WHE Blog

Wild Horse Education has set up a blog.

This blog will remain as an archive of material.

I am unable to keep up this blog at this time. I hope to be able to get back to writing here soon.

Click picture of Owyhee roundup to go to WHE blog


click to go to WHE (Wild Horse Education) blog


9/11…. a repost

Below is a repost.

Last year I was at the first day of Barren Valley on 9/11. This year donations are down and I can barely hang on to participate in the conferences that all of this work has enabled. We have been bashed, smashed and ridiculed for this work… our pictures and information utilized by so many…

Today I should be on the road to Pancake as a roundup begins. Today I should be in the field creating the documentation to address ongoing issues. But we can’t.

Donations are now down…. But this was last year. We know it is still an issue that seriously needs to be addressed… I am still trying. The cases are solely supported by http://wildhorseeducation.org

If you can help your donations are desperately needed to keep the legal cases, documentation and effort alive. http://wildhorseeducation.org

What Does America Stand for?

I come from a long line of people that felt service to country was an honor.

My Grandad served in both World Wars. In the second WW his eldest sons went with him. Uncles served in Korea. My dad was too young and became a police officer and volunteer fireman. Many family members still live in the New York area. We had a family member missing that day as his office was in the Trade Center… he was ok but it was a very frightening time.

I am reposting an article I wrote that was published in a few venues over the winter… it just strikes me as appropriate for this weekend.

What Does America Stand For?

Our founding fathers made an incredibly brave stand and wrote the Declaration of Independence. They knew by making a stand for what they believed in that they would not win an across the board popularity contest.

Next came the great Constitution of the United States.

The premises within that document began to build the consciousness of a nation. When I walk through the law libraries and touch the pages (yes, I feel books give a sense that the electronic age desensitizes) you literally feel the development of the identity of this nation.

Case law that demonstrates the evolution of the premises within the Constitution can literally remind you of the pride that is “America.” Sometimes it appears this occurs in spite of ourselves. Civil and human rights cases exist that when you read the cases themselves there is shame that what seems like a “no brainer” in current times was actually an issue that had to be decided within the judicial system. The pages are filled with “bad children” being given rules filtered through the guidelines our “founding fathers” left for us.

Within the Bill of Rights a concept was so important to our “fathers” that it was listed first. (The right to bear arms was second).

“The founding fathers gave the press the mission to inform the people and promote the free flow of facts and ideas, however untimely or challenging or disagreeable those facts and ideas may be.” — Katharine Graham, publisher, The Washington Post, 1973

The concept of a free press is to allow the public an opportunity to investigate and report on the activities of it’s government without fear of reprisal and censorship. The intention is that the true power of decision making in a Democratic society comes from an educated public conveying ideas to a representative that then advocates those positions in debate within a Senate and House toward shaping our nation.

Within the dialogue of “Wild Horse and Burro Program” implemented by the BLM we have a serious breakdown of this process. Plain and simple the public, Congress and often BLM employees themselves are seriously uninformed.

There is currently a lawsuit that has been patiently waiting to actually be heard within the judicial system.That case has been joined in an Amicus brief by the Reporters Committee for a Free Press and the National Press Photographers Association. (This case is also one I am Plaintiff).

Congress asks for information and the BLM will chose an “independent” organization (read “pro-slaughter”) to do an investigation or an investigation occurs in house. The reports are continually bias or outright filled with omissions and inaccuracies. Would we allow the tobacco industry to self-police? Would we make an appointment before showing up to do a search of a crime scene with a suspected perpetrator?

It appears yet again that an “independent” review is being prepared for the BLM by those chosen by the BLM. Those doing the review were supposedly on site Wednesday and Thursday of last week. I was not given the same access to the trap that they were. Activity at holding was very different when the government observers showed up with BLM public relations.

Last week Representative Burton made these statements to the House as a proposal to cut the BLM’s budget in a “slap on the wrist” gesture was made: “It seems to me that we ought to be frugal with the public’s money. We ought to cut the Bureau of Land Management’s budget so that we can save the money and save the mustangs.”

The wild horse advocate community has expressed sincere gratitude toward Burton. He has demonstrated bravery displayed by our founding fathers in bringing this dialogue into a forum that has the power to effect the change needed.

