Thursday, September 6, 2007

Where Have All The Geldings Gone?


A letter to the editor published in the Washington Times by Valerie James Patton of Shingletown, California has exposed the stunning possibility that the Bureau of Land Management may be shipping our wild horses into Mexico under a “non-slaughter” listing. What happens to these geldings once they cross the border is certainly one of the big questions that deserves an investigation.

According to Ms. Patton’s letter, over 2,000 geldings have been sent through one particular slaughter port from New Mexico to Mexico this year alone. According to the report, this year’s number of geldings is twice as high as it was for the same time last year.

The geldings are the exclusive class of animal being shipped through this port under a “non-slaughter” listing, begging the questions-

-Why only geldings?
-Where are all the geldings coming from?
-What is Mexico doing with only geldings and no other class of horse?

They can’t possibly be for breeding purposes and once they cross the border, there is no legal limitations that prevent them being greeted by a slaughterhouse fate. Geldings are also worth more by “the pound”.

So what is going on?

Anyone remotely familiar with how BLM conducts wild horse removals knows that almost all wild stallions are gelded when they are removed from the range. Considering BLM has removed over 70,000 wild horses and burros between October, 2001 and March, 2007, logic would suggest the geldings being supplied to Mexico may be coming straight from our own wild American Herds.

At the very least, it should be investigated as to the where this many geldings are coming from and why Mexico needs over 2,000 “non-slaughter” geldings.

Another consideration is, according to BLM, as of July 30, 2007, over 2,500 wild horses and burros have been sold under the “Sale Authority” clause granted to BLM by Senator Burns, supposedly as a “stealth rider” that Congress has yet to repeal. This is an amazingly similar number to the geldings shipped for “non-slaughter” purposes through the New Mexico port to Mexico.

New Mexico was also home to the Grand Jury Investigation that was slammed shut without further review or any Congressional investigation regarding BLMs alleged black book activities and black market affairs that involved the selling wild horses and burro for slaughter in the mid-nineties. Today, there is no legal consequence to BLM even if they did sell them for slaughter, thanks to Congressional failure to amend the situation.

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone actually investigated this to see where those geldings are coming from and what is being done with them or will the geldings just keep rolling through the port “no questions asked”?

The photo used was taken from a BLM Internet Adoption Site at the Ewing, Illinois facility in April 2007. Nine different “foals” showed up for adoption, all shipped from New Mexico, all “born” in New Mexico holding facilities and all dated November of 2006 - long past foaling season!

To access this information-
Ms. Pattons letter posted in the Washington Times-
http://www.washingtontimes.com:80/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070904/EDITORIAL/109040007/1013/editorial&template=nextpage
The Year to Date Totals of Geldings Shipped Through the New Mexico Port-
http://marketnews.usda.gov/gear/browseby/txt/AL_LS604.TXT
For BLM Current Wild Horse and Burro Sales-
http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro/Fact_Sheet.html

10 comments:

Nevada Willis said...

Some of you aren't going to like what I'm about to post but those of you who know me know I post facts, not conjecture. I'm not interested in conspiracy theories. Conspiracies that involve more than two or three people, especially those involving governmental employees, seldom stay secret for long. And I've heard just about every conspiracy theory one could imagine.

I'm a realist. I'm frequently out on the range with the wild horses. I observe gathers. I, along with a number of other "hands-on" advocates, work on alternatives to "trap and dump" horse management strategies. My group is one that takes in injured foals and orphans. We maintain emergency watering operations in drought areas. We develop alternative habitats for horses displaced by wildfires and urban sprawl. We educate adopters so that horses that are removed from wild populations might have a less stressful transition to domestic life. My group, in collaboration with other allied groups, have intervened in some of the most serious wild horse "disasters" in modern history. We also take in foals from slaughter-bound Indian Nation mares. We walk the walk. We give credit for jobs well done and go after people who are criminal or profoundly negligent in their care, custody and control of horses. We may not have all the answers but what answers we have are based on real, tangible, see it, smell it, feel it, taste it facts.

