Wild Horse Education

Who is the “Grass March?”

Picture from USFS website. The greater sage grouse, the most powerful bird in the West.

Picture from USFS website. The greater sage grouse, the most powerful bird in the West.

We have added this section to clear up a bit of confusion on the “Grass March.” Some of you have followed the issues and are aware of the background and that this “march” is not a “wild horse” friendly event. But some of you are seeing the “anti BLM” message and people on horseback (we love horses) and making a dangerous assumption that this is a “good” thing for wild horses and burros.

To clear up any doubt we want to show you “who” they are. Here is the website that has a suspicious lack of info http://www.grassmarchcowboyexpress.com/ No where on this page are any of the documents that would be pertinent to show that their cause is “just.” Not one of the grazing decisions is posted… like the closing of Argenta.

So let us simply start on the “homepage.” Two people are listed. These two people are not the force behind the  campaign, they are not organizers. The “homepage” seems to be the “celebrity” page. Listed are Waddie Mitchell (cowboy poet) and Michael Martin Murphy (singer and self declared “cowboy”).

Waddie Mitchell: In 2011 he was an unpaid volunteer at the “Summit of the Horse” organized by the pro-slaughter “United Horseman.” http://horsebackmagazine.com/hb/archives/5731 And from earlier this year Waddie penned a poem calling for support of Cliven Bundy http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/waddie-mitchell-bundy-ranch/2014/04/20/id/566605/

Michael Martin Murphy: He was also a supporter at the 2011 pro horse slaughter summit (most of you “horse lovers” know the song Murphy wrote called “Wildfire,” about a girl searching for her lost horse). An excerpt of a letter in support of horse slaughter penned by Murphy can be found here: https://whohateshorses.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/spotlight-michael-martin-murphey-musician/ In an open letter to Murphy by advocate Elaine Nash, she closes the letter with “She ran calling, ‘Wildfire’! She ran calling ‘Wildfire’!” Too late. Wildfire’s been slaughtered. You can read Elaine’s letter on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/481695201948/

Cows in riparian area on the range in Nevada just moments after they were released onto the range

Cows in riparian area on the range in Nevada just moments after they were released onto the range

The “page” that appears to give you a list of not only those involved in the actual petition ride, but begins to address some “ownership” of the concepts behind the march, is “the crew.” In order of appearance on their website:

Andy Boyer: Andy drives a mule team. It appears the team is used at multiple events including tours given of areas in Elko county by federal Judges. Andy is a participant in multiple facets of the “mission.” This is a press release from Elko county on “counter sage grouse” efforts to stop the bird from being listed, they claim the listing of the bird is pure fiction simply aimed at attempting to hurt livestock interests: http://www.elkocountynv.net/Grouse/Sage_Grouse_Counter_Training_Report_Press_Release_3_14_14.pdf

Pete and Lynn Tomera: The Tomera ranch is associated with the Argenta grazing allotments that were shut down this year due to drought. Wall Street Journal article: http://online.wsj.com/articles/grazing-limits-feed-tension-in-nevada-1401231844 Grant Gerber (county commissioner) is Tomera’s attorney.

Jess Jones (Outlaw Broncs): A roper, rodeo participant and rodeo organizer he believes in his cause. Sage grouse should not be protected, ravens need to be removed from the migratory treaty and wild (feral) horses need to be removed and (out of “practicality”) sent to slaughter. This is just an article on a rodeo event in Carlin: http://elkodaily.com/news/buckaroos-rope-and-ride-in-carlin/article_b4bc251c-1b79-11e4-8693-001a4bcf887a.html

Grant Gerber: Gerber is an Elko county commissioner and attorney for the Tomera’s. The “Grass March” was Gerber’s “brainchild.” He advised the Tomera’s that litigation was too costly and would take too long… so Gerber decided the best thing to do was to deliver a petition by horseback to the state Governor to oust a federal BLM district manager. Well that didn’t work. So now the plan is to deliver a petition to Congress after riding cross country raising money. The petition deals with all the fears and wishes of the livestock community; removing the raven from the migratory bird treaty (so they can be killed), giving control of federal land to the states (because they can gain control over the land easier that way), removing the sage grouse from any protected status (because that would limit their grazing), removing any federal employee they accuse of being a “tyrant” (starting with the District Manager that closed the Tomera allotments in Argenta)… and of course… removing, and selling for slaughter, wild horses.

