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Janine Blaeloch, Dir. of Western Lands Project, on BLM & Forest Service Land Swaps and Industrial Solar, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 2/25)

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painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , February 25, 2015 More

Rancher Kevin Borba & Eureka County Commissioners try to pull wool over public’s eyes

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 Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

CORRECTION:  When this article originally posted, the incorrect information that Kevin Borba owned 330,000 acres was quoted from the Elko Daily Free Press (Thomas Mitchell).  However, according to newly obtained information from the Eureka County Assessor, Kevin Borba owns 1,339.55 acres.  This article has been updated to include this correction. ____________________________________________________

Fish Creek HMA roundup (photo:  Bureau of Land Management)

Fish Creek HMA roundup (photo: Bureau of Land Management)

Rancher Kevin Borba and Eureka County Commissioners filed the appeal with the Interior Board of Land Appeals on Friday, opposing the return of any of the 424 wild horses recently rounded up to the Fish Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) near Eureka, Nevada.

The BLM planned to return 104 mares treated with fertility control (PZP) and 82 studs to the Fish Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) near Eureka on Friday. More

Sustainable Cowboys or Welfare Ranchers of the American West?

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Source:  THE DAILY PITCHFORK

Report analyzes taxpayer bailout of U.S. public lands ranching [Part II of a series on ranchers]

by Vickery Eckhoff

Cliven-Bundy-on-Horseback-e1423775080754-620x264 Public lands livestock operators each cost taxpayers nearly a quarter of a million dollars in subsidies over the last decade. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

Five hundred million dollars[1]. That’s what 21,000[2] ranchers who graze their livestock on America’s iconic western rangelands are estimated to have cost US taxpayers in 2014 — and every year for the past decade. This averages out to an annual taxpayer subsidy of $23,809 per rancher — approximately a quarter of a million dollars each since 2005. So why does this small subset, representing just 2.7% of US livestock producers, protest the “welfare rancher” label?

 The public lands grazing program is welfare.

That $23,809 — and it’s a lowball figure — is a form of public assistance similar to other welfare programs. The only difference is, it doesn’t arrive as a check in the mail. It instead represents a loss covered by taxpayers: the very large difference between what public lands ranchers pay in fees to the US government and what public lands grazing costs taxpayers every year. But it’s still a subsidy, as a newly updated economic analysis, Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands, makes clear. And the recipients aren’t low income; a large number are millionaires and some are billionaires and multi-billion dollar corporations. Cattle barons, if you will.

Public lands ranching costs western ecosystems, wildlife and taxpayers.

“Several federal agencies permit livestock grazing on public lands in the United States, the largest being the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of Agriculture’s United States Forest Service (USFS).

The vast majority of livestock grazing on BLM and USFS rangelands occurs in the 11 western states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Rangelands are non-irrigated and generally have vegetation that consists mostly of grasses, herbs and/or shrubs. They are different from pastureland, which may periodically be planted, fertilized, mowed or irrigated.”

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Dept. of Justice refuses to take any action against Spur Livestock, BLM contractors who sold wild horses to a kill buyer

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In this case, there was NO justice.  Wild Horse Freedom Federation did an investigation and found that a BLM long term holding contractor, Spur Livestock, sold wild horses to well known kill buyer Joe Simon.  R.T. Fitch, President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, publicly presented an official government document with proof of this to the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board at their meeting.  Joan Guilfoyle, Division Chief of the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, was present.

However, the Department of Justice (DoJ) only issued a letter of declination.  A declination decision is generally viewed to mean that the DoJ , in the exercise of its prosecutorial discretion, declines to prosecute or bring an enforcement action.  

So, the issue of a current BLM contractor selling wild horses to a kill buyer, most likely for slaughter, was just swept under the rug. More

Guardian’s Wild Horse Meat Story Contains 92% Bull

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Photo: Jennifer Maharry

Rated: F

Article Review:

Why You Really Should (But Really Can’t) Eat Horse Meat

the Guardian  –  Jan 09, 2015

Michael Moss’ powerful New York Times’ investigation into the United States Department of Agriculture’s Meat Animal Research Center (“U.S. Research Lab Lets Livestock Suffer In Quest For Profit”) predictably outraged readers. The collective angst came not just because of the center’s ghoulish and inept experimentation; not just because the research animals suffered to boost profits in the livestock industry; but because the public learned that taxpayers had footed the bill — and had been doing so — for fifty years.

Compare that discovery to the recent media attention given to a very similar program, one involving even more animals, conducted to boost livestock industry profits, costing even more taxpayer dollars, and degrading millions of acres of public rangelands in the American West: The Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burros Program (WHB).

The news media regularly covers this program. Articles about wild horses appear daily, in fact. So why is the public incensed over the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Meat Animal Research Center while the WHB program goes ignored?

The difference is in the reporting. Coverage of the Meat Animal Research Center (which we review here) was initiated by government whistleblowers within the research facility. An experienced investigative reporter subsequently spent a year researching the claims, largely through Freedom of Information Act requests. Federal and corporate perspectives were handled with appropriate suspicion.

Coverage of the WHB program, on the other hand, is typically sourced almost entirely from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the industries benefiting economically from wild horse roundups: notably, private ranchers holding public grazing permits (though mining and energy development companies profit, too).

If Moss, in his reporting on the Meat Animal Research Center, had turned to the USDA’s web site and livestock producers to ask about doing research to boost industry profits, would anyone ever know about “easy-care sheep” and lambs left to perish in rainstorms courtesy of unknowing taxpayers? Of course not.

