Return to Freedom https://returntofreedom.org American Wild Horse Sanctuary Mon, 21 Sep 2020 22:18:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 142543347 Diamond Complex (Nev.) update: 898 wild horses captured, 25 killed https://returntofreedom.org/diamond-complex-898-captured/ Mon, 21 Sep 2020 22:18:44 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29129 The Bureau of Land Management has captured 898 wild horses through Sunday, the 11th day of a helicopter roundup north of Eureka, Nev. Twenty-five deaths have been reported on the Diamond Complex. Of these, BLM has classified three as “acute,” or as a result of the roundup, and 22 as being euthanized for “pre-existing / […]

The post Diamond Complex (Nev.) update: 898 wild horses captured, 25 killed appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
A contractor’s helicopter pushes wild horses into the trap site on the Diamond Complex last week. BLM photo.

The Bureau of Land Management has captured 898 wild horses through Sunday, the 11th day of a helicopter roundup north of Eureka, Nev.

Twenty-five deaths have been reported on the Diamond Complex. Of these, BLM has classified three as “acute,” or as a result of the roundup, and 22 as being euthanized for “pre-existing / chronic” conditions.

The most recent deaths:

–On Sunday, Sept. 20, three 7-year-old wild horses, two bay stallions and a bay mare, were put down to pre-existing conditions: a blind right eye, arthritis and a club foot, respectively. A 20-year-old sorrel stallion was euthanized due to a body score of 1.5 between “poor” and “very thin” on a 9-point scale with a “hopeless prognosis for recovery”;

–On Saturday, Sept. 19, three wild horses were put down for pre-existing conditions, a 5-year-old roan stallion with a club foot, a 4-year-old roan mare due to an umbilical hernia; and a 4-year-old bay mare due to malformed vertebrae resulting in a deviated spinal column;

–On Friday, Sept. 18, two 11-year-old wild horses were put down: a roan stallion with a club foot and a bay mare with “severe bloating” that collapsed. Both were assigned body condition scores of 4.5 (between “moderately thin” and “moderate”);

–On Thursday, Sept. 17, a 10-year-old sorrel mare died after breaking her neck. Two other wild horses, a 6-month-old bay stallion and 11-year-old bay mare, were found dead in holding. Necropsies later noted possible constriction of the stallion’s lower stomach and colic-like symptoms in the mare. In addition, a 3-year-old mare was euthanized due to colic-like symptoms. 

So far, 359 studs, 368 mares, and 171 foals have been captured.

BLM’s goal is capture 1,225 wild horses, removing 1,165. The agency plans to treat and release up to 30 mares with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22 along with an equal number of studs. 

About 300 wild horses will remain on the complex after the roundup, which is expected to last 20-25 days.

The stated purpose of the roundup is to “prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses and burros” and “protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer.” The BLM also said in a press release that the roundup is also necessary because of “severe drought conditions throughout Central Nevada”

Prior to the roundup, the BLM estimated the total population of wild horses on the 258,000-acre Diamond Complex at 1,495 wild horses, not counting this year’s foals. The agency-set Appropriate Management Level for the complex is 123-210 wild horses, or as low as one horse for every 2,098 acres.

BLM has allocated up to 24,348 Animal Unit Months for privately owned livestock and sheep that graze on the Diamond Complex compared to 2,520 for wild horses. One Animal Unit Month, or AUM, is the enough forage for one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.

The Diamond Complex is made up of both public and private lands. It includes the Diamond Herd Management Area, Diamond Hills North Herd Management Area and Diamond Hills South Herd Management Area.

Captured wild horses chosen for removal will be shipped to the Palomino Valley Off-Range Corrals, Reno, Nevada, to be prepared for adoption or sale.

Click here for BLM planning documents.

Viewing the roundup:

Those interested in viewing the roundup should call (775) 861-6700 to receive specific instructions on each days’ meeting location and time. Face masks and social distancing are required and those who participate must bring hand sanitizer. Those who are all or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the prior 14 days cannot attend.

TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to press the Bureau of Land Management to implement a robust program of proven, safe and humane fertility control in order to phase out roundups and manage wild horses and burros humanely on the range

The post Diamond Complex (Nev.) update: 898 wild horses captured, 25 killed appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
29129
Devil’s Garden update: 251 wild horses captured, 2 dead https://returntofreedom.org/devils-garden-update-251-captured/ Mon, 21 Sep 2020 21:21:23 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29124 The U.S. Forest Service has captured 251 wild horses through Sunday the 12th day of an ongoing helicopter roundup at the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory at Modoc National Forest.  At least two horses have died. Both suffered broken necks from striking gates, according to a USFS spokesman. The agency is providing more detailed […]

The post Devil’s Garden update: 251 wild horses captured, 2 dead appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
A contractor’s helicopter pushes wild horses toward the trap site during a 2016 roundup on the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

The U.S. Forest Service has captured 251 wild horses through Sunday the 12th day of an ongoing helicopter roundup at the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory at Modoc National Forest. 

