Press Release Wild Horse Education: Broken Arrow

Looks like this horse tried to get the tag off_Broken Arrow 6-3-2011

On June 3, 2011 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) gave the public an hour and a half wagon ride through the Broken Arrow (aka Indian Lakes facility) in Fallon Nevada. Closed for about a year, this is the first glimpse the public has had behind these walls since the BLM claimed the facility was never intended to be open to the public. Then they closed the doors after public outrage over images taken at the facility caused an influx of calls and emails.

In an email dated 5/25/2011 requesting that the doors of the facility be closed to the public Dean Bolstad of the BLM Reno office writes:

We now have a favorable Calico Court decision and we need to seriously consider the toll that these tours are taking on our employees, our resources and the damage that is being done to BLMs image as a result of the tours.”

The facility was not closed because it can not be open to the public. The facility was closed because they did not like the publics response. Further investigation also has revealed that the contract for the facility actually allows for weekly public tours.

This past winter horses died in that facility. Horses continue to die. Respiratory infection ran rampant in the facility this past winter as horses were stockpiled behind the iron bars out of sight of a public that would have seen the results of roundups that occur in sub-zero temperatures.

During the tour you saw a facility that was well prepared for the “tour.” A wagon pulled by a pick-up truck where a representative of the BLM sat in the cab, available only at brief intervals for questions. Hospital pens were off limits. Horses from various roundups were mixed and no individuals could be identified as the tour did not stop long enough and visitors were not allowed to walk through the facility.

“Content control” was an effective, if illegal, tool to keep the public uneducated about the realities of the mis-management of America’s National Treasure.

A lawsuit filed by Plaintiff Laura Leigh has gone to the Ninth Circuit Court. The suit filed by attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno deals with the issues of “content control” as a violation of First Amendment Rights guaranteed by the Constitution of The United States. The suit directly deals with this issue in the management of wild herds from range through their ultimate disposition.

The suit is supported by Wild Horse Education, a registered non-profit in the state of Nevada. All documents mentioned are viewable on the website:http://WildHorseEducation.org

Lawsuit: Update

Hospital Area Broken Arrow (Indian Lakes) Calico Complex Horses 1/2010 (Leigh)

The battle to see our horses continues, as horses continue to die behind closed doors

Wild Horse Education is continuing the legal battle for transparency against the Department of Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Because the public is continually denied consistent access to roundups and holding facilities that house the American public’s wild horses, taken from public land with public funds, this action is gaining increasing importance.

On February 14, 2011 Plaintiff Laura Leigh filed for permission to appeal her First Amendment Rights case against the BLM to the Ninth Circuit Court. Her plea was based on the fact that there had been no ruling by the Federal Court in Reno to her request for Emergency Injunctive Relief in a case she had filed five months previous. Her request cited that “no action” in a case requiring emergency relief was an essential denial of her motion.

Judge Larry Hicks of the Federal District Court in Reno has now denied Leigh’s motion as “moot.” However in his ruling he does allow written testimony to stand in the record that had been objected to by the BLM.

“Basically this is good news,” said Leigh “What the Judge has now given me is an opportunity to present this case without first going through the process of gaining the Court’s permission. He has also ruled that the entire record of the case remains intact and that is vital to demonstrate the repetitive behavior that has precedent in higher Courts as not moot.”

Leigh has spent the last year observing more roundups than any government personnel and bringing the public daily reports. The suit she brought earlier last year, to the same Court over closure of public land and a roundup during the heat of summer for the Owyhee Herd Management Area, bore fruit for public observers. That suit found that closure of public land was a prior restraint to First Amendment Rights, creating the beginning of a daily observation platform for the public.

“The current suit is NOT about observing a single roundup,” Leigh stated “The emergency relief requested extends to the repetitive battle for observation. We have a right to know how our money is spent in the hands-on management of our horses throughout the process. From roundup through holding and their ultimate disposition, wherever that may be, it is our right to see it.”

This winter horses from the Eagle Complex joined those named in Leigh’s suit from the Silver King Herd Management Area behind the locked doors of the BLM Indian Lakes (Broken Arrow) facility in Fallon Nevada. Horses continue to die and suffer disease out of sight of public scrutiny. Horses in that facility continue to die at an alarming rate as indicated in the weekly reports.

Last spring the BLM closed the doors of the facility, which had previously offered weekly public tours, because of the intensity of public outrage. In an email from Dean Bolstad, of the Nevada state office in Reno to his superiors, dated May 25 of last year he writes: “The impact of stopping the tours pales in comparison to the impact to our employees and BLM’s image.”

Is this a reason to deny the public basic rights guaranteed in the Constitution? Or is this a reason to “clean up your act?”

The full Appeal is expected to be filed by Leigh and her attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno soon.

The legal efforts are supported solely by Wild Horse Education, a registered non-profit in the state of Nevada.

 

Laura Leigh
1/31/2011

 Personal Note: This suit has been a tremendous effort. You can ask anyone that has travelled with me how many hours I spend researching and crafting documents. Researching and collecting evidence and data in the field daily. The “concept of law” in this country is a complex process and the learning curve is steep.

Yet historically the evidence points to the fact that documentation and exposure changed practices that occured in the past. Documentation is creating a broader base of exposure throughout the world for what America is doing to it’s own symbol of Freedom.

We need to push this program into the light. The closed door facilities need to open. Meaningful observation MUST be allowed at roundups and facilities.

But I need your help. Support this action that benefits YOUR right to know.

More on Broken Arrow

Deb Coffey has given us more on her investigation into the Broken Arrow (Indian Lakes) Facility in Fallon Nevada. Her entire article can be viewed here: http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/blm%E2%80%99s-sweet-deal-paid-for-with-your-tax-dollars-of-course/#more-16184

 

BLM’s sweet deal (paid for with your tax dollars, of course!)

April 17, 2011 by ppjg

Debbie Coffey   Copyright 2011  All Rights Reserved

Investigative reporter/PPJ

______________________________________________

While many Americans have lost their homes or worry about losing their homes, and worry about finding or keeping their jobs, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seems to be spending your hard earned tax dollars like high rollers. 

The BLM has its hand out at appropriations hearings asking for even more money for their mismanaged Wild Horse and Burro Program.  Where’s your money going?   

Look at one example.  Troy Adams/Broken ArrowUSAhas the contract for theIndian Lakes Road(AKA Broken Arrow) short term wild horse and burro holding facility inFallon,NV.  How does a guy fromCalifornia, who sold a cloned cow, get enough knowledge in wild horse behavior, and enough ability in safely handling wild horses, to win a bid to manage a facility that can hold up to 3,000 of our wild horses?

Troy Adams/Broken ArrowUSAcontract with the BLM is for 5 years (1/01/2010 to 12/31/2015):

Base year (2010 – 2011) – $2,525,000 with an option for “additional labor” for $127,920 ($24.60 per hour, per laborer) to FREEZEBRAND, RETAG, TRIM FEET, ETC. (same tasks apply to years below)

Year 1 (2011-2012) – $3,640,875 with an option for “additional labor” for $130,468 ($25.09 per hour)

Year 2  (2012 – 2013) – $3,759,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $133,068 ($25.59 per hour)  

Year 3 (2013 – 2014) – $3,832,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $135,720 ($26.10 per hour)

Year 4 (2014 – 2015) – $3,905,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $138,424 ($26.62 per hour)

So, the estimated 5 year TOTAL is $17,663,375, with optional “additional labor” adding $665,600 to that the total is ($18,328,975).  (Note: The money in this contract is based on estimated feed days.  See details of this at the end of the article.)

