Equine Welfare News Archive

In Memory of Jay Kirkpatrick


The following news is from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign 

It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, a true pioneer in the field of humane Dr. Jay Kirkpatrickwildlife management. Dr. Kirkpatrick, the founder of the Science and Conservation Center, passed away earlier this week from a brief but serious illness. He will be greatly missed.

His passing is a terrible loss for the wild horse community. Our deepest condolences go to his wife and his colleagues at the Science and Conservation Center who are like family to AWHPC, as Dr. Kirkpatrick was.

Jay was a rare “scientist with a heart” and he dedicated his life to reducing the suffering of wild animals by developing a humane alternative to lethal management practices. The PZP fertility control vaccine that he developed and perfected (as affirmed by 30 years of published science) has kept countless wild animals – from wild horses to deer to bison and even elephants – wild and free by protecting them from capture and killing.

I’m not a bunny hugger, but I’ll never attend another gather as long as I live. They’re flat-out inhumane,” he told National Geographic in 2009 describing BLM wild horse roundups. “There are three reasons why these gathers are an unsatisfactory solution to the problem of numbers. Firstly, it’s genetically irresponsible to be constantly pulling off young horses whose genes will never get expressed; secondly, every time you pull horses out, the reproductive efficiency of the horses that remain increases. And thirdly, the behavioral consequences for the horses are profound.

Jay was a visionary, a humanitarian and a shining example of what one person can accomplish in his lifetime. We are so proud to have called him a friend and a colleague. Measures have been taken by the Science and Conservation Center to prepare for this transition and the seamless continuation of the work that he was dedicated to for 45 years.

If you would like to express your gratitude for Dr. Kirkpatrick’s tremendous contributions to the fight to prevent suffering and keep wild horses and other wild animals wild and free, please visit our Facebook page below.

Click Here To Visit our Facebook

Even More Good News from AWHP – Update on 21 Virginia Range Horses


The following update is from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign 

9ecd7c3c-95ba-4e18-ba14-c49068dc30f0It’s going to be a very happy holiday for 21 Virginia Range mustangs who were captured by the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) and rescued under a cooperative agreement negotiated by AWHPC that allows us to purchase the horses before the NDA sends them to a slaughter auction! Very special thanks and gratitude goes to Madeleine Pickens and her Saving America’s Mustangs/Mustang Monument in Nevada, and to Wayne Guest and his Bright Starts Rescue and Horse Sanctuary in Georgia for stepping up to provide a permanent home to these beautiful horses. Best of all, the family groups get to stay together! Thank you to all the AWHPC donors who provided the resources necessary to purchase these horses from the state and transport them to their new homes.

Action Update – Fight for Wyoming Wild Horses Moves Forward


The following update is from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign 

Horses run during the "Rapa Das Bestas" event in Morgadans, northwestern Spain, June 19, 2011. Throughout the summer hundreds of wild horses are rounded up, trimmed and groomed in different villages in Galicia. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal (SPAIN - Tags: ANIMALS SOCIETY)

REUTERS/Miguel Vidal 

Our fight to hold the Bureau of Land Management accountable for its illegal rounding up of 1,263 wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard in the fall of 2014 continues. We recently filed our opening brief with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. We are challenging the lower court’s decision to allow the BLM to subvert the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act by using a request from a landowner to remove horses from private lands as an excuse to permanently remove them from over two million acres of public lands as well. If allowed to stand, this ruling could place wild horses and burros across the West at the mercy of a few local property owners who want them gone. The legal issues at stake are so important that a group of distinguished environmental law professors has filed an Amicus brief in support of our position. 

Meanwhile, the BLM is still accepting public comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) the agency produced to correct previous legal violations related to the Checkerboard roundup. If you have not yet done so, please submit your comments today. Let’s take this opportunity to weigh in against the agency’s audacious trouncing of federal law and in favor of an alternative that would return some of the captured Checkerboard horses to their rightful homes back on the range.


Bans on U.S. Horse Slaughter & Sale of Wild Horses for Slaughter Included in Omnibus Spending Bill!


The following update is from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign 

More great holiday news for America’s horses! The Omnibus spending bill that is making its way through Congress (with an expected final vote within the week) includes two important provisions for the protection of America’s horses.

  • A ban on federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter plants, which prevents slaughter plants from reopening on U.S. soil (p. 108), and
  • A prohibition on the BLM’s destruction of healthy unadopted wild horses and burros and on the sale of captured wild horses and burros for slaughter (p. 714).