At least two horses have died. Both suffered broken necks from striking gates, according to a USFS spokesman. The agency is providing more detailed numbers about the captured wild horses on Fridays during the roundup. 

On Saturday, two other wild horses escaped the trap site, according to a press release.

USFS’s goal is to capture and remove 500 wild horses from Devil’s Garden, home of California’s last large wild horse herd, to help “reduce unsustainable impacts on aquatic resources, wildlife, hunting, grazing and other traditional cultural practices,” according to a press release.

USFS has no plans to implement safe, proven and humane fertility control which would allow for Modoc National Forest to phase out future roundups in favor of humane, on-the-range management of wild horses.

USFS in 2013 set an Appropriate Management Level of 206-402 wild horses at 268,750-acre Devil’s Garden — as low as one horse for every 1,305 acres.

Prior to this roundup, USFS said Devil’s Garden was home to 1,663 adult wild horses – an estimate based on 2019 survey results of 1,802 based on census flights. Advocates have argued that census numbers of the Wild Horse Territory have been inflated, while USFS says other partners contend that the number may be low because of tree cover.

By comparison, USFS permits 26,880 Animal Unit Months of private livestock grazing on the wild horse territory. One Animal Unit Month is defined as a month’s forage for one horse, one cow / calf pair or five sheep.

Background

The fate of the herd – and of wild horses removed from Devil’s Garden – has resulted in litigation pitting RTF and other activists against USFS.

In 2018, USFS captured 932 wild horses Devil’s Garden. As the roundup was set to begin — years after public comment on the planned roundup closed – the USFS announced that it would briefly sell captured horses 10 years old and older with restrictions against slaughter, then, in an unprecedented move, drop those protections.

About 300 older horses ages 10 years and older – including mature stallions and pregnant mares – were placed in jeopardy of being sold to kill-buyers who would transport them to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.

RTF joined other advocates in filing a lawsuit seeking to stop the USFS from selling the older horses to slaughter. USFS was attempting to take advantage of the fact that while Congress has repeatedly barred the Bureau of Land Management from selling wild horses without protections against slaughter and euthanizing healthy horses, lawmakers had not previously specifically prohibited USFS from doing so. 

USFS agreed not to sell any wild horses to slaughter until the court ruled. As the case wore on, all 300 of the older horses were either adopted or sold with restrictions against slaughter — including 12 of the last remaining horses to which RTF gave a new home at its satellite sanctuary in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

RTF successfully lobbied Congress to ensure that the USFS would be barred from using taxpayer dollars to sell wild horses without prohibitions against slaughter or euthanizing healthy horses or burros. With the addition of such a prohibition to its spending bill, the plaintiffs successfully forestalled the unrestricted sale and filed to voluntarily dismiss their case.

Also as a result of the USFS’s actions, a state bill, Assembly Bill 128, supported by a number of horses and animal welfare organizations in the state, including RTF, was also signed into law in an attempt to tighten the existing anti-horse slaughter laws.

In 2019, the USFS captured and removed another 499 wild horses at Devil’s Garden. The agency offered them for adoption three times before opening up sales at $25 apiece but with restrictions against slaughter. Later, the Forest Service dropped the price to $1 per horse with restrictions against slaughter.

Even as the current roundup began, 13 wild horses from the 2019 roundup remained at the forest’s Double Devil corrals, available for sale of adoption.

RTF continues to press the USFS to implement robust programs of proven, safe and humane fertility control that would allow for the phasing out of roundups by slowing, not stopping, wild horse reproduction.

Take Action: Sign our petition calling for a fair share of resources for wild horses and burros

The post Devil’s Garden update: 251 wild horses captured, 2 dead appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
29124
URGENT: Help us protect our sanctuary’s wild horses, burros from wildfires https://returntofreedom.org/urgent-fire-fund/ Sun, 20 Sep 2020 14:31:00 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29056 Deadly wildfires have decimated more the 3.1 million acres in California in 2020. Though Return to Freedom is fortunate that our sanctuaries on the Central Coast and in Northern California have escaped the blazes, wildfires remain an ongoing and active threat. RTF is doing all we can to maintain protections for our resident wild horses and […]

The post URGENT: Help us protect our sanctuary’s wild horses, burros from wildfires appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
Dry conditions: Mycah and Jalama at RTF’s San Luis Obispo, Calif., satellite sanctuary. 

