Journalists are in love with cowboys, and so wild horses will die.

Vickery Eckhoff

Ryan Zinke, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, U.S. Secretary of the Interior

I’ve made a subspecialty out of writing to journalists about wild horses and, more importantly, cattle.

Below is a letter I wrote to Matthew Shaer of Smithsonian, whose May 2017 article, “How the Mustang, the Symbol of the Frontier, Became a Nuisance,”  is typical of how journalists cover wild horses. It is also typical of what senators can expect to hear today, June 21, when U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testifies before the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee in support of the Trump budget plan, which will lift Congress’ ban on removing protections for wild horses and burros and selling them for slaughter.

This is not journalism that speaks truth to power. My solution is to speak truth to journalism. Here’s my letter, dated May 5, 2017:

Dear Mr. Shaer,

I read your Smithsonian article, “How the Mustang, the Symbol of the Frontier, Became a…

View original post 1,034 more words

Video: Equine Advocates Alarmed Over Salt River Wild Horse Harassment

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Source: Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and ABC15.com

Public Harassment May Have Caused Foal’s Death

From Simone Netherlands; “Dear Supporters of the horses, please click this link first, then you can leave a comment under ABC15’s post about the harassment of wild horses. The more you care, the more you share, the more people will be aware. Thank you!”

http://www.abc15.com/news/state/animal-advocates-concerned-about-horse-harassment

View original post

Ochoco National Forest Doubles Wild-Horse Monitoring

via Ochoco Natl. Forest Doubles Wild-Horse Monitoring | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

by KTVZ.COM

Two census efforts set; volunteers sought

PRINEVILLE, Ore. – The Ochoco National Forest announced Monday it is embarking on a new strategy for monitoring its wild horse population for the Big Summit Territory.

This year, two wild horse census efforts are expected to provide a more complete picture of the herd’s condition, demographics and location.

A herd count has been done annually for many years on the forest. However, officials said, it is challenging to cover all of the territory and outlying areas where horses are thought to frequent in a single monitoring effort.

Horses are reported to move into many remote sites and canyons.  An accurate numbers count will provide needed information for the development of the new Herd Management Plan.

This new plan will replace the existing one, which is more than 40 years old. Many conditions outlined in the present plan have changed over the years, forest officials said.

The Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition has a long-standing partnership with the Ochoco National Forest in monitoring the Big Summit herd.

This June, as in the past, the coalition will bring volunteers to help with their census ride.

“The efforts of the coalition have contributed greatly to the Ochoco National Forest’s administration of the wild horse herd,” the announcement said. “This year’s two-prong monitoring effort, to add a second census ride for two days in July into outlying areas, is expected to compliment the efforts that the coalition has coordinated in the past. ”

There is much interest in the herd, the forest officials said, and with additional volunteers to support a second census effort, the forest can make a better determination of the overall health of the horses, try to determine how many are actually on the landscape and what possible interactions they are having with the land and resources.

The forest is working with Discover Your Forest to recruit volunteers for the July effort.  Those interested in helping can contact Stacey Cochrane, Community Engagement Director, DYF at (541) 383-5530 or discoveryourforest.org.

For those interested in further information about the program, please contact project team leader Tory Kurtz at (541) 416-6500 or tkurtz@fs.fed.us.

http://www.ktvz.com/news/ochoco-natl-forest-doubles-wild-horse-monitoring/529495671

Elk Hunting Group Wants to Expand Wolf-Killing Derby into Montana: $1,000 Bounty per Wolf | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

“Here at SFTH and at WHFF it is obvious that our attention is upon the future well being of equines, both wild and domestic, but by no means do we cast a blind eye to other wild American species under attack.  Be it Bison, coyote, cougar or in this case the majestic wolf; we are 100% committed to the belief that Mother Nature is much better suited to manage wildlife than the bumbling, brutal and misguided efforts of man.”~ R.T.


