As many of you are aware this years roundup of horses from Sheldon has been completed. Once again Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge plans to send horses to contractors in the southern US, as Sheldon does NOT do any adoptions and you must take a minimum of 40 horses. Two contractors, Carr’s of Tennesse and Strecker of Texas, are awaiting horses to enter into training and adoption programs. But one contractor, J&S Associates that may begin receiving horses as early as this week, is buried in controversy.
In the last three years J&S has taken horses from Sheldon. ONLY after a public complaint did the Refuge look into the contractor. SHELDON FOUND that many of the allegations were true; horses unaccounted for, foals not given proper care and many horses were given away to those that sent them to auction. This is actually in apparent violation of the documents Sheldon created themselves and presented to the public that stated that horses were not to go to slaughter (auctions of bulk horses are attended by killbuyers and private individuals do not buy lots of unhandled horses). Sheldon themselves looked (for only about 60 days) to replace J&S.
Sheldon accelerated the plan to zero out Sheldon of all horses. The original plan was for five years, the new plan is for two. Sheldon went ahead with the removal under their NEW CCP that was announced in 20123. That CCP again claims to offer horses leaving Sheldon the promise if good care and protection from slaughter.
This year Sheldon is sending 252 horses (Sheldon pays for shipping) and giving J&S $293,000. That is almost as many horses as this contractor took in the last three years combined.
How is it that a contractor Sheldon themselves were looking to replace ends up with more horses after being found not to: do adoption events, advertise, get references, provide proper care, keep accurate inventory or protect horses from going to slaughter?
Sheldon failed, that is how. Sheldon accelerated a plan to erase all horses from the refuge without finding appropriate placement. It is that simple. The need of management at Sheldon, that appears to be supported by organizations such as Sierra Club International and Defenders of Wildlife, to permanently rid Sheldon of horses is more important than affording the protections to the horses that were promised to the public and put into writing in their “plan.”
Ongoing litigation on these issues appears to be another case of the courts not comprehending what those at Sheldon are capable of and exactly what these horses will face. A TRO was heard and an evidentiary hearing was ordered on First Amendment issues. Sheldon asked that the a delay on the hearing be allowed due to a government shutdown. The Judge denied the request citing that all horses would likely ship out prior to the hearing and that First Amendment violations might be ongoing. We made it clear at the TRO hearing that Sheldon would likely intentionally ship horses this week… so that we could not assess them prior to going to J&S. It looks like we may have been right. READ about ruling HERE>>>
Sheldon cancelled an observation day of holding due to the government shutdown. The ONLY observation day being offered to a limited audience of ten was cancelled and NOT rescheduled. Yet it appears that Sheldon is shipping regardless of the shutdown.
Sheldon was also offered an alternative. We will update you on that soon as well.
We will keep you posted after hearing.
Join “Operation Sheldon.” We have ONE year left of Sheldon horses, America’s war horse, left on the range. Join us in the fight to protect them from disappearing forever and going to the ultimate abuse, slaughter. Click Image to go to website LEARN AND JOIN US!
note: pleases folks… we see a lot of people writing BLM about Sheldon and even a few press releases that have gone out noting Sheldon as Forest Service. These horses are under the United States Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) also under the Department of Interior (DOI), like BLM… but the horses have no formal protection under the Act. Forest Service does and BLM ONLY.
TRIPLE B/JACKSON MOUNTAIN
Yes… this case is still alive. Motions were also filed this week in that ongoing case that gained the First TRO and Preliminary Injunction in the history of the Act . The case gained a second TRO when BLM ran babies in June at Jackson Mountain.
The BLM is trying to claim that the case is taking so long because we “change” what the case is about. That is NOT the truth. The case is taking so long because after the Third Amended Complaint (we amended to add Jackson and then the new EA BLM made because they changed the name from Triple B to Three HMA) is when BLM claims to finally realize the case is about humane care. It is also taking so long because every time we go into Discovery and ask for things like the real death rate of foals… BLM files another Motion to Dismiss that we have to fight to get denied.
We will keep you posted.
This case has also had Motions filed as BLM keeps playing semantics games about the Complex parameters. This case is about a ten year plan BLM created, not one roundup. However BLM wants the case to be about one roundup.
The did cancel the Snowstorm portion after litigation TRO) was filed. READ HERE>>>
BLM is also claiming that they basically have the authority to do anything at anytime and it does not have to be based on data. BLM is also claiming they are not restricted to removing horses identified as excess and could remove as many as they want regardless of what they set as Appropriate Management Level (AML).
Here is an example of the kinds of conversations going on….
BLM says they created an EA based on data. Laura Leigh asked for the data on a tour when again the Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, Melanie Mirati, said the actions were based on data. Leigh was told she would get it. When the data was not sent she emailed. She was again told she would get it. THEN as the case moves forward in court Leigh asks one more time and is told by Gene Seidlitz the district manager that the data is not at the district office and is not compiled anywhere… that Leigh would need to FOIA the info from National.
HMMMMM…… so you create an Environmental Assessment baed on “data” that is not available in the District that created the EA. OK… we are now in another episode of Abbott, Costello and the BLM.
FIRST AMENDMENT AND THE NINTH CIRCUIT
We have had more that 15 news organizations join onto our case through Amicus and more coming forward. READ HERE>>>
This case has already created case law that is being cited in civil rights actions across the board, not limited to wild horses and burros. Heading back to the Ninth we are very optimistic.
We will let you know when a hearing is scheduled… yes it will be in San Francisco.
Ravel Channel has a new series premiering next month called “America Declassified.” The series will air beginning November 3rd. Wild horses and burros will be a feature shown in the second or third episode. America Declassified (check out picture 12) http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/whats-new-on-travel-channel/photos/america-declassified-sneak-peek?page
Story here on the making of the program at the Blue Wing Roundup this year! http://wildhorseeducation.org/2013/08/04/blue-wing-roundup-and-big-media-attention/
note: Leigh also just finished providing footage to two PBS stations. we will keep you posted on air dates.
Please support our work… we are a tiny organization taking on a big task. We are committed to protecting wild horses and burros from abuse, slaughter and extinction.