Deadly wildfires have decimated more the 3.1 million acres in California in 2020. Though Return to Freedom is fortunate that our sanctuaries on the Central Coast and in Northern California have escaped the blazes, wildfires remain an ongoing and active threat. RTF is doing all we can to maintain protections for our resident wild horses and burros and remain actively involved and available to our regional community as wildfires continue to surround us.

In order to maintain the safety and well-being of our wild horses and burros, RTF has launched the Fire Fund. Dollars raised for this fund will help secure the safety of our sanctuaries. They will also include emergency funds for crisis intervention for our resident horses and burros, as well as providing relief to the larger community when others come under the threat or are destroyed by fire and need a temporary evacuation location. Recently, for example, RTF arranged for 15 horses that we had adopted out years ago to come back to the sanctuary after their new home was destroyed by wildfires.

Disaster can strike at any time, and we need the ability to respond effectively. Please donate today for this very real need.

Donate to RTF’s Fire Fund

The post URGENT: Help us protect our sanctuary’s wild horses, burros from wildfires appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
29056
Devil’s Garden update: 195 wild horses captured, 2 dead https://returntofreedom.org/devils-garden-update-195-captured/ Fri, 18 Sep 2020 18:33:45 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29095 The U.S. Forest Service has captured 195 wild horses through Thursday, the ninth day of an ongoing helicopter roundup at the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory at Modoc National Forest.  A total of 94 mares, 78 studs, and 23 foals / weanlings have been captured from California’s last large wild horse herd since the […]

The post Devil’s Garden update: 195 wild horses captured, 2 dead appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
A contractor’s helicopter pursues wild horses at Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory in 2016. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

The U.S. Forest Service has captured 195 wild horses through Thursday, the ninth day of an ongoing helicopter roundup at the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory at Modoc National Forest. 

A total of 94 mares, 78 studs, and 23 foals / weanlings have been captured from California’s last large wild horse herd since the roundup began on Sept. 8.

Two horses have died. Both suffered broken necks from striking gates, according to a USFS spokesman. 

The agency’s goal is to capture and remove 500 wild horses from Devil’s Garden, home of California’s last large wild horse herd, to help “reduce unsustainable impacts on aquatic resources, wildlife, hunting, grazing and other traditional cultural practices,” according to a press release.

USFS has no plans to implement safe, proven and humane fertility control which would allow for Modoc National Forest to phase out future roundups in favor of humane, on-the-range management of wild horses.

USFS in 2013 set an Appropriate Management Level of 206-402 wild horses at 268,750-acre Devil’s Garden — as low as one horse for every 1,305 acres.

Prior to this roundup, USFS said Devil’s Garden was home to 1,663 adult wild horses – an estimate based on 2019 survey results of 1,802 based on census flights. Advocates have argued that census numbers of the Wild Horse Territory have been inflated, while USFS says other partners contend that the number may be low because of tree cover.

By comparison, USFS permits 26,880 Animal Unit Months of private livestock grazing on the wild horse territory. One Animal Unit Month is defined as a month’s forage for one horse, one cow / calf pair or five sheep.

Background

The fate of the herd – and of wild horses removed from Devil’s Garden – has resulted in litigation pitting RTF and other activists against USFS.

In 2018, USFS captured 932 wild horses Devil’s Garden. As the roundup was set to begin — years after public comment on the planned roundup closed – the USFS announced that it would briefly sell captured horses 10 years old and older with restrictions against slaughter, then, in an unprecedented move, drop those protections.

About 300 older horses ages 10 years and older – including mature stallions and pregnant mares – were placed in jeopardy of being sold to kill-buyers who would transport them to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.

RTF joined other advocates in filing a lawsuit seeking to stop the USFS from selling the older horses to slaughter. USFS was attempting to take advantage of the fact that while Congress has repeatedly barred the Bureau of Land Management from selling wild horses without protections against slaughter and euthanizing healthy horses, lawmakers had not previously specifically prohibited USFS from doing so. 

USFS agreed not to sell any wild horses to slaughter until the court ruled. As the case wore on, all 300 of the older horses were either adopted or sold with restrictions against slaughter — including 12 of the last remaining horses to which RTF gave a new home at its satellite sanctuary in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

RTF successfully lobbied Congress to ensure that the USFS would be barred from using taxpayer dollars to sell wild horses without prohibitions against slaughter or euthanizing healthy horses or burros. With the addition of such a prohibition to its spending bill, the plaintiffs successfully forestalled the unrestricted sale and filed to voluntarily dismiss their case.