An article in the Elko press states (http://elkodaily.com/news/county-to-send-message-with-cowboy-express/article_37b2e950-3499-11e4-8f31-0019bb2963f4.html):

In its early draft, the resolution called for the BLM to allow the county to round up overpopulated horse management areas to be sold for slaughter.

The language was changed at the request of Commissioner Demar Dahl, asking the BLM to gather excess horses to be sold at auction as allowed by the Wild Horse and Burro Act.

Any wild horse (or domestic horse) advocate knows that those two statements mean exactly the same thing.

Amie and Payton: No info is given on the website and she is even wearing sunglasses.

Josh White: (if anyone wants to fill in this section, we have no pertinent info on Mr White except his participation in this ride)

Arlo Crutcher: He is the Vice chairman of the Ft. McDermitt Indian tribe. Many of you will remember Arlo from his role in the huge cluster _____ of the McDermitt roundup last year where all the horses went to a well know kill buyer auction in Fallon NV. Here are two write ups, one from advocate Terri Farley’s blog http://terrifarley.blogspot.com/2013/09/ransoming-wild-horses-ft-mcdermitt.html and one bashing advocates in Range magazine: http://www.rangemagazine.com/features/spring-14/range-sp14-horse_hoarders.pdf

What is left out of the article is the insanity from day one. US Forest Service (USFS) creates an agreement with the McDermitt Reservation for removal of horses. USFS creates an agreement with BLM (as many of the horses are on BLM land and the removal map overlaps the removal map for the BLM Owyhee Complex area that is under litigation already). USFS fails to follow appropriate NEPA guidelines in creation of the document. USFS withdraws from the agreement after being called on it. They claimed the removal would not happen… however…  in court (as multiple hearings were underway) the tribe removed horses from BLM land and tribal lands. Because holding pens were on tribal lands access to view any of the activity was denied. The court allowed unbranded horses to go to sale… and an ability to confirm that such was the case… to advocates. Advocates (myself, Deniz and Suzanne of AWHPC) were the Plaintiff’s and showed up well before the start time of the auction as the Order was being served. The auction yard denied permission to view that they had sorted all unbranded horses. We waited while they sorted (for the second time). This took an additional 4 hours. In the blazing mid day sun, after multiple calls from the attorneys and us being ejected from the parking lot of the auction, we were allowed to view the pens. Even though these were sorted by “professionals” and a “brand inspector” we found more than 60 horses with brands mixed in the pens to run through sale. So they had to be sorted one more time. The unbranded were released for sale by the court after a hearing held later, through due process, as it was nearly impossible at that juncture to determine the origin of any of the horses. All unbranded were saved from going to a kill buyer (Wild Horse Education took in two orphans, Faith and Dawn, that are still in our care). This operation was a SNAFU from the beginning.

Arlo has been heard to say that next time they will just ship direct to the brokers instead of selling at auction… even though he did pocket more money than they would have the way things happened.

One of the McDermitt Reservation horses at the slaughter auction.

One of the McDermitt Reservation horses at the slaughter auction.

So folks… these are the Grass Marchers of the “Cowboy Express.” You decide… is this a “movement” based on upholding the rights of American’s and all that they claim? Is this still about a disagreement with a BLM district manager over the closing of the Argenta allotment (no wild horses there btw)? Or did Grant Gerber exploit a situation to forward an agenda that essentially runs over anything and everything that might restrict a cow on your public land?

Join us in saying “Not Over My Wild Horses!” (click text to add your comment to a list we will deliver as the “Grass March” arrives in DC. We have over 2000 comments in a bit over 24 hours!)

And please consider making a contribution to Wild Horse Education (WHE) as we fight against them in the NACO legal action.



Categories: Wild Horse Education