As the year winds down, November amps up. Many of you are sending questions and everything you are asking about onto one page.
The 2024 roundup season started at the Moriah Herd Area (HA). A Herd Area is an area designated for wild horse use but “zeroed out.” These are the areas we need to see repatriated (a stocking level set). We know this area well and the last day? the horses were horses that lived in Antelope that BLM says “moved over years and years ago after a fire.” Another roundup that ended on a “what?!” note as BLM explained “their data.” (Repatriate HA Action item in the Moriah roundup update)
BLM Robert’s Mountain roundup has ended early; 258 wild horses shy of the target. There is currently an investigation into an accident that killed 7 wild horses during transport. BLM planned capture of 1,106 wild horses hormonal hit to 19 mares with a heavy duty load of hormones (GonaCon) in a 2 dose regime that will stop ovulation for 5-10 years before being released back to the range along with up to 19 stallions. At this time, we are not expecting BLM to move forward with GonaCon release but will keep you posted.
BLM admits severe flaws in basic historic and current data and has refused to fix them. We are involved in an active challenge to stop the approved removal plan that remains in effect until 2033.
BLM plans to begin Clan Alpine tomorrow. This is another area that BLM admits issues with data and “which horses are which.” Wild horses annually cross district and HMA lines. This has caused accurate census issues for decades where the same horse is likely counted as part of the AML of more than one HMA. Clan Alpine is complicated. WHE filed additional documents in the land use appeal court and we will update you as things move forward.
After the Calico/Surprise roundups BLM has said they are doing a census flight to determine actual numbers left on an HMA-by-HMA basis as our on-the-ground advocates engage to try to gain actual data (BLM should have gotten before the roundup) and address the damage done by the large roundups (years in a row) and GonaCon. We will update as we have more info.
There are numerous draft plans in the “comment” phase from livestock permits, tree and sagebrush eradication, weed killer and roundups. We are commenting on many EAs, EISs, etc., too many to list here.
The one everyone is asking about now is McCullough. Yes, WHE sent in comments on McCullough Peaks. BLM approved the Environmental Assessment (EA) in September and placed this small herd onto the roundup schedule. McCullough has had a longstanding darting program, but BLM has placed the herd of 175 adult horses, where over a third are over 15 years old on the removal schedule. BLM plans to capture 80 via bait trap and remove 41. The last removal was ten years ago.
Several people have emailed us asking to see our comments on the original EA. You can find them HERE.
Basically, BLM is planning on hitting McCullough much like they hit Reveille in 2023 and call it “expanding fertility control”… take a herd with regular PZP treatment and do a removal and hit it with GonaCon. Reveille got much less attention from the public and stands as a template in BLMs press release. Remember, agendas span every HMA and what you are learning at McCullough applies everywhere, even to larger herds. (Learn more HERE)
As of the writing of this piece, the House version of the spending bill is essentially the same as the last 4 years (with some peppering of non binding bits to make it seem more palatable). The deadline is November 17 for both House and Senate to pass a bill and consolidate differences. By the end of January, the debate for the 2025 budget begins and advocacy needs to go into overdrive to stop this freight train begun in 2018. (Many people forget we went from the years of the lowest removals in history to the highest since the the 1971 Act passed under the “Path Forward”).
The Elijao Act has been reintroduced in the House. H.R. 6021: “To prohibit the transportation, sale, and purchase of donkeys or donkey hides for the purpose of producing ejiao, to prohibit the transportation, sale, and purchase of products containing ejiao, and for other purposes.” Text of the bill has not been published yet. Odds of this bill passing are low, so we need to make this part of your monthly “call list.” You can find your reps and track the bill HERE.
Below: VIDEO GRAPHIC. Pancake colt that inspired (and is mentioned in) The Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act.
H.R. 3656: Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act of 2023: “To amend the Act commonly known as the Wild Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act to prohibit certain uses of aircraft with respect to the management of wild free-roaming horses and burros, and for other purposes.” The bill has 15 cosponsors and GovTack gives it about a 4% (the average rate on govtrack for any bill in deadlock politics). You can find your reps and track the bill HERE.
H.R. 3475: SAFE Act of 2023: “To amend the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 to prohibit the slaughter of equines for human consumption.” Despite having 130 cosponsors, GovTrack gives this bill only a 2% chance of passing. You can find your reps and track the bill HERE.
There is also a push by some orgs to amend SAFE to include slaughter of horses for zoo animal and pet food, not just human consumption.
We need to state that BLM does a lot of whining about litigation from environmental or wild horse orgs. You could stack all of the litigation filed in that arena on top of each other and the cases filed by Livestock in the numerous courts would far surpass the litigation filed by advocates. BLM does not complain about litigation from livestock permittees to gain changes to their permits or removals of wild horses; they only complain about litigation from advocates. In 2024, the removal at Sulpher in Utah and the one at White Mountain in Wyoming, are livestock litigation driven.
November: This month we will file a brief in opposition to BLM Motion to Dismiss in the Antelope (abuse, access, NEPA) case, we will file a brief as part of the Summary Judgement phase in Pancake (the same roundup as the colt in the video above), prepare briefs in the ongoing Blue Wing case (includes the lack of data and flawed issues involving burros), and more.
For an update on litigation, click HERE.
As the year winds down our teams are in high gear in an effort to raise awareness and fight to protect our wild ones from abuses and to preserve them in their lawfully designated homes for generations to come.
The end of the year is critical for all nonprofits to raise funding. WHE is a small nonprofit that takes on big tasks. As you consider your year-end giving, we ask that you keep Wild Horse Education in mind. Without your help, none of this work is possible. Our teams are in the field and deep in the fight to protect and preserve our wild ones.
You can double your contribution through the month of November! You do not have to wait until “Giving Tuesday” to double your impact and keep our important work running into next. year.
We have a matching donor that will cover the initial costs, but we will need your help to carry the costs of the case as it moves through the courts. All contributions up to $10,000. will be matched dollar-for-dollar from now through November.
There are many ways to support the work of WHE from direct contribution, stock donations and even while you shop. More HERE.