Also as a result of the USFS’s actions, a state bill, Assembly Bill 128, supported by a number of horses and animal welfare organizations in the state, including RTF, was also signed into law in an attempt to tighten the existing anti-horse slaughter laws.

In 2019, the USFS captured and removed another 499 wild horses at Devil’s Garden. The agency offered them for adoption three times before opening up sales at $25 apiece but with restrictions against slaughter. Later, the Forest Service dropped the price to $1 per horse with restrictions against slaughter.

Even as the current roundup began, 13 wild horses from the 2019 roundup remained at the forest’s Double Devil corrals, available for sale of adoption.

RTF continues to press the USFS to implement robust programs of proven, safe and humane fertility control that would allow for the phasing out of roundups by slowing, not stopping, wild horse reproduction.

Take Action: Sign our petition calling for a fair share of resources for wild horses and burros

The post Devil’s Garden update: 195 wild horses captured, 2 dead appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
29095
Diamond Complex (Nev.) update: 603 wild horses captured, 11 killed https://returntofreedom.org/diamond-complex-603-captured/ Thu, 17 Sep 2020 18:40:52 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29089 The Bureau of Land Management has captured 603 wild horses through Sunday, the seventh day of a helicopter roundup north of Eureka, Nev. Eleven deaths have been reported on the Diamond Complex: –On Wednesday, a 10-year-old roan stallion with a club foot was euthanized, along with an 8-year-old sorrel stallion with a previously broken right […]

The post Diamond Complex (Nev.) update: 603 wild horses captured, 11 killed appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
A contractor’s helicopter drives wild horses toward the trap site on the Diamond Complex on Tuesday. BLM photo.

The Bureau of Land Management has captured 603 wild horses through Sunday, the seventh day of a helicopter roundup north of Eureka, Nev.

Eleven deaths have been reported on the Diamond Complex:

–On Wednesday, a 10-year-old roan stallion with a club foot was euthanized, along with an 8-year-old sorrel stallion with a previously broken right front shoulder and another 8-year-old sorrel stallion with a previously broken left rear leg with a “poor prognosis for recovery.” A palomino stud estimated at more than 20 years old was euthanized for having a body condition score of 1.5 (between “poor” and “very thin” on a 9-point scale);

–On Tuesday, a 3-year-old bay mare was euthanized due to a previously broken left front leg;

—-On Monday, an 18-year-old grey stallion was euthanized because of a club foot and a 7-year-old black mare due to a previously broken hip. A 4-year-old sorrel mare was euthanized due to a body condition score of 2 (“poor”).

–On Sunday, a 2- to 3-year-old sorrel stallion was “euthanized due to a displaced cervical vertebrae, severe weakness in all four limbs, and poor prognosis for recovery;”

–On Saturday, an adult sorrel stallion “collapsed and immediately expired” while being brought to the trap and a 5-month-old sorrel mare in temporary holding was euthanized due to a previously “fractured vertebrae and no prognosis for recovery.”

So far, 247 studs, 244 mares, and 112 foals have been captured.

BLM’s goal is capture 1,225 wild horses, removing 1,165. The agency plans to treat and release up to 30 mares with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22 along with an equal number of studs. 

About 300 wild horses will remain on the complex after the roundup, which is expected to last 20-25 days.

The stated purpose of the roundup is to “prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses and burros” and “protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer.” The BLM also said in a press release that the roundup is also necessary because of “severe drought conditions throughout Central Nevada”

Prior to the roundup, the BLM estimated the total population of wild horses on the 258,000-acre Diamond Complex at 1,495 wild horses, not counting this year’s foals. The agency-set Appropriate Management Level for the complex is 123-210 wild horses, or as low as one horse for every 2,098 acres.

BLM has allocated up to 24,348 Animal Unit Months for privately owned livestock and sheep that graze on the Diamond Complex compared to 2,520 for wild horses. One Animal Unit Month, or AUM, is the enough forage for one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.

The Diamond Complex is made up of both public and private lands. It includes the Diamond Herd Management Area, Diamond Hills North Herd Management Area and Diamond Hills South Herd Management Area.

Captured wild horses chosen for removal will be shipped to the Palomino Valley Off-Range Corrals, Reno, Nevada, to be prepared for adoption or sale.

Click here for BLM planning documents.

Viewing the roundup:

Those interested in viewing the roundup should call (775) 861-6700 to receive specific instructions on each days’ meeting location and time. Face masks and social distancing are required and those who participate must bring hand sanitizer. Those who are all or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the prior 14 days cannot attend.

TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to press the Bureau of Land Management to implement a robust program of proven, safe and humane fertility control in order to phase out roundups and manage wild horses and burros humanely on the range

The post Diamond Complex (Nev.) update: 603 wild horses captured, 11 killed appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
29089
Thanks for supporting wild horses, burros through GlobalGiving’s matching campaign! https://returntofreedom.org/your-donation-to-help-wild-horses-and-burros-matched-at-50-until-sept-18/ Thu, 17 Sep 2020 17:16:21 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29077 Update: *Thank you so much!* — Though so many people are struggling through a difficult time, you were kind enough to help this week when we told you that we had a chance to have donations of up to $50 matched at 50% by GlobalGiving, one of our fundraising partners. Of the more than 5,000 […]

The post Thanks for supporting wild horses, burros through GlobalGiving’s matching campaign! appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
One of the 51 burros that call RTF’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary home!

Update:

*Thank you so much!* — Though so many people are struggling through a difficult time, you were kind enough to help this week when we told you that we had a chance to have donations of up to $50 matched at 50% by GlobalGiving, one of our fundraising partners.

Of the more than 5,000 worthy charitable projects from around the world that participated in the Little x Little Campaign, we raised the fourth-largest total by Friday night’s deadline: More than $24,000!

That’s enough to buy 90 tons of hay!

To give you an idea of what you’ve accomplished: That’s enough to feed the more than 300 wild horses and burros at two of our sanctuaries, in Lompoc, Calif., and San Luis Obispo, Calif., for 52 days!

Because of the threat of COVID-19, we were forced to cancel most of our summer tours and other programs for the safety of visitors and staff. In so doing, we lost out on the donations typically made by hundreds of visitors each year. Your generosity gets us farther down the trail to caring for the more than 500 wild horses and burros at our sanctuary.

For that, and for your more than 22 years of support, we are deeply grateful.

All of us at Return to Freedom

P.S.: If you missed your chance to chip in during the matching campaign, you can do so here.

Exciting news for the more than 500 wild horses and burros in our sanctuary’s care! All this week, donations to Return to Freedom will be matched by GlobalGiving, one of our fundraising partners!

Until Friday, Sept. 18, at all eligible donations of up to $50 per unique donor (only one donation per person, $50 max) will be matched at 50%!So your $20 donation becomes $30… your $40 becomes $60…and your $50 becomes $75… It’s like magic!

But wait, there’s more! — Recurring donations made this week will not only receive the 50% match right away, but after they stay active for four months they will also receive a 100% monthly match, up to $200!

Click here to donate today!

On top of all of that, RTF and the other worthy projects taking part will be eligible for bonus prizes. They’ll be given to the top five projects in the following categories: Most Funds Raised, Most Unique Donors and Most Monthly Donors.

Things are challenging for all of us these days, and we are trying to make up for our canceled and postponed summer programs due to COVID-19 restrictions. If you can help this week, that would be appreciated more than you know. This is, in every respect, a team effort, and we are deeply grateful for your help.

The RTF Team

The post Thanks for supporting wild horses, burros through GlobalGiving’s matching campaign! appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
29077
Devil’s Garden update: 160 wild horses captured, 2 dead https://returntofreedom.org/devils-garden-update-160-wild-horses-captured-2-dead/ Tue, 15 Sep 2020 22:48:11 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29084 The U.S. Forest Service captured 34 wild horses on Monday during an ongoing helicopter roundup at the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory at Modoc National Forest.  In all, 160 wild horses have been captured from California’s last large wild horse herd since the roundup began on Sept. 8. Two horses have died. Both suffered […]

The post Devil’s Garden update: 160 wild horses captured, 2 dead appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
Devil’s Garden wild horses in temporary holding during a 2016 roundup. RTF file photo.

The U.S. Forest Service captured 34 wild horses on Monday during an ongoing helicopter roundup at the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory at Modoc National Forest. 

In all, 160 wild horses have been captured from California’s last large wild horse herd since the roundup began on Sept. 8.

Two horses have died. Both suffered broken necks from striking gates, according to a USFS spokesman. 

The agency’s goal is to capture and remove 500 wild horses from Devil’s Garden, home of California’s last large wild horse herd, to help “reduce unsustainable impacts on aquatic resources, wildlife, hunting, grazing and other traditional cultural practices,” according to a press release.

USFS has no plans to implement safe, proven and humane fertility control which would allow for Modoc National Forest to phase out future roundups in favor of humane, on-the-range management of wild horses.

USFS in 2013 set an Appropriate Management Level of 206-402 wild horses at 268,750-acre Devil’s Garden — as low as one horse for every 1,305 acres.

