Calico: Past, Present & Future V - from American Herds

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Calico: Past, Present & Future V

This is the fifth in a series of articles that attempts to disclose some of the known issues playing behind the scenes in the Calico Complex and beyond….

A Greenpeace activists trudges through oil on a beach near
Venice, Louisiana,on May 20, 2010.
Huffington Post


Yesterday, the Honorable Judge Friedman issued his verdict for the Calico Complex wild horses and all those now warehoused in BLMs many long-term holding facilities by dismissing all counts of the complaints filed by plaintiffs In Defense of Animals, Craig Downer, and Terri Farley, through the pro-bono legal services of William Spriggs of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney.

First, Judge Friedman issued the opinion that though he refused to stop the round up back in December, because he didn’t, any prayer for relief was now moot because the round up had already taken place.

He also chastised the plaintiffs for not appealing his initial refusal to stop the round up when he failed to grant the injunction back in December. In my opinion, when Friedman issued yesterday's legal opinion about his ruling to not grant a halt to the round up, he presented a legal argument that shared some twisted semblance of logic used by other kinds of rapists; that “No” didn’t really mean no and the plaintiffs should have asked again.

Judge Friedman also cited several other legal technicalities the plaintiffs failed to overcome such as standing – better known as the right to sue due to a legally cognizable interest, actual injury and harm, and failure to establish more than a causal connection between, well, everything that has gone on. Click Here to learn more.

While it is generally accepted that the almost 100 now dead horses, 40 or more aborted and/or miscarried foals and dozens of injuries sustained by the Calico herds who DID suffer irreparable harm and injury had no legal voice in the matter, turns out, neither does any of the American citizens whom are shoved aise with the only rights still guaranteed is merely to act as witnesses to the decimation of our American herds - well, that and of course, to fund it.

The ruling also reminded us that Judge Friedman found the Safari Club and Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) to have sufficient standing to sign on as defendants in the Calico case due to their “vested interests”.

As we saw in the last post, BLM and NDOWs cozy relationship spurred the Surprise Field Office to approve a land use plan that “no longer manages for a reasonable number of wildlife” – that concept is only reserved for wild horses and burros.

NDOW is one of the most active and aggressive supporters of “protecting habitat” for the ever-burgeoning big game populations and their influence can be found behind the scenes of every major and most minor management decision being pushed through on public lands in Nevada; NDOW also often targets the easy pickens of wild horse and burro resources to further their goals. After all, who is there to defend the wild horses and burros? Only BLM….

However, NDOWs involvement in wild horses and burro management isn’t limited to just BLM as we will soon see.

Though Nevada Bighorns Unlimited claimed financial sponsorship of the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge fence repair and census of wild horses, according to Sheldon manager Paul Steblien, it was NDOWs planes that “discovered” 700 wild horses were missing from the Refuge back in June 2007.

It would appear that NDOW also maintains an equally cozy relationship with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), as not only were they consulting with lawyers and Judge Friedman about their unconditional support for the removal of the Calico wild horses, they have also been very busy behind the scenes working with USFWS managers at Sheldon, BLM, the U.S. Energy Regulatory Committee and yes, the Ruby Pipeline….

The FWS has expressed concern that certain measures proposed by Ruby (i.e., facilitation of horse and burro movement around construction areas, fence line manipulation, and opening of gates for construction activities) could result in additional wild horses or burros entering the Sheldon NWR. The FWS could then be required to increase its expenditures to manage the wild horse and burro populations, which could detract from the funds necessary to manage other NWR resources. Ruby has committed to coordinating with the Sheldon NWR to implement and maintain access restriction controls to prohibit the migration of wild horses and burros onto the Sheldon NWR. Ruby would coordinate with the FWS to repair or replace any cattle guards on the Sheldon NWR damaged by construction, and install new fencing, gates, or cattle guards at key areas. Finally, Ruby would erect fences to restrict animal movement out of the HMAs.”
Ruby Pipeline Final EISChapter 4, page 4-114
January 8, 2010

Dead Calico Wild Horse due to round up entrapment by non-compliant cattle guard.
Photo courtesy of Craig Downer,copyright 3/29/10 available at
Elyse Gardner-The Humane Observer, Craig Downer's Report On
The Calico Complex In The Helicopter's Wake: The Aftermath And
Another Roundup Casualty? BLM Abdicates Responsibiity
For Pre-Roundup Safety Precautions.

