Allegiance

This beautiful horse broke out (jumped the panel after capture at the trap) and stood by the jute… moving forward and back… forward and back… as his family loaded.
After the trailer (with his mares) went past him he shot up the hill behind us… then eyed the trap from the other side of the hill calling to the babies… he moved off as vehicles came in but stopped as a trailer came back up the road… and called to see if his family had come back.

Off in the distance you could see a chopper… he briefly headed toward the band being chased and then so very slowly… with head down… went down the road… and over the horizon.

I have seen thousands and thousand of horses loose everything they have. I don’t normally name them.

But this horse is “Allegiance.”
It is what he demonstrated and what we owe him.

I will edit video and get images together as soon as I can… but I am exhausted… have hours of tape and pics to log of over-driving, atrocious flying, BLM admits hotshot use and more.

As well as a few tears to shed tonight.

A local auto shop fixed my truck today even though I couldn’t pay… he said to bring the money when I get it… but to get out to the range and keep an eye on “our” horses….

Tears for many reasons tonight… these people that live here love these horses… but they are not a mine or ranching interest… they are just people that read the local paper and live their lives in this hard, but beautiful place… and cherish the ideals of Freedom and survival that “our” horses represent.

Allegiance.

Driven into the trap

Allegiance... I pledge to you...

Triple B_Quick post

Today saw 11 horses removed from the range to make a two day total of 33.

Horses were run into the trap and directly sorted into temporary. We usually do not have the ability to see the sexes of each group coming off the range as horses are captured and then sent in groups for sorting at temporary.The glare from the sun made the first group of 3 adults and one youngster hard to see.

Second group was two mature studs a mare and foal.

Third group a dry mare, wet mare and foal.

I will review tapes after I get sleep (two hours last night) but it appears the first group was much larger than four members before it hit the trap.

Do you think Sun J could possibly be repeating the same “crop dusting” patterns that broke apart bands at Antelope last winter? So far the we have every indication that the same type of flying is happening.

Will evaluate further tomorrow.

Sun J helicopter at Triple B

I will get video and real report out asap.

Literally am so tired I can’t see straight.

If you would like to help with documentation efforts go to: http://wildhorseeducation.org

Press Release_Wild Horse Education: Sheldon

Although horses were on the land we call the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge prior to the Refuge getting it’s designation, and before the passage of the Federal Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, they have no enforceable protections. These wild horses are fair game for slaughter.

In 2006 a roundup occurred on public land that rocked the wild horse advocate community. In the sweltering sun of June, during foaling season, bands were stampeded through the desert with disastrous consequence.

Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge (US Fish and Wildlife, USFWS) had their specially screened contractors poised and ready to take horses and the contractors would receive $300.00 a head for each horse they removed from the range. The public was assured that gathers are safe and not done during foaling season. Yet extreme measures were taken to attempt to hide all activity from the public. Police were hired, gates were installed and a two-mile distance was then established as a barrier to hide actions from the public. Cattoor, the company that flies the helicopters, took to the air.

USFWS announced that the roundup had gone off safely. They reported one injury involving a lip.

However reports began to come in from those in the field of the various deceptions. Those listening to radio transmissions during the gather heard talk of a horse that broke a leg and was shot. A ground search began that turned up dead and injured foals, some of them bound and left in the desert. Mares in the gather pens aborted.

The contractors were paid $300. per head as they removed truckloads of horses from the range. Two of the three contractors had slaughterhouse connections and the unbranded horses coming off of public land ended up in the kill pen.

This roundup became known as the “Sheldon Massacre.”

In 2009 I filed suit against the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Interior (Yes, they are under Dept. of Interior). In 2009 while the nations eyes were on the Pryor Mountains and the famed herd of the “Cloud” series by Ginger Kathrens, the horses from Sheldon disappeared again. The suit was based on the fact that contrary to the statements made by the Refuge horses from Sheldon had no protection when they left the range. USFWS is not mandated to manage horses and burros with the same “protections” granted in the Wild Free Roaming horse and burro act of 1971.The horses and burros leave with no freeze mark, microchip or any way to identify them as wild horses, with tragic consequence.

That suit was on the verge of becoming “moot” as Sheldon NWR signed an agreement with the Bureau of Land management to include Sheldon NWR in the “mega-complex” that included wild horse areas in three states. Grandiose statements were made by Winnemmucca BLM district manager Gene Seidlitz and Paul Steblien of Sheldon about actual management of “ wild herds across the landscape.” Those claims included studying migratory patterns and genetic viability.

I was to be included in range studies occurring at the Complex. Gene Seidlitz did an amazing rendition of the sidestep and the only documentation I received was the 2008 BLM in-house report on Assessment, Inventory and Management. That document is basically a self-study in the ineptness of and lack of data used within the Bureau’s management of public land. Useful, but not a “cooperative” toward data compilation.

