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Wild Horse Freedom Federation joins fight to save historic wild herd from extinction, again

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Wild-Horse-Freedom-FederationPO Box 390, Pinehurst Texas 77362

For Immediate Release: August 24, 2015

Wild Horse Freedom Federation Partners with The Cloud Foundation to Block BLM’s Plan to Zero Out Colorado’s Unique West Douglas Herd

Pinehurst, TX – Since 2010 wild equine advocacy groups Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) and The Cloud Foundation (TCF) have consistently worked together in a unified effort to thwart the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) attempts to totally remove Colorado’s West Douglas herd from their rightful range for the exclusive benefit of “Welfare” ranchers and special interest groups.

Although this legal battle has been ongoing for almost 20 years the BLM has, as of late, accelerated their efforts to destroy this federally protected, historic herd so that private cattle owners and extraction interests can declare the public land to be their own.

Citing that the wild horses are damaging the range due to over grazing the BLM has failed to acknowledge that the number of horses pale compared to the sizable herd of private, “welfare” cattle that are allowed to graze on the public land for the bulk of the year at mere pennies a day.

“Using the BLM’s own statistics, the wild horses are out numbered by a minimum of 4 to 1 by the welfare cattle allowed to graze on the horse’s range.” states R.T. Fitch, President and cofounder of WHFF, “The concept of the Federal Government destroying this herd to line the pockets of a few of their bedfellows ought to spark outrage in each and every American’s heart and soul. Enough is enough and we are making a stand.”

Renowned equine photographer and Director of Field Documentation for WHFF, Carol Walker agrees; “The BLM must not be allowed to zero out this herd simply because it is ‘inconvenient’ to manage, or because it is pandering to cattle ranchers and extraction companies. This would set a very damaging precedent for our few remaining wild horses and burros.”

The BLM intends to commence with their removal operation next month.

Links of interest:

History of WHFF’s legal Battle with BLM for West Douglas Horses
http://rtfitchauthor.com/?s=West+Douglas&submit=Search

BLM Press Release
http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/co/field_offices/white_river_field/wild_horse_documents.Par.18152.File.dat/Press%20Release%20WRFO%20Gather%207.29.15.pdf

West Douglas Herd Area Final EA
http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/co/field_offices/white_river_field/wild_horse_documents.Par.92698.File.dat/Final%20EA%20WDHA%2020150023_7.27.15_withappendices.pdf

Wild Horse Freedom Federation
http://www.wildhorsefreedomfederation.org

Contact:

R.T. Fitch
Wild Horse Freedom Federation
1-800-974-3684

Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is a registered, Texas non-profit corporation with 501c(3) status in all 50 states. WHFF puts people between America’s wild equids and extinction through targeted litigation against governmental agencies whose documented agendas include the eradication of wild horse and burros from public, federal and state lands. WHFF is funded exclusively through the generosity of the American public.

Ginger Kathrens, Exec. Dir. of the Cloud Foundation with an update on Cloud the Stallion and the wild horses in the Pryor Mountains, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 8/12/15)

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painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , August 12, 2015

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen to the live show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions any time after I introduce Ginger, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This is a 1 hour show.  It will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

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Our guest tonight is Ginger Kathrens, Founder and Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation.  Ginger will be giving us an update on Cloud the Stallion and the wild horses in the Pryor Mountains in Montana.  Ginger will also talk about the BLM’s plans to sterilize wild horses & burros.

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 Cloud walked up to Ginger’s car, perhaps to admire his likeness in the sign.

Tonight’s show is hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

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Carol Walker on BLM’s plans to STERILIZE wild horses, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 8/5/15)

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painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , August 5, 2015

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen to the live show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This is a 1 hour show.  It will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

_____________________________________________

Our guest tonight is Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

Carol will be talking about Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to STERILIZE wild  horses, including the FIELD SPAYING OF WILD MARES.  (Due to the mismanagement of the BLM, most wild horse herds are not even viable.)

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Leon Pielstick, DVM, inserting a chain ecraseur via colpotomy incision

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Preparing a stallion for vasectomy

Tonight’s show is hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

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Add your 2 cents against leasing public lands for as little as $2 an acre for oil & gas

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Please submit a comment to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in your own words, asking that the minimum rate per acre for oil and gas leasing be MUCH higher than $2 an acre, and ask the BLM to remove caps established by current regulations on civil penalties that may be assessed under the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act.

Most importantly, be sure to demand that the BLM NOT approve any more land for oil & gas development/leasing on Wild Horse & Burro Herd Management Areas (HMAs) (since there supposedly isn’t enough water and forage for wild horses and burros on their federally protected HMAs).

wis.Par.69820.Image.200.135.1  (photo:  BLM)
BLM Extends Public Comment Period to June 19, 2015 on Oil and Gas Royalty Rulemaking

SOURCE: goldrushcam.com

May 29, 2015- WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today that it is extending the public comment period on its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to seek public comment on potential updates to BLM rules governing oil and gas royalty rates, rental payments, lease sale minimum bids, civil penalty caps and financial assurances.

