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This is an Action Alert from the The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
The Bureau of Land Management is planning barbaric, archaic and dangerous sterilization experiments on captured wild mares at its Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon. These experiments have never before been performed on wild horses or, in the case of two of the three proposed procedures, in horses anywhere at all! The agency is accepting public comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) and now is the time to voice our united and strong opposition to this outrageous proposal!
At least 100 mares — 75 of whom will be pregnant — will be subjected to “ovariectomy via colpotomy,” a dangerous procedure in which a veterinarian makes an incision in the mare’s vagina, inserts his arm into the vaginal cavity, manually locates the ovaries and rips them out using an “ecraseur,” a rod-like device with a chain on the end. The painful procedure will subject mares to the risk of infection, hemorrhage and evisceration (intestines coming through the incision) and cause mares in the early to mid-stages of pregnancy to abort their fetuses.
In domestic mares, this procedure is not common, but when performed, requires a post-surgical 4-7 days stall confinement, during which the first 48 hours are spent in crossties to prevent the mare from lying down. No such restraint is possible in wild mares, and the BLM intends to turn them out to corrals after the surgery with open incisions and no restrictions on movement. This fact lead the National Research Council (NRC) to conclude that the fatality rate for the BLM’s proposed experiment would be “higher than the one percent reported in the published literature,” which is based on surgery performed in domestic mares.The NRC a stated that less invasive techniques would be preferable to this procedure in wild mares.
Two less invasive experimental procedures are also proposed that would use endoscopes to achieve sterilization without removal of the ovaries. However, these procedures have never before been done in horses, domestic or wild, and appear to be infeasible for use in wild mares.
Please take a stand against these dangerous and costly BLM wild horse experiments today. The BLM deliberately avoided public opposition by skipping the scoping stage of this process, so let’s use the EA stage to show the agency just how many citizens and taxpayers oppose these dangerous and costly experiments on our wild mares. Take action below!
New York City’s carriage trade would be down-sized and its horse stables relocated to a renovated Central Park facility under an agreement between Mayor Bill de Blasio, the city’s carriage cabbies, and Teamster carriage driver Steven Malone. The agreement would reduce the number of horses on New York City’s streets from 220 to 75.
In 2014, the nonprofit organization New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) called for a citywide ban on horse-drawn carriages on grounds that the carriages were inhumane. At that time, 16 members of the city council pledged to support a NYCLASS ordinance that would replace horse-drawn cabs with electric vintage-replica cars.
The proposal sparked controversy between some equine welfare advocates and carriage horse owners and drivers who argued that further regulation would force them to relinquish their horses to new owners. It also spawned several copycat proposals in cities across the United States, including Chicago, St. Louis, and Salt Lake City.
Our friends at Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang Equine Rescue are preparing for the orphan foal season. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to be a rescue that specializes in critical, injured, neonatal or orphaned foals, read the excerpt from their newsletter and see where your contributions go:
As we prepare for the upcoming orphan foal season, I wanted to share with y’all what is happening. As far as the financials go, here are some of the places your donations are going: (Bless your generous and beautiful hearts)
Monthly board for the 40+ wild horses is $1000.
“Our” portion of the total hay bill is $2100 per month
So the total monthly bill “just for feed and board” is at $3100
The other $4000 being spent on hay is being generously donated by the amazing folks at WIN. She donates the $4000 every single month.
ALL of the wild ones need their hoofers done, and this will be approximately $750 for the use of the facility and the trims.
For shots and worming it will be approximately $50 per horse, which will be $2,000 +
Cowboy’s gelding and vet visit was $480 (This also included vaccines for Cicero)
We have another vet bill coming up for one of the slaughter orphans, Cicero, and he appears to be chryptorchid. (This is where one testicle is possibly up inside his abdomen and requires a much bigger surgery.) He had an appointment but they could not find his 2nd testicle. The estimated cost for this is between $ 280 up to around $800. We are praying it is closer to the $280
We just ordered Kerosene for the nursery. (The nursery is on it’s own private tank, solely for feeding the nursery heater.)
This was an expense of $428.38 However, without controlling the temperature and providing the necessary heat, the babies will die. This is a huge reason why often folks can rescue an orphan baby and then when they leave it in the barn overnight, doesn’t make it. These fragile babies can not regulate their body temperatures for some time. They need the temperature stable at all times or it can be deadly.
We also will be purchasing hay at Chilly Pepper – Miracle Mustang in the next week or so, which will be about $620 for the load.
