Return To Freedom http://returntofreedom.org Tue, 31 May 2016 01:43:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Spend A Day of Yoga, Hiking and Meditation at Return to Freedom’s Wild Horse Sanctuary http://returntofreedom.org/2016/05/28/spend-a-day-of-yoga-hiking-and-meditation-at-return-to-freedom/ Sat, 28 May 2016 08:18:18 +0000 http://returntofreedom.org/?p=17778 Yogaretreatflyer_2016

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Comments About Wild Horse Fertility Control http://returntofreedom.org/2016/05/23/comments-about-wild-horse-fertility-control/ Mon, 23 May 2016 07:44:17 +0000 http://returntofreedom.org/?p=17742 wild horses at Return to Freedom Photo: Aurora

Wild horses at Return to Freedom. Photo: Aurora

About fertility control:

Unfortunately, decades of propaganda have scapegoated our wild horses and burros as the “biggest concern” on the range by livestock ranchers even while the ranges are ravaged by mining, fracking and drought, livestock ranchers continue to point the finger at the wild horse who is outnumbered by millions of privately owned livestock. While our wild horses fight to survive – the American tax payer is paying the price – special interests profit from livestock, and the sale of our minerals and natural resources on our federal land; Americans pay over $132 million a year in direct costs alone to support livestock grazing on our public lands- yet less than 3% of America’s beef supply is from cattle grazing on public lands.

Return to Freedom advocates for wild horses to live in their naturally selected family and social bands on their rightful ranges. Although it certainly is not wild horses and burros that are overpopulating our public lands, if population management will minimize or eliminate capture and removal, RTF advocates for using the most minimally intrusive, humane tools available as an alternative to the costly and traumatic roundups and warehousing of fractured wild horse herds. Currently, the only tool available which has decades of data supporting humane, safe and proven results is the Native PZP fertility control vaccine. RTF has used Native PZP since 2000 to slow down reproduction. Mares at RTF’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary are living into their 30’s and show no signs of illness, laminitis or other claims of disease or negative behavior. The biology of the mare is to birth almost every year and the herd certainly is invigorated by the raising of the foals- but if the result is more roundups, population management is a more humane alternative. Native PZP is non-hormonal and does not affect the food chain, so it will not poison other animals. The BLM has been moving rapidly towards all methods of permananet sterilization- many which run a high risk of causing infection and death and ALL of which permanently alter natural behavior, and destroy genetic diversity.

Here is a document I worked on with Dr. Pat Fazio with input from the late Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick (Director, Science and Conservation Center)

 Myths and Facts – Native PZP (First Edition 02-28-2015; updated 05-08-15x)FINAL

Neda DeMayo

President, Return to Freedom

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BLM Hosts Public Tour of Broken Arrow Wild Horse Holding Facility http://returntofreedom.org/2016/05/21/blm-hosts-public-tour-of-broken-arrow-wild-horse-holding-facility/ Sat, 21 May 2016 06:28:06 +0000 http://returntofreedom.org/?p=17728 Broken Arrow, 2016. Photo: Laura Leigh

Broken Arrow: May 20, 2016. Photo: Laura Leigh

(Fallon, NV), May 20, 2016. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hosted a public our of the Broken Arrow wild horse holding facility on Indian Lakes Road in Fallon NV. Seats were offered to view the facility for two tours today. Colleague, Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education attended and sent her comments to RTF along with these photos:

“Broken Arrow is currently used as an overflow facility. What that means exactly is that the wild horses and burros that come to the facility are not brought directly from the range. Currently the facility primarily houses mares from last year’s Beatty Butte roundup, Mares from the Soda Fire in Idaho and hundreds of other mares that have been  warehoused there for years.

Broken Arrow, 2016. Windy and sandy. Photo: Laura Leigh

Broken Arrow, 2016. Windy and sandy. Photo: Laura Leigh

The ground at the facility is sand. The sand blew in gusts that at times made visibility difficult. Observers experienced burning eyes and runny noses that continued well after the tour ended. There are no shelters for the horses.

Broken Arrow currently houses approximately 2200 wild horses. The capacity of the facility is currently set at 3200.

Currently BLM houses nearly 50,000 wild horses in short and long term holding facilities. The estimated cost of holding a wild horse for its lifetime is currently around $50,000. per horse.

Broken Arrow, 2016. Photo: Laura Leigh

Broken Arrow-Ph: Laura Leigh

Viewing wild horses in their natural environment on the range contrasts sharply to the abnormal environment of a facility. There are no family bands and the social order is nonexistent.