The suit was dropped as it would have needed to be re-crafted and re-filed. The support for the suit was practically non-existent from the public as other more publicized actions were occurring. But in the process I made a friend. Attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno wrote off the rest of the bill and remained interested in the issue of wild herds and public land.

Last year, as I was returning from Twin Peaks to head to Reno to prepare documents for the First Amendment Lawsuit (BLM, Silver King) with attorney Cowan, I got a call from Katie Fite (Western Watersheds). She believed there might be a roundup occurring at Sheldon without public notice. Leslie Peeples, another “drive alone with your dog on public land gal.” I informed her of the situation as I could not go. Leslie went.

Her trip uncovered that indeed there was a roundup without public notice. Paul Steblien, now retired manager of Sheldon, confirmed that the action was taken in order to avoid public scrutiny. Her trip also uncovered photos of the “bone pit” at Sheldon. Bones were strewn about in what appeared to be a careless manner, “As if their deaths did not matter,” according to Peeples.

Bone trail to the pit (Leslie Peeples)

A few of the horses taken were fortunate and made their way to Carr’s of Tennessee, but the rest remain unaccounted for. How many were left vulnerable, and shipped, to slaughter?

No access was given to view the roundup.

It is going to happen again.

The Bureau of Land Management roundup schedule has a gap in it. During that gap the contractors, Cattoor, will be at Sheldon. It has been confirmed.

An Environmental Assessment for another winter roundup at Calico Tri-state Complex (new name for the “mega-plex”) is in draft form and open for public comment until July 18, 2011.

How is it possible that in an area where there claims to be “management across the landscape”  that a part of the agreed upon area is not subject to the same review? How is it that horses can be rounded up from one section of the Complex and the action not mentioned in the document the public is supposed to comment on? How can horses from one section of this Complex be rounded up and protected by the mandates of Congress and horses from another section leave the range with no real protection from slaughter under law?

How is this in anyway a managed “Complex” for horses and burros that they recognize historically cross the border? One day the horse is on one side of a Federal boundary and protected and the next day on the other side and vulnerable to slaughter?

Is “management across the landscape” just another way of saying “wipe out the landscape?” It would certainly seem so.

Will the EA for public comment on Calico be revised to reflect the removal of horses from the Northern section of the Complex? It has yet to be determined.

Will these agencies ever manage horses in an honest effort to maintain a genetically viable herd on public land? It has yet to be determined.

Will we be given public access to observe? It has yet to be determined.

But if a chopper flies at Sheldon, I’ll be there. Sheldon is very close to my heart. When I die I want to go to Sheldon, as long as there are horses left there.

These horses will not leave public land without the public knowing what happens to them again.

~~ Laura Leigh’s field work is supported through http://WildHorseEducation.org and her Litigation efforts throughhttp://WildHorseFreedomFederation.org

Band Stallion (Leigh)


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

New Video from 2/9

The “relentlessness” (only word I can think of) of the outrageous conduct at the Antelope gather continues.

The issues are so many and range from actually having to notify official personel that there was only one 50 gallon water trough for 10-30 horses (do the math… 15 gallons each day per horse) to the conduct that demonstrates the pilot repeatedly flying dangerously close to horses (despite the BLM press release… c’mon!).

Have we learned nothing? Has our government become a dense faction of ostriches and cowards?

We have horses dying behind the “Iron Curtain” of Broken Arrow(aka Indian Lakes) of pneumonia. I warned them at Eagle and Callaghan that these horses are vulnerable to respiratory illness. Because there is no “temperature rule” we will have the same vulnerable population entering the warehouse system from Antelope.

Is America a leader in humane treatment or are we a “sell-out” nation?

****Note about 2/3 of the way through Is that Sun-J wrangler beating a horse in the face with his “baggie” and then turning the whip around to hit him with the stick end?

Antelope photographs

I take about 1000 frames each day plus hours of video.

I have been doing a video of each roundup with a voiceover that describes the area and AML, etc. This one I just put to music… cause it has taken too long. Articles coming soon…. Interesting article for Horseback very soon…

It’s been snowing all day… maybe the helicopter wont fly in the am? I have seen so many bands broken up by this pilot… He starts with a larger group and only a few come in… or he has to let a band go. Many of the horses are lathered… really lathered. The layout of each trap does not make sense. I am worried about what he has left on the range in his wake.

When we get to the point in time when a roundup takes place the time for policy talk ends… it becomes an issue of literally life and death for these animals. A dialogue needs to take place to evolve the methodology used to stampede horses and treat them like pests… This is the only animal in our history to have an entire act of Congress devoted to it….

President Obama… are we a civilized nation? Do we as Americans still value compassion? Or have we sold that off to the highest bidder?

I’m tired… goodnight.