Notice of the two-week extension, which extends the comment period deadline to June 19, 2015, will be published in the Federal Register on June 3, 2015.

Modernizing the BLM’s royalty rate structures can provide greater flexibility, especially given the dramatic growth of oil development on public and tribal lands, where production has increased in each of the past six years, and combined production was up 81 percent in 2014 versus 2008. Potential changes to BLM’s regulations would also respond to concerns expressed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Interior’s Office of Inspector General, and others that the BLM’s existing rules lack flexibility and could be causing the United States to forgo significant revenue to the detriment of taxpayers.

The GAO has repeatedly concluded that the BLM’s regulations do not provide a reasonable assurance that the public is getting appropriate fair share of the revenue from these resources. The BLM’s current rules lack the flexibility to offer new competitive leases at higher royalty rates.

The ANPR also addresses the value of these resources by inviting comment on how the BLM might update its rules regarding the minimum acceptable bid that must be paid by parties seeking a lease at auction, and the annual rental payments that are due after a lease is obtained. The current minimum acceptable auction bid is $2 per acre, which is well below the rate at which most parcels sell, suggesting that the rate could be higher. After obtaining a lease, a lessee is currently required to make annual rental payments until the lease starts producing oil or gas. These rental rates currently are $1.50 per acre for the first five years and $2 for years five through 10. The ANPR invites comment on how rental payments might be better structured to incentivize diligent development of leased areas.

The BLM encourages the public to be actively engaged in this process by submitting comments on the revised proposed rule before June 19 in one of the following ways:

Mail: U.S. Department of the Interior, Director (630), Bureau of Land Management, Mail Stop 2134 LM, 1849 C St. NW, Washington, DC, 20240, Attention: 1004-AE41.

Personal or messenger delivery: Bureau of Land Management, 20 M. St. SE, Room 2134 LM, Attention: Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20003.

Online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments at this Website.

To read the original advance notice of public rulemaking go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-04-21/pdf/2015-09033.pdf

Marjorie Farabee & Simone Netherlands warn of loss of Black Mountain HMA wild burros in Arizona on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 5/6/15)

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painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , May 6, 2015

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST More

Western Wild Horses Under Siege, details by Carol Walker on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 4/15)

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painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , April 15, 2015

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen to the live show Here!

This is a 1 hour show.  Call in with questions during the 2nd half hour.  

Call in # (917) 388-4520

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Our guest is Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation who will talk about BLM’s plans to sterilize wild horses, the many deaths of the recently captured Wyoming “checkerboard” wild horses, the BLM’s plans that could, in essence, destroy the Pryor Mountains wild horse herds, and an update on the wild horses at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. (photo above: wild horses in winter in Adobe Town, by Carol Walker)

4boyscarol-1958-editcc5x7 Carol Walker

Carol is a plaintiff in the lawsuit that has been attempting to stop the BLM from removing over 800 wild horses from Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, and Great Divide Basin in Wyoming.

Carol’s website is http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/ and you can see her photography of wild horses at http://www.livingimagescjw.com/

Carol’s website is http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/ and you can see her photography of wild horses at http://www.livingimagescjw.com/

Tonight’s radio show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

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BLM unaware oil company was using pipeline

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new-logo25Debbie Coffey

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How could the BLM be “unaware” that a company is using a pipeline?  (Another reason to wonder how closely the BLM actually monitors the range.)  According to True Oil (True Companies), “Belle Fourche Pipeline is a liquids pipeline operator that gathers and transports crude oil in the Williston Basin of western North Dakota and the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.”  To see a map of this pipeline in Wyoming, click HERE.  According to an article in the Casper Star Tribune, True Companies have had many pipeline spills.

True Companies also owns 7 True Ranches (ADA Ranch, Double Four Ranch, LAK Ranch, Rock River Ranch, Chalk Bluffs Ranch, HU Ranch, VR Ranch), 2 feedlots (LAK Feedlot, Wheatland Feedlot) and 2 Farms (LAK Farm, Wheatland Farm) in Wyoming.          –  Debbie

cows  True Ranches’ cattle (photo:  True Companies)

SOURCE:  Buffalo Bulletin

Almost a decade after Belle Fourche Pipeline Co., a True Oil company, told the Bureau of Land Management it was no longer using a pipeline 44 miles southeast of Buffalo, the pipeline leaked 25,200 gallons of crude oil onto public lands.

The company terminated its right of way permit in writing in 2006. At some point, without the knowledge of the federal agency, the company illegally resumed use of the pipeline, said Christian Venhuizen, BLM public affairs specialist.