Wild horses can often travel 20 miles or more in their natural environment daily. In facilities like Broken Arrow they are separated into gender groups, confined in large and small pens and managed like livestock.

Proactive management, that includes the use of fertility control, is needed to keep wild horses on the range. The need becomes more evident as you look into the eyes of the captive horses in the crowded pens.” Laura Leigh May 20, 2016

 

icon-horse-1Return to Freedom

Return to Freedom advocates for wild horses to live in their naturally selected family and social bands on their rightful ranges. If population management will minimize or eliminate capture and removal, RTF advocates for using the most minimally intrusive, humane tools available as an alternative to the costly and traumatic roundups and warehousing of fractured wild horse herds. Currently, the only tool available which has decades of data supporting humane, safe and proven results is the Native PZP fertility control vaccine. RTF has used Native PZP since 2000 to slow down reproduction. Mares at RTF’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary are living into their 30’s and show no signs of illness, laminitis or other claims of disease or negative behavior. The biology of the mare is to birth almost every year and the herd certainly is invigorated by the raising of the foals- but if the result is more roundups, population management is a more humane alternative. Native PZP is non-hormonal and does not affect the food chain, so it will not poison other animals.

Unfortunately, decades of propaganda have scapegoated our wild horses and burros as the “biggest concern” on the range by livestock ranchers even while the ranges are ravaged by mining, fracking and drought, livestock ranchers continue to point the finger at the wild horse who is outnumbered by millions of privately owned livestock. While our wild horses fight to survive – the American tax payer is paying the price – special interests profit from livestock, and the sale of our minerals and natural resources on our federal land; Americans pay over $132 million a year in direct costs alone to support livestock grazing on our public lands- yet less than 3% of America’s beef supply is from cattle grazing on public lands.

 Neda DeMayo

wild horses at Return to Freedom Photo: Aurora

wild horses at Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary, Photo: Aurora

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Senate Appropriations Committee Votes to Continue to Prohibit Funding Horse Slaughter for Another Year http://returntofreedom.org/2016/05/19/senate-appropriations-committee-votes-to-continue-to-prohibit-funding-horse-slaughter-for-another-year/ Thu, 19 May 2016 02:23:18 +0000 http://returntofreedom.org/?p=17695 Father and son. Photo by: Bristol MacDonald

Father and son. Photo by: Bristol MacDonald

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Washington, DC— Today, America’s horses won some protection for another year! The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of an amendment to the FY17 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The provision continues the block on federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter facilities. Since 2007 when the last horse slaughter facility was closed in the U.S., the Committee has maintained language to block federal funding for inspections which has prevented horse slaughter facilities from operating on U.S. soil.

On April 19, 2016, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved a similar amendment to the House version of the FY17 Agriculture Appropriations bill. Both bills will be reviewed by the full House and Senate later this year.

The bipartisan amendment was introduced by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chris Coons (D-DE).

“New Mexicans regularly write and call asking me to ensure we never allow horse slaughter in the United States, and this amendment will ensure no federal dollars are used to allow the practice to exist,” said Sen. Udall. “Horses are a beautiful symbol of Western independence. Most Americans find the idea of slaughtering horses for human consumption repulsive, and they have no tolerance for attempts to open horse slaughtering plants. This amendment is a strong step forward, and I will keep fighting to prohibit horse slaughter in the United States.”

“Return to Freedom (RTF) applauds the dedicated efforts of our colleagues on Capitol Hill who work tirelessly on legislative issues (ASPCA, HSUS, and AWI),” said RTF President Neda DeMayo. “Thank you to all our supporters who took the time to contact their Representatives on the Senate Appropriations Committee.”

Please be a voice for America’s horses. Contact your legislators and let them know that, as your Representative in Congress, you urge them to vote in favor of permanent legislation that will once and for all ban horse slaughter in the U.S. as well as the sale and transport of American horses over our borders for slaughter. Urge them to co-sponsor the SAFE ACT; U.S. H.R. 1942 (House of Representatives) and S.1214 (Senate)

Find your Congressman/woman and Senators Here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members

 

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Hillary Clinton wants you to know what she thinks about animals http://returntofreedom.org/2016/05/13/hillary-clinton-wants-you-to-know-what-she-thinks-about-animals/ Fri, 13 May 2016 22:53:28 +0000 http://returntofreedom.org/?p=17588 nbc-cancels-hillary-clinton-miniseries-700x352

 

First Published in the Washington Post/Animalia

May 10

See original article for photos and video

 

Hillary Clinton has 31 “issues” listed on her official campaign website, arranged alphabetically from “Alzheimer’s disease” to “workforce and skills.”