Prior to this roundup, USFS said Devil’s Garden was home to 1,663 adult wild horses – an estimate based on 2019 survey results of 1,802 based on census flights. Advocates have argued that census numbers of the Wild Horse Territory have been inflated, while USFS says other partners contend that the number may be low because of tree cover.

By comparison, USFS permits 26,880 Animal Unit Months of private livestock grazing on the wild horse territory. One Animal Unit Month is defined as a month’s forage for one horse, one cow / calf pair or five sheep.

Background

The fate of the herd – and of wild horses removed from Devil’s Garden – has resulted in litigation pitting RTF and other activists against USFS.

In 2018, USFS captured 932 wild horses Devil’s Garden. As the roundup was set to begin — years after public comment on the planned roundup closed – the USFS announced that it would briefly sell captured horses 10 years old and older with restrictions against slaughter, then, in an unprecedented move, drop those protections.

About 300 older horses ages 10 years and older – including mature stallions and pregnant mares – were placed in jeopardy of being sold to kill-buyers who would transport them to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.

RTF joined other advocates in filing a lawsuit seeking to stop the USFS from selling the older horses to slaughter. USFS was attempting to take advantage of the fact that while Congress has repeatedly barred the Bureau of Land Management from selling wild horses without protections against slaughter and euthanizing healthy horses, lawmakers had not previously specifically prohibited USFS from doing so. 

USFS agreed not to sell any wild horses to slaughter until the court ruled. As the case wore on, all 300 of the older horses were either adopted or sold with restrictions against slaughter — including 12 of the last remaining horses to which RTF gave a new home at its satellite sanctuary in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

RTF successfully lobbied Congress to ensure that the USFS would be barred from using taxpayer dollars to sell wild horses without prohibitions against slaughter or euthanizing healthy horses or burros. With the addition of such a prohibition to its spending bill, the plaintiffs successfully forestalled the unrestricted sale and filed to voluntarily dismiss their case.

Also as a result of the USFS’s actions, a state bill, Assembly Bill 128, supported by a number of horses and animal welfare organizations in the state, including RTF, was also signed into law in an attempt to tighten the existing anti-horse slaughter laws.

In 2019, the USFS captured and removed another 499 wild horses at Devil’s Garden. The agency offered them for adoption three times before opening up sales at $25 apiece but with restrictions against slaughter. Later, the Forest Service dropped the price to $1 per horse with restrictions against slaughter.

Even as the current roundup began, 13 wild horses from the 2019 roundup remained at the forest’s Double Devil corrals, available for sale of adoption.

RTF continues to press the USFS to implement robust programs of proven, safe and humane fertility control that would allow for the phasing out of roundups by slowing, not stopping, wild horse reproduction.

The post Devil’s Garden update: 160 wild horses captured, 2 dead appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
29084
Diamond Complex (Nev.) update: 267 wild horses captured, 3 dead https://returntofreedom.org/diamond-complex-267-captured/ Mon, 14 Sep 2020 16:09:19 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29069 The Bureau of Land Management has captured 267 wild horses through Sunday, the fourth day of a helicopter roundup north of Eureka, Nev. Three deaths have been reported on the Diamond Complex: –On Sunday, a 2- to 3-year-old sorrel stallion was “euthanized due to a displaced cervical vertebrae, severe weakness in all four limbs, and […]

The post Diamond Complex (Nev.) update: 267 wild horses captured, 3 dead appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
Recently captured wild horses in a temporary holding corral on the Diamond Complex on Friday. Bureau of Land Management photo.

The Bureau of Land Management has captured 267 wild horses through Sunday, the fourth day of a helicopter roundup north of Eureka, Nev.

Three deaths have been reported on the Diamond Complex:

–On Sunday, a 2- to 3-year-old sorrel stallion was “euthanized due to a displaced cervical vertebrae, severe weakness in all four limbs, and poor prognosis for recovery;”

–On Saturday, an adult sorrel stallion “collapsed and immediately expired” while being brought to the trap and a 5-month-old sorrel mare in temporary holding was euthanized due to a previously “fractured vertebrae and no prognosis for recovery.”

So far, 111 mares Studs, 110 mares, and 46 foals have been captured.

BLM’s goal is capture 1,225 wild horses, removing 1,165. The agency plans to treat and release up to 30 mares with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22 along with an equal number of studs. 

About 300 wild horses will remain on the complex after the roundup, which is expected to last 20-25 days.