There are so many expenses that we don’t think about when we want to “save the horses from slaughter”. However, this is what we are looking at this coming month, and the expected expenses are at approximately $9,000 give or take, and this does not include the $4000 +/- costs to get the two horses to Colorado. We also had expenses somewhere close to $500 when we lost the mare and had to help end her suffering that are not included in the above figures. We are hoping that Cicero will drop, so that cost will be reduced. However, his behavior and the fact that there are females on the property make it necessary to get this done in a timely manner. We also have 2 additional colts in the mix who need to be rounded up and gelded. So again, there will be even more expenses.
The good thing is that the shots and hoofers are not a monthly expense, and we hope and pray that all these horses have their forever homes before we have to do this again. But after the shots and hoofers, the bare monthly minimum costs at this time are $3100 plus whatever expenses there are to re-home these horse kids when we find the right place for them.
I am working on the end of the year tax receipts for those wonderful donations you made in the year 2015. Unfortunately, Matt and I had agreed to transport wild and special needs kids to Texas, and due to the fact we had to load the whole sanctuary, the trip was delayed and so I am later than I would like to be with the end of year receipts. Thank you for your patience with this.
We have started gentling the two little girls so we can get them halter trained and placed. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO TO MAKE THIS POSSIBLE.
This is such a busy time as we clean out and prep the nursery and start to stock it up with much needed supplies. From what we are told the roundups in WA and OR are scheduled to start in March and that will bring more orphans, not to mention the wild kids in NV and the babies that will come this year from the wild ones we are caring for.
Our wish list for the babies is:
Yellow Goat Nipples
Plastic Gloves (for cleaning up)
Foal Lac Powder
Foal Lac Pellets
Mineral Oil (We usually go through multiple gallons)
ProBiotics (Equine specific)
Soft Grass Hay
Soft Cotton Lead Ropes
Antibiotic Creams for wounds
French Clay (by Walter Badet) – EVERY BARN SHOULD HAVE THIS
(Heals infections – even mountain lion attacks and rattle snake bites)
Corner black rubber water buckets
Round rubber feeders for grain and munchies for the babies.
You can go to Youcaring – https://www.youcaring.com/let-em-run-foundation-for-55-wild-horses-orphaned-foals-415297 to help us save these horses. Call 530 474-5197 if you are interested in visiting or adopting one of these beautiful horses.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign delivered nearly 9,000 letters to the National Park Service. Here is an excerpt from their press release:
Durango, CO (January 11, 2016) . . . On Friday, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign submitted official public comments to the Mesa Verde National Park urging protection of the historic population of wild horses there. AWHPC submitted letters from 8,982 citizens urging the Park to explore ways to protect and humanely manage this herd with its comments.
“The horses of Mesa Verde National Park are part of the area’s natural landscape and history. They have been present on those lands since before the park was created in 1906,” said Deniz Bolbol, AWHPC Programs Director, who submitted comments on behalf of the organization. “We urge the Mesa Verde National Park to create a humane management plan for the horses that will preserve this unique and historic herd and protect their free-roaming behaviors, while managing their numbers through the use of humane, safe, and reversible fertility control.”
“The National Park Service (NPS) has a dual mission to preserve unique resources and to provide for their enjoyment by the public,” she continued. “The horses are an important part of the visitor experience, as evidenced by the countless videos and photographs of these beautiful animals that are regularly shared online by park visitors.”
Joining AWHPC in urging protection of the Mesa Verde horses are thousands of Coloradans, including Durango resident Kate Feldman, a psychotherapist and horsewoman who states, “The Mesa Verde horses are an important natural and historic resource in our area. I and many other local citizens value this beautiful wild horse population and urge the National Park Service to protect these horses, not eradicate them.”
Return to Freedom, the American Wild Horse Preservation & Sanctuary and the Cloud Foundation have filed a lawsuit in the Idaho District Court challenging the BLM plan to permanently sterilize the entire herd of wild horses in the Saylor Creek Herd Management Area charging that it violates the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and the National Environmental Policy Act. This is an important action and needs support. Read the press release and find out how you can support them.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign has a new action alert for the Mesa Verde National Park wild horses.
In 2013, the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado announced its intent to rid the park of wild horses that have roamed the public lands there for more than a century. The plan was delayed after the public — including thousands of AWHPC supporters — weighed in against it. Now the park has revived its proposal to remove these beautiful horses, who are not protected by federal law. The Mesa Verde horses desperately need our help! Please weigh in again in favor of humane management and against eradication of this historic herd! Take action today and be sure to share with friends and family!