Last week, she added another: “Protecting animals and wildlife.”

Clinton is known for being pretty wonky, so the addition of yet another policy statement isn’t terribly surprising. And there’s nothing very groundbreaking in it: Clinton calls for ending the slaughter of horses for human food (which doesn’t happen anymore in the United States), stronger regulation of puppy mills, rescue plans for zoo animals in case of natural disaster and fighting wildlife trafficking.

But the inclusion of this particular topic is certainly a sign of times. Americans’ concern about – some might say obsession with — animals is growing, and politicians and corporations are increasingly taking notice.

A 2015 Harris poll found that most Americans consider their pets to be part of the family. A growing minority thinks animals should have the same rights as humans, according to a 2015 Gallup poll, while a majority is “very or somewhat concerned” about animals at research labs, circuses, zoos and, to a lesser extent, farms that raise them for food.

“Animal rights have been top of mind for Americans in recent years because of an increasing number of films and news stories depicting the poor treatment of animals,” Gallup said in a statement on the poll.

The changing public attitudes have helped drive some major corporate changes in recent years, as Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle argues in his new book, “The Humane Economy.” Hundreds of companies, including behemoths such as McDonald’s and Walmart, have vowed to use only eggs laid by chickens that aren’t caged and buy pork from suppliers that don’t confine pregnant pigs in cramped stalls known as “gestation crates.” SeaWorld has ended orca breeding, and Ringling Bros. has retired its circus elephants. Giorgio Armani has sworn off fur.

Politicians also need to start thinking about animal welfare — if they don’t already, said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). He is the co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, whose members highlight issues and legislation affecting animals.

“This is one of the most important political movements that no one thinks about,” Blumenauer said. “It’s gone mainstream.”

Animal welfare remains an issue more heartily embraced by Democrats, however, who tend to be less tight with farming and gun-rights groups that are often at odds with animal- and wildlife-protection organizations. The caucus Blumenauer chairs has 128 members, but only 19 are Republicans, according to his office.

So it’s probably not surprising that both Democratic presidential candidates get high marks from the Humane Society of the United States for their records on animal issues.

As a senator for eight years, Clinton twice earned 100 percent ratings on the organization’s “Humane Scorecard,” which rates members of Congress based on their voting records on animal protection legislation; other years she was in the 70s and 80s. The organization praised her for co-sponsoring bills to crack down on puppy mills, speaking out against slaughtering sick cows for use in school lunches and, as secretary of state, for launching a campaign against the illegal ivory trade. As first lady, it noted, she also took Socks the cat on visits to schools and hospitals.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has also been a “steady and consistent supporter of animal protection,” the Humane Society Legislative Fund’s president, Michael Markarian, wrote in a blog post in January. He started out with lower scores on the “Humane Scorecard” while in the House, but in recent years he’s earned a few 100s in the Senate, where he has co-sponsored legislation on protecting pets in situations of domestic violence and making malicious animal cruelty a felony. Defenders of Wildlife also gives Sanders a 100 percent lifetime rating for “pro-conservation” votes.

Sanders’s official website doesn’t include an animal welfare statement, but a group supporting him, Feelthebern.org, has published a summary of his positions. It calls him “an advocate of animal welfare and ensuring animals’ humane treatment.”

As for Republican candidate Donald Trump? He doesn’t have a voting record to look at, and his website doesn’t address the topic.

But there are a few somewhat ambiguous hints from his past. In 1993, Trump held a news conference to announce the end of a horse high-diving performance at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, which the Trump Taj Mahal casino and hotel owned. Animal welfare groups had strongly criticized the act, and Trump said “he disliked it from the start,” according to the Press of Atlantic City.

He has defended his sons’ trophy hunts in Africa, though he has also said he’s “not a believer in hunting.” But in a more recent interview with Outdoor Life, he referred to having introduced people to hunting and wanting to bring “the next generation of hunters into the game.”

Last year, Trump expressed disapproval of the Ringling decision to end its elephant performances.

When asked about where he stands on animal and wildlife issues, Hope Hicks, a Trump spokeswoman, said in an email that “Mr. Trump will continue to release policies and positions in the coming weeks.”

She didn’t say whether he’ll include something on animals. But given these times, it won’t be shocking if he does.