The stated purpose of the roundup is to “prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses and burros” and “protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer.” The BLM also said in a press release that the roundup is also necessary because of “severe drought conditions throughout Central Nevada”

Prior to the roundup, the BLM estimated the total population of wild horses on the 258,000-acre Diamond Complex at 1,495 wild horses, not counting this year’s foals. The agency-set Appropriate Management Level for the complex is 123-210 wild horses, or as low as one horse for every 2,098 acres.

BLM has allocated up to 24,348 Animal Unit Months for privately owned livestock and sheep that graze on the Diamond Complex compared to 2,520 for wild horses. One Animal Unit Month, or AUM, is the enough forage for one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.

The Diamond Complex is made up of both public and private lands. It includes the Diamond Herd Management Area, Diamond Hills North Herd Management Area and Diamond Hills South Herd Management Area.

Captured wild horses chosen for removal will be shipped to the Palomino Valley Off-Range Corrals, Reno, Nevada, to be prepared for adoption or sale.

Click here for BLM planning documents.

Viewing the roundup:

Those interested in viewing the roundup should call (775) 861-6700 to receive specific instructions on each days’ meeting location and time. Face masks and social distancing are required and those who participate must bring hand sanitizer. Those who are all or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the prior 14 days cannot attend.

TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to press the Bureau of Land Management to implement a robust program of proven, safe and humane fertility control in order to phase out roundups and manage wild horses and burros humanely on the range

The post Diamond Complex (Nev.) update: 267 wild horses captured, 3 dead appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
29069
133 wild horses captured as Diamond Complex (Nev.) roundup begins https://returntofreedom.org/diamond-complex-133-captured/ Sat, 12 Sep 2020 15:50:57 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29062 The Bureau of Land Management has captured 133 wild horses during the first two days of a helicopter on the Diamond Complex, located north of Eureka, Nev. No deaths have yet been reported during the roundup, which began on Thursday. So far, 60 studs, 57 mares and 16 foals have been captured. BLM’s goal is capture 1,225 wild […]

The post 133 wild horses captured as Diamond Complex (Nev.) roundup begins appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
Pressed forward by a contractor’s helicopter, wild horses follow a trained horse, at left, into the trap site on the Diamond Complex on Friday. Bureau of Land Management photo.

The Bureau of Land Management has captured 133 wild horses during the first two days of a helicopter on the Diamond Complex, located north of Eureka, Nev.

No deaths have yet been reported during the roundup, which began on Thursday. So far, 60 studs, 57 mares and 16 foals have been captured.

BLM’s goal is capture 1,225 wild horses, removing 1,165. The agency plans to treat and release up to 30 mares with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22 along with an equal number of studs. 

About 300 wild horses will remain on the complex after the roundup, which is expected to last 20-25 days.

The stated purpose of the roundup is to “prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses and burros” and “protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer.” The BLM also said in a press release that the roundup is also necessary because of “severe drought conditions throughout Central Nevada”

Prior to the roundup, the BLM estimated the total population of wild horses on the 258,000-acre Diamond Complex at 1,495 wild horses, not counting this year’s foals. The agency-set Appropriate Management Level for the complex is 123-210 wild horses, or as low as one horse for every 2,098 acres.

BLM has allocated up to 24,348 Animal Unit Months for privately owned livestock and sheep that graze on the Diamond Complex compared to 2,520 for wild horses. One Animal Unit Month, or AUM, is the enough forage for one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.

The Diamond Complex is made up of both public and private lands. It includes the Diamond Herd Management Area, Diamond Hills North Herd Management Area and Diamond Hills South Herd Management Area.

Captured wild horses chosen for removal will be shipped to the Palomino Valley Off-Range Corrals, Reno, Nevada, to be prepared for adoption or sale.

Click here for BLM planning documents.

Viewing the roundup:

Those interested in viewing the roundup should call (775) 861-6700 to receive specific instructions on each days’ meeting location and time. Face masks and social distancing are required and those who participate must bring hand sanitizer. Those who are all or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the prior 14 days cannot attend.

TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to press the Bureau of Land Management to implement a robust program of proven, safe and humane fertility control in order to phase out roundups and manage wild horses and burros humanely on the range

The post 133 wild horses captured as Diamond Complex (Nev.) roundup begins appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
29062
Sulphur HMA (Utah) update: 563 wild horses captured, 8 killed https://returntofreedom.org/sulphur-2020-563-horses-captured/ Fri, 28 Aug 2020 18:54:41 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29012 The Bureau of Land Management captured 25 wild horses on Wednesday, the 13th day of a helicopter roundup on the Sulphur Herd Management Area in Utah. A total of 563 wild horses have been captured. Eight have been killed, according to BLM: –On Aug. 17, a foal was euthanized after tearing ligaments and muscles in its […]

The post Sulphur HMA (Utah) update: 563 wild horses captured, 8 killed appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
A helicopter pursues a wild horse at the Sulphur Horse Management Area during a 2017 roundup. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

The Bureau of Land Management captured 25 wild horses on Wednesday, the 13th day of a helicopter roundup on the Sulphur Herd Management Area in Utah. A total of 563 wild horses have been captured.