Thank you to all who have sent not only generous donations, but kind notes as well. I am thrilled to announce that last week’s ‘featured’ donkeys, Elmo, George, and Madeline, have been adopted and will be going together to a wonderful new home for the holidays! And thanks to your donations, our “Hay-O-Meter” continues to rise closer to our fundraising goal of $15,000.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Your donations are invaluable. The cost of running an animal rescue never ceases to amaze (and scare) me. This week, Shiloh had dental work done. He had lost a bit of weight and his chewing looked off to me, so I asked Dr Warner to come out to take a look at him. She filed (or “floated”) some sharp points she found on a few of his teeth, and now he is doing much better. Sweet William is still here, putting away the groceries. His health has been good, and I’m happy to report that he’s put on a great deal of needed weight, but it hasn’t been cheap to beef this boy up to where he needs to be.
We have animals on supplements and some on needed medications. The farrier comes out every eight weeks or so to make sure all our equines’ feet are in good shape (or at least better shape). Our animals do not leave for their new homes without a current Coggins certificate along with rabies and tetanus vaccinations.
And while it’s all FOR the animals, it’s not always the animals that are the expense. There are things like truck and trailer maintenance – our tractor is going to need a new clutch before too long – and fencing and sheds that need occasional repair. We needed several loads of sure pack gravel this year to patch up muddy areas and for footing in the run-in sheds.
Every penny donated to Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue goes to the care and feeding of the animals and upkeep of their “home.” We have one paid, part-time employee who does a lot of the physical work I am unable to now do. Everything else is done by myself or volunteers.
If you have not yet donated, please do what you can. Every donation helps to better the lives of the animals in our care.
Thank you – and best wishes for a happy holiday!
Ann, President & Shelter Manager
Congress has passed a tax extender bill called the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 that includes several provisions important to the horse industry and supported by the American Horse Council.
At the end of 2014, a number of favorable tax provisions for horse owners, breeders and businesses expired. In all, over sixty tax provisions expired; some applied to all businesses, including the horse industry, and one was specifically applicable to owners of race horses. All of the provisions extended are retroactive for all of 2015.
Importantly, the bill would reinstate 3-year-depreciation for all race horses for two more years. From 2009 through 2014, race horses could be depreciated over three years, regardless of when they were placed in service. This change, which eliminated the 7-year depreciation period for race horses and made all race horses eligible for three-year depreciation, expired at the end of 2014. The just passed extender bill would reinstate 3-year-depreciation for race horses placed in service after December 31, 2014 through 2016.
The bill would also increase the so-called Section 179 business expense deduction back to $500,000 and make this provision permanent. It is currently set at $25,000. This would allow anyone in the horse business to immediately depreciate up to $500,000 of the cost of any investment in business assets, including horses, purchased and placed in service. The deduction would be reduced dollar-for-dollar once investment in all one’s business activities hit $2 million.
The bill would restore bonus depreciation for qualifying new property, including assets used in the horse business, such as horses and other equipment, purchased and placed in service during 2015 through 2019. The bonus depreciation percentage is 50 percent for property placed in service during 2015, 2016 and 2017 and phases down to 40 percent in 2018, and 30 percent in 2019. The first use of the horse or equipment must begin with the taxpayer.
The extender bill would also restore and make permanent favorable tax treatment for land donated for conservation purposes, particularly land donated by farmers and ranchers.
The AHC supported the tax extender bill and originally achieved the 3-year-depreciation of race horses provision in the 2008 Farm Bill and supported its inclusion in subsequent tax extension bills, including this one.
Congress has passed an omnibus appropriations bill, which will fund the government through September 30, 2016, was passed by Congress. This bill is a package that includes all 12 of the FY 2016 appropriations bills, and will fund government agencies and programs until the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2016.
The omnibus bill contains several provisions that impact the horse industry, including reforms to the H-2B temporary guest worker program, the U.S. Department Agriculture (USDA) FY 2016 appropriations bill, defunding of horse slaughter, and reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
H-2B Temporary Worker Program
The bill includes several beneficial provisions relating to the H-2B temporary, non-agricultural worker program and would roll back some of the most onerous provisions of a 2015 H-2B rule. The AHC has been working to ensure these provisions were included in the omnibus bill. These provisions will make the H-2B program less burdensome for employers, including those in the horse industry to use. The bill will do the following:
- Exempt H-2B returning workers from the 66,000 annual cap;
- Require wages to be based on the job category and experience level required, rather than an artificially inflated median wage;
- Clearly define seasonal as ten months, as opposed to the nine months in the 2015 H-2B rule;
- Prevent the Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing the provisions of the 2015 H-2B rule related to corresponding employment and the ¾ guarantee of work days; and
- Prevent DOL from implementing the new and burdensome DOL enforcement scheme in the 2015 H-2B rule related to audits and the Certifying Officer (CO) assisted recruitment.
