has no standard of care and consequence for violation. Instead it is left up to a citizen to address the issue in a Courtroom,” said Leigh “And even after we gain a TRO (temporary restraining order) the agency still will argue my right to call them on inappropriate behavior instead of addressing it. It’s like dealing with a very naughty child.”

The Complaint filed by Leigh addresses conduct that was clearly demonstrated at the Triple B roundup earlier this year in eastern Nevada. The conduct addressed has been documented on many occasions at other operations by the agency.

“The amount of work required to obtain documentation and then format it into appropriate action to create meaningful change is incredible,” states Leigh “We are talking about two simple premises here: handle our horses with care and demonstrate accountability to the public. Why is this so difficult to accomplish within the agency tasked, and paid, to do exactly that?”

Leigh and her attorney will be filing their response to the Court before Thanksgiving.

“Leigh is working diligently in both field and research,” states equine author R.T. Fitch and President of WHFF “and the commitment of Ms. Leigh, WHFF and the American public to see this through to a positive outcome has never been stronger.”

Links of interest:

To support the work in the Field

http://WildHorseEducation.org

To support litigation: you can tag contributions for the suit you want to support or give to the general fund

http://WildHorseFreedomFederation.org

Video:

Horse hit with helicopter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObXB0Wq3nRE

Orphan and hotshot use

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPi7emkvWLg

Foal chased and roped

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyM9a11ihLs

Clips of denied or discriminatory Access

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2p3KwmgJ6I

Not foal? BLM DOES roundup during foaling season

 

Update on High Rock Release and “Thank you!”

UPDATE on the Update:

Horses will receive the freezemark AND an HMA mark… more tomorrow. Maybe they will try to release a few partial bands? Are we really asking too much? No way. It is the very least that can be done as AML is so dangerously low AND we are not following up these drastic reductions with any behavioral data.

~~~~~

Horses will be released at High Rock, not dependent on Calico numbers and prior to the end of Calico.

I have been told horses will be going to their “HMA’s” and the assumption is that the horses will be released in the areas they were taken from (not like we have seen at other operations). But I will follow-up on this.

I have not been notified if horses will receive a full brand and not just a PZP mark. I have not gotten any confirmation on making an attempt to release studs with their mares.

Working on getting more info.

Operations will continue for about two more days and “off” HMA horses are now being taken.

Please keep in mind that prior survey noted 1300 animals, we are now above that count. Horses are now moving because of the roundup operation and disruptions in the North due to construction…. more on that later.

THAN YOU.

PLEASE keep asking for those brands and that an attempt be made to return at least partial bands to home ranges.

high rock complex roundup

Just a thought…

Press Release on legal cases and video tomorrow… boots off for a few hours.

Dust...

Sat with the horses at PVC for a few minutes this afternoon… Triple B horses moving out to Fallon, long-term and adoption “events as the facility prepares to take in Calico horses.

There is a “rumor” at the moment that BLM in Cedarville may have changed plans about releasing horses at High Rock. If they do release at High Rock I promise to be there and document the individuals.

My thoughts, however, go a bit further and I could use your help.

I know BLM is reading this blog so they are going to know I have asked for your help as well as what I am asking for… as they will also get my request in writing.

AS my “gut” hurt so bad as they announced they would do no release from High Rock until after Calico (based on quota reached) I really feel that we need a greater ability to keep tabs on the wild horses. The “clean sweep” planning that has BLM wiping one side of the state last winter and now this side… has me extremely fearful of the genetic bankruptcy as well as the survival probability as these disruptions occur when horses need family the most, the winter.

If they were holding horses and releasing after Calico (but not based on quota captured at Calico) that would be in line with the manner in which the public must address these events as uniques. But to base it on the quota sees them as conjoined events. They can’t have it both ways as it suits an agenda.

But I am very worried about the population that will be left out there… extremely worried.

I am asking that you write to BLM here: http://www.blm.gov/ca/forms/feedback/index.php?fo=15 and FAX :  530-279-2171 attention Allen Bollschweiler

Sample request letter:

Mr. Bollschweiller,

I am writing in reference to the current BLM roundup operation in the High Rock Complex.

As the Environmental Assessment calls for the release of animals to reach low AML at the conclusion of operation I request the following:

1. Horses be branded prior to release.

This will serve several purposes.

It will make horses from this operation visually identifiable. This will ensure that as horses are released in an area bordering the next roundup operation, that they are not recaptured in the next operation. These horses have been disrupted and after release may flee the immediate area causing them to move into the next area of operation. It will also facilitate, by visual identification, observations of movement within the complex and adjoining areas. This information is vital in comprehending the best way to manage these animals and has been lacking in the past.

2. That an effort be made to reunite family bands for release.

Many of the groups are identifiable through photographs taken during the operation. By making the attempt to keep family groups together, and branding prior to release, further information can be gained about the efficiency of, and impact to, family structure from the proposed use of chemical birth control.

Thank you for your consideration,

you have to add your contact info ….

Thanks.

It takes a bit to digest what you see and get it into context… and then make the next move… video tomorrow as several things took priority today.

high rock holding, youngsters removed from families and the range in the same day

note to blm:

Normally animals released are turned back out from temporary and not branded. In this instance I believe they should be transported to Litchfield, branded and cataloged and then returned.
We need the information and a way to track the horses.
Population at this roundup has been taken almost to nothing...
we need to track who is out there... as families... even better.
The information would be good for us and BLM toward an honest dialogue.

Reflection….

Callaghan Christmas 2010

Woke up to hit the road and it is snowing. Forecast calls for snow all day so I will leave tomorrow… I can’t wait any longer. Much of the travel was worse last year and the dog, the truck and I made it through just fine. I know they will be flying… and I sit here and review documentation and log and file and send… and look at each face. I will leave tomorrow while it’s light and not chance the overnight drive… I know they will be flying.

But wanted to share this again… fuel for fire that will keep me warm…

Made this in June before the July roundups began…

no one sings it like Maria Danes…

Wild Horse Education submits video to Pepsi

The founder of Wild Horse Education, Laura Leigh, has always dreamed of creating a data base accessible to the public that consists of consecutive field data covering wild herd areas. The database she envisions consists of independent data, government data and a section for public participation. A truly “educational” experience for herd management.

The costs of achieving this goal are way out of reach. Leigh documents what she can with limited resources and has been able to bring us updates on the management of public herds.

Today Leigh edited a video and submitted it to Pepsi for their “Refresh Everything” campaign to provide funding to projects aimed at increasing awareness and bettering community.

We will know by the end of the month if we are in the “voting” for receipt of grant funds to create the data base.

As many of you follow what we upload to YouTube we thought you deserved an explanation for the latest video uploaded. Part of the application process was to create a “commercial” for your cause.

We will let you know if we make it to the stage where we need your help.

Here is the video submitted along with written explanation and details about the organization. Wish us luck!

note from Pepsi:

And a big thank you! Your idea was submitted. Now mark your calendar.  All submitted ideas are entered in a random drawing, certified by an independent third party. Those that are selected in this drawing and meet the Official Application Guidelines will be posted for public voting next month. We will notify you after the submissions period ends this month if you’re idea has been randomly selected. Good luck!

The idea to enter this competition came from a poster on this blog… thank you. It’s worth a try and I hope you enjoy the video.

A moment of “self promotion”

This post is a combined “Thank you” to those making attempts to help continue the documentation and a plea for foks to support those efforts… and this work.

Two pages on facebook have been created.

One to help with the basic expenses of “the road and research.”

https://apps.facebook.com/fundrazr/activity/20b949cf2a2f4e27b7db0fdb11ff0b12?srid=7457376134424b7c87e6960dfde14ec5&ref=nf

And one to help replace my failing vehicle. I have literally put over 70,000 miles on a 98 Explorer since Twin Peaks last fall. The vehicle has been amazing but is now in need of repair. It is not the kind of vehicle to take into the desert in winter, except for smaller trips. I literally drive it now wondering if the truck will make it back out.

https://apps.facebook.com/fundrazr/activity/63191a65b2894377891b3d291319ce3e?type=endorsement%22+target%3D%22_blank%22+class%3D%22fr_give-widget-class%22%3EGive%3C%2Fa%3E%3Cscript+type%3D%22text%2Fjavascript%22+src%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fstatic.fundrazr.com%2Fgive-button%2Floader.js%22%3E%3C%2Fscript%3E&fb_source=message

Both of these efforts are being done by folks that believe in this work and the gestures have touched me deeply. I often feel rather “on the fringe” of the advocacy groups. Due to the large amount of time spent literally isolated I do not have the “social” bonds that many do. I do the work simply to have the documentation reach the public. These gestures have given me “heart” that the information I bring is appreciated and that many want it to continue.

I do need support to stay out and to continue the paperwork on both the Humane handling case and the First Amendment issues in Federal Court.

So I thank you all…. sincerely. I hope that together we can continue to shed light on the daily activities involved in the management of wild herds.

~Donations and gifts can also be accepted through http://wildhorseeducation.org and for litigation through http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org (there is a field button on WHFF, but donations need to be marked Laura).

Elvis says "thanks"

Fast post, Litchfield (High Rock Horses, holding)

This is just a quick update on the Litchfield facility.

Horses from High Rock are being taken to this facility. Ability to assess horses is extremely limited at this facility. Most horses are in corrals that are not easily visible. This trip I was able to see primarily studs only.

I will return when youngsters are moved for vaccination.

Processing is not visible and access to view was denied.

Overview Litchfield, 11-2

Gorgeous bay stud (Fox Hog pen)

Stunning young studs (buddies, very attached to each other)