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It’s Spirit’s Birthday~Spirit turns 21! http://returntofreedom.org/2016/05/08/its-spirits-birthday-spirit-turns-22-years-old/ Sun, 08 May 2016 01:52:28 +0000 http://returntofreedom.org/?p=17573 Happy Birthday Spirit!
Spirit Photo: Nancy Holly

Spirit Photo: Nancy Holly

In 2002, a beautiful Dun Kiger mustang stallion arrived at Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary!

While Animal Planet was filming an episode on wild horse stories, rescues an sanctuaries as a follow up to the release of DreamWork’s animated feature film ” Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron”,  the stallion who was the muse for ” Spirit” arrived to joyful children and RTF staff.

In 2002, after narrowing down to 12 potential permanent homes for the handsome stallion, DreamWorks selected Return to Freedom as Spirit’s permanent home. RTF was the ideal environment for the domestic stallion to receive the right handling and care while still being available as an ambassador to help educate youth (and adults) about the American Mustang.

Spirit

 

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Celebrating Love on Mother’s Day 2016! http://returntofreedom.org/2016/05/05/happy-mothers-day/ Thu, 05 May 2016 02:03:49 +0000 http://returntofreedom.org/?p=17519 DSC_7986

Mother’s Day is just a few days away. While you celebrate the very special bond you share with your mother, wild horse and burro families will be doing the same at Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary!

Mothers shape the character of the young foals from the moment they are born – wild horses and burros are nurtured and educated by their mothers, the herd and also benefit from the vital role of the band stallion as well. The love, loyalty and protection a mare gives her foals as unconditional as the love we share with our mothers.

Thanks to you and all of our compassionate supporters, Return to Freedom has been able to provide a safe environment where captured wild horses and burros can live as natural a life as possible.

In honor of Mother’s Day, please consider giving your mother a very special gift – by sponsoring a horse or burro in her name …

 

Scarlet and Majesty. Photo: Melony Smith

Scarlet and Majesty. Photo: Melony Smith

Scarlett is a beautiful red roan mare. In 1998, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed a total removal of all wild horses living on the Hart Mountain Refuge in Southern Oregon. All 279 horses were removed. These horses are a combination of Spanish barbs, morgan, and draft horses that helped early ranchers carve an existence out in these remote and rocky areas in the Great Basin. Scarlett lives with 45 other Hart Mountain horses at Return to Freedom’s, American Wild Horse Sanctuary.

You can make a donation to Scarlett in honor or in memory of your mother on paypal here!




 

 

Chela, Calico Blue Roan Mare.

Chela, a Calico Blue Roan Mare.

Chela, born in 1998, is a beautiful blue roan mare who is now safe at Return to Freedom’s Wild Horse Sanctuary. A survivor of the 2009 Calico Roundup, where nearly 2000 wild horses were captured. Chela lost her family, her foal and her freedom on December 31, 2009. She is from the Black Rock West HMA in the Calico Mountain Complex, Northwestern Nevada.

You can make a donation to Chela in honor or in memory of your mother on paypal here!

 

Black Mountain Burro mother and foal at the sanctuary

Black Mountain Burro, mother and foal at the sanctuary ( Photo: Steve Paige)

The Black Mountain Burros were captured from their Herd Management Area in Arizona in 2015 and brought to Return to Freedom. The “jennies” arrived pregnant and 4 baby burros were born at the sanctuary.

You can make a donation to Lizzie and her daughter Carly in honor or in memory of your mother on paypal here!

 

Download these photos on card stock or email them to your mother! For donation’s over $20 we will send a handsome certificate for your mom!

RTF-SLO-7318 2

 

Stella and Celine Photo by: Susan Papa

Stella and Celine, Photo by: Susan Papa

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Return to Freedom joins ASPCA’s ” Help A Horse Day”- 2016 http://returntofreedom.org/2016/04/25/return-to-freedom-joins-aspcas-help-a-horse-day-2016/ Mon, 25 Apr 2016 09:33:29 +0000 http://returntofreedom.org/?p=17610 wild horses at Return to Freedom Photo: Aurora

Wild horses at Return to Freedom, Photo: Aurora

 

On April 23-24, Return to Freedom Mustang Youth Coalition and volunteers participated in the ASPCA’s “Save A Horse Day” at Return to Freedom’s Wild Horse Sanctuary in San Luis Obispo! Over $13,000 was raised for the horses!