“These wolf lottery efforts are dismantling a century-long conservation heritage that is shared not just with environmental groups but with a lot of sportsmen groups as well,”

(EnviroNews Montana) — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), which has funded wolf-killing derbies in Idaho to the tune of $150,000 since 2013, is now seeking to expand its $1,000-per-kill bounty program to the neighboring state of Montana.

Idaho Wolf and Coyote Killing Derby

RMEF provides funds to the Foundation for Wildlife Management (F4WM), which says its mission “is to promote ungulate population recovery in areas negatively impacted by wolves.” While F4WM is based in Idaho, RMEF is stationed in Montana. F4WM held a meeting on April 5 in Sandpoint, Idaho, in an attempt to drum up support for the expanded bounty program. On April 6, Justin Webb, Mission Advancement Director for F4WM, wrote on the group’s Facebook page, “We had several folks from Montana expressing interest in F4WM expanding into Montana, and all were willing to help create Montana funding!”

Webb cautioned however, that it might take some time to determine if F4WM will go ahead with the effort. “[We] should be able to announce yay or nay on an F4WM expansion into Montana within a couple weeks. We have some business operational hurdles to work through, and fine tuning the legistics [sic] of the expansion.”

“These wolf lottery efforts are dismantling a century-long conservation heritage that is shared not just with environmental groups but with a lot of sportsmen groups as well,” said Erik Molvar, Executive Director for the Western Watersheds Project, in an exclusive interview with EnviroNews.

F4WM’s sole sponsor is RMEF. The group published an open letter to President Donald Trump on its website, calling the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone and Idaho “illegal” and telling the President that this “was one extreme criminal act of fraud and theft committed under the administration of William Jefferson Clinton that truly needs to be revisited.”

In 2012, Montana elk hunter Dave Stalling wrote in an op-ed for High Country News about what he described as the RMEF’s “all-out war against wolves.” Stalling worked previously for RMEF and saw changes that he linked to the hiring of David Allen as its director. Today, Allen is President and Chief Executive Officer at RMEF. Allen has supported the delisting of wolves as an endangered species in both Wyoming and Oregon.

“This is an organization that has always been at the fringes of the conservation movement,” said Molvar. “Basically, they are really anti-conservationists in disguise.”

In Idaho, the Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), which regulates hunting in the state, is beset with a funding scandal. An op-ed authored by local hunter Dave Cappell in the January 14, 2017 Idaho State Journal, alleges that two IDFG commissioners were told their terms would not be renewed so that new commissioners, who would approve a system of auction tags for game hunters, could be appointed…(CONTINUED)

http://www.environews.tv/040717-elk-hunting-group-wants-expand-wolf-killing-derby-montana-1000-bounty-per-wolf/

Yellowstone and Montana are Killing the Last Wild Buffalo

2017 03 16 01 003 YoungBull BFCseay2017

More than 1,200 of America’s last wild buffalo have been killed this winter, and it isn’t over yet. Hunting along Yellowstone’s boundaries has taken the lives of more than 400 buffalo. Hunters are still in the field making kills. It’s a terrible time of year to hunt. The buffalo — like other wild grazers — have used up all of their fat stores, and are showing ribs and bony hips, waiting for the re-greening of the Earth so they can again replenish their huge bodies. This is also the time of year when the long, harsh winter takes her toll, too. There will be many buffalo who will not survive into spring, but the government is not accounting for these deaths in their mad rush to reduce this most significant and vulnerable population. Further, hunters are still killing adult female buffalo who will begin having their calves in about six weeks. All too often, BFC patrols make heartbreaking discoveries of finding fully-formed baby buffalo in their mother’s gut piles.