Thank you to our coalition partner the ASPCA for this excellent news and congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to protect America’s horses from the cruelest of fates – slaughter. Much work remains to be done to prevent the export of horses to slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico, but preventing the predatory horse slaughter industry from re-establishing in the U.S. is an important first step to stopping this horrific practice permanently.

Update from Chilly Pepper Miracle Mustang


Just a quick update to share some good news and a tiny bit of sad. The good news is that thanks to the beautiful and generous folks who are making it possible for these horses to stay safe, we were able to purchase some much needed groceries for the month of December.

What a beautiful Christmas present to be able to care for and feed God’s Creatures.

We were able to purchase another $600+ load of supplement buckets for the horses. These have protein and the extra nutrients these horses so desperately need in the winter weather.

We also were able to purchase a load of the most gorgeous hay we have ever seen from Oregon and we got a wonderful price on it.

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Fantastic News! Forest Service Drops Plan to Roundup Salt River Wild Horses


The following update is from American Wild Horse Preservation 

The U.S. Forest Service announced that it has withdrawn its notice to round up and impound the wonderful Salt River wild horses who live in the Tonto National Forest near Phoenix, Arizona. This is a direct result of public pressure and a great example of how our government and elected officials can and should listen to the will of the people!

Since August, we have worked with our coalition partner the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) toward the cancellation of the impound notice in order to allow time to negotiate an agreement for the long-term protection of the horses on Salt River.

Just last week, U.S. Congressman Matt Salmon and seven of his House colleagues sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, who oversees the Forest Service, asking the agency to listen to public, which wants these horses preserved. Previously, Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake and Governor Doug Ducey expressed their strong support on behalf of their constituents for protection of these horses.

Huge congratulations go to the SRWHMG and its president Simone Netherlands for their tireless work to protect these horses. They have organized tremendous public support and have spent years doing critically-important, boots-on-the-ground work as stewards and documentarians of this very special herd.

Click Here To Learn More

Highway Bill with Recreational Trails Program Nears Final Passage


The following update is from an The American Horse Council 

imgresHighway Bill Nears Final Passage, RTP Included

Today, the House of Representatives passed the final version of a multi-year national highway bill known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or the FAST Act. The Senate is expected to pass the bill Friday and the President has said he will sign it. The bill reauthorizes the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP) for the next five years and provides $85 million annually for the program.

The bill has been working its way through Congress for most of this year.  During the Congressional process several attempts were made to eliminate the RTP Program from the bill. These attempts were defeated because of strong support from Congressional champions of the program and grassroots support from recreational trail users, including many equestrians. Grassroots support played a very important role in making sure RTP was included in the final bill. The AHC appreciates all the individual horsemen and organizations that contacted their Members of Congress in support of RTP.

Since its inception RTP has provided money for thousands of state and local trail projects across the country, including many that benefit equestrians.  RTP provides funding directly to the states for recreational trails and trail-related facilities for all recreational trail users.   It is funded with a portion of the gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund by recreational off-highway vehicle users.

It is a victory for all recreational trail users that RTP was reauthorized and will be available to fund trail projects around the country for the next 5 years.

If you have any questions, please contact the AHC.

Do We Need a ‘Mustang-Safe’ Label for Beef?


The following except is from an article by James McWilliams for the Pacific Standard 

A group of wild horses are rounded up in Eureka, Nevada. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A group of wild horses are rounded up in Eureka, Nevada. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Any company that sells tuna—one of the most popular foods eaten globally—has the option of including a “dolphin safe” label on its product. Monitored by Earth Island International, the label ensures that your tuna was harvested without the use of drift gill nets, which often accidentally trap dolphin. The general idea behind this specialized labeling initiative is simple enough: Consumers should know if one animal species was killed in order for us to harvest another one.

Of course, the concept is necessarily discriminatory. An incalculable number of non-food animals die to bring food animals to our plates. Billions of rodents perish to grow corn and soy for animal feed; billions more are killed when rainforests are cleared for grazing cattle; and—if we want to throw insects into the mix—a nearly infinite number of them are exterminated as a sort of by-catch to accommodate humanity’s steady diet of meat, eggs, and dairy.

But—justifiably or not—dolphins are in a special category. Not only are dolphins unusually intelligent creatures, but they are non-threatening to humans, threatening to sharks, beloved performers at SeaWorld, popular stuffed animals, and frequently anthropomorphized for the purposes of television entertainment. For these reasons, humans (in Western cultures at least) have invested dolphins with a special status. Whatever the precise nature of that status, it’s enough to make dolphin protection a priority on a can of tuna fish.

