EQUINE PROTECTION FUND PASSES MILESTONE OF 400 EQUINES ASSISTED; FUND CONTINUES TO BE LEADER IN PROVIDING HUMANE OPTIONS FOR HORSES
Source: New Mexico Community Foundation
ALBUQUERQUE- As of mid-July 2013, the New Mexico Equine Protection Fund (Equine Fund) has brought relief to over 400 equines (horses, donkeys, and mules) across New Mexico via the Equine Fund’s humane programs, the first such efforts available statewide.
“When we started the Equine Fund in 2009, the needs of homeless and abused horses were being addressed only by a handful of struggling equine shelters doing the best they could. Other humane options were not available for many equines and the people who care about them,” said Phil Carter, Equine Campaign Manager for Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM), which administers the Equine Fund in partnership with the New Mexico Community Foundation (NMCF). “The Equine Fund was designed to remove barriers to doing the right thing for more of our state’s horses.”
“Now more than ever, the Equine Protection Fund is crucial to our state, and we’re very pleased that, through the generosity of many supporters, the Fund has directly reduced the suffering of over 400 horses, donkeys, and mules,” said Jenny Parks, President and CEO of New Mexico Community Foundation.
The Equine Fund’s programs include Emergency Feed Assistance, which provides temporary financial support for horse owners in purchasing horse feed. The Equine Fund also provides assistance with veterinary care for needy equines, including Gelding Assistance vouchers to prevent unwanted breeding, humane euthanasia for suffering animals via the Trail’s End program, and aid with emergency veterinary care for equines seized by or relinquished to law enforcement agencies.
At just under $70,000 spent on all assistance programs to date, the Equine Fund continues to demonstrate that, with strategic thinking, humane treatment of New Mexico’s equines is not unattainable, least of all on a financial level. Emergency Feed Assistance maintains its historical average of less than $100 per animal per month while ensuring nutrition in crises, while the veterinary care programs average from $93 to $178 per equine.
“These agencies and facilities are tasked with responding to abuse of horses. By providing support for gelding, euthanasia, and other necessary care, we can help ensure the prompt seizure, treatment, rehabilitation an adoption of second-chance animals.”
APNM is also pleased to announce the hiring of our new Equine Development Officer, Victoria Kanof. A position made possible by a generous grant from the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), the Development Officer will be working to promote the Equine Protection Fund’s vital activities across the state and in all sectors of the horse community and to grow our programs and endowment for humane care of equines.
For more information on the Equine Protection Fund, including ways to donate, visit helpourhorses.org or contact Phil Carter at
Source: KVOA News, by Sam Salzwedel
CATALINA, Arizona - A rescue group is trying to find homes for 17 burros they recently adopted from an auction. Jo DiGennaro offered her property in Catalina for 7 of the animals. "I could see myself keeping a few of them," she said. "It would be hard to
let them go, but as long as they go to good homes, it will be fine."
Julianne French is helping Equine Voices and has been fighting for the burros in the wild. "These animals are part of our history. They are our connection with our past," she said. "They're a symbol of the West. The West was built on the backs of these burros."The animals were probably rounded up near Ajo on Bureau of Land Management land, according to French.
That practice has recently been criticized by Southern Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva. On June 20, he wrote a letter, cosigned by 30 members of congress, to the new Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.
"BLM has grossly underutilized proven, cost-effective and humane alternatives, such as fertility control," the letter stated. "This is a solvable problem." Most of BLM's budget for the Wild Horse and Burro Program is spent holding the animals. There are more wild horses and burros in captivity than in the wild, according to the letter.
A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences stated BLM spent more money than necessary because "the number of animals processed through holding facilities is probably increased by management." The BLM has a web page to explain facts and myths of their program. It states burros populations can double every 4 years without proper management, and they have used some fertility control.
Equine Voices needs help with veterinary bills and feeding the animals they rescued.
Source: KOLO News
RENO, Nev. -- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials say they are installing water sprinklers at the wild horse enclosures in Palomino Valley in an effort to protect the horses from record-breaking heat.
On Friday, June 28th, the official temperature in Reno hit 103, breaking the previous record by three degrees. Record-breaking temperatures are expected to continue throughout the weekend and a Heat Advisory is in effect from 1pm Sunday to 10pm Tuesday.
The BLM says crews are installing the sprinklers in three of the large, outside pens and five mare/foal pens. The sprinklers are meant to reduce the heat levels inside the corrals. In addition, BLM staff will closely watch the horses react to the sprinklers to make sure they remain healthy.
In a press release, officials say shade shelters have been considered and the current policy is based on a number of things, including:
- Wild horses and burros are accustomed to open environments and when their nutritional demands are met, they do well against the natural elements, including sun, rain, snow, and hot and cold temperatures. At Palomino Valley, the animals are fed hay each day; mineral blocks are available in each pen; and a continuous supply of water is available via automatic waterers.