2017 03 16 01 002 YNPtrapBFCseay2017

Additionally, Yellowstone National Park — shamefully complicit in Montana’s livestock industry’s war against wild buffalo — has captured close to 800 buffalo, all of whom have been or will be sent to slaughter. The trap is emptying quickly, though Yellowstone continues to attempt to capture. Recently, some buffalo have resisted these attempts, while others have not been so lucky. On Monday in Gardiner, BFC patrols documented as five Yellowstone wranglers on horseback tried to trap fifty-five buffalo; all but one got away, running to the hills for their lives. The unfortunate mama buffalo who was trapped caught the attention of another family group of twenty-two. Coming dangerously close to the trap, they sealed their own fate as the wranglers, hungry to capture, took advantage of the situation. Hundreds of wild buffalo are gone forever. BFC’s Mike Mease and Stephany Seay attended the second media tour of Yellowstone’s trap last Thursday, where we again witnessed Yellowstone park rangers, wranglers, and biologists doing the service of the Montana Department of Livestock as they loaded wild buffalo onto stock trailers headed for the slaughterhouse, then proceeded to move more through the trap. It has become business as usual for these buffalo abusers, just another day in the park. They tell us that they don’t like doing this, that they want slaughter to end, but their actions say something else. Yellowstone National Park is not without significant power, but they have shown they are without courage. They can stand up to Montana and refuse to participate. But they don’t. Their cold routine of capturing, testing, sorting, and shipping the country’s national mammal to a horrific death — as they don the image of this sacred being on their uniforms and rake in millions from the people who come to adore them — has become just another day at work. They attempt to put the task of change on the public, shirking responsibility for their part in these crimes. While it is true that a current Montana law – MCA 81-2-120 — is the driver behind the cumulative mismanagement plans and practices, Yellowstone should not have the luxury of of passing the buck. The world’s most well-known national park has astounding influence that they choose not to use. Instead, they kill America’s last wild buffalo. By the end of March, this should all be over.

Please continue to keep pressure on Montana and Yellowstone. Do not ease up. Be relentless and don’t accept their excuses. Laws, decisions, and management plans can be changed.
* Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk 307-344-2002
* Montana Governor Steve Bullock 406-444-3111

And contact your members of Congress to tell them that this must end once and for all. Congress holds the purse strings and can end the funding.

2017 03 16 01 001 RedHead BFCseay2017

The coming of spring is beginning to benefit the buffalo, and we are thankful. The Gardiner Basin is swiftly losing all of its snow and the earth is beginning to turn green again. This is encouraging buffalo to migrate away from the vicinity of the trap and away from the boundary where hunters still wait. In the Hebgen Basin, west of the park, however, there is still a significant amount of snow covering the ground. It’s beginning to melt, and south-facing slopes are opening up, but with so much snow there’s still a long way to go. Buffalo here are making their living along creeks and rivers, eating the sedges that are exposed. Soon spring migration will begin in earnest, as family groups — hopefully by the hundreds — will make their way to their calving grounds around Horse Butte. BFC patrols will soon shift our focus to the highway, helping to warn motorists as the buffalo move through this important corridor to their birthing grounds. The Montana Department of Transportation has recently installed new 55mph signs for night time drivers, but without enforcement this change will not benefit buffalo very much. A few other mitigation measures have been or will soon be put into place as well, including new wording on three marquee signs that alert drivers to “BISON” on the road, as well as an incident alert for a mobile app to alert truckers and other travelers that they should expect buffalo on the road along this section of highway. These things will help, but safe passage infrastructure is the only thing that will make a real and lasting difference. Until then, and as we always are, BFC will be out day and night helping to warn traffic, trying to keep the buffalo safe.

Idaho Helicopter Ruling a Victory for Wilderness, Wildlife | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

“It is intolerable that agencies entrusted with enforcing our laws are themselves wantonly violating them…”

collared-wolfConservation groups cheered when a federal judge ruled last month that the Forest Service and Idaho Department of Fish and Game violated federal law by landing helicopters in an Idaho wilderness area to attach tracking collars to elk and wolves. The court also ordered the data gathered through these illegal activities destroyed. The now-halted project gives every appearance of an unscientific witch hunt, tailor-made to scapegoat wolf predation as the cause of elk population declines and to justify a wolf-killing program in wilderness.

Source: Idaho Helicopter Ruling a Victory for Wilderness, Wildlife | Straight from the Horse’s Heart