READ entire article att PPJ Gazette. http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/blm%E2%80%99s-sweet-deal-paid-for-with-your-tax-dollars-of-course/#more-16184

NOTE: My attorney and I must now craft a complete appeal to the Ninth circuit Court on the case that addresses the lack of transparency. We had applied for permission to appeal based on the lack of action in our emergency relief motion filed over six months ago. Well… Judge Larry Hicks of Nevada district Federal Court has now denied my emergency motion. Basically that now gives me the right to file a full appeal in the Ninth. But that will require significant work on both the attorneys part and mine… as well as create a need for another filing fee. Please support this suit if you can. Without your help it can’t be filed.

Donate toward the case to get these closed facilities open to the public.  Thank you.

Wild Horse Education Video

Wild Horse Education is beginning to publish Videos in a series titled “Roundup Reality.”

The videos will show footage taken at roundups and explain the size of the HMA and how many horses are to be “gathered.” They will show how the roundup was executed and demonstrate  if public access was allowed. Each video will be descriptive of each specific event.

Written explanation, with additional information, will be available in archived form on the Wild Horse Education Room 101 site.

The first in this series is the Eagle Roundup of 2011. This video has been chosen because the horses from this roundup went to the Broken Arrow facility (aka Indian Lakes).

Horses in that facility have been off limits to public viewing since the BLM shut the doors last spring due to public response from weekly images taken by observers that visited the facility. New information has been brought to light through the FOIA requested of journalist Deb Coffey. Her research has uncovered a copy of the contract held by Troy Adams for that facility. The contract states clearly that public visitation is part of the scope of the agreement through the year 2015.

The lawsuit brought by journalist Laura Leigh that is currently awaiting the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals addresses these issues directly. The public has a right to know how their American herds are treated by their government and contractors, throughout the entire process. This suit and other actions are supported directly through Wild Horse Education.

Facility Reports can be viewed: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/prog/wh_b/Indian_Lakes_Facility.html

BLM “News Release” Fraud?

Sharing an article written by Deb Coffey. This Issue is part of the First Amendment case I filed, months ago. When we filed the case the memo (at the time I was working as Herd Watch, operating in conjunction with the Cloud Foundation and was having meetings with Bolstad, Neil and Seidlitz) and a few other documents were in public hands and have been included in the case. Coffey’s FOIA request has gleaned a much larger picture. Please support the lawsuit at WILD HORSE EDUCATION if you can. WE are very fortunate to have an attorney that understands both the need for absolute persitance and the fact that there is hardly any support.
This case has the potential to go to the Supreme Court. We need your help to get it there.
This article is the first of three in a series.
 
Debbie Coffey   Copyright   2011    All Rights Reserved

______________________________________________

“Why shouldn’t we write or call our Congressmen and BLM management officials?   American soldiers fought and died so that you would be free to do this.  BLM POLICIES are set at THE TOP by Congress, and by Secretary Ken Salazar of the Department of the Interior, and by Bob Abbey, Director of the Bureau of Land Management.  Call and write to them. ”

_______________________________________________

AUTHORS NOTE:  ALL DOCUMENTS MENTIONED BELOW ARE AVAILABLE IN THE READING ROOM AT   http://wildhorseeducation.org/essential-reading/documents-broken-arrow/

A Bureau of Land Management (BLM) News Release (the BLM seems to be using the word “news” loosely here) dated 5/28/10 with Lisa Reid and Dean Bolstad listed as contacts, was a BLM announcement of the final public tours at Indian Lakes Wild Horse Facility.   

This BLM release states: “Indian Lakes is a privately-owned and operated  facility, was never intended as a public facility and isn’t staffed to serve the public.  As a result, staff from other offices have been taken away from priority work and unplanned costs have been incurred.”

Foal dying Broken Arrow (Laura Leigh)

The most important question is “WHY would a government agency use OUR money to put something publicly owned (OUR wild horses) on PRIVATE PROPERTY, where we can NEVER HAVE ACCESS to them again?”  Isn’t this like stealing?

I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and asked for a list of staff taken from other offices, for a list of the priority work they were taken away from and for a list of and the amount of money spent on the “unplanned costs.”  I received a letter from Paulette L. Sanford of the Department of the Interior dated 10/6/2010, and was told “There is no itemized list or record of the amount of money spent on the unplanned cost” and “there is no list or record of staff who were detailed to work at the Indian Lakes Facility away from their priority work.”   

I also asked for any prior meeting notes and telephone conversation notes regarding the statement that Indian Lakes Road was “never intended as a public facility.” 

I received a contract modification for the Indian Lakes Road facility (AKA Broken Arrow USA) dated 3/22/2010 and signed by Troy Adams, for two hour public tours to be held once a week for the period of 1/01/2010 – 12/31/2015!  So apparently, 5 days before the “news release,” and only 3 days before the e-mail below, a contract was signed for future public tours of the Indian Lakes Road facility for the next 5 years.  Why would the BLM prepare and have a contract signed for something that they never intended to happen?

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Each and every life

Father and son for the last time (Twin Peaks)

Today I am working on more paperwork… answering the BLM’s convoluted logic to why observers can’t be allowed to witness what is happening to OUR horses. They talk about policy that gives them the right to roundup, they talk about safety protocols that did not exist in the past… they do everything they can to try to justify outdated brutality being utilized by an agency tasked to protect an animal so important to the American people it has an entire act of Congress devoted to it.

Freedom and Family (American values?)

That act has been undercut by corporate/special interests to continue to rape our country at no benefit to you or I… as our rights and interests are ignored repeatedly under “Multiple Ruse.”

But within the confines of my lawsuit all of it is irrelevant.

I want to SEE what you are doing with America’s horses. Why… WHY wont you let me?

When will Congress and the judicial system wake up and recognize how vitally important this animal is to the history and spirit of the American people?

6171 found a home (photo Elyse Gardner)

EACH and EVERY life that lived peacefully and FREE before a chopper cut it’s world to shreds continues to matter to us. These are OUR horses.

Hope dying of hoof slough (Indian Lakes/Broken Arrow)

Each set of eyes I see before they disappear into the black hole that has become the Wild Horse and Burro program speaks of the freedoms we are loosing daily. Each set of eyes burns deep into our hearts… and we will NOT forget them as they disappear into a system that has become a closed door funnel for tax-payer dollars as it ignores the right of the people to know what happens to our horses.

Sorro euthanized at the Broken Arrow/ Indian Lakes

This agency is notorious for misinformation as basic as where a truck has it’s final destination… we want to SEE our horses.

This IS an American Tragedy…

Our Horses…

Silver King Mare Left 5 hours in Alley

caught in jute (Twin Peaks)

PVC cutie from Tuscarora

PVC mare Tuscarora

PVC mares Tuscarora

Tonopah face lacerations

Trap visibility Tonopah

Back to work… will edit Tonopah and Silver King… after I answer the BLM… again.

So much for talking…

While we were in Denver listening to BLM’s hired gun Michael Harty act as if his meeting actually meant something … the stallions at Fallon have been castrated. I wonder how many of those smiling faces at that  meeting knew what was happening?

http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/wfo/blm_programs/wild_horses_and_burros/calico_mountains_complex/gather_activity_updates.html

Gelding of the five years and older stallions took place this week.  During gelding, one stallion was noted with two cryptorchid testicles and was euthanized, one stallion suffered a spinal injury while in the chute and died on his own and one gelding was found dead in the pen.