RTF YOuth with CC horses-Save a Horse day
We all pitched in to clean up the area for ten newly arrived wild horses who were removed from their range last fall. The horses were in such a depleted condition, it took months for them to gain enough strength to make the trip to California. The weekend was spent feeding, clearing, socializing the horses, learning from professional film makers about photography and photo-journalism to create interviews and social media pieces supporting wild horse conservation.

We glam-camped at Return to Freedom at SLO Springs Ranch. After a long day clearing old barbed wire fencing, thistle and old fence posts, we spent the magic hour just before sunset filming herds of wild horses.

Then we were completely spoiled with Leslie and Steve Carlson’s yummy dinner!

Clearing thistle, photo: Angela Kelly

Clearing thistle, photo: Angela Kelly

 

Special thanks to the Carlson family, Victory Tischler – Blue, Arlene Gawne, Paige Roache, Angela Kelly and Aurora,our wonderful youth volunteers, moms and dads!

 

 

 

 

Peter Gonzalez added:

Photo by: Peter's iphone

Photo by: Peter’s iphone

I feel so thankful to have been able to Volunteer for RTF at their beautiful 2,000 acre satellite sanctuary in San Luis Obispo! This retreat was in special honor of the #‎ASPCA‘s April 23rd #‎HelpaHorseDay. It was hard work removing barbed wire and invasive thistle, but I know we finished with a job well done. The work we did was in order to help the prepare the land for the Cold Creek herd, some new arrivals!
#‎WildHorses #‎ReturntoFreedom

 

 

     Tommy Brown, Interviewed by Peter Gonzalez:

Tommy Brown Jr, Photo: Aurora

Tommy Brown Jr, Photo: Aurora

Peter: Where are you and what do you do here?
Tommy: I am at Return to Freedom’s Wild Horse and Burro sanctuary in San Luis Obispo, and we help wild horses.
Peter: How do you help them?
Tommy: We give them a place to live, we take care of the land on which they live, we take care of the horses. We make sure they have food and water and we doctor them if they need it.
Peter: What can people do if they want to help?
Tommy: Get in touch with Return to Freedom

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House Committee Approves Provision to Block Horse Slaughter In U.S.A. http://returntofreedom.org/2016/04/20/house-committee-approves-provision-to-block-horse-slaughter-in-u-s-a/ Wed, 20 Apr 2016 10:02:34 +0000 http://returntofreedom.org/?p=17498  Some Good News For America’s Horses- On to The Senate

No horse slaughter 2017

The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee voted to keep the provision in the agriculture appropriations bill, which prevents federal funding for horse slaughter house inspections. The bill was introduced by Reps. Sam Farr, D – Calif., and Charlie Dent, R – Pa., and passed by a  slim margin in a 25-23 vote Tuesday April 19.

Check the list below and if your Congressman/woman voted to protect the horses, take a moment to shoot them an email and thank them.

Congressional legislators who voted in favor for the language were: 

Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Michael Honda (D-CA),  Steve Israel (D-NY), David Jolly (R-FL), David Joyce (R-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), David Price (D-NC), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Peter Visclosky (D-IN), Kevin Yoder (R-KS).


Legislators who voted against the bill were:

Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Ken Calvert (R-CA), John Carter (R-TX), Tom Cole (R-OK), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ),  Kay Granger (R-TX), Tom Graves (R-GA), Andy Harris (R-MD),  Jaime Herrera Buetler (R-WA), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Chris Stewart (R-UT), David Valadao (R-CA), Steve Womack (R-AR), David Young (R-IA).
Not voting: 

Henry Cuellar (D-TX), John Culberson (R-TX), Chaka Fattah (D-PA).

The Senate Appropriations Committee will consider a similar amendment to the budget bill.

If your Senator is on the Senate Appropriations Committee, you can write them a personalized email respectful in tone, introducing yourself, as their constituent. Let them know that when the Senate  votes on the 2017 appropriations bill, you will count on their support for America’s horses and urge them to vote for any Amendments which will continue to defund horse slaughter operations.  As their constituent you expect them to represent how your tax dollars are spent and you stand with 80% of Americans who do not want to their tax dollars to subsidize horse slaughter. Americans do not eat horses and we respect them as a vital part of our living history.

1) To Find your Senator Click Here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members

You can find out if they are on the Appropriations Committee

The fate of America’s horses is ultimately in their hands but we can all make a difference.

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Stop Experimenting on Wild Horses and start Experiencing Them http://returntofreedom.org/2016/04/19/stop-experimenting-on-wild-horses-and-start-experiencing-them/ Tue, 19 Apr 2016 03:05:48 +0000 http://returntofreedom.org/?p=17455

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