Many Americans share the view that there’s something sort of majestically sacred about mustangs, at least sacred enough to prevent welfare-ranchers from selling us subsidized beef at the supermarket.

To accept this preferential logic compels us to lend other iconic animals special status as well. The most notably comparable case might be the wild horse—or mustang. Western ranchers holding permits from the Bureau of Land Management to graze cattle on public land compete with mustangs for access to forage within designated wild horse habitats. While 2014 year-end grazing receipts show the equivalent of at least 37 cattle for every wild horse on grazing lands managed by the BLM, mustangs aren’t in any way privileged beyond the soft protections offered by the 1971 Wild Horse and Burros Act. As a result, public-land ranchers routinely call on the BLM to round-up wild horses and remove them from federal land, preserving the forage for cattle. The BLM pens the captured mustangs in a holding facility, from which few are adopted and most die in captivity. Thousands, as revealed by a recent investigative report from the Department of the Interior, have been sold to “kill buyers” and shipped to Mexico for slaughter.

Click Here To Read The Full Article

ACTION ALERT: Stand Against Illegal BLM Checkerboard Roundup


The following update is from the American Wild Horse Preservation Organization 

unnamedThe Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting public comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) issued to correct legal violations in the way it conducted the massive 2014 Wyoming Checkerboard roundup, which permanently removed 1,263 federally-protected wild horses from the range. By using a request from ranchers to remove wild horses from private lands as an excuse to eradicate horses from public lands, the BLM has set a dangerous precedent that puts wild horses at the mercy of private landowners who want them gone. We continue to fight this legal travesty in the courts, and we must take a strong stand as well during this public comment period. Please take action for wild horses.


Latest Updates from Chilly Pepper Miracle Mustang Rescue


The following update is from the Chilly Pepper Miracle Mustang Rescue 

PictureHi Folks, Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.

A quick summary of what is happening with the wild ones and some of our current expenses are as follows:

We moved the 18 horses to the facility we have been working on. PTL everyone safe and sound.

Fuel costs for this move $ 125.00 our truck
Emergency truck repairs $ 575.00 rescue truck
Fuel Costs truck (panels) $ 97.00
Fuel Addt’l Truck & trailer $ 97.00
Fuel 3rd Truck & Trailer $ 97.00
Additional manpower $ 200.00

Approximate costs to set up pens, round up, separate and safely move 18 horses to new location. $ 1191.00

(7 of the folks involved (including us) donated all their time and effort and as usual, did not get paid a penny) Matt gave up two days on a job in NV to help us get this done, as weather was a huge factor and time had run out to move these horses.

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American Horse Council November Tax Bulletin Update


imgresThe American Horse Council is the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington DC.  They are a valuable association that works to protect all breeds, disciplines and interests by communicating with Congress, federal agencies and the media plus the industry itself. Their latest Tax Bulletin has been released and covers:

  • Expired Tax Provisions under Consideration as Congress Approaches Year End
  • The Return of Reason in Treatment of “Past Losses” in Section 183 “Hobby Loss” Cases

Click Here To Read The Bulletin


Giving Tuesday & American Wild Horse Preservation



AWHPC is working with local partners to implement real solutions to Keep Wild Horses Wild and Free. Under a first-of-its-kind cooperative agreement, we’re partnering with the State of Nevada to humanely manage an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 wild horses in the Virginia Range, which spans over 430 square miles in the Reno area. By next year, we expect this effort to be the largest humane wild horse management program in the world!

These programs can work to Keep Wild Horses Wild. Will you help?

Your contribution, no matter the size, will help us achieve this goal and have tangible results for wild horses:

  •  $10 will buy 10 yards of raw materials for fencing to keep wild horses out of harm’s way.
  •  $20 will help keep a small family of wild horses safe on the range for a week through a diversionary feeding program aimed to keep horses out of neighborhoods and roadways.
  •  $40 will fund a diversionary feeding effort to keep a medium-sized family band of horses, such as King’s family, out of harm’s way for a week!

Click Here To Donate

Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan Demands Answers from BLM


Dept. of Interior Ignored Federal Law, horses ended up in Mexican Slaughterhouse

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, sent a letter today to the Secretary of the Interior demanding to know how 1,800 American horses ended up being butchered at a Mexican slaughterhouse in violation of federal law.