The letters I have written (we all have written) go unanswered. Instead Gene Seidlitz of the Winnemucca district replied to Craig Downers letter and cc’d us all.

That is not a reply to MY letter.

He addressed Craig’s fly over… never my questions directly… NOT EVEN CLOSE.

He never responded to my last letter. He has never sent me the schedule for data collection that he invited me to participate in… that started today. He is side stepping and squirming instead of simply answering. Does someone behave that way when they have legs to stand on? Or when they are acting like someone with something to be ashamed of?

A proposal sits unanswered that would have taken in all of these horses at a savings to the tax=payer that would not have required gelding!!!!!!

Does our president care that his BLM… yes Obama’s BLM… behaves in such a manner? A manner that only deserves the label “sociopathic.”

How can anyone go to work in the morning for the BLM and look their children in the eye at night?

Before I left for Denver I said to watch them… best face, big hit.

Watch them now while they close air space and deny me access to observe data collection…. what are they really doing?

I am in the desert and rather beside myself at the moment…. we will NEVER even be permitted to see these older stallions that the BLM has castrated… who died? Does the BLM even care?

I will write more later… I need to walk or something.

How can anyone go to work in the morning for the BLM and look their children in the eye at night?

SaveWildHorses posted this in comments. I think this is a great idea…. start cc ing the White House, Senators on your emails to the BLM.

Yes! And on every correspondence with any BLM official please make sure they see your cc: to the following

Your Senators
Barbara Boxer
all the chain of command in the WH&B and BLM (Don Glenn, Bob Abbey, Ken Salazar)
and the President

Soon, I think we may need to start contacting the Justice Department

A Request in Good Faith

Several Advocates have made requests toward the release of the Calico Complex horses.

Gene Seidlitz of the Winnemucca district is the man with final authority.

Gene_Seidlitz@blm.gov

RT’s blog has Craig Downers letter. Here is mine.

Write him… cc anyone you think might care.

Wild Horse and Burro Division
Bureau of Land Management
Winnemucca, NV

Dear Sir:

At this time I would like to officially request that the disposition of horses currently held at the BLM facility named the Broken Arrow in Fallon, NV be postponed until such time as the range data collected confirms inventory left within the complex. No data has been collected or supplied to the public to confirm populations within the Complex since the gather took place. As the gather was called off early due to insufficient numbers to complete the contract, any other action would be premature.

As the survey is to begin shortly within the Complex the delay would pose minimal inconvenience.

With the Tri-state Mega Complex still in the planning stages, with an announced mission of managing wild populations across the landscape, this seems like an opportunity to create public confidence in such a statement.

If data comes back from the two week survey that would support the return of horses to the range we also have a unique opportunity to further the mission stated. Some of the horses gathered this past winter had been gathered previously in California. These horses now have blood draws and observation time at this holding facility, as well as the information collected in California. Including these horses in the potential release would give an opportunity to further the database on migratory patterns within the Complex.

If the mission statement is actually to reflect practices within the complex this request is made in good faith and with reasonable expectation.

Thank you.
Laura Leigh
Project Manager Herd Watch

Yearlings in Holding

Mustang Magic

Yesterday we went to the Broken Arrow facility as this is a holiday weekend and visitation was rescheduled.

The weather was a interesting mix of sunshine to hail and wind. After using moms bodies for shelter during the hail the foals gave us a nice “show” of playful activity when the storm passed. We are working on a youtube.

Mom is a "port in a storm"

Mom is a "port in a storm"

We were given more info about the adoption event. Mares with foals (or mare/foal pairs) will not be available until foals are weaned. Pairs will be kept at the Broken Arrow.

Aprox 400 animals are slated for adoption events around the country. 82 have been shipped to PVC for the Internet adoption. That adoption event includes the horses advocates have expressed interest in. Another group has already been sorted for an event in Montana.

If you are interested in adopting a mustang please visit the BLM adoption pages and read them carefully.

Some of you have adopted Mustangs… some of you have not. I’d like to just take a minute and address “relationship” with “horse.”

Many of us have watched abused horses learn to trust. To overcome their fear of the human hand because they have been treated so badly. A mustang has no knowledge of the human hand.

Curious beginnings (photo Laura Leigh)

Curious beginnings (photo Laura Leigh)

Bringing a wild horse into your life is a unique opportunity. You are (for the most part) a complete unknown. Mustangs are really smart… they have to be. Survival depends on instant decisions.

I have heard so many say the same thing… “It’s all about Trust. If you can show them they can trust you a bond forms as strong as that of herd. If you break the trust they don’t forget.”

A relationship developed over a commitment of time, slowly… lasting.

When a wild horse makes the decision to approach you they have invited you to a beginning. Remembering it is their space that you walk into… the space where wild meets human… it reminds us how very precious these animals are. We can learn so much from them.

Calico Filly (photo Elyse Gardner)

Calico Filly (photo Elyse Gardner

Wait for the invitation… if you are patient and still it will come. Learn to listen to their voice… they have one.  They will guide you. But remember you are a guest. Watch closely… if there is any discomfort they tell you, at first quietly. If you are a clumsy guest they get “louder.”

Remember they truly need nothing from you if left to be what they are. Their society exists in it’s own order. We have decided we need more land, more resource, more, more, more. In our history we needed them to carry our burdens, expand our ability to travel and win our wars. But they needed nothing from us. We are fortunate to share this planet with a being so willing to give us what we need.

That moment of first touch… if you wait for it, is their choice. They decide I want to touch you…. it is magic. It is a gift that should be honored. And in truth perhaps a moment we can truly learn to appreciate the relationship of “horse.”

The next person to approach this girl and wait for an invitation will most likely receive her permission to touch her legs. She is an amazing ambassador to the bravery of a wild horse. Every horse that watches her gains confidence… let us not break the trust they are willing to give.

Mouse (#1096)

So much is going on right now.

Personally I’ve been in the field gathering data, having meetings, visiting the facilities. Herd Watch is coming together with tremendous support and volunteers.

Somehing happened last week that deserved a bit of time to respond to…

On May 19 BLM listed another death to the daily update.

“A yearling gelding (#1096) was euthanized after he was found down in his pen; diagnosis fractured neck, cause unknown.” This death brought the BLM count to 90. (Does not count deaths of foals).

#1096 was the little guy named “Mouse” by the advocates.

Mouse (Craig Downer)

Mouse was just a little thing.

Mouse gave people a really hard tme during processing…. he showed he was “wild” at heart.

This week horses were moved from the Broken Arrow over to PVC for an adoption event.

On Wed. the BLM update says he was found in his pen with a broken neck. Often wild animals panic when pressed. If Mouse was being separated for loading, or others near him were, a yearling that demonstrated the “spirit” that Mouse had shown might run into a fence. That reaction from this little fella might be expected… particularly with the pressure used to move them.

But the BLM says he was “found” in his pen and lists no known cause for a fractured neck.

“A yearling gelding (#1096) was euthanized after he was found down in his pen; diagnosis fractured neck, cause unknown.”

YouTube by Elyse Gardner

Currently there is a bit of a “rift” about discussions deemed the “daily snivel.”

Advocates need to recognize the value of advocates. There is not one “way to be” that will carry the change needed. We all need to recognize the value that each one of us brings to the table.

This is a simple recognition of a wild horse yearling taken from his home this winter. He did not adjust to captivity…

The current system has no protocol for recognition of individuals that will not do well behind bars toward releasing them.

So this morning we take a minute to recognize his passing…

More about the foal “Sorro”

Going to add a quick post to give y’all some more info on the foal that died at the Broken Arrow last weekend.