I have no argument that a large number of geldings being shipped to Mexico under "non slaughter" shipping papers are likely headed to the dinner table. I can visualize no alternative that makes sense. However it is a huge and unintelligent leap to connect BLM to these horses without some kind of direct evidence which, so far to my knowledge, doesn't exist.

BLM is anal about tracking horses. This is an area where a BLM employee can be transferred to BLM's equivalent of Siberia for being careless. All BLM horses are freezemarked. There are occasionally incidental errors in logging the whereabouts of an individual horse or two... usually caused by transposing two digits of a serial number at a keyboard, but it isn't likely that BLM is going to risk somehow "misplacing" a dozen untitled horses let alone two thousand. Quite frankly it's illegal to export untitled BLM horses and nobody at BLM is likely to risk his/her job to relieve the population at Long Term Holding.

Sale Authority has placed a number of horses in private hands. We all know about the horses that ended up at Cavel International and the huge negative fallout that followed. I'm familiar with a number of the "buyers" of larger numbers of horses. I was one of the people who was asked to check out some of these applicants. These are primarily folks and organizations that have found private long term habitats for the horses and most have helped the wild horse cause long before Sale Authority ever came around.

I know the BLM Special Agent that checks on these horse sales. He's probably known to some of you reading this post. He is a horse lover who would just love to catch someone who signed a non-slaughter statement try to export a truckload of sale authority horses. Some day some court may decide that the non-slaughter statement isn't binding, but he'd love to make them sweat until the point a judge let the miscreant go, and he'd love even more making an example of someone if a judge will levy a hefty fine or send someone to jail. I've seen him go after people who violate PL 92-195 and related wild horse statutes and I don't want to give him any excuse to come after me!

The probable issue here is that it appears likely that some person or persons are shipping horses south under false pretenses. If such action disturbs those of you who read this blog (and it should) then you would do well to urge your representatives and senators in D.C. to pass a version of the anti-slaughter bill that prohibits both domestic slaughter and export for slaughter for human consumption. Also get your friends to take similar actions. Then those who export horses under misleading paperwork could be legally accountable for their actions.

Nothing is going to prevent a small number of horses from reaching the slaughterhouse but we can make the bulk of the sale for slaughter business unprofitable.

A couple of other "corrections."

1. Foals can be born any time of year. Horse gestation is 11 months. Spring is naturally the peak time but mares can (and often do) "slip behind" a month or so each season. Winter foals often don't survive (unless groups like ours bring them in) as they don't have enough body mass to maintain body heat and they eventually get sluggish and can't keep up with the band. It's nature's way of giving mares a rest from nursing and to regain some body mass. Most mares will then breed in the spring and produce spring foals. We see mid winter foals up in the Virginia Range which is much farther north than New Mexico and at over 6,000 ft. elevation. I'm not at all surprised that southern herds also produce winter foals.

2. BLM does NOT automatically geld most of the studs brought in. Most stallions prepared for adoption are of course gelded but as we know, the Achilles heel of the Wild Horse and Burro Program is that more horses are coming off the range than can be placed with high quality adopters. Intact stallions generally get along great together... like a huge bachelor band, so there is no need to geld most stallions until preparation for adoption.

You want to see stallions brought in by BLM? I noticed that someone pirated a copy of a video we had made of over 100 Butterfield Stallions during Wild Horse Workshop 2003 and posted it on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bCBZdK67pw

Wild horses that haven't been harassed by man are instinctively curious social animals as you can see on this series of still photos of the workshop participants in the BLM stallion corral.

http://www.wildhorseworkshop.org/whw03/whw03bf2.html

And yes, stallions will play together in the wild.

http://www.kbrhorse.net/wclo/whstagecoach09.html

- - -

Here's my point in all of this. We have to get serious if we want to protect wild horses. Most of the heavy hitters on the anti-horse side of this issue are motivated by profit and are well organized. If we get distracted chasing ghosts it takes precious time and resources away from the main battle which involves basing range management decisions on established science rather than politics or profit, developing alternatives to "trap and dump" management, and keeping the number of excess horses that have to be removed from stressed ranges in balance with the number of good quality homes in which they can be placed. Otherwise we will always have a "wild horse crisis."