But in all honesty how can any dialogue be effective if that dialogue addresses symptoms of a long standing problem without taking the time to look for the root cause? Any symptomatic reaction has the potential to create a reality that has consequence worse than the current situation. A full investigation of the program and the consequence of placing the implementation of the 1971 Legislation into the hands of an agency with an apparent conflict of interest and often literally “inbred” with those that perpetrated the actions that spurred the need to pass the 71 Act in the first place is sorely absent. Why would any “change” be expected to be implemented any differently? It’s like changing the product you put in a meat grinder… it still comes out in the same fashion.

Until a dialogue actually begins to exist that addresses the root causes, arbitrary boundaries and policy that caters to special interests, the change needed to protect the “living symbol of the pioneer spirit of the west” will not happen.

If the information about the hands on care being done “humanely,” the most basic premise of the 71 Act, remains in the realm of “content control” … how can dialogue in any real fashion exist?

The first step in achieving that dialogue are independent observations that can only occur when the rights of the public to investigate and formulate opinion is protected. The closed door facilities must be open. Records must be made available in a timely manner for review without the need to file Freedom of Information Act requests. The ability to independently observe the hands on actions of contractors and government employees must occur on an extended basis and not in “periodic windows” at the discretion of those under scrutiny.

“I have taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States more times than I can count,” said attorney Gordon Cowan, “that’s what this case is all about.”

What is happening behind closded doors?
No Kidding.
“Hope” died of hoof slough, Calico Complex 2010
Triple B, Do we stand for this?

The Roundup ends at Jackson, yet questions continue to arise

If you are bring to get in touch I am extremely busy. I am not able to post, nor monitor this blog as often as I should. Urgent inquiry should go through wild horse education.

BLM Jackson Mountain Roundup Ends Under Continued Controversy

Jackson Mountain 2012

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has concluded operation in the Jackson Mountain removal of wild horses that began under the veil of an “emergency.”

On June 8, 2012 the operation began during BLM’s own prohibited “foaling season.” BLM prohibits the use of helicopters during roundups from March through June in all but emergent conditions. Yet the Record of Decision signed by District Manager Gene Seidlitz claimed the entire operation needed to occur regardless of the fact that the agency only justified an emergent condition in the South West quadrant of the Herd Management Area (HMA).

On June 16, 2012 Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education, filed a legal action against the roundup operation. The claim asked that the BLM be held to the parameters of their own rules, that only emergent areas constituted any action. The Judge ruled in Leigh’s favor on June 20. Judge Howard McKibben reviewed all documentation supplied by the agency and Leigh and determined that Leigh was correct.

However the agency played a word game and expanded the scope outside the quadrant that they determined the emergency to include the entire South of the HMA. At the time of the hearing more than 300 animals had been removed, including the area of concern, to relieve pressure off the stressed range and operations could have ceased entirely until July 1. The agency continued operations not justified in the EA. The hearing itself was an emergency hearing and the time required to hold this agency to any specifics of conduct was limited.

“Specific, accountable language is avoided by BLM at all costs,” said Wild Horse Education founder Laura Leigh, “a great example is the pretense of a humane care policy in the Record of Decision. In meetings prior to the start of the operation specifics of conduct were agreed to. Not one of the specifics made that document. Reassurances were given that those specifics would be followed during operation. In truth I witnessed one of the most careless, unnecessary runs I have ever seen that actually left me shaken for weeks.”

READ the FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://wildhorseeducation.org/2012/07/08/jackson-wild-horse-roundup-ends-questions-continue/

Jackson Mountain stallions arrive at PVC.

The road ahead…

I know this blog has been silent as my time has yet again been taken up with the latest round of roundups to Courtroom that have gleaned two more legal precedents… so I will take a moment to fill y’all in on a few details.

The first win at Jackson came after three weeks of working (by invitation) on issues at Jackson. BLM was not proactive in addressing a situation we saw in that area before. They attempted to use a justified issue (regardless of the root cause) to create a broad sweep action that was actually against their own policy. We made no headway in discussion so instead we won in Court.

What we won was more language to build on. That language has been sorely missing in the Courtroom conversations. However with each win the vocabulary and the credibility of the documentation brought by us grows.