- Open corrals with plenty of sunlight have proven to be the best way to minimize disease-causing organisms. The BLM's open corrals enable the drying effects of the sun and wind to take effect. The corrals are sloped to minimize the pooling of precipitation in the pens and to allow it to channel to the exterior of the facility.
- Due to the temperament of the animals, the social hierarchy between the animals, and their unfamiliarity with shelters, the BLM feels that corrals without shelters are the safest approach. Shelters could create a potential obstacle for animals running and playing in the corrals, and cause significant injuries. The BLM has wind breaks and/or shelters for sick animals. The “sick
pens” do not have the same safety issues because the animals are in a smaller area with limited pressure from other animals."
The Humane Society of the United States receives five-year grant aimed at improving herd management and adoptions.
As the recipient of a five-year $760,000 grant from an anonymous donor, The Humane Society of the United States has launched “The Platero Project” to promote the protection of wild burros managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The aim of the project is to develop partnerships and programs to research the effectiveness of contraceptive vaccine on wild burro herds and to reduce the number of wild burros currently living in BLM holding areas, by increasing adoptions and relocating difficult to place burros to sanctuaries.
The project was financed by a donor who cares deeply about the humane treatment of burros, and it is named for the Spanish Nobel Laureate Juan Ramon Jimenez’s book about a faithful and friendly donkey named Platero. Heidi Hopkins, The Platero Project manager for The HSUS, said: “There are many challenges to the management of wild burro herds, and through innovation we can find a way forward that saves burros from suffering and saves tax dollars and agency resources. We are grateful for this generous donation that allows us to step up our work to protect and celebrate these animals.”
Over the past five years, the rate of wild burro adoptions through BLM has drastically decreased, and more than 1,300 burros remain in federal holding facilities in the western U.S. The HSUS plans to develop a training program for wild burros that aims to increase the number of burros adopted annually.
The immunocontraception vaccine commonly known as porcine zona pellucida (PZP) was registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to manage wild horse populations on the range last year, but it has not yet been used by the BLM on burros. The Platero Project will assist in a long-term research project to determine the efficacy and cost-benefits of using PZP to manage wild burros on the range. Increased use of PZP by the BLM could save taxpayers millions of dollars over the next decade while helping to maintain healthy wild horse and burro populations.
•There are more than 20 Herd Management Areas in five western states that are home to over 5,000 wild burros.
•Wild burros are decedents of the burros used by early settlers and miners in the 1800s.
•The Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burros Act of 1971 is a federal law that was enacted to protect these animals and their
•In many species, including wild horses, PZP, registered under the brand name ZonaStat-H, causes the production of antibodies that bind to sperm receptor sites on eggs and block fertilization. The Science and Conservation Center (SCC)
based in Billings, Montana, produces the vaccine, which has been used to treat more than 1,600 wild, sanctuary and tribal horses annually at dozens of trial sites across the U.S., including east coast barrier islands, western wild horse ranges, Navajo and Pima/Maricopa tribal horses.
•PZP was first used on wild horses in 1988 when a team led by Jay F. Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., the director of the Science and Conservation Center, began a pilot project on the famous wild ponies on Assateague Island National Seashore off the coast of Maryland. This project, which has been supported by The HSUS for more than 20 years, was so successful that the National Park Service began to utilize PZP as a population management tool in 1994.
•About 300 burros live at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, an animal sanctuary operated by The Fund for Animals, an affiliate of The HSUS.
•Earlier this month, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released an extensive report that called for an increased use of on the range management tools, including PZP. See the report here.
Source: The Examiner, by Vania Maldonado
Carson City, Nev. – Governor Brian Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 264 into law, officially authorizing the Nevada Dept. of Agriculture (NDA) to form cooperative agreements with non-profit organizations and local government agencies for the management of wild horses, or mustangs. The bill also increases criminal penalties for unauthorized capturing, retaining, or feeding of wild horses. While the law mainly affects mustangs, it also extends to any livestock running at large on public or private lands, unowned or with unknown owners, including cattle, equines, swine, goats, sheep, poultry, and alternative livestock (such as llamas or elk).
This law is a major milestone for animal advocacy groups like the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), who describe themselves as a “coalition of more than 50 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come.” Since 2011, the AWHPC and other animal advocates have resorted to buying mustangs from NDA to prevent them from being sold at public auctions, where they are usually sold to businesses for slaughter, according to Equine Policy Examiner Carrol Abel.
In September of 2012, NDA director Jim Barbee canceled this arrangement, forcing wild horse advocates to compete with other buyers at public auctions to save the animals from slaughter. This policy change “resulted in an overwhelming number of calls” to Governor Sandoval from concerned citizens, Abel reported. The protests finally came to a head last December, after shocking photographs were published on the Internet, of NDA security staff dragging a foal by her neck with a piece of twine.