Willis Lamm
Stagecoach, NV

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Anonymous said...

"Nevada Willis" is well-known for his affiliations and support for BLM. He is often classified as an "infiltrator" who is used to discredit anyone who criticizes BLMs activities and to disrupt groups attempting to make meaningful change.

He may walk the walk but you need to ask with who....

KY Horsewoman said...

What would Willis do for a living if he didn't have OUR wild horses to train and adopt out? Is he doing anything to stop the unnecessary roundups so there won't be any orphan or injuried wild horse foals? What about the dead adult and young wild horses that result from the roundups? And there is that word "excess" again. That is the word the BLM uses as an excuse to roundup the few wild horses still left free. THERE ARE NO EXCESS WILD HORSES !!

TerryW said...

In response to Willis: You mean like the "conspiracy theory" Martha Mendoza exposed in the late 90's?? She certainly wasn't "chasing ghosts."

If the BLM can do it once, they can surely do it again. Especially under the corrupt eyes of the current administration.

What Willis fails to understand is that we all have our own issues that activate us. Willis provides a needed service, but for others it's being the BLM's watchdog, and others have their own reasons for being active in wild horse and burro issues. Willis is good at what he does but he should not expect everyone to think & act as he does.

But I do have to wonder why so many wild horses in Nevada being rounded up and removed for things like "drought" if his group is out there providing water sources? And the orphans - those are coming from brutal round up procedures.

If Martha Mendoza had accepted his "conspiracy theory" comment during her investigation into BLM's wild horse and burro program in the late 1990's and decided not to go "chasing ghosts" the BLM would have never been exposed and thousands more wild horses would've been sold by BLM employees to slaughter for personal profit.

Without watchdogs, government agencies run amuck.

Terry

Anonymous said...

Check out this enlightning report on the late 90s' cover-up: http://www.peer.org/pubs/whitepapers_id.php?row_id=14

excerpt: "Yet, the BLM has tolerated and in some instances facilitated the routine and illegal trafficking of wild horses to slaughter. The agency has obstructed efforts by its own law enforcement officers to expose commercial theft of wild horses, fraudulent adoption schemes and fictitious "sanctuary" herds not only to avoid embarrassment but also to maintain the flow of horses off the range."

SOLSOUL said...

Here we go again with the "conspiracy theorists" accusation. Every time citizens start to question the government they are quickly labled "wackos". This tactic has been used extensively since the "Roswell" incident of 1947. It has been very effectual in keeping the American people in the dark on many questionable issues. It is really a three part tactic:
1) Questions posed by "wackos" need not be answered so
ignore them- Bury the answers in a giant bureaucratic
dung heap. Exclude questioners from digging in the
pile by claiming "need to know" "national security"
and eventually "executive privilege".
2) Discredit the questioner by bring forth select so
called "experts". Those who "walk the walk" and are
"hands on". As they are already "beholding" to the
bureaucracy being questioned they can be counted on
stick to to the "party line".
3) Impugn the questioners patriotism - for "true
Americans" trust and support the government. They
know the Government would never lie to them. Pass
the necessary legislation that would enable the
questioner to be labeled "traitor" should they
start to get to close to the truth. They may then be
"disposed of legally" for their "treason".

I shall leave it to the readers to decide for themselves if any of these tactics apply in this case.

PaintedWild said...