But coverage of the WHB program was dominated by those groups making money off it. David Philipps’ New York Times article (“As Wild Horses Overrun the West, Ranchers Fear Land Will Be Gobbled Up,” critiqued here) and Caty Enders’ Guardian piece (“Why You Really Should, But Really Can’t, Eat Horsemeat”) are two cases in point.

Non-industry sources comprise less than 8 percent of the articles’ collective text. The other 92 percent is all industry boilerplate. Enders’ loyalty to the ranchers’ perspective even creeps into her word choices. Notably, she uses rancher lingo to refer to wild horses, calling them “feral.” Her point of view is clear, and it’s 92% bull.

This kind of source bias would be understandable coming from a reporter for a beef industry trade publication. But Enders is a reporter for a major media outlet.

An over-reliance on federal and industry sources is problematic not just for animals, but for the consumers who eat them (and care about their welfare). Enders’ piece notably fails to answer the two questions posed in her own headline: a) why you should eat horse meat, and b) why you can’t.

One reason why you can’t eat horse meat is that some states ban it outright. The larger reason is that Congress passed an amendment banning inspections in horse slaughter plants, preventing them from opening. These facts are well documented in the media, as this January 17, 2014 NPR article exemplifies.

A bipartisan majority supported this amendment because the drugs horses routinely take are banned in food animals. Furthermore, there is no proper system in place to track these drugs, making it impossible to keep tainted horse meat out of the food chain. As a reporter, Enders should have known these facts. And reported them.

Enders’ suggestion that wild horses would be suitable alternatives is equally misinformed. For one thing, wild horses in BLM holding facilities are wormed and vaccinated (therefore not free of drugs banned in meat animals). For another, Congress prohibits the slaughter of wild horses. As a reporter, Enders should have known that, too.

Why did she not? Simple: industry, whom she relied on for her reporting, doesn’t offer this information. The only place you’ll learn about the intricacies of horse slaughter (and wild horse round-ups) is from advocacy groups: the very people Enders and Philipps gave one word of text to for every eleven it handed to ranchers and the BLM.

rapa das bestas photo_Getty_Miguel RiopaAgain, sources matter. Consider, as a final point, the dramatic photo in Enders’ piece showing wild horses fighting, one with its teeth bared and the caption, “Overcrowding on the frontiers of the American west could lead to a depletion of natural resources for wild horses.”

The photo confirms the article’s bias. The problem is that it doesn’t depict wild horses fighting over depleted natural resources in the American West at all. Rather, it was taken in Sabucedo, Spain during a 400-year-old “horse festival” called rapa das bestas, a macabre ritual in which wild horses are driven down from the mountains, wrestled to the ground to have their manes and tails trimmed, and “corralled into a village where they face aloitadores or fighters in this man vs. animal challenge – minus weapons, just bare hands and hooves.”

There’s a reason why complex topics — such as Moss’ investigation into the Meat Animal Research Center and wild horses rounded up by the BLM — require thoughtful digging and reporting. The alternative — an easy reliance on self-interested federal and industry sources — keeps the public in the dark about the inept, incomprehensible and inhumane things that the government is doing with its money. Journalists should not be abetting that corruption. They should be exposing it.

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Study: Livestock Grazing on Public Lands Cost Taxpayers $1 Billion Over Past Decade

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Information supplied by The Center for Biological Diversity

BLM’s Welfare Ranching Bedfellows come with a huge price tag…

WASHINGTON— A new analysis  finds U.S. taxpayers have lost more than $1 billion over the past decade on a program that allows cows and sheep to graze on public land. Last year alone taxpayers lost $125 million in grazing subsidies on federal land. Had the federal government charged fees similar to grazing rates on non-irrigated private land, the program would have made $261 million a year on average rather than operate at a staggering loss, the analysis finds.

Click Image to Download Full Report

Click Image to Download Full Report

The study, Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands, comes as the Obama administration prepares Friday to announce grazing fees for the upcoming year on 229 million acres of publicly owned land, most of it in the West. The report was prepared by economists on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity.

“Public lands grazing has been a billion-dollar boondoggle over the past decade and hasn’t come close to paying for itself,” said Randi Spivak with the Center for Biological Diversity. More

BLM omits facts and uses fuzzy math to roundup wild horses in Pine Nut Herd Management Area in Nevada

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strip banner  new-logo25Debbie Coffey

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Some interesting background before you read the news article below:  It seems that if we even just look at one grazing allotment on the Pine Nut HMA, the Buckeye Allotment, BLM allows about 375 cattle (and don’t forget that cow-calf pairs only count as one in BLM fuzzy math, so this number could be doubled) to dine on public lands for about 5 1/2 months out of the year.

The Buckeye Grazing Allotment permittee is Bently Family Ltd. Partnership (with the 7th highest taxpayer assessment in Douglas County in 2013-2014, at $12,385,310).  The President & Director of Bently Ranch is businessman Christopher Bently, who’s also the CEO of Bently Holdings, and is on the Board of Directors of The Burning Man Project.  He was CEO of Bently Biofuels, but just sold it.  He’s also CEO of Bently Enterprises.  His father was billionaire Don Bently.

Also, in BLM’s Oct. 2010 Environmental Assessment to roundup wild horses in the Pine Nut HMA in Nevada, the BLM claimed there were 148 horses within the Pine Nut HMA and they were going to treat 45 mares with PZP.  So, that would leave about 103 wild horses without fertility control in Oct. 2010.  So even if ALL STALLIONS GAVE BIRTH, and using BLM’s questionable estimate of a 25% increase per year for wild horse herds, that would mean in 2011 there could’ve been 129 horses, in 2012 there could’ve been 162 horses, in 2013 there could’ve been 203 horses and in 2014 there could’ve been 254 horses.  (But only IF ALL of the stallions also gave birth.  And only IF no horses died.) More

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