Wild Horse Education

Ochoco; USFS Decides 12-57 wild horses is “Appropriate”

Ochoco wild horses sharing a sweet spot of grass

The decision has been published for the Ochoco wild horses in Oregon by the United States Forest Service.

On 25,434 acres of the Ochoco Wild Horse Territory, USFS has determined that 12-57 wild horses is an appropriate number of horses.

You can read the documents by clicking HERE. 

FROM USFS Decision Notice:

Decision and Rationale

My decision will do the following: Establish an appropriate management level based on current conditions Analysis of the Big Summit Territory determined that an appropriate management level (AML) for the Ochoco wild horse herd is 12 to 57 wild horses.

… The Forest Plan is amended with this decision and provides for adjustment of the AML based on the conditions in the Territory (see EAAppendix A).

The alternative chosen also includes, not only the ridiculously low AML, but gelding (and other fertility control, like pzp) and simply using the introduction of other horses to stave off the immense threat to the integrity of the Ochoco wild horses presented in this Decision Notice. 

One of the utilization cages, placed in an area used by both wild horses and every other living thing in the Ochoco, claiming this range is being destroyed by wild horses

USFS has added their version of a Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP), a BLM term. Our litigation was against BLM as the operated in violation of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act( WFRH&B Act) as they did things like hit wild horses with helicopters and electric shock foals in the face). Both BLM and USFS must abide by the WFRH&B Act. Ou litigation drove the creation of the CAWP policy and we are woking today to strengthen protections. USFS has created their own version of the policy (the policy is inadequate, but it is a place to begin to strengthen any necessary, future, litigation against abuse by USFS, as it is for BLM). The policy can be found at Appendix C, Comprehensive Animal Welfare Best Management Practices, in the planning document.

You can read the entire plan HERE.

The Objection process for this plan has begun. We urge our readers to begin to understand the lengthy and very site specific processes of fighting for our herds. Many people believe that there is  A simplistic answer, a magic wand, as many public relations firms push. There simply is not.  The trenches of this fight are deep in range work and constant, rapid, creation of comments and objections. Each jurisdiction (BLM and USFS) have distinct vocabulary and processes. If you are interested in learning more about the USFS process you can click here.

WHE will be participating in the USFS objection process at Ochoco directly, and in an assistance capacity to another entity filing against the plan. 

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WHE has also taken legal action against the “spay plan” in Utah set to begin in a few short weeks.

The Pancake EA is out for comment, the first step in addressing decades old failures in the region, though December 12.

Our legal team is also tracking directives that came from the game of “musical chairs” that led the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over the last 4 years. BLM has not had one single confirm Director in all that time. Instead BLM has been helmed by aa series of those “acting” with that authority. One that stayed long enough for legal actions to come to a conclusion was a William Perry Pendley. Judge Morris ruled his tenure in that capacity as illegal. But the list of those whose tenure was identical includes names like Brian Steed and John Ruhs; men with clear connection to the “Ten Years to AML” (later called “Path Forward”) agenda that skirted moral and legal lines.

Our legal team is very busy as the long holiday weekend approaches.

Roundups are scheduled to begin that weekend as well: Utah (Confusion) and Nevada (Selenite, Blue Wing). Our field teams are in limbo, waiting to see if these operations will move forward and are continuing to monitor existing conditions on multiple ranges set to be targeted soon.

We hope you can enjoy the holiday and find hope and thanksgiving. Many of you are facing unprecedented challenges under the rising health crisis, just as we are. We wish all of you a safe holiday season.

Together we fight on for our wild ones.

Help us stay in the fight. Our teams must be able to travel safe, stay safe and have the resources needed to take that info into a courtroom. We have legal actions against abuse, the ripping out of the ovaries of wild mares, habitat loss and more. With your help we can continue to speak for our wild ones that can not speak for themselves. 

Categories: Wild Horse Education