Examiner Article Here

I’m out collecting range data… I will report on those findings soon.

“Sorro,” as Elyse named the baby, was overlooked at the Broken Arrow. We were told by Dean Bolstad that the vet is out daily.

A “triage” of sorts was done and three foals given to a wild horse group. The foals given to that group all came from the pen that the weekend observers raised a stink about the weeks prior.

Sorro was not in that pen.

Sorro was in the pen at the rear of the facility. The last pens you see as you go on the tour.

No determination of intervention had been made on that mare/foal pair, none. (After supposedly witnessing that foal for days). The vet came to treat that foal AFTER advocates left that day. By that time it was too late to do anything.

When asked if the vet noted any anomalies (after death) that could have led to the issue, ie. parrot mouth or  other dental or structural issue Dean replied… “I don’t think so, nothing in the memo.” But he was unsure if anything was even looked for.

I’m sure he will answer questions on Sunday.

Discussing the issues at the Broken Arrow is not distraction from the main issue. The main issue is competent management of our wild herds… top to bottom. Any agency or piece of the protocol that fails in that mandate should fall under scrutiny. Just because a horse leaves the range does not decrease the scrutiny needed by the advocate community toward the welfare of that life.

I see faulty practices top to bottom.

A massive gather was done in the harshest portion of the winter. Almost 2000 horses were then trucked to a facility that was still under construction. Hospital pens in January and February did not have wind breaks.

A reported 300 births now brings that total to over 2000 horses. Wooden barriers have been placed to keep the hay near the pens. A piece of wood that forms a 45 degree angle is inserted to keep the hay close to the pen after we were told the abscesses were due to pushing against the fence in order to get hay.

However the 45 degree angle piece that keep that hay close to the animals is missing from the pens that contain the animals with the greatest nutritional needs. No slanted pieces are in place for the mares nursing foals…. but the stallion pen that holds the horses the advocates have named…. has one.

So what exactly is motivating change over there? It is not a “thinking” toward the horses. It is a reactionary response to the “aggravation” of actually allowing the public an opportunity to react to what they see.

If they want to dismiss it by calling it “daily snivel” it shows the continued use of dismissive, derogatory dialogue.

Think back to grammar school… a bully locks a nerd in the locker. When the kid is found by the janitor crying the bully makes fun of him. But the bully is wrong.

Issues that deal with health of the range, viability of herds, numbers of lease holders, adherence to law…. and the life of an overlooked foal… ALL OF IT MATTERS.

Not only the continued smoke screen of “multiple use.” The BLM manages over 262 million acres of land. Horses currently occupy about 10% of that land…. by definition that IS multiple use.

I’m sure when we flood the faxes in DC they have a cute derogatory term for it, too.

And if that means we turn the “daily snivel” into a tidal wave…. good. Maybe then the concept of how much American’s care about EACH LIFE  that is born of a wild horse will finally sink in.

Happy Mother’s Day

Almost from the very moment it happens you know… a new life has taken root inside of you.
A life that grows with a unique personality. A being that grows more familiar as it grows inside of you.

It is a secret you carry.
It walks with you, eats and sleeps with you.

One day that being leaves the comfort of it’s secret place and enters your world. It changes everything you are.

Motherhood has strings attached (Cat Kindsfather)

A world that may be filled with hardship, challenges and pain. Yet it is also a world filled with moments of pure love.

You strive to care for that life. To provide for it the best you can. Each moment close together becomes a center to a small universe. A universe you carry with you always.

I thank my mom for all she has taught me. I thank my children for teaching me why.

Happy Mother’s Day.

I wrote a new piece for Mother’s day on the Examiner featuring the beautiful photography of the captive Mothers and their children by Cat Kindsfather. Thank you Cat for this Mother’s day gift. Essay here.

Earlier article about births at Broken Arrow here.

Cat Kindsfather inspired

Cat sent me a wonderful photo of old General yesterday.

Why am I here? (drawing)

General (drawing by Laura)

It was the inspiration for a short article that attempts to begin to explain the current adoption process and introduce the sale authority concept.

I have a bunch to say on both those subjects but I’m out of time for today with much to accomplish.

I will write more later!

Here is the article:

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-45566-Horse-Examiner~y2010m5d2-The-uncertain-fate-of-older-wild-horses

New Article (Gelding)

I have a new article on my Examiner page and a new video to illustrate the gelding process at the Broken Arrow.

Give me a “click” I need the gas $ to keep working. (Examiner works off clicks)

http://www.examiner.com/x-45566-Horse-Examiner~y2010m4d25-Gelding-of-the-Wild-Horses-at-the-Broken-Arrow-continues

General

Many of you have written to me asking about General.

I have not written another chapter in “General’s Saga” and I apologize. Many tasks at hand but it is a story I want to share.

I am going to be a bit self-indulgent in responding to inquiries about General and just “talk.”

I love that old horse. From the moment I saw him that day he was captured he spoke to my soul. He has a presence that others have observed since that  day.

Elyse Gardner calls me every time she leaves the Broken Arrow to let me know that she has seen him. Elyse is rather fond of him, too. She gave me this video to share (General is at the beginning and the guy with the star next to him is Commander. True is at the end of the video). She has more footage of General from last Sunday and will send when she can.

I left the voices in. This piece lets you feel what it’s like to walk the facility. So many horses to view and so many questions to ask and never enough time.

General looks good, so does Commander. General slipped his tag off. I know his number and referenced some of the horses by number in correspondence with John Neill at the facility. John responded by using General’s name and said “we know you are watching out for him.” John told me that currently there are no plans to geld any of the older horses.

True is not with dad and seems a bit lost right now. He has a very sweet disposition and really seemed to need his father. Every picture I saw had him right behind dad. I wish I could put him back with the only family he had left…

True has not been gelded yet and I have a call in to see how they are doing.

I will be able to go see them again very soon. I get a lump in my throat when I think about it.

In my heart I just wish I could see General back out on the range…

20 years of survival as a wild stallion… and now?

Thanks for letting me talk about him….

Broken Arrow (Gelding Update)

Just want to take a minute to give you a quick update on the horses currently at the Broken Arrow facility.

Swelling (Cat Kindsfather)

I spoke with Elyse Gardner this morning. We spoke prior to her leaving yesterday as I had some questions about the gelding procedure. I asked her to photograph the area used for the procedure.

The answers given to the questions were very much the expected responses. Into the chute, inject with a paralytic, open the chute, the horse goes down and procedure completed. Henderson tool and cauterization is completed as procedure is performed.

Elyse reported seeing one young horse that had significant swelling. A few with minor visible swelling.

There currently are no plans to geld any of the older stallions.

Pigeon Fever Update:

It has taken me a bit to post this latest report from Sanford. Something like this was expected. It almost seems to be so much a part of the dance that it had to come.

Pigeon Fever WAS CONFIRMED by the facility manager John Neill. He said there were a handful of cases. The adoption event was postponed until July, adding as many as 60 days to the recovery time before adoption. That in itself slows down the race to the gate enough that any situation could be monitored and responded to.

The assertion in Sanfords report appears to blame an inexperienced public for confusing Pigeon Fever with Staphylococcus aureus.

I called John Neill, manager of the facility. Confirmation came from John. If anyone wants to “google” Staphylococcus aureus you will see it is transmitted in basically the same manner as Pigeon Fever. (Flies are one way the virus is transmitted however contact with the soil, hands, equipment can spread pigeon fever).

Panic that animals would die coast-to-coast was not an issue. However standard practices in equine management would involve isolating the population effected by either of these ailments. Call any boarding barn, breeder that cares about his horses, your own equine vet.