It would be justifiable in my opinion that anyone who doesn't question our government would be the wacko! Which probably explains why our country is in the condition it is in, say nothing about wild horses. I don't doubt this at all, the shipping of wild horses to Mexico, or Canada, or silently being slinked to Texas for years. Think of where all the LTH facilities are, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, etc. It would take a Philly lawyer to figure out how to silently slide the horses in LTH to their deaths, after all, it is impossible to get NUMBERS. You can't find out who is in LTH, where they came from, how many are there. The only reason for not being able to find out NUMBERS...imho, is the NUMBERS keep changing. We are fools to think horses rounded up 20 years ago are really still in long-term holding....we didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, although most of our actions and lack of dissent would make the gov ops think that. I would tend to wonder why Nevada Willis ALWAYS sticks up for the BLM, he is obviously in some sort of denial about his first and foremost government agency, or how big the department really is!!!! ALWAYS question the government, if it looks like a fish, smells like a fish and taste like a fish...it really IS probably a fish!

ValerieJP said...

Willis: BLM does NOT automatically geld most of the studs brought in. Most stallions prepared for adoption are of course gelded but as we know, the Achilles heel of the Wild Horse and Burro Program is that more horses are coming off the range than can be placed with high quality adopters. Intact stallions generally get along great together... like a huge bachelor band, so there is no need to geld most stallions until preparation for adoption.

Even though stallions may get along great together, and play together in the wild, this is not about stallions. The non-slaughter horses exported out of New Mexico's Santa Teresa port of entry so far this year are all geldings. No mares, no stallions. However in 2006, 2,260 non-slaughter horses from New Mexico were exported to Mexico, 43 of those were stallions, no mares, and 2,217 geldings. To date this year, there have been no stallions, no mares, and 2,185 geldings. Where could over 4,000 geldings, all going through Santa Teresa as non slaughter horses to Mexico, in just a 2 year time frame, be coming from?

Because the older long term holding horses are not going to be prepared for adoption, they are gelded as part of their preparation into long term holding, The younger 'unadoptable' 3 strike horses in long term holding were already gelded in preparation for their offer of adoption.

I spoke to the BLM private contractor who owns 2 of the long term facilities in Oklahoma, and he explained that no stallions or mares are brought in to the facilities which hold the geldings, and that each facility is required to hold at least 2,000 horses. He also informed me that Osage County in Oklahoma is the home to 4 of BLM's long term holding facilities, and all 4 of these facilities keep geldings only. The mares and fillies are held in at least 2 other separate facilities in Kansas, do not take geldings, and of course to prevent breeding, do not take stallions.

Now with over 8,000 geldings held in just one county of Oklahoma, can you honestly think of another source that could possibly supply this many geldings for any purpose?

Willis: The probable issue here is that it appears likely that some person or persons are shipping horses south under false pretenses. If such action disturbs those of you who read this blog (and it should) then you would do well to urge your representatives and senators in D.C. to pass a version of the anti-slaughter bill that prohibits both domestic slaughter and export for slaughter for human consumption. Also get your friends to take similar actions. Then those who export horses under misleading paperwork could be legally accountable for their actions.

Why would you feel that only with the passage of the anti-slaughter bill, should this issue be looked into. You have admitted that surely someone is sending these horses over under false pretenses. With BLM's track record for managing the wild horses, wouldn't it be sensible to at least investigate and question the possibility of BLM's involvement, or is that creating a 'conspiracy theory' ?

Why would we wait for the passage of the AHSPA to find out who is shipping these horses under false pretenses? What would make this anymore or any less illegal with AHSPA's passage? Why wouldn't we want to find out NOW who is doing this, and hold them accountable NOW, since this is taking place NOW? This situation might have already come to a halt by the time the ban is passed, and we might not ever be able to find out who was doing this. Unless of course, you wanted to give the guilty party plenty of time to cover their tracks.

Willis, I agree that passing the AHSPA is one of the most important things we need to do, but sadly, these particular horses will not be protected under the ban, since the ban only stops the export of slaughter horses.

Willis: If we get distracted chasing ghosts it takes precious time and resources away from the main battle which involves basing range management decisions on established science rather than politics or profit, developing alternatives to "trap and dump" management, and keeping the number of excess horses that have to be removed from stressed ranges in balance with the number of good quality homes in which they can be placed. Otherwise we will always have a "wild horse crisis."