While the DOI’s Minerals Management Services has been bilking the American people out of billions in royalties owed to the nation by the oil and gas industry for decades with a slew of scandals recently heightened by DOI employees in bed – literally – with industry executives, no amount of investigative reporting, scathing exposes, Congressional involvement or promises of reform from current Secretary of the Interior seems to be making a dent in the lucrative sales of our resources through backroom deals. Click Here to learn more.

While questions continue about what legally constitutes a bribe with respect to making deals with government employees and public resources, what The Ruby Pipeline’s parent company El Paso Gas is now doing to pave the way for their $3 billion dollar pipeline is not only considered totally legal – it is required.

Hailed as “mitigation measures” versus good old fashioned bribery, in order for Ruby to lay down its massive pipe, they have to provide compensation to the agencies overseeing state and public resources to ease the impact of the project in order to protect the public trust. At least, that’s how the story goes…

Though the general public gets to review two documents released by the U.S. Energy Regulatory Committee on what erecting the Ruby Pipeline will entail, behind the scenes agencies of all sorts have been involved with intimate “consultation” processes about what they want, what they need and how to negotiate the best deal they can out of El Paso’s war chest before they seal the deal.

As BLM was releasing the first environmental assessment to remove the wild horses in Calico in late October, at the exact same time another document was being submitted to Ruby in what can only be described as a gold plated Draft Wish List, which included hefty requests by none other than NDOW itself.

This document is titled, “Draft Ruby Pipeline Migratory Bird Conservation Plan” and was recently obtained via extensive FOIA requests submitted by Western Watersheds Project (WWP) on the Ruby Pipeline. According to the FOIA records obtained by WWP, this Migratory Bird Conservation Plan was submitted to Ruby on October 26, 2009.

Though it is plain to see it was originally written to include open and transparent coordination with BLM, U.S. Forest Service and state fish and game departments, this Wish List is now being slid through exclusively under USFWS’s jurisdiction – though all agencies will continue to be consulted and will include “joint ventures, project interests from private landowners, corporations, non-profit groups, and non-governmental organizations in making any decisions about what migratory bird habitat projects should be completed under this agreement.”

According to this document, in response to various agency demands for compensatory conservation measures, “Ruby acknowledges its responsibilities and conservation measures that have been identified to provide additional conservation benefits that go beyond typical avoidance, minimization and compensatory measures” (emphasis added)

The Plan goes on to state that, “In order to accomplish this, Ruby will deposit funds in an account (or accounts, if necessary) to be used for the protection of migratory bird habitat through the acquisition of lands, implementation of habitat restoration, and long-term management of the lands for the benefit of migratory birds. Habitat enhancement and improvement projects will also be considered as legitimate uses of these funds.”

So what does the Wish List cover? Just about everything any and all agencies involved could wish for with a starting price tag of almost $17.1 million dollars when the sum of all the disclosed projects are added together.

There are also a mountain of other projects the agencies are asking Ruby to “mitigate”, many whose total costs were undisclosed, which include:

> $2,000 per acre for fencing in the Little Humboldt Allotment, Castle Ridge, Spanish Ranch Allotment, North Fork Group Allotment, Eagle Rock Allotment, Taylor Canyon, Tuscarora, Diry Peaks, Delano Mountains, Bluff Creek, Mill Creek and 25 additional unnamed allotments in order to protect aspen stands - as well as “other” identified aspen stands throughout the life of the project.

> Purchase property or water rights associated with the Brunea Wildlife Management Areas, which includes Stowell property match for NDOW funding and a seed storage facility that would be secured by NDOW and other agency partners with $1.5 million requested for initial construction of the facility and $375k for staffing it for the next 5 years – including benefits.

> Undisclosed cost of restoring native grasses on 10,400 acres.

> Removal of 92 miles of roads insides WSA’s at undisclosed costs.