But at least this has been posted here to keep the trail of breadcrumbs in tact.

Observations Related to Pigeon Fever and Chest Hematomas
in the Calico Complex Horses located at the Indian Lakes Road Facility

Pigeon Fever
In January 2010, I observed clinical signs that suggested horses from the Calico Complex were recovering from pigeon fever (infection with Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis). These infections probably occurred late in 2009.
A few (5-10) abscesses were still healing in 2010 during and after the Calico gather. Overall, about 2% of the horses appeared to be affected. No further abscesses have been noted. The diagnosis was based on these clinical impressions and since almost all the abscesses were healed no laboratory confirmation of the causative bacteria has been possible.
No complications are expected although recurrence is possible depending on soil and weather conditions in the area. Pigeon fever has been reported on several occasions among domestic and wild horses in Fallon and throughout Nevada and California.
Chest Hematomas
During the last month, an observation of a condition unrelated to pigeon fever has been made in about 10 yearling colts that have chest hematomas. For visitors to the facility, these swellings could be confused with pigeon fever.
The hematomas likely resulted from bruises caused by contact with the feed bunk. Modifications to the feed bunks are being made in an attempt to prevent this from occurring in the future.
The hematomas have been drained and cultured as a precaution. The only bacterial growth obtained from these cultures to date has been Staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria is part of the normal skin flora and most likely an insignificant contaminant of the culture. This is not the organism that causes pigeon fever and is not a contagious condition.
No complications from the hematomas are expected, and all treated hematomas are healing.
Richard Sanford DVM
NV #565

Phot Craig Downer

Photo Craig Downer

Here is the previous report that was posted on the BLM site about Pigeon Fever. If this is a “dance” then I guess this could be called the “dip” before the “spin.”

Pigeon Fever at Indian Lakes Road Facility in Fallon, NV

Veterinarian report prepared by: Richard Sanford, DVM. NV# 565

Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis: bacteria which is found in the soil, is most likely transmitted by biting flies and has a very long incubation period (weeks – months). The disease has nothing to do with pigeons. The name comes from the large chest abscesses that some horses can get, which look like the large breast of a pigeon. (Also known as “Dryland Distemper” or “Pigeon Breast”)

Of the Calico Complex horses gathered from December 29, 2009 – February 4, 2010, approximately 2 percent of the 1,922 horses received at the facility showed clinical signs of healed chest abscesses from recent Pigeon Fever infection and .25 percent to .50 percent showed more recent or currently were infected with Pigeon Fever.

As of March 31, 2010, at the Indian Lakes Road facility, Pigeon Fever is still noted at the .25 percent to .50 percent rate, mostly found in the juvenile horses. The incidence of Pigeon Fever at the Indian Lakes Facility is at the same percentages that exist on the Calico Complex. The chest swellings range from golf ball size to grapefruit size. Fly season occurs at the end of summer. Therefore, it is expected that incidents of Pigeon Fever will decrease over time. Disease may or may not reoccur during the 2010 fly season based on environmental factors, such as temperatures, precipitation levels, soil conditions, fly conditions, etc. It is noted that California had severe Pigeon Fever conditions during the 2009 fly season. It is speculated those conditions apply to Nevada as well.

Horses housed at the Indian Lakes Road facility that have active Pigeon Fever are being monitored. No treatments have been administered to date. Abscesses have all resolved without treatment. No deaths or complications have been associated with infection. Based on 25 years of past experience with wild horses and burros, Pigeon Fever can exist in many of our wild herds depending on current year environmental conditions.

Gelding at Calico

This is just a quick post about the uproar beginning to occur about the gelding taking place at Calico of stallions under 4.  (BLM update page here)

Young Stud (holding area)

My inbox is beginning to receive a flood of mail. So I decided to post a response on the blog.

In order to actually understand this process the language within the lawsuits must be looked at. I have stated several times that terminology and definition will become increasingly important.

It is my understanding that the IDA (In Defense of Animals) suit deals with the issue of long-term holding.

An adoption event would not be in contradiction to any issue that deals with older horses heading to long-term holding.

Calico horses 4 and under are heading to an adoption event in July (rescheduled from May 15&16) regardless of the outcome of the suit.
In an email today from William Spriggs, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney PC, he confirmed my understanding.

I am not privy to the specifics of the “no geld” conversation.

Something else to think about…

If the suit wins on long-term holding? The next step is not necessarily freedom.

IDA will need to first argue that long term holding violates current law. Then they will have to argue that returning the horses is not a violation of law. Then they will have to prove that it can be done and dispute the arguments from BLM that it was a necessary action to remove them (horses). So even if they win on long term as illegal, they may not win on the second part of the argument.

Language (specific, concise) is going to become very important.

New Video of Processing Calico

Elyse Gardner has just posted a new YouTube that shows the processing of horses gathered from the Calico Complex in Nevada by the Bureau of Land Management. Another long video but it will give you an idea how horses are processed and what that means.

I posted a shorter video prior to the beginning of the Calico horses being procesed at the Broken Arrow of horses being processed at the Palomino Valley Center also in Nevada. The equipment is essentially the same with a few changes made in design.

Calico Adoption Update

Note: Photos included in this piece were taken by Elyse Gardner. Elyse called me as soon as  she left the facility on Sunday to let me know General was doing well. His son True has been moved in with the younger horses and seems a bit “lost.”

True "on his own"

The horses gathered from the Calico Complex by the Bureau of Land Management this winter, held at the Broken Arrow facility in Fallon, will not be going to Palomino Valley for an adoption event in May as previously planned. The horses will be offered in an Internet adoption event in July.

Beautiful Girl

John Neill manager at the Broken Arrow facility has stated:

Based on National interest with Calico horses, we have decided not to host an adoption event at Palomino Valley in mid May. Instead we will be posting approx. 100 Calico’s on an internet adoption event to be held in July.

The 100 animals will be transported to Palomino Valley in early June for public viewing if persons so wish. However, adoptions /sales will take place on the I-NET adoption in July. Pictures of the animals selected for this
event will eventually be posted on our web site. This likely will not
happen until late May or early June.

Sweet Eye!

John Neill will keep me informed as the event draws closer so information can be made available to the public.

A personal note: John knows I am following specific horses. I asked about the horses by their tag numbers. John responded with General’s name.

General! Thank you, Elyse!

Morning Coffee Chatter

It appears that there is some rather interesting “chatter” in the wild horse world today. I’ll start with this one and post again in a bit…

Maureen Harmonay wrote in an article for the Examiner about the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association reports posted on the BLM webpage about previously undisclosed deaths of Calico horses.

I wont comment to the specifics she addresses, but urge you to read the article. Instead I want to point out a bit more “food for thought” in the reports.

In the report dated Feb. 13, Dr. Davis (ASVMA), writes: “We did not see any indication of infectious disease.” He then goes on to note a horse in quarantine with an abscess that was suspected to have strangles.

comment: A horse with an abscess was in quarantine on Feb 13. A single horse with “no other signs of infectious disease” in the population. I thought we were being told horses had signs of pigeon fever and abscesses since they came in off the range?

He comments about the foals with sloughed hooves. He notes that only “verbal” information was available. He then notes that the foal was “emaciated,” and the metabolic issues associated with re-feeding may contribute to the condition causing eventual hoof slough.

comment: I will send Dr. Davis pictures of the “emaciated” foal with hoof slough.Then he will have visual confirmation that the colt was not emaciated. Perhaps he will delete the justification spin he hands the BLM in this report?

