Baker County, Georgia 

Baker County, Georgia

Monday, September 30, 2013

149 Mustangs Saved
From Slaughter
250 Auctioned to Kill-Buyers

by Carol Knight Watson
Harry, a little wild burro from Nevada
We adopted Harry at the age of 5 months through the Bureau of Land Management. He came to Amberwood Sanctuary with a broken jaw and was very emaciated. The vet said he probably wouldn't make it. We gave him extra love and extra special care. Now, at age 12, he and his special buddy, Claude, 
still play and get into a lot of mischief together. 
 
Activists Prevent Nevada Horses 
From Going to Slaughter
by Martin Griffith
The Associated Press
from Nevada Appeal
August 26, 2013

     RENO — Some 150 mustangs that had been set to be auctioned off for possible slaughter after their removal from the range in Nevada have been granted a reprieve.
     With financial backing from Florida horse lover Victoria McCullough, activists acquired the animals on Friday for $29,800, or $200 a head, from the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe in northern Nevada.
     McCullough, who seeks a ban on the slaughter of horses for consumption and export to other countries, rescued the animals through her Wellington, Florida-based Triumph Project. She also is chairwoman of the board of Chesapeake Petroleum, a leading oil distribution company in the Washington, D.C., area.
     Plans call for the horses to be split up among rescue groups and to end up at homes in Nevada and California, said Ginger Kathrens, founder and executive director of the Colorado-based horse advocacy group, The Cloud Foundation.
     The purchase was a joint effort by various horse defenders, including Madeleine Pickens of Saving America’s Mustangs. At McCullough’s request, Florida state Senator Joseph Abruzzo negotiated with the tribe.
     “What an incredible, collaborative effort by all involved,” Kathrens said. “Acting as a team and with Victoria’s tremendous support, we are able to ensure a future for mustangs that were a heartbeat away from a long journey to slaughter.”
     A federal judge cleared the way on Wednesday for the tribe to sell the 150 mustangs over the objection of activists who claimed the unbranded animals are federally protected wild horses that should not be auctioned off for possible slaughter in Mexico or Canada.

   


     They were among 467 horses the tribe gathered on and around their reservation near the Oregon line.
     U.S. District Judge Miranda Du granted an emergency order blocking the sale of the unbranded horses on the eve of an August 17 auction in Nevada, where the other horses were sold. But the judge lifted the order last week, clearing the way for the sale of the remainder of the animals.
     At the auction, 150 horses were sold to residents and rescue groups and some 167 mustangs were sold to those who plan to take them to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, according to Paula Todd King of The Cloud Foundation. “We would have loved to have purchased all of them, but we couldn’t do it,” she said.
     The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign sought to block the sale of the animals based on its position that the mustangs originated on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management and therefore were protected under the Wild, Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.♦
Equine Advocates Make Deal to Buy  
148 Unbranded Wild Horses From Tribe
from Straight from the Horse’s Heart
by John M. Glionna
Los Angeles Times
August 24, 3013

     LAS VEGAS — Arlo Krutcher was in the middle of a public relations nightmare and it was all over horses. The vice chairman of a northern Nevada reservation had collected 400 horses off the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone tribal grounds and had taken the animals to an auction house in rural Fallon for sale. That’s when the animal advocates descended, he said. There was finger-pointing and threat of lawsuits by activists. The sale was eventually delayed by a judge’s order, but last weekend 250 horses with brands that officials determined weren’t wild were auctioned off.