> Purchasing the Soldier Meadows Ranch – home of the Soldier Meadows Allotment that overlaps three wild horse HMAs where the Calico Complex round up began. The Wish List reasons why buying the ranch outright is such a great idea by stating, “With the proposed pipeline route traversing most of this allotment along the head of the hydrologic watershed for Warm Springs Canyon and the northern reaches of the High Rock drainage; a substantial list of projects have been proposed to mitigate or attempt to offset the construction and pipeline footprint. The sum of those related projects in conjunction with a 3 year payout to take non-use could approach the assessed value of the ranch. In so much as this ranch is the pivotal base property for much of the grazing issues within the Black Rock Wilderness area, the High Rock Wilderness and associated NCA (National Conservation Area), this purchase would have the support and possible buy in from a number of partner conservancies with Ruby. The inclusion of all private parcels scattered throughout the allotment such as the springs south of the ranch, Wall Canyon, Cottonwood Canyon, Stanley Camp, Summer Camp, Slumgullion, etc. would all be windfalls for the public and remove a number of current conflicts”. (Editors Note: It would only be considered a windfall for those interested in seeing the circumvention of federal law regarding the protection of wild horses and burros and livestock grazing in what would then be private and/or state protected lands held partnership with Ruby, a.k.a., El Paso Natural Gas Corporation.)

> At least 20 miles of fencing was also included for lands adjacent to Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in the Wall Canyon Allotment to separate allotments and “would control trespass livestock and feral horse use on critical wildlife habitat between the Sheldon NWR and the Warm Springs and High Rock drainages.”

> And at least 42 springs, seeps and various water sources are identified in the document as being targeted for fencing with several references to “feral horses” being excluded from these areas including:

- The only two remaining springs left for wild horse use in the Massacre Lakes HMA (located in the Juniper Pasture on the Massacre Lakes Allotment), Post Springs and Indian Springs.

- Fencing of the 40 acres Miller and Lux Springs in the Nut Mountain Allotment that overlaps the Nut Mountain HMA.

- Fencing Idaho Canyon Springs that overlaps the Calico HMA.

- Rock Springs in the Wall Canyon HMA, where BLM Winnemucca photo files from 2008 obtained via FOIA cites Rock Springs as exclusively used by wild horses and is specifically marked as “No Livestock Use” by BLM. Meanwhile, the Draft Migratory Bird Conservation Plan states “the replacement and/or repair of fencing around Rock Springs would control trespass livestock” and in another section titled “Rock Springs Spring Enhancement”, the plan is to fence "approximately 40 additional acres of the spring and meadows and pipe water to a trough outside for livestock, feral horses, and big game species”. So much for exclusive use by wild horses….

> Other springs found in the BLM Winnemucca photo files being used by wild horses and targeted for exclosures on the Wish List that can initially be identified include Clear Springs, Tin Trough Springs, Summit Spring and Santa Clause Spring in the Black Rock West HMA, and the Antelope Springs, Cherry Springs and Mustang Springs in the Warm Springs Canyon HMA,

However, in the spirit of fairness, some of the proposed exclosures are allowing for pipelines to carry water to troughs that would be located outside the fenced springs for continued wild horse and/or burro use.

Summit Springs, Empty Trough, BLM Winnemucca photo files. 7-29-08
Rock Springs, titled "Faucet found open, water loss, troughs dry".
BLM Winnemucca photo files. 7-10-08

Rock Springs titled, "Faucet open, water loss, troughs dry".
BLM Winnemucca photo files. 7-10-08

Rock Springs, titled, "Troughs after turning off faucet found open".
BLM Winnemucca photo files. 7-29-08

Rock Springs, titled, "Troughs full". BLM Winnemucca photo files. 10-23-08

And one year later? Rock Springs, merely titled,"Troughs Empty".
BLM Winnemucca photo files. 7-18-09

As Colorado based El Paso Gas Corporation was backpedaling earlier this year about their involvement with wild horses and burros affected by the Ruby Pipeline by pointing out that everything they would do would be according to “BLM policy”, one of the issues the astute reader of Ruby’s Final EIS will note is that all Ruby’s proposed mitigation measures for access to water by wild horses and burros involves hauling water, not the establishment of long-term water sources – those are being considered for fencing during the four year mitigation and reclamation process.

However, while El Paso’s public affairs specialists were recently citing their complete objectivity regarding the issue of wild horse management to calm any further public speculation about their potential prejudices, less than a year earlier, a letter sent by Ruby Pipeline LLC to Nevada Associate BLM State Director Amy Lueders on March 31, 2009, belies Ruby’s true feelings about feral horses as they proceed to make a claim so bold and ludicrous, not even the strongest anti-wild horse opponent has had the audacity to try and fabricate as fact what Ruby does when they blame wild horses for habitat fragmentation in the letter, which states, “Further, the introduction of non-native species, in this case wild horses, can have a fragmenting effect upon the landscape” (pg. 4)

BLM also fired back at the suggestion of Ruby’s behind the scenes involvement in the Calico Complex round ups by posting a Press Release on January 22, 2010, which essentially poo-pooed the idea that Ruby and BLM were doing anything less than honorable with respect to the management of wild horses and burros affected by the pipeline.