The slaughtered horses were under the care of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which failed in its duty to provide good homes and humane care to the animals, according to a report by the Inspector General for the Department of the Interior.

“It is unacceptable that BLM’s disregard of the law resulted in the use of taxpayer funds to facilitate the inhumane slaughter of iconic American wildlife,” said Buchanan.

The Inspector General’s report concluded that BLM allowed an individual livestock hauler to purchase 1,794 horses between 2008 and 2012.  Using intermediaries, he then sold the majority of these animals to slaughterhouses in Mexico for considerable profit.  It is illegal for BLM to be involved in any way in the slaughter of healthy horses, including the sale of horses to an individual who then sells the animals for slaughter.

In April 2015, Buchanan introduced the bipartisan SAFE Act (H.R. 1942), which permanently bans killing horses for human consumption in America.

Buchanan has long been a leader in the fight against animal cruelty and has been recognized by the Humane Society as a “Legislative Leader” for his work on animal welfare issues.

Full text of Buchanan’s letter below.

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Be the Voice for Wild Horses & Burros: Write a Letter to Your Newspaper


Join the Wild Horse Preservation Project in giving a voice to the wild horses & burros.  To help increase public awareness and put pressure on the BLM and decision makers to stop the inhumane roundups, forced removals from federal lands and end slaughter, we need your letters.  It’s never been more important than now with the BLM’s admitted and confirmed sale of 1,800 federally-protected wild horses for slaughter and the massive roundup underway in Oregon.

Photo of Spring Creek Basin, Colorado Wild Horses: AWHPC

Click Here To Speak Up

ACTION ALERT: Letters to the Editor of Denver Post Needed


The following update is from the American Wild Horse Preservation Project

Some of the 167 wild horses from the West Douglas Herd currently being kept at the East Canon Correctional Facility's Wild Horse and Burro Facility near Canon City on Oct. 21. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

Some of the 167 wild horses from the West Douglas Herd currently being kept at the East Canon Correctional Facility’s Wild Horse and Burro Facility near Canon City on Oct. 21. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

With the massive roundup of 1,400 wild horses underway in Oregon, and last month’s revelation that the Bureau of Land Management had illegally sold nearly 1,800 wild horses for slaughter, now is the time to hold the BLM accountable for its mismanagement and inhumane treatment of our wild horses and burros.

Here is a link to the guest commentary that was written by Suzanne Roy entitled “Wild Horses Need More Humane Management” and published on 11/14/15.

What You Can Do 

Please send a letter to the editor thanking the Denver Post for publishing our Guest Opinion and supporting our call for reform of the federal wild horse management program.

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Update: A Sad Goodbye to Lil Bit


The following update is from the Chilly Pepper Miracle Mustang Rescue 


My heart is breaking, and I can hardly see through the tears as I write this. I am so very sorry to have to tell you that we lost Lil Bit today. The picture above is her out on the range.

Matt and I were at a “meet and greet” with Honey Bandit, when I was called out on an injured horse emergency. While I was there, I called Shirley about the injured mare and this is what she told me. She could barely speak and I knew she was beyond devastated.

Shirley did what she promised and stayed with Lil Bit 24/7. She was watching Lil Bit and standing beside her in case she needed help while she was up and walking. All at once there was a “snapping noise” in Lil Bit’s leg, and she crashed, pinning Shirley under her. It took about 40 minutes for Shirley to get free, but Lil Bit was done. She absolutely could not get up again. Doc was on his way and Lil Bit would be set free from the pain and suffering. No one was expecting this, especially not Doc, but apparently she blew out either her ligament or tendon and it was horribly clear that she cannot recover or have any type of quality of life.

We want to thank everyone who stepped up to help this little angel. As I sit here I am physically ill and the tears won’t stop. Sometimes you wonder “why – why do we keep doing this?” Your heart is broken so many times that you think it may not keep beating, and it is nearly impossible to even breathe, the pain is so harsh. The worst part of it is that every time you lose one, it not only devastates you but brings back all the pain of each and every other one you have lost. Sometimes it is just too hard……