Calico Foal

Foal euthanized at Fallon Facilty

He also notes the average body score is 5 or above with a few at 3 or less. 12 horses in the hospital pen were of a 2 or less (mares).

comment: I was there at the end of January and saw a handful of 2′s, not in the hospital pens. The hospital pens held horses suffering from some form of lameness or another. I have photographs, no “2′s.”

However I agree the vast majority of horses were a 5 or better. The high percentage of older horses also refutes a claim of an unhealthy range.

I have too many comments about the reasons horses can drop weight quickly and if you read his report you will see the significant number of issues he left out.

He also notes that Dr. Sanford mentioned pregnant mares, gathered in winter, are usually in the poorest condition.

comment: So why did you do such a large gather during winter against the advice of a federal judge?

Pigeon Fever at Broken Arrow

The horses gathered by the Bureau of Land Management from the Calico Complex in Nevada are currently held at the privately contracted facility named the Broken Arrow in Fallon Nevada. Observers have been allowed to monitor the horses through a two-hour window each Sunday. No observers will be allowed in this weekend due to the holiday.

Pigeon Fever at Broken Arrow this past Sunday (photo Craig Downer)

The presence of Pigeon Fever among the population was observed nearly two weeks ago.

Processing and sorting of horses has continued “business as usual,” with no change in protocol despite the highly contagious disease.

John Neill, currently the manager at the Broken Arrow for the BLM said, “Yes, there is pigeon fever but only a handful of cases.”

When asked if the cases were confined to the horses gathered from a specific area and isolated in the pens sorted by area gathered he replied, “No, we’ve been moving horses around.”

Many of you have sent me questions that seem to confuse Pigeon Fever with strangles. This is not a strangles outbreak.

*** I also need to add that Pigeon Fever does not come from pigeons. It is not a disease associated with “cities.” (Sometimes I don’t know where this stuff comes from.) It is called Pigeon Fever because the most common form causes abscesses that develop on the chest that give a resemblance to that of a pigeon.

What is Pigeon Fever?

From a COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY VETERINARIANS REPORT

Clinical signs: Early signs can include lameness, fever, lethargy, depression and weight loss.

Infections can range from mild, small, localized abscesses to a severe disease with multiple massive abscesses containing liters of liquid, tan-colored pus.

External, deep abscesses, swelling and multiple sores develop along the chest, midline and groin area, and, occasionally, on the back.

Incubation period: Horses may become infected but not develop abscesses for weeks.Animals affected:The disease usually manifests in younger horses, but can occur in any age, sex, and breed.

A different biotype of the organism is responsible for a chronic contagious disease of sheep and goats, Caseous lymphadenitis, or CL. Either biotype can occur in cattle.

Disease forms: Generally 3 types: external abscesses, internal abscesses or limb infection (ulcerative lymphangitis).

The ulcerative lymphangitis is the most common form worldwide and rarely involves more than one leg at a time. Usually, multiple small, draining sores develop above the fetlock.

The most common form of the disease in the United States is external abscessation, which often form deep in the muscles and can be very large. Usually they appear in the pectoral region, the ventral abdomen and the groin area. After spontaneous rupture, or lancing, the wound will exude liquid, light tan-colored, malodorous pus.

Internal abscesses can occur and are very difficult to treat

Note: There is a low incidence in foals.It has also been diagnosed in cattle, and a similar disease affects sheep and goats. The disease is not transmissible to humans, although humans can carry the infectious agent on shoes, clothing, hands or barn tools and transfer it to another animal. Although the disease is considered seasonal, with most cases occurring in early fall, a number of cases have been confirmed during winter months and other times of the year as well..

Treatment: Hot packs or poultices should be applied to abscesses to encourage opening. Open abscesses should be drained and regularly flushed with saline.

Surgical or deep lancing may be required, depending on the depth of the abscess or the thickness of the capsule, and should be done by your veterinarian.

Ultrasound can aid in locating deep abscesses so that drainage can be accomplished.

External abscesses can be cleaned with a 0.1 percent povidone-iodine solution

Antiseptic soaked gauze may be packed into the open wound

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as phenylbutazone can be used to control swelling and pain

Antibiotics are controversial. Their use in these cases has sometimes been associated with chronic abscessation and, if inadequately used, may contribute to abscesses, according to one study.

The most commonly used antibiotic for the treatment of this condition is procaine penicillin G, administered intramuscularly, or trimethoprim-sulfa.

In the case of internal abscesses, prolonged penicillin therapy is necessary

Care required: Buckets or other containers should be used to collect pus from draining abscesses and this infectious material should be disposed of properly.

Consistent and careful disposal of infected bedding, hay, straw or other material used in the stall is vitally important.

Thoroughly clean and disinfect stalls, paddocks, all utensils and tack.

Pest control for insects is also very important.

Recovery time: Usually anywhere from two weeks to 77 days.


The BLM is moving forward with preparation toward an adoption event of Calico horses currently scheduled for May 15th and 16th at the Palomino Valley Center in Nevada.

Pigeon Fever at Broken Arrow (photo Craig Downer)

Calico Retrospect

As I prepare to head off to DC to join other advocates to raise our voice for the wild horses and burros I am putting the finishing touches on many projects. The one I am most proud of is a new video of the Calico Complex gather. The pride stems not only from the piece itself, but from the process of creating the piece.

This effort came together very quickly. It required fast communication and a real cooperative effort from many people. The process truly speaks of the effort that is needed to be that voice for our horses and burros. This is an effort made by “just people.” People that devote their time and resources to stand for something they believe in.

In that space personal differences become meaningless… self transcends into a collective space of “voice.”

The complete DVD will have a short film and history of the gather as well as personal statements by those that contributed to the piece. Distribution information will be available within the next 24 hours.

Once more I want to remind you that even if you can’t make the trip to DC set the 25th of March aside and contact your local media, set up a table with brochures, wear a ribbon, a t-shirt… start a conversation… for our wild horses and burros.

More Spin than Maytag

Wanted to add this before Horseback moves on to the next story.

If you read the other three… here’s the next soap opera installment to “How the Horse Turns…” Or “Days of the BLM.”

The Big Story

BLM Spins as More Horses Die

Photo by Laura Leigh

By Steven Long

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The federal Bureau of Land Management’s Washington spokesmen, Tom Gorey, is one of the best in the business. He’s able, articulate, savvy, and to use a term often bandied about in the nation’s capital, a master of the fine art of spin. On Thursday, he spun a web worthy of the fictional Charlotte herself.

For the better part of a week, Horseback Magazine has featured a series of articles on the missing credentials of two veterinarians attending the captured horses of Nevada’s Calico Mountains. Thus far, at least 115 have died, including miscarried foals. Horseback has repeatedly asked for the credentials of the vets who have set such a dubious record of death on their watch. Gorey finally complied, albeit in a round about way, dodging five questions drafted for the magazine by a physician and academic veterinarian and submitted to the agency.

The vets in the spotlight are Dr. Richard Sanford, the vet in charge of the BLM holding and processing facility at Fallon, and Dr. Albert Kane who is not licensed in the State of Nevada.

“Between them, Drs. Kane and Sanford have more than 40 years of experience
as equine veterinarians and over 30 years of that includes working with
wild horses,” Gorey wrote. “They each have all the qualifications, credentials, and
licenses that are appropriate or required by law. The BLM is fortunate to
have such experienced and dedicated professionals working in the agency’s
Wild Horse and Burro Program.”