However, a press release doesn’t hold water in the legal arena – just ask Judge Friedman – and the legally established BLM “policy” that Ruby will follow has lots and lots of loopholes managers from a variety of agencies can evoke at their discretion.

HMAs would be managed individually in four of the eight herd management areas; however, the Nut Mountain, Bitner, Massacre Lakes, and Wall Canyon HMAs would be managed as a complex. This would facilitate recovery of degraded or threatened ecosystem components by providing sufficient management flexibility to (temporarily) remove horses from an entire HMA (or portion thereof) in order to permit recovery following wildfire, resource improvement projects, or overgrazing by horses….”

BLM Surprise Resource Management Plan
Section 2.21 Wild Horses, pg. 2-82
Record of Decision, December 2008

As the Ruby Final EIS proposes to formalize a blanket agreement to “erect fences to restrict animal movement out of the HMAs” for undisclosed miles at equally undisclosed locations and BLM’s Tuscarora and Winnemucca Field Offices are working hand in hand with Nevada Department of Wildlife and USFWS to feed Ruby a Wish List that will fence miles more of critical water sources, meadows and habitat away from wild horses and burros – as well as possibly just unloading public lands to be managed by corporate partnerships with anyone but BLM - we, the public can rest assured that BLM will be as open, honest and humane about what they are really doing behind the scenes as they have been with the handling of the Calico Complex wild horses over the last several months.

For a more detailed accounting of the daily death tolls, restriction on public access and BLMs transparent operations of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, visit the Humane Observer by Elyse Gardner, who has chronicled the on-the-ground realities faced by the Calico Complex wild horses since their removals began.

As for El Paso Gas Corporation, they have lots of on-board experience with those who know how to pass the buck of responsibility to anyone but themselves as in early December, Timothy J. Probert was named to their Board of Directors. Mr. Probert also is currently serving as the President of Halliburton, Global Business Lines, which includes both Drilling and Evaluation and Completion and Production divisions and their respective service lines.

Wonder if Mr. Probert’s division of Halliburton had anything to do with all the scandals involved in the Minerals Management Services or the currently unfolding tragedy now being played out in the Gulf Coast, thanks to all those “cozy relationships” between corporations, government employees and multi-billion dollar projects that allow the by-pass of environmental protection laws such as NEPA in favor of doing business at the national expense.

While President Obama recently slammed British Petroleum, Transocean and Halliburton for “falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else” at recent Congressional hearings over the gulf oil horror, what the public hasn’t seen is any real reform or change under Obama’s pick for Secretary of the DOI as the Colorado based Salazar has a long, long history of support for the energy industry, including the approval last year of the British Petroleum’s exemption from doing the required detailed environmental analysis at the Deep Water Horizon site now hailed as fast becoming an unprecedented ecological disaster.

As Judge Friedman ruled that any prayer for relief to the public and the Calico horses is now moot and Gulf Coast residents are learning the dirty truth about the greasy realities of the DOI, Secretary Salazar pushes onward in his determination to ram through his Wild Horse & Burro Initiative in this BLM sponsored Denver Public Workshop on June 14, 2010, which will focus exclusively on Salazar's brainchild of leaving merely a few treasured herds of wild horses and burros on public lands while the rest are sterilized to achieve reproduction cycles that match fluctuating adoption demands or carted off to mostly private Sanctuaries in the Mid-West or Eastern states far removed from their native, "protected" ranges.

Wonder what the $42 million dollars Salazar has requested from Congress to purchase land back East for warehousing our wild horses would do if it was dangled in front of state Fish & Game Departments and Sheldon NWR instead to ensure “mitigation measures” for the long-term management of wild horses and burros too.

But then, Secretary Salazar has publicly stated there is no longer any “room” for wild horses and burros out West anymore and apparently, President Obama and his administration continue to support Secretary Salazar 110% - no matter what the cost.

So, we the public are left to live with the mess, stand witness to the dying and deceased while simultaneously being herded down the Obama/Salazar canyon of “work shopping” on how we believe the DOI can best implement the final destruction of our American herds under Salazar’s Initiative.

Secretary Salazar, do you really want to try something new in the Wild Horse & Burro Program? Why don’t you demand the DOI start following the spirit and intent of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act instead of devoting all its resources to circumventing it.