Click Here To Read The Full Article

Glimpse into BLM Holding Facility


The following was written by Mary Cioffi for the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

tour1On October 23, 1015 I toured the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wild horse Short Term Holding facility referred to as Broken Arrow located on Indian Lakes Road in Fallon, Nevada. I was unsure of what to expect. I have owned and ridden horses my entire life. I am a photographer of wild horses so I spend considerable hours monthly observing and photographing wild horses free on the range. The first time I had heard of this facility I was told by one person it was a “Secret place on Indian Land so they didn’t have to obey the rules.”  The impression I was given was that no one knew about the property and it was hidden and all was secretive so horses could go to slaughter without having to comply with federal regulations. I was told there were trucks coming and going in the middle of the night. Only a few months later I was told I could tour the facility and told that there were tours twice a year. The truth of the property appeared quite different from the public rumors. The other people on the tour seemed to have been aware of the facility which opened 6 years ago according to BLM representative John Neil. One couple was from Fallon and they stated that most people in Fallon do not know that facility exists. Churchill County records show most improvements were installed in 2011.

My initial impression when I drove in was that several high fencing obstacles were at the front and seemed to have been strategically placed in this area to prevent the public from observing what is going on at the facility. From the road I would have no idea that there were over 2500 horses on site. I paused and checked my Iphone map to be sure I was actually there. I actually used my binoculars to look around for the horses before I drove into the property.

Click Here To Read The Full Article

Help Rescue 24 Virginia Range Horses Who Face Slaughter Auction


The following action alert is from American Wild Horse Preservation

We are desperately attempting to find placement for two bands of horses recently removed by the Nevada Department of Agriculture from the Virginia Range, who will go to slaughter auction in less than two weeks if we are unsuccessful. Additionally, we have eight horses at Horses Plus Humane Society in northern California who were removed from the Virginia Range by the NDA over a year ago. We have been paying Horses Plus to keep these horses and not euthanize them, however they are moving and cannot take these horses with them.

We are spreading the word far and wide about the need for placing these horses.

Must find placement in two weeks or they will be sent to slaughter auction:

  • A family band of ten horses consisting of 2 geldings, 1 colt and 7 mares/fillies
  • A band of three consisting of 1 gelding & 2 mares
  • A single bachelor gelding

Learn More

ACTION ALERT: Tell Whole Foods: Don’t Sell HMA-Fed Meat


The following action alert is from American Wild Horse Preservation

Ranchers who sell beef to Whole Foods Market are behind the largest mustang roundup of 2015-2016 is now underway in southern Oregon.Whole Foods Market is striving toward ethical food sourcing, but there is nothing ethical about the way wild horses and burros are wiped out to make room for more private livestock grazing on our public lands.

Lone Mustang

This lone stallion somehow escaped capture on Sunday in the BLM’s massive Beatys Butte roundup underway now in Oregon..


The massive roundup under way in Oregon is being conducted specifically due to pressure from the Beatys Butte Grazing Association, so its members can run more cattle on the public lands in the Beatys Butte Herd Management Area, which is a federally designated wild horse habitat. Several members of the Beatys Butte Grazing Association — including its president — market their beef through a cooperative called Country Natural Beef, which is a major provider of beef to Whole Foods Market.

This means that right now, wild horses are being brutally rounded up, removed from their families and their homes on the range, all so that ranchers can profit by selling beef to Whole Foods, which then sells the meat as “grass-fed” to its customers at a premium.

We can stop this by exercising our consumer muscle! Please take a moment to tell Whole Foods that it should not provide a market for meat supplied by ranchers who graze sheep and cattle in wild horse and burro Herd Management Areas (HMAs).  Whole Foods must adopt policies that promote protection — not decimation — of America’s iconic wild horse and burro herds. 


Adoptions and Updates from SYALER Rescue


The following update is from SYALER Long Ear Rescue

casanovaWhile we’ve had a few animals adopted recently, the rescue is full once again and I have a waiting list of animals to come in when I have room. I’ve taken back two donkeys I had placed, due to a very sad circumstance, and Sweet William is still waiting for his perfect home. It’s such an ebb and flow, and our adoption numbers are down quite a bit this year from where they have been in years past.

Keeping all of these animals does not come cheap. Feeding and caring for these animals is very costly. We have every animal examined by our vet when they come in – they are brought up-to-date on rabies and tetanus vaccines and have blood drawn for coggins. Any other medical or dental issues found during this exam are also addressed.

Thank you, as always, to all of you who continue to do what you can to support us. Please know that your efforts are very gratefully appreciated and allow us to do what we do – rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home donkeys and mules in need.

See the beauties looking for homes and other ways to help and if you will be in Springfield, MA for Equine Affaire from Nov 11-15, stop by their booth and say hello.

Adopt Now

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