In December alone, the governor “received more than 18,000 faxes, letters and emails urging him to work with wild horse advocacy groups to protect the mustangs,” according to the AWHPC. Bo Rodriguez, the photographer who exposed the cruel
abuse, responded to Internet comments on his pictures, “I did not enjoy taking these photos of the three week old foal being drug around by a piece of bailing twine, it was a long and traumatic [ordeal] for both protesters and horses. There has to be a better solution.”
That solution began a month later, in January 2013, when Governor Sandoval finally yielded to the immense public pressure, and state officials met with AWHPC and the ASPCA to discuss a cooperative, humane approach to controlling the mustangs. According to AWHPC’s website, this meeting ultimately led to a signed agreement in March 2013 between NDA and Return to Freedom (the parent organization of AWHPC), allowing them to once again buy the wild horses before they are publicly
auctioned, and work to place them in permanent homes.
“We are pleased to enter into this agreement as a first step in implementing a humane program for the historic and locally-cherished wild horses of the Virginia Range. We look forward to the next step, implementation of cooperative agreements for the range control of the horses. A host of solutions – including birth control, fencing, and diversionary feeding and watering – are available to mitigate public safety concerns,” said Neda DeMayo, Founder and President of Return To Freedom, as reported on their website. Now that AB 264 has become law, the next step can begin, and the mustangs can finally run free.
Source: The Toledo Blade, by Tanya Irwin
Lake Schools in Ohio is planning to go ahead with a donkey basketball fund-raiser at its high school today despite several efforts to stop the event. Virginia Holmes of Walbridge, who has two elementary-aged children in the district, has set up a petition on a Web site to sign in favor of banning the event. As of Monday afternoon, the petition, which can be seen at: http://tinyurl.com/bandonkeyball, had 364 signatures.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also sent out an Action Alert via email urging recipients to send Lake Schools officials emails expressing their concerns about the game. They suggested addressing them to Jim Witt, superintendent of schools; Lee Herman, principal of Lake High School; and Dolores Swineford, assistant principal of Lake High School. None of the three replied to attempts for comment Monday.
“Donkey basketball games are loud, chaotic, and utterly bizarre events in which docile animals are pulled, shoved, screamed at, whipped, and forced to carry riders who are too heavy for them,” said Gemma Vaughan, a caseworker in PETA’s cruelty investigations department. “Used again and again, the donkeys are lugged from place to place for months on end in small, poorly ventilated vehicles — with no consideration for their welfare, safety, or happiness.”
Equines subjected to such stress can develop unpredictable temperaments that put riders and bystanders at risk, Ms. Vaughan said. “There has been a record of injuries associated with donkey basketball games, including a case in which an injured participant successfully sued a school for more than $110,000 in damages,” she added.
Mrs. Holmes calls the event “sadistic” and said she is concerned the district is getting away from its professed values: “responsible,” “respectful,” and “ready to learn." “There is nothing ‘responsible’ or ‘respectful’ about teaching the children
that abuse and humiliation is OK if the target is an animal,” she said. “This behavior should not be allowed or encouraged in any of its forms.” Mrs. Holmes wrote a letter to Mr. Witt and copied Mr. Herman and Ms. Swineford.
The high school principal responded, stating that in past games, he never witnessed abuse of the animals. The school’s superintendent also responded to her letter. “He said he discussed the petition with the principals, and they decided to
continue with the fund-raiser plans as they have a non-refundable deposit they would lose and an extra fee charge for cancelling so close [to] the date,” she said.
Mrs. Holmes said her research turned up no similar events in northwest Ohio.“This is the only district that is doing it,” she said. “Others do an ‘all-stars’ basketball fund-raiser and other events. Springfield Schools used to do it but has stopped.”
The Ohio Voters for Companion Animals also is urging area residents to voice their concerns to the school district’s leaders. The group posted about the event on its Facebook page.
Horses for Life, a national group dedicated to ending horse abuse, also posted about the event, saying: “We are not endorsing this activity, we are asking people to take action to have this activity stopped. No donkey should be used as a makeshift party favor, nor should young people be given the message that this sort of objectification is acceptable.”
The school district’s Web site states that advance tickets for the event are $6, while tickets at the door are $8. Children 6 and under are free. Funds raised will be used for events for graduating seniors. The school invites children as young as preschoolers to be spectators, Mrs. Holmes said.
“There’s another serious, but delicate, side of this event: The bullying,” she said. “Since the donkey does not care if people call it names, mock him, or use put-downs and humiliation, the school brings young children to engage in it. But bullying is bullying regardless of the target. The school is encouraging this as acceptable, and this is so bad for our young children.”
HORSES FOR LIFE