Now that would be a change for sure!

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The Humane Slaughter Act of 1958

Captive Bolt

I.          The Humane Slaughter Act of 1958

The Humane Slaughter Act ("HSA"), was first enacted in 1958, and amended in 1978 and 2002.  HSA requires slaughterhouses to render livestock unconscious before they are killed.  On May 13, 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law the "Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002" (Public Law 107-171), which includes a Resolution that the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958 should be fully enforced to prevent the needless suffering of animals.  It also calls upon the Secretary of Agriculture to track violations "and report the results and relevant trends annually to Congress."  In January 2004 the General Accounting Office investigated violations of the ‘Humane Methods of Slaughter Act’ which amended the Federal Meat Inspection Act and extended the policy nationwide by requiring that all federally inspected slaughter establishments adopt humane handling and slaughter methods.  The results of the GAO investigation can be found at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04247.pdf.


7 U.S.C.A. § 1901 Findings and Declaration of Policy

The Congress finds that the use of humane methods in the slaughter of livestock prevents needless suffering; results in safer and better working conditions for persons engaged in the slaughtering industry; brings about improvement of products and economies in slaughtering operations; and produces other benefits for producers, processors, and consumers which tend to expedite an orderly flow of livestock and livestock products in interstate and foreign commerce. It is therefore declared to be the policy of the United States that the slaughtering of livestock and the handling of livestock in connection with slaughter shall be carried out only by humane methods.

7 U.S.C.A. § 1902 Humane Methods

No method of slaughtering or handling in connection with slaughtering shall be deemed to comply with the public policy of the United States unless it is humane. Either of the following two methods of slaughtering and handling is hereby found to be humane:

(a) in the case of cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine, and other livestock, all animals are rendered insensible to pain by a single blow or gunshot or an electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective, before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast, or cut; or

(b)  by slaughtering in accordance with the ritual requirements of the Jewish faith or any other religious faith that prescribes a method of slaughter whereby the animal suffers loss of consciousness by anemia of the brain caused by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the carotid arteries with a sharp instrument and handling in connection with such slaughtering.

II.        Captive Bolt/Exsanguination:  Method of Achieving Insensibility Used in the United States

The penetrating captive bolt followed by immediate exsanguination (bleeding out) has been the preferred method of achieving insensibility of equines in American slaughterhouses since the early 1980’s. The mode of action of a penetrating captive bolt gun is concussion and trauma to the brain. This requires that it be held firmly against the surface of the head over the intended site. Because placement and positioning of the projectile is critical, some degree of restraint is required for proper use of this device.

While the destruction of brain tissue with the penetrating captive bolt may be sufficient to result in death, operators are strongly advised to ensure death by exsanguination.

It is important to note that in the foreign owned equine slaughterhouses operating in the United States, no form of restraint is used when the equine is in the kill chute or ‘knock box’ waiting for the penetrating captive bolt to be applied.  In some instances, it takes several attempts to effectively apply the penetrating captive bolt the equine, if this is achieved at all.  The use of the penetrating captive bolt is in violation of 7 U.S.C.A. § 1902 (a) of the Humane Slaughter Act as this methodology requires more than one blow and is inefficient at rendering equines immediately insensible.

(Sources: (i) Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM and former Chief USDA Inspector, and (ii) Humane Farming Association video documentation at http://www.manesandtailsorganization.org/media.html)  

Use of the captive bolt causes extreme pain.
In a study conducted at Hanover University, EEG and ECG recordings were taken on all animals to measure the condition of the brain and heart during the course of slaughter and stunning.  EEG readings showed that although the animals were apparently unconscious soon after stunning with the penetrating captive bolt, they were experiencing severe pain immediately after stunning.
Horses regain consciousness approximately 30 seconds after the captive bolt is applied.

Due to the inherent differences in skull structures of bovines and equines, each species reacts to the captive bolt differently.  The brain of an equine is further back in the skull compared to a bovine.  The equines regain consciousness and are not insensible to pain shortly after they are shackled and hoisted.  Therefore, they are very much aware of being butchered alive.

(Source:  Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM and former Chief USDA Inspector.)