But you didn’t answer the questions, Tom. Medical and veterinary professionals have questioned the sudden dietary switch from sparse desert grasses to rich hay in captivity as a likely cause of the deaths. In fact, the BLM’s published reports frequently mention the gastrointestinal condition, colic.

“The diagnosis for most of the Calico mares that have died at the Indian
Lakes facility is hyperlipemia characteristic of metabolic failure
attributed to re-feeding syndrome, he continued. “This condition is a result of the very
thin body condition of some of the horses because of starvation conditions
on the range, in combination with the late-pregnancy status of some mares.”

Horses in hundreds, if not thousands of photos shot by activists show fat healthy horses, not animals on the brink of starvation as BLM continues to spin.

The pregnant mares Gorey mentioned were stampeded for miles in the dead of winter by a roaring helicopter hired from a government contractor. Two foals were put down after painfully shedding their hooves after the stampede, which Sanford earlier acknowledged was caused by the chase.

“What Tom is conveniently neglecting to recognize is how the actual stress of the helicopter roundups and subsequent confinement and change in diet, placement in truly overcrowded conditions, etc. pushed these wild horses over the edge,” said Craig Downer, a famed wild horse expert on assignment for Horseback Magazine.

“Diagnostic and other information on the horses has been posted to the BLM’s
Website at http://www.blm.gov,” Gorey continued. “The BLM will continue to post updates on its Website under the Calico gather links as the horses continue to improve and
are readied for adoption.”

BLM DVM, SNAFU

I don’t normally post “reprints” this often but this “trail” is important to follow. This is the third story in a row from Steven Long of Horseback Magazine on veterinary credentials.

The responses Steven gets to what should have been very simple requests speaks loud and clear. These types of responses are what we receive most often. The “straight answer” never comes. It creates an atmosphere of absolute distrust.

If these are the responses to simple questions, imagine how convoluted the responses are when we ask more complex questions?

The BLM representatives will stand in front of a television camera and give a reporter a quick sound bite response while wearing a uniform. An advocate will then need to express to the reporter how those responses are incorrect or misleading and then try to represent the “truth” as we know it… and the real truth will remain an unknown until an investigation occurs.But the reporter walks off with the sound bite… and the majority of the public never “gets it.”

This example of a simple request, the type of response and the potential consequence is so clearly illustrated by Steven in these three articles.

If you want to be “educated” on standard BLM operating protocol… these three articles are really all you need.

Death Toll for Calico Now 115 While BLM Has No Credentials for Vets on File

Photo by Elyse Gardner

By Steven Long

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The record death toll for a federal Bureau of Land Management roundup has again risen with the demise of two more horses raising the count to 115. Specifically, 69 have died at the agency’s Fallon holding facility, 7 died at the site of the Calico roundup itself, and there have been 39 miscarried foals.

The animals are under the care of BLM veterinarian Dr. Richard Sanford. Horseback Magazine asked for his vitae under the U.S, Freedom of Information Act. In a certified letter to the magazine dated March 9, 2010, the agency responded.

“We have conducted a thorough search of our files and were unable to locate any records responsive to your request.”

Sanford is the second BLM veterinarian who appears to have no credentials on file with the bureau. Dr. Albert Kane, who has worked on the Calico “gather” is not licensed as a veterinarian in Nevada according to state records. Sanford holds a Nevada vet license.

According to a physician, veterinarian, and emergency medical technician contacted by Horseback Magazine, virtually all medical professionals have credentials on file where they are employed and carry them as well.

These same professionals have raised questions regarding moving wild horses from a sparse diet of desert grass to one of rich hay as soon as they were captured. They have raised questions that the Calico tragedies are the result of gastrointestinal problems such as colic.

Never a Straight Answer

Here is a follow up article from Horseback Magazine to yesterdays story.

The Big Story

The BLM Punts

Photo by Laura Leigh (photographer note: Processing horses at Palomino Valley center. “T” is for the Tobin herd. Also note they don’t call it the “squeeze” for no reason).

By Steven Long

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The federal Bureau of Land Management has punted on whether it employed a veterinarian on its Calico roundup who is not licensed in the State of Nevada. Responding to a query by Horseback Magazine regarding the credentials of Dr. Albert Kane, the BLM referred questions to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal, and Plant Health Inspection Service.

This far, 113 horses and miscarried foals have died after a helicopter driven stampede in Northern Nevada. The bureau’s fiercest critic in Congress, Sen. Mary Landrieu told Horseback late Tuesday that she will sit on her hands regarding the deaths.

“Sen. Landrieu will not call for an immediate hearing, but the Senator continues to be engaged on the matter and is working to find a permanent humane solution,” Landrieu spokesman Aaron Saunders said.

Late last year Landrieu called for BLM to clean up its act within a year or risk losing management responsibilities over wild horses and burros on its 260 million mostly vacant acres of federal land in the West.

The BLM responded in detail Tuesday to Horseback’s story on Kane’s lack of credentials, reveling that about another vet working the Fallon Nevada holding facility is in good standing with the state, but only mentioning Kane in a brief punt to another government spokesperson in another federal agency. The BLM cited a gap in the Nevada’s veterinary practices act which would permit an unlicensed vet to work.

Other vets and physicians find the gap in credentials troubling.

“Unlicensed vets cannot perform veterinary duties in NY (no exams no nothing and you do get fined here),” said a vet who has tangled with Kane in the past but declined to be identified.

A physician active in the movement to stop the BLM wild horse roundups was even more harsh in her criticism.

“If Kane is still there, it is possible he is helping with the “disposition” of the horses.  This is really criminal” the doctor said. “The BLM needs to hire vets who are expert at dealing with metabolic syndrome.  I bet they are colicky.  This is a travesty of the first order.  These people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a helicopter contract but then they skimp on proper care?  It is a very chilling thought that the vet used by the BLM may not have sufficient knowledge on metabolic syndrome and doesn’t know how to provide proper care to these horses.  I am very concerned about this possibility even if he is licensed elsewhere.  The BLM should have hired a vet who has extensive knowledge on metabolic syndrome so that the horses do not develop this condition.”

Medical professionals have been critical of the BLM practice of feeding wild horses rich hay immediately after their capture in a dramatic departure from their lifelong diet of sparse desert grasses.

The BLM said in exquisite bureaucratese:

“On the issue of veterinary credentials: The BLM ensures that veterinarians working within the Program (sic) have the necessary qualifications (graduate education and legal credentials) to work within each state. Private practitioners who work under contract for the BLM are required to bevlicensed by the boards of veterinary medicine in the states where theyvpractice. State veterinary medical practice acts generally exclude veterinarians in the employ of the United States Government or respective state governments such that they are not required to be licensed in each state for the performance of their official duties. In Nevada, for example, the practice act for veterinarians does not require a state license (see citation below) for Federal veterinarians performing official
duties.

NRS 638.015 Applicability. Nothing in this chapter applies:
1. To the gratuitous castrating, dehorning or vaccinating of
domesticated animals nor to the gratuitous treatment of diseased animals by friends or neighbors of the owner thereof, except that all vaccinations for zoonotic diseases must be administered by a licensed veterinarian or a
person under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
2. To debar any veterinarian in the employ of the United States
Government or the State of Nevada from performing official duties necessary for the conduct of the business of the United States Government or the
State of Nevada, or a political subdivision thereof, upon which he is assigned.

Dr. Rich Sanford is the attending veterinarian providing care for the Calico horses at the Indian Lakes Facility. Dr. Sanford’s license is NV #565. He has 25 years of experience working with wild horses.