Example the win in the Ninth Circuit created language that allowed the Restraining Order won last year to pilot conduct to be turned into an Injunctive Order (active) last week. Even though the case in the Ninth is on another issue the conversation related to roundups as a non-resolved issue as the actual operation appears over. So the conduct issue was able to stand on the access issue.

That same conduct issue then created the venue to bring Jackson to a win. That win has added new language that can now be used to solidify that BLM can’t use an issue (regardless of cause) in one quadrant to justify a broad sweep action. That has again given the horses another “piece.”

Just as the case in Owyhee that brought the closure of public land (i.e. no observation at all) into the realm of unconstitutional action but failed to bring the foaling season issue to the plate because the conversational language and the credibility with the Court had not been established. But because of that win daily observation became a reality… with that came the other two cases on that stone.

I have been extraordinarily busy this past year, and even more so these last six months, creating a few avenues. I have been working with other journalists and in venues that will bring other issues into the light.

Every one of these stepping stones came from a seemingly endless marathon that has included traveling on dirt roads alone in ice storms to conferences with government personnel and Courtroom action. The work is every day, almost all day.

I have focused on my work that you all expect from me. Yet every time I have another win ugly voices raise in the chorus of derision. Not from the “other side” but ours.

In the last two and a half years the documentation and cases I have stood for and worked my fanny off compiling and researching have brought the horses precedent of language in the battle that has not existed before. Each case that Cowan brings on my behalf has walked out with a win. He does not charge us full fee ever and has done a good chunk of this work gratis because there are no funds. I am sick to death of listening to those that make full fees held up as “better” than someone like that.

And to put my “lifestyle” into perspective I own nothing but a few items of clothing, three cameras, a computer and my dog. I do not even own solely the truck I drive. I can’t even get new glasses.

So if you want to support this work, support it. If you don’t at least recognize the validity and use the stepping stones to further the cause.

I have to get up at 5. There are several issues that are very pressing right now in holding and on the range. More soon.

Here we go again…

Mare and foal that were run twice in one day only to be left without their band at Jackson Mountain

Jackson Mountain Wild Horse Roundup Gathers Lawsuit

On June 8, 2012 the Bureau of Land Management began a helicopter roundup of wild horses in the Jackson Mountain area in Northern Nevada. This roundup is occurring during foaling season. The BLM handbook on wild horse and burro management prohibits such activity.

The handbook states in part: “The capture of wild horses by using a helicopter to herd the animals is prohibited during the foaling season, which is defined as six weeks on either side of the peak foaling to assure that young foals are mature enough to be able to remain with their band during gather activities.”

Plaintiff Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education, has been attempting to dialogue with the Agency prior to the start of the operation and on a daily basis to resolve issues. Attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno Nevada filed the suit yesterday.

“It is with a sad heart that this lawsuit is filed,” states Leigh “the idea that this is foaling season and that extreme care must be taken does not seem to be understood. I saw one of the most egregious unnecessary runs I have ever seen at any roundup occur at Jackson Mountain and the urgency for change in behavior is still not comprehended on the ground.”

Leigh brought suit to last years BLM roundup of the Triple B complex that resulted in the Courts taking action and shutting down the operation. The BLM then did a review of the roundup and found that the alleged misconduct had occurred and they would take corrective action. The agency has to date not implemented any standard of humane care for handling animals.

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva the ranking member of the House subcommittee of National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, in an interview with the Seattle PI, maintains the agency is conducting the roundup “under cover of an emergency,” but the situation facing horses around the Jackson Mountains does not meet the BLM’s own criteria for an emergency.

“All attempts to gain appropriate action through conversation are met with the statement that we are making baby steps,” said Leigh “but baby steps are not acceptable as the lives of these babies are continually placed in jeopardy.”

 ~~~ Please follow at wildhorseeducation.org as my time to update this blog is VERY limited!

The legal action and documentation can be supported through contributions to Wild Horse Education http://wildhorseeducation.org

Links of interest:

Wild Horse Education: http://WildHorseEducation.org

Seattle PI piece on Jackson Roundup: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Congressman-criticizes-Nevada-wild-horse-roundup-3622153.php

New Zealand Horsetalk interview with Leigh on site: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2012/06/12/watching-these-babies-run-horrifying/

WHE analysis of BLM’s Triple B Review: http://wildhorseeducation.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/analysis_blm_revtb_2011_whe1.pdf