Why and when the company continued to use the pipeline remains unanswered. Bob Dundas, environmental coordinator for Belle Fourche and Bridger pipelines, said he would forward the Buffalo Bulletin’s request for information and comment to someone who could answer questions related to permitting.

On May 20, 2014, Belle Fourche reported the oil spill to the BLM, after workers noticed oil seeping up from the ground, Dundas said. The BLM determined that Belle Fourche was in trespass, Venhuizen said, and fined Bridger Pipeline, a sister company, also owned by True Oil.

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Proposed Collection of Information on Wild Horses & Burros; BLM Requests Comments

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The BLM is now planning to do a “knowledge and values study” on wild horses & burros using focus groups.  The focus groups are to include the usual special interest groups (the same ones that are so vocal against wild horses & burros on the BLM Resource Advisory Councils/RACs).

Most of us aren’t perusing the Federal Register on a daily basis, but an advocate alerted us to the notice below.  We should all ask WHO will APPOINT/SELECT the people who will take part in these focus groups.  The BLM proposes to have “guides” (a prepared agenda) for the groups, presumably to limit the topics you can talk about.  The questions/discussions will then likely be designed to lead you to whatever predetermined outcome the BLM wants.  Read HERE about the BLM and use of the Delphi Technique.

This is not free speech.  Will the topics include the delay of the issuance of the investigation report of the 1,700 wild horses Tom Davis bought?  Will the focus groups be updated on the current number of deaths of wild horses at the BLM’s Scott City, Kansas feedlot?  Will the participants be able to review any vet reports or necropsy reports from the Scott City feedlot?

This undemocratic process seems to be a way for the BLM to feign interest in listening to the public,  while in reality, it continues its efforts to contrive what could seem to the public to be some sort of a consensus.

I wonder if the BLM will ever have focus groups or advisory councils on wild horse & burro issues that are composed ONLY of real wild horse & burro advocates, who all care about the welfare of the wild horses and burros (instead of special interest “stakeholders” who focus on how to get rid of them).  The comment period for this proposed focus group farce ends May 11, 2015.  This is destined to be another unscientific “study” as the BLM continues to operate like a dog chasing its tail.  –  Debbie Coffey


This document has a comment period that ends in 58 days (05/11/2015) How To Comment

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Foreign-owned mines operate royalty-free under outdated US law

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blackhillshorses-1200x639 (1)

SOURCE:  revealnews.org  from The Center for Investigative Reporting

By / January 21, 2015

Let’s say you own 245 million acres.  And underneath that land are billions of dollars worth of minerals – gold, silver, copper, uranium and more.  Would you let foreign companies in to tear up your land, put your water at risk and take those minerals without paying royalties?

You already are. That’s the amount of public surface land controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the federal government’s biggest landholder. And companies that mine these lands are exempt from federal royalty payments.

And it’s happening right now.  Take, for example, the Dewey Burdock uranium project in South Dakota.  It encompasses 240 acres of public surface land, plus more than 4,000 subsurface acres of uranium-rich earth.

As of two months ago, a Hong Kong-based company had secured the right to mine and profit off that uranium, used to replenish nuclear power plants around the world, particularly in China.  In November, Hong Kong’s Azarga Resources merged with Powertech to become Azarga Uranium and manage the Dewey Burdock project.

Azarga will pay no royalties to the United States government.  Thanks to the Mining Law of 1872, which still governs uranium and other “hardrock” mining to this day, any company can extract and sell minerals from public lands without paying a cent in royalties to the federal government.

A spokesman for the mine, Mark Hollenbeck, points out that the mine will be paying South Dakota a severance tax, which is a tax on extracting nonrenewable resources.

Besides the royalties issue, some community members worry this mine will put their drinking water at risk.  In-situ uranium mining by nature takes place where there is groundwater.  The process involves injecting chemicals into the aquifer where the uranium ore is.  The chemicals leach the uranium from the rock, and the uranium is then pumped to the surface.  At Dewey Burdock, opponents are concerned that the radioactive, uranium-laden groundwater won’t be contained to the mining site.

Last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission released testimony from geologist Hannan LaGarry.  LaGarry found serious flaws in the company’s analysis of the groundwater geology.  He concluded that that there is a risk of groundwater contamination if the mine is allowed to go forward.

The mining company opposed the release of the testimony.

In the U.S., the aquifer by law must be restored to its previous condition when mining is finished.  That means the water must be cleaned enough to put it back to its pre-mining uses.

A Hong Kong-based company has secured the right to mine and profit off the Dewey Burdock uranium project in South Dakota.

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Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, with an update on the Wyoming wild horse checkerbcourt case and the captured wild horses (Wed., 3/4/15)

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painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , March 4, 2015 More

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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new-logo25

 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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