APHIS has requested that all questions about Dr. Kane be referred to Lyndsay Cole, APHIS Public Affairs. Her email address is:

Lyndsay.M.Cole@aphis.usda.gov

JoLynn Worley, 775-861-6515
Office of Communications
BLM Nevada State Office

Horseback has requested the USDA provide the biographical information on the veterinarian that both Kane and the BLM have refused to reveal.

Dr. Kane, BLM DVM?

Reprint from Horseback Online

The Big Story

Unlicensed Vet Working Nevada Gather Where 113 Horses Have Died or Have Been Miscarried

By Steven Long

Photo by Laura Leigh

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – A government veterinarian working for the Bureau of Land Management in its Nevada office has treated horses there without a state license.

At least 113 captured horses have either died or been miscarried after a grueling chase by helicopter over rocky mountain land in the dead of winter.

Horseback Magazine confirmed late Monday in a check with the Nevada Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners that there is no record of a veterinary license for Dr. Albert Kane. Last month the magazine sought the vitae of the veterinarian but the BLM refused to supply it.

Kane is a Veterinary Medical Officer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Policy and Programs staff. In this position he serves as a staff veterinarian and advisor for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program, according to spokeswoman JoLynn Worley.

“Dr. Kane doesn’t have a current bio or CV available at this time and has declined to prepare one specifically at your request,” Worley said at the time.

After the refusal to respond to the magazine’s request for Kane’s credentials, a request for that information under the Freedom of Information Act was filed. Thus far there has been no BLM compliance on the FOIA.

The 113 dead horses came from BLM’s Calico Wild Horse Management Area in Northern Nevada. The “gather” was a tightly controlled operation in which press and public was held in a viewing area far from the actual roundup and helicopter driven stampede.

Horses captured in the operation are now held in the BLM’s Fallon processing facility.

Horseback Magazine has now asked the BLM if Kane is licensed elsewhere other than in Nevada.

The Fallon facility is under tight control with press and public barred from observing horse processing in other than rare and brief media days and observation opportunities.

Opponents of the gathers have charged that the government agency is rendering America’s wild horse herds genetically bankrupt on its 260 million acres of mostly vacant land.

Last year, in a 68 page document titled “Alternative Management Options” the BLM discussed killing thousands of wild horses. It also addressed the issue of neutering horses in enormous numbers.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a former rancher, has proposed that thousands of horses be sent to seven holding areas in the Midwest and East as tourist attractions. The proposal has been ridiculed by equine welfare activists as “Salazoos.”

Lightening and a man named Downer

Once upon a time I left my world to head off to follow the wild horses. I went straight to an area many refer to as “where the horse turns.” That phrase is used to compare the area to the drama contained in soap operas. Not only because of the concentration of horses that inhabit the area, but because of the political climate. This climate encompasses not only the government, but the advocates as well.

Let’s just say the term is an understatement.

When I first became involved with this issue, some time ago, it was difficult to find cohesive action among the advocate groups. This issue is so large that communication was often splintered into selective focus out of necessity. Gaining information in a timely manner proved to be a challenge, with a few exceptions. One of those exceptions was a man named Craig Downer.

Where's Craig?

From the moment of our initial contact involving the horses at Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, Downer sent me volumes to sift through. He said take what you need and “run” with it. He gave no direction, advise, nor gossip.

Before I ever met Downer I heard things about him that ranged from “He’s a man of God,” to “If you expect him to have your back you better have your butterfly net handy. He can fly off into the stratosphere!”

I finally met Downer face-to-face at the Society for Range Management conference in Reno. Soft spoken and shy, he was a perfect caricature of the “absent minded professor.” He said to me, “Laura, we have the truth on our side.  Keep speaking it and we will win.”

He spoke with a conviction so pure it was like that of a child. It made me painfully aware of my own cynicism. He had a way of being that we all held in some distant memory that has been buried by the constraints “life” has imposed on us. That ability to believe that “truth, justice and the American way,” meant the things you thought they did when you were first taught the “pledge of allegiance” in school was alive and well in Mr.Downer.

His words galvanized me with a new purpose. Not only did we need to win this for the horses, but for Downer, and to fan that flame of belief deep inside of all of us.

Craig Downer

Since then Downer and I have shared information, collaborated on a few projects and gone to see the horses still free.

While Craig was in court trying to protect the horses at the Calico Complex from the threat of the BLM round up, I made a slideshow from some of his photos. It was my way of supporting his effort. It was my “prayer.”

One of the horses in the video is a magnificent stallion Craig named Lightening. Lightening is the palomino with the lightening bolt marking.

After the slideshow was posted on You Tube I received several e-mails that commented directly on the beauty of that stallion. The slideshow did not show any starving horses living on a degraded range as the BLM claimed. It shows healthy, thriving horses free on their range to be what they are.

Recently I received a phone call from Elyse Gardner. She was calling to soften a blow. She wanted to let me know that she was writing on her blog that Lightening had been seen again, in his holding cell at Fallon. We shared our grief and mourned his loss of freedom. She has written her account of the day she and Downer found Lightening again on her blog.

I was grateful for the call.

Downer said to me, “Laura, we have the truth on our side.  Keep speaking it and we will win.”

I will try to keep my cynicism in check.

Lightening by Elyse Gardner, 2010

Fallon Update

Mare at the BLM facility in Fallon

Calico Complex Update

On February 18, 2010, while advocates were protesting in Las Vegas, the Bureau of land management began the processing of wild horses gathered from the Calico Complex Herd Management Area. Horses held at the Broken Arrow, a private holding facility, began to be aged, vaccinated, branded, etc. in preperation for adoption, sale and moves to long-term facilities. (BLM Fallon facility update here.)

John Neill, acting BLM manager of the facility, said mares are being processed first.

“We have prepped approx. 300 hd to date.Preparation is concentrated primarily on the mares at themoment, as we need to complete the preparation process with them before they begin to foal. Once preparation is completed with the mares, we will concentrate on the weanlings/yearlings…………which have already been vaccinated. Stallions will be prepped after mares, weanlings/yearlings. I do not have an exact date when this will take place The entire preparation process of the calico animals should take approx. 8 weeks.”

Horse Advocate Marilyn Wargo had some specific questions for the BLM:

“It would help all our perceptions if we had a schedule that reflects the work all involved at the Fallon facility are actually doing on a daily basis, weekly, etc. I would like to think the horses are central to activity and not just on some days. Everyday. How many people work there and what are their jobs? How often are horses fed and are their water tanks cleaned out regular to keep down infectious disease?”

Reply by John Neill:


“There are 3-4 experienced wranglers and a veterinarian present during the
preparation process. On average 60-70 animals are prepped/day. There are days where other activities may take place along with prep. to ensure
animal care. The facility contractor has sufficient personnel to feed and
maintain the facility. Horses are currently being fed free choice
grass/alfalfa hay. Once all animals have adjusted to dietary changes the
feeding regime will be adjusted. Typically 20lbs/day/adult to maintain
good health. Younger animals typically receive 12-15lbs/day. Water troughs
are cleaned frequently. More often in the summer months as sunlight
promotes algae growth. Troughs are scrubbed with bleach for disinfection
when cleaning takes place.”

I asked if dates had been set for the horses going through adoption and through sale authority.

John Neill:

BLM does intend to hold an adoption event of Calico animals once preparation is complete and animals show no health issues. The adoption event will take place at Palomino Valley facility. There has been interest by other individuals on specific animals also. Most likely many of these that several persons have shown interest in will be posted on the I-net for competitive bidding. An adoption event date will be forthcoming once preparation is completed and animals show no signs of health issues.