If that's how you perceive the main battle, then we will always have the wild horse crisis anyway. We need to find a way to discontinue BLM's failing management plan for the horses altogether. BLM should be forced to comply with the Scientific Code of Conduct under the DOI, and start managing the wild horses for their protection and welfare instead of their extinction.

How can basing range management decisions based on established science ever be accomplished, when BLM has scientific studies altered, rewritten, and falsly presented by other government officials or teams set up for this purpose, so they may favor special interests such as cattle grazing or drilling, regardless of public protest? They aren't held accountable, or made to answer any questions in a court of law, and they get away with these actions, and then just continue on.

How do you expect to keep the number of excess horses removed in balance with the number of homes they can be placed in, when the numbers of the removed horses are already so far above and beyond that point now, with the scale constantly tipping even further due to these continuing and excessive removals with alarmingly high numbers of horses?

Willis: It isn't likely that BLM is going to risk somehow "misplacing" a dozen untitled horses let alone two thousand. Quite frankly it's illegal to export untitled BLM horses and nobody at BLM is likely to risk his/her job to relieve the population at Long Term Holding.

Would it be so surprising to discover that BLM might just see "relieving the population at long term holding" as a way out of the mess they've created, especially if they thought no one would find out about it anyway? And if they were found to be exporting these horses, who at BLM would be held accountable?

BLM surely realizes they're heading toward a much larger wild horse crisis in their long term facilities as they've gone way past the point of ever being able to reach a balance for finding homes for these horses.

But in reality, despite your plan to balance the horses with homes, BLM is not interested in finding the long term horses homes at all. These horses are not for adoption and they are not for sale either. Remember too, that we now have more horses in long term facilities than we have on the range, and the number of long term horses will only continue rise unless we stop the removals. I asked the BLM long term holding contractor how to go about getting one of these horses, and he said the long term holding horses are not available to the public for sale or adoption.

I also spoke to the USDA Officer in Charge (OIC) at Santa Teresa. He's the man who collects the statistics at the border from the USDA inspectors to make up his charts for the USDA reports. Santa Teresa is owned and operated by the Chihuahua Cattlemen's Association, and they are involved in many of the agricultural programs at Oklahoma State University which involves many Oklahoma ranchers.

When I asked him for information on the horses, in particular why there were so many geldings, and no mares or stallions in the non-slaughter category, he said he didn't know and it wasn't any of his concern. I asked him if he could give me the name and contact information of any one of the USDA officials who might be able to give me some information on the horses exported to Mexico, and even though he's at the border every morning with the USDA officials, he said he didn't know the name of anyone that I could contact about any of these horses. Don't you get the feeling that our government is hiding something here?

And please explain why finding out about these horses and how to protect them should be considered 'chasing ghosts', and would cause the loss of precious resources needed for a battle that's aimed at finding homes for wild horses, when finding them homes was never part of BLM's plan anyway, although they'd like us all to believe that it was. They're not interested in finding homes for the majority of the wild horses or even for half of them. Except for some of the younger ones they hope they can rid the range of through adoption, all the rest of them, the 3 strikers and all the ones over 10 years old were never intended to go to homes, which is proven by the long term horses not ever being made available to the public for sale or adoption. By not allowing us any information on their numbers or having any resources to find out about them, they are lost to us completely, and we have no way of knowing what happens to them after they reach these long term facilities. I will include some links below about the long term horses and the long term facilities, and about the BLM long term contractor keeping burial pits ready for the older horses, and stating that there's a never ending supply of "truckloads of these horses to replace those that die, always rambling down the road." For all we know, they could even be going over the border and slaughtered. But then, that's just as ridiculous as chasing ghosts,isn't it? Or is it?
Valerie
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

http://www.trib.com/AP/wire_detail.php?wire_num=312905

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/07/18/wild_horse_population_overwhelms/

http://www.rgj.com/news/printstory.php?id=56017

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2007/june/WONews_pasture_solicitiation.html

http://www.nv.blm.gov/news_releases/Press_Releases/fy_2001/PR_01_34.html

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