     On Friday, the tribe made a deal to sell the remaining 148 unbranded horses to a coalition of animal advocates.
     Krutcher told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that the tribe was being made out to be greedy mercenaries looking to bring the horses to slaughter. “That’s the whole reason we came to the public auction,  to give the public a chance to buy those horses. After people buy them, it’s their business what they do with them,” he said. “But these activists were making us out to be the bad people. If we were doing that, we could have sold those horses for slaughter right there at the reservation.”
     Activists sued to stop the sale of the unbranded horses, alleging that unbranded animals probably were federally protected wild horses originating from the nearby Bureau of Land Management’s Little Owyhee Herd Management Area.
     The battle is the latest showdown between the federal government and animal advocates over the wild horses that wander the American West.
     This week, a U.S. District Court in Reno lifted a temporary restraining order barring the sale of unbranded horses captured by the tribe under an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. On Thursday, Judge Miranda Du ruled that the U.S. Forest Service had acted appropriately in determining that the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe is the animals’ rightful owner and can’t be stopped from selling them.
     Krutcher told the Times he resented the attitude of the animal advocates and said the sale might never have happened had he not had a chance meeting with Reno-area advocate Sally Summers, founder of Horse Power, a group seeking better treatment of wild horses and burros. “The rest came at us with lawyers; she’s the one who got things rolling,” Krutcher said.
     Krutcher said the legal fees and those for boarding the horses were rising fast. He wanted to make a deal, but he felt his tribe was being treated with disrespect by people who acted like they were the only ones who knew about horses.
     Then came his meeting with Summers on Sunday. “I was walking to the end of the sale yard to help feed horses and she was standing there,” he told the Times. “She said hello and we started talking. She was the only one who came up to talk to me as a human being. The rest had stand-off attitudes. She was civil.”
     Krutcher would not say how much the tribe received for the 148 horses but insisted it was not enough to pay for fees. “We lost money,” he said. “I could have stuck it to them, for the expense and grief they caused us, but I didn’t.”
     Not all of the horses were saved. More than 300 branded horses were sold at auction Saturday. About 150 were purchased by residents and rescue groups and the remainder were purchased by kill-buyers.
     Advocates say the money used to buy the horses came from a philanthropist. “Thanks to the generous donation, we were able to take those horses home,” Summers told the Times. “It’s a big relief.”
     Paula Todd King, a spokeswoman for The Cloud Foundation, one of the animal advocate groups involved in the purchase of the unbranded horses, said activists meant the tribe no disrespect. “Knowing the market for horses right now, the tribe might not have intended to sell them to kill-buyers, but a lot of the horses went to kill-buyers anyway. That’s just the way it happens,” she told the Times.
     She said The Cloud Foundation and other groups became involved because of a tip that the U.S. Forest Service had offered the tribe funds to assist in the roundup. “We were very concerned that wild horses would be included in that roundup,” King said. “What we objected to was use of federal funds to transport and round up horses that would likely end up slaughtered and that protected wild horses might be part of them.”
     Krutcher said the U.S. Forest Service withdrew its funding after  pressure from animal advocates.♦
Fort McDermitt Unbranded Wild Horses Saved   
from The Cloud Foundation
August 23, 2013
 
Team Effort Secures a Future 
for Slaughter-Bound Mustangs
     RENO — On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Miranda Du lifted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which allowed for the sale of 149 unbranded wild horses captured by the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe in northern Nevada. Realizing that these unbranded wild horses were likely bound for slaughter in Canada and Mexico, Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation (TCF) reached out to Victoria McCullough of the Triumph Project in Wellington, Florida. McCullough in turn asked Florida state Senator Joseph Abruzzo to begin negotiating with the tribe, and an offer was accepted today.
     Behind the scenes, this effort was a collaboration of not only The Cloud Foundation but other organizations committed to horse protection. These include Suzanne Roy and Deniz Bolbol of American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC); Ellie Phipps Price, a northern California businesswoman; Madeleine Pickens of Saving America’s Mustangs; Jim Hart of Liberty for Horses; Sally Summers of Horse Power; and Neda DeMayo of Return to Freedom, who agreed to provide homes for the 149 animals, which include 16 mares with foals.
     “What an incredible, collaborative effort by all involved,” said Ginger Kathrens. “Acting as a team, and with Victoria’s tremendous support, we are able ensure a future for mustangs that were a heartbeat away from a long journey to slaughter.”


     Through the collaborative efforts of the wild horse advocacy groups and private parties, the purchase of all 149 wild horses has been negotiated. The horses will be going to their permanent and temporary homes in California and Nevada today and tomorrow.
     This purchase would not have been necessary if the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) weren’t negligent in their duties to protect wild horses and burros as charged by the 1971 Wild, Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. This Act imposes criminal liability for “willfully” removing wild horses from public lands, converting wild horses to private use, maliciously causing the harassment of a wild horse, or selling a wild horse on private land. This entire roundup should have been stopped by the BLM and USFS until they determined that no wild horses would be included. Instead, the very agencies charged with protecting our wild horses turned their backs.
     Initially the USFS planned to bankroll the helicopter roundup of horses from USFS, BLM, and reservation land and the transport of horses to a slaughter auction, but the USFS issued a “stand down” when TCF, AWHPC, Return to Freedom, and Western Watersheds threatened to file suit for noncompliance with environmental regulations and violation of first amendment rights. Unfortunately, the tribe proceeded with the roundup and removal with the intention of selling all the horses at the Fallon Auction House, known for selling to kill-buyers.
     Both the USFS and tribal members claimed that all the horses were domestic and owned by the tribe; but after examining each of the 467 horses, 149 were discovered to be unbranded. Under the 1971 Wild, Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, “wild, free-roaming horses and burros” means all unbranded and unclaimed horses and burros on public lands of the United States. The horses were rounded up in an area only a few miles from the Little Owyhee Herd Management Area, and many were driven onto the reservation from federal land with BLM and Forest Service approval.
     “The entire deal was fraught with subterfuge. Had it not been for the secret leaking out, all of the horses rounded up would have been transported to a slaughter auction at taxpayer expense,” states Kathrens. “This is a blatant misuse of American taxpayer dollars. With 80 percent of Americans opposed to slaughter, why should taxpayer dollars be used to fulfill this action?”
     Over 300 branded horses were sold at auction on Saturday. Approximately 150 were purchased by local residents and rescue groups, the remainder were purchased by kill-buyers.♦