III.             No Other Methods of Equine Slaughter Comply with the HSA of 1958

(1)       Electrocution – has been defined as 'cruel' by the American Horse Show Association in response to owners who have electrocuted their horses for insurance money. Federal Courts have upheld the Association's contention that electrocution is cruel. Therefore, it cannot be used as a method of humane slaughter for equines.
(2)               Drug Overdose – this method saturates the tissues and leaves residues thereby making the meat inedible.
(3)               Carbon Monoxide – this method saturates the tissues and leaves residues thereby making the meat inedible.
(4)               .22 Caliber Gun Shot – This particular firearm is inappropriate for equines due to the thickness of the skull structure of an equine.  Using the .22 caliber rifle does not achieve instantaneous insensibility of equines.  Larger caliber firearms such as a 9mm or .357 are required to efficiently penetrate the skull and cause the massive brain destruction necessary to achieve instantaneous insensibility. (Source:  Procedures for Humane Euthanasia of Sick, Injured and/or Debilitated Livestock - http://lacs.vetmed.ufl.edu/HumaneEuthanasia/gun.htm).  Additionally, the horse cannot be restrained and this method is dangerous to workers.

IV.       The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners Positions Regarding Equine Slaughter

Both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners deem the use of the penetrating captive bolt ‘acceptable.’ The American Veterinary Medical Association 2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia evaluated Euthanasia according to this criterion:

(1)       ability to induce loss of consciousness and death without causing pain, distress, anxiety, or apprehension;
(2)       time required to induce loss of consciousness;
(3)       reliability;
(4)       safety of personnel;
(5)       irreversibility;
(6)            compatibility with requirement and purpose;
(7)       emotional effect on observers or operators;
(8)            compatibility with subsequent evaluation, examination, or use of tissue;
(9)       drug availability and human abuse potential;
(10)     compatibility with species, age, and health status;
(11)         ability to maintain equipment in proper working order; and
(12)         safety for predators/scavengers should the carcass be consumed.

The use of the penetrating captive bolt gun does not meet the AVMA Panel's criteria regarding "loss of consciousness and death without causing pain, distress, anxiety, or apprehension."  Unlike bovines (which the penetrating captive bolt was designed for) equines possess different skull structures, are flight animals, and attempt to flee the 'knock box' or 'kill chute.' That being the case, it takes numerous attempts before the animal is properly stunned, if this is achieved at all.

From documentation provided by the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Farming Association it is clear that these equines are feeling pain due to the number of attempts taken to stun them, and are extremely distressed, anxious, and apprehensive.

This invalidates criteria 1, 2, 3, 6, and 10 of the AVMA's criterion for 'humane euthanasia.'

The AVMA position regarding the use of the penetrating captive bolt is in violation of 7 U.S.C.A. § 1902 (a) of the Humane Slaughter Act as this methodology requires more than one blow and is inefficient at rendering equines insensible.

The use of the penetrating captive bolt is in violation of the Humane Slaughter Act generally, and 7 U.S.C.A. § 1902 (a) specifically.  Any other method of slaughter as applied to equines is in violation of the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 generally, and 7 U.S.C.A. § 1902 (a) specifically.

© 2005 Ellen-Cathryn Nash for Manes & Tails Organization with contributions from Vivian Farrell of the Int'l Fund for Horses & Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM

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Abuse of the Sacred Horses [ Sunka Wakan ] « Indigenous People’s Literature Weblog

Abuse of the Sacred Horses [ Sunka Wakan ] « Indigenous People’s Literature Weblog
Abuse of the Sacred Horses [ Sunka Wakan ]
The Slaughter is Scheduled for Mothers Day IN St. Onge

David just called very distraught. The injunction was denied, they said it was to late to stop the slaughter. They delayed speaking the truth so that the pain would be more directed at David and his People.

The horses will be sold at the slaughter house on Mothers Day of all Days.

Here is the Slaughter House info..

St Onge Livestock Company Ltd


Center Street
St Onge, SD 57779
(605) 642-2200
David could hardly speak, He said to me this is an attack on the People and An Attack on the Innocence of the Sacred Horses of the First Nations People.

Please call the Livestock Company and speak your heart, Flood their web emails with protests filled with the tears of the Generations of Lakotas who have been abused not only by the White Society But now by their own Tribal Government Again…….

We ask the Governor to intervene now that the animals are off the Rez. Call and email his office with your tears and protests.

Governor Rounds Office of the Governor
500 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
605.773.3212 to email you must go to this url and click contact.


This Is an Abuse of the Sacred Horses, This is an Attack on the Lakota People, who have been told again and again they are invisible and no one can hear their cries for Justice.

Now the Animals will suffer and be slaughtered for what end.