These provisions will make the H-2B program easier to use and were supported by the AHC.
FY 2015 USDA Appropriations
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Equine Health
The bill appropriates $898 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS is the USDA agency responsible for protecting the U.S. equine industry and responding to contagious equine disease outbreaks. Funding for Equine, Cervid, and Small Rumiant health is set at $19.5 million, the same as FY 2015.
The bill includes language that prohibits USDA from using any funds to provide inspectors at meat processing facilities that slaughter horses, continuing a block that begin in 2005, except for a brief period in 2012 and 2013
No horse slaughter facilities are operating in the U.S. and this bill would effectively prevent any such facility from opening until September 30, 2016.
The language was included in the omnibus bill because the Senate Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment that prohibited funding for inspectors at horse slaughter facilities when they debated and approved their respective version of the FY 2016 USDA appropriations bill. The Senate amendment was offered in committee by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and passed by a voice vote.
Horse Protection Act
The bill provides $697,000 for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA), the same as FY 2015. The HPA was enacted in 1970 to prevent the soring of horses, primarily Tennessee Walking Horses.
Because soring continues to be a problem in the “big lick” segment of the Walking Horse industry, the AHC has been working to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (PAST Act) (S.1121/ H.R.3268). The PAST act would strengthen the HPA and end this cruel practice.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund
The bill will also reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for three years with funding of $450 million for the coming FY 2016, a nearly 50 percent increase over the previous level.
The program, which expired on October 1, 2015, provides funds and matching grants to federal, state and local governments for the acquisition of land and water for recreation and the protection of natural resources. The LWCF program benefits recreational riders by providing increased recreational opportunities.
Wild Horses and Burros
The omnibus bill also includes a provision that would prohibit the Bureau of Land Management from euthanizing healthy wild horses in its care or from selling wild horses or burros that results in their being processed into commercial products.
The bill is expected to be signed by the President shortly.
It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, a true pioneer in the field of humane wildlife 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.
It’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.
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.
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.
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.
We were also able to vet the 6 babies (3 coming to my place for gentling, training and adoption), and 3 heading to their new home in California. This was to the tune of $778 which included shots, worming, Coggins, health and brand certs etc. These are legal requirements for crossing the border and although a bit expensive, simply part of the cost of rescue and “saving horses from slaughter “.
So we just wanted to share the good news for December and let you know where the funds are going.
We had a bit of sad news. A beautiful old bay who was nicknamed “53” was really struggling to keep her weight on. We were unable to corral her, as she was old and very wise and not “falling for that”. We were so very pleased because with the last set of supplement buckets she had started to gain weight and appeared to be doing much better.
Unfortunately, she laid down the other day and was struggling to get up. Luckily John noticed right away and a vet was summoned. Due to her age and the fact that she had too many other health issues, the vet felt it was the kindest thing to let her go. So the guys stayed with her and she left this world peacefully, surrounded by her band.
This was another case of God knowing what was best for her. Instead of us catching her and taking her away from her family to “help her”, she was able to feel better from the supplement buckets and when it was her time, she was surrounded by her family and had not dealt with the stress of being moved. She was approximately 25 and that is a great life for a wild one.
Of course it still is heartbreaking, and you can’t help but cry, but it is more for us than for her. If every one of our wild horses could live for 24 years out on the range before being rounded up and then leave this earth so peacefully, I could certainly rest better at night. I am not sure what her vet bill was yet, but it is definitely one that is worth it.
So as always, we share the whole story. Those of you who were able to help made December a great month for these horse kids. THANK YOU!!
We so appreciate the love and support for these horse kids and are doing everything we can to keep costs down and find their forever homes. We will be keeping you posted on the progress of the little ones we are bringing here and it is always fun to see the little bits of progress being made.
We need prayers for Cowboy’s mama who is just a touch away from “hands on”. She has a sore front leg and I really need her to be comfy enough so we can check it out. She is doing very well but unfortunately time is something we lack.
If you want to help You can go to Youcaring –https://www.youcaring.com/let-
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.
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.
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.