Eight have been killed, according to BLM:

–On Aug. 17, a foal was euthanized after tearing ligaments and muscles in its right front shoulder;

–On Aug. 19, a 1-year-old stud was euthanized “due to an old injury resulting in a club foot”;

–On Aug. 21, one 20-year-old stud was euthanized “due to a deformed left foot,” while another two-month-old was euthanized because “due to both front legs being deformed from the hock to the hoof.” A third horse, a 22-year-old stuf, died of colic;

–On Aug. 26, a mare suffered a broking neck upon striking a panel and was euthanized;

–On Aug. 27, one stud was euthanized due to a sway back and another due to a left hind leg injury causing the tendons to contract.

BLM’s goal is to capture 600 “excess” wild horses. Through Wednesday, it had captured 114 stallions, 98 mares and 43 foals from the historically and genetically important Sulphur herd.

Prior to the roundup, BLM estimated the population of the Herd Management Area at about 1,193 wild horses. The agency-set Appropriate Management Level is set at 165-250 wild horses for the 267,208-acre Sulphur Herd Management Area, or as low as one horse for every 1,619 acres.

By comparison, more than 17,000 livestock and 8,300 sheep Animal Unit Months are permitted on allotments that have some portion on the Sulphur HMA. An Animal Unit Month is defined as the amount of forage needed to feed a cow, one horse or five sheep for one month.

Fifty captured mares are to be treated with the fertility control vaccine GonaCon, according to a BLM spokesperson. They are to be released later with 50 studs.

While RTF is a strong supporter of the use of fertility control to phase out BLM’s decades-old practice of capture and removal, we remain guarded about the use of the longer-lasting fertility control vaccine GonaCon. Because it interrupts the hormone cascade, GonaCon may cause other behavioral changes that would affect herd dynamics. As such, RTF would like to see more studies to ensure that GonaCon meets the parameters of ethical and thoughtful wildlife fertility control. That is the case with PZP, a non-hormonal vaccine with more than three decades of research behind it that RTF has used at its sanctuary with a 91-98% efficacy rate.

Wild horses removed from the range will be transported to the Axtell (Utah) Off-Range Contract Wild Horse Facility to be prepared for adoption or sale.

RTF has intervened as a defender in an ongoing court case pitting Beaver County, Utah, against the BLM. The county wants to force the Bureau of Land Management to immediately remove all “excess” wild horses from the Herd Management Area.

RTF and other advocates seeking to protect the historically and genetically important Sulphur wild horses from removal from their federally designated habitat and, importantly, to preserve BLM’s ability to manage the wild horse population on the range by using tools like safe, proven, and humane fertility control vaccines.

Beaver County first filed a complaint about the horses in 2017. The two sides are now negotiating a settlement.

In 2018, BLM removed 250 wild horses from the Sulphur Herd Management and Bible Springs Complex of Herd Management Areas. No mares were treated with fertility control.

The last roundup solely on the Sulphur Herd Management Area was held in 2017. A total of 655 wild horses were captured. Of those, 192 older horses were re-released, including 80 mares treated with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22.

Thirty wild horses died during the roundup, 29 of which were euthanized.

That roundup was part of a 10-year plan to reduce the wild horse population to the agency’s Appropriate Management Level of 165. In March 2016, prior to the roundup, BLM estimated the population on the HMA at 957 horses.

RTF’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary is home to two family bands of Sulphur Springs wild horses, led by the stallions Chief and Running Bear. The pure Sulphurs are of Spanish origin, based on phenotype and blood-typing. Many have distinctive dorsal and leg striping.

 Viewing the roundup

Details for BLM-escorted tours will be announced daily on the agency’s gather hotline at (801) 539-4050. Social distancing guidelines will apply. Participants should bring hand sanitizer and should not attend if they feel ill or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within 14 days. 

TAKE ACTION: Send a message to your members of Congress urging them to press BLM on the implementation of safe, proven and humane fertility control so that roundups can be phased out.

TAKE ACTION: Sign our petition calling for a fair share of rangeland resources for wild horses and burros.

The post Sulphur HMA (Utah) update: 563 wild horses captured, 8 killed appeared first on Return to Freedom.

]]>
29012