Where is the Justice, Where are the cries for Humanity…..

I know where the tears are, as they are in my eyes and I may never see again…..

Please forward to the ones that will hear….

“Who Will Be Innocent Next”

Toksha Wolakota
IN Peace
keith rabin



Statement by David Swallow, Jr., Wowitan Yuha Mani
Teton Lakota Spiritual Leader, Sun dance Chief of the Medicine Wheel Sun dance, and a Headman of the Lakota Nation Band of Wana Way Gu (Broken Bow)

Statement Date; May 3rd 2010
Transcribed To and edited by Keith Rabin and Allison Gutirrez-Bundy

Hau, Mitakuyepi na Mita Kola. [ Hello. Greetings my relatives and my friends. ]

My name is Dave Swallow Jr. My Lakota name is Wowitan Uha Mani, Walks With Pride. I’m a Lakota. I live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation [South Dakota]. I was born and raised there. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is The United States Prisoner of War Camp Number 344. That’s where I was born and raised.

We are the People of the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota People. We have adopted the Sacred Horse, [ Sunka Wakan ] into our nation and into our families. It is part of who we are. It is hard in our ways to remember our lives with out our Horses. They are part of our family. We give them names and honor them. They take part in our ceremonies. They are part of our lives, not only for transportation but also the Sunka Wakan help heal our minds, bodies and spirits.

Sunka is the Lakota word for “dog”. Before the horse, Sunka helped us with our transportation. They also are our family members. When Sunka Wakan, the “Sacred Horse” came, it became a blessing a gift from our Creator to be forever in our lives.

Today, our grandchildren and children still need the Sunka Wakan for our healings of body, mind and spirit. Some of the grandparents and parents save their money for months just to buy a colt, a Sunka Wakan for their children and grandchildren. This keeps our children and grandchildren away from alcohol, drugs and gang activities. This why we need our Sunka Wanka is part of our families.

But today, in 2010, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council at the Pine Ridge Agency created their own laws against the People of the Reservations and one of these new laws is against our Sacred Horse [ Sunka Wakan ]. Two Councilmen from the Porcupine District of the Pine Ridge have spear headed this law. The whole Tribal Council supports it. Without asking the People on the Pine Ridge Reservation to whom they are to represent, they created new Park Ranger positions on the Reservation to confiscate the People’s horses, impound the Sacred Horses of the People and then charge the owners an outrageous amount of money to get their horses back. It seems they have no intent to return the Horses to the People.

Every other foreign nation conquered by the United States has received huge efforts towards rehabilitation and rebuilding. Yet, while the U.S. cries about 20% unemployment, we have 80% unemployment. We remain isolated and have living conditions which are as bad as or worse than any “third world country.” Our life expectancy is only 48 years old for men and 52 years old for women.

On March 2, 1889, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America established the Reservations. They said we are to live here on the Reservations, hunt and fish without any permits and the Reservations were established as “Open Range” without any fences.

It seems to the ” The People” [ The Lakota Oyate ] that the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council has forgotten these rules set by the Senate of the United States of America and has taken upon itself some goal of not only hurting the Horse itself but the People and the families of the Lakota People .

This is a Reservation. We are NOT living in a park or a National park. It is the land of the People. We already have the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Police, the Oglala Sioux Tribal (OST) Public Safety Law Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Marshals watching over us. I believe we Lakota Oyate have enough jurisdiction watching over us . Now come the Oglala Sioux Park Rangers, confiscating our Sacred Horses and arresting us if we don’t cooperate. The Oglala Sioux Park Rangers are selling our horses to local ranchers (who then sell them to slaughter houses for slaughter) or the OST Rangers sell our horses directly to slaughter houses. THIS NEEDS TO BE STOPPED AND RETURN OUR Sacred Horses returned back to the People.

We are the People of the Sacred Horse. It is as much to our lives as your cars and trucks are to yours.

We have a treaty council, a council of elders, all kinds of councils but none of them are effective. The government and state have kept us hungry and distracted with their projects which accomplish very little.

But they need to know. If we are to survive, people need to understand. When we’re talking about the Black Hills, it’s not just the land that was lost but our way of life. It’s not just money. Money is the least important thing. We have lost our way of life.

When we talk about the Sacred Horses, It is not about only Horses it is about everything.

Ho he’cetu yelo, I have spoken these words.

David Swallow, Wowitan Yuha Mani

Porcupine, South Dakota – The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
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"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra