Herd Watch Discovers Covert Roundup in Nevada

Wild horses subjected to experimental sterilization procedures in wildlife refuge.

Reno, NV (September 26, 2010)—Laura Leigh, Director of Herd Watch, a Cloud Foundation program, has been monitoring a hidden roundup occurring this week at the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge—notorious for hiding their activities from the public. Historically horses from Sheldon, in northwestern Nevada, have been extremely vulnerable to the slaughter pipeline and have been unaccounted for on many occasions. Herd Watch has learned that Sheldon horses have been subjected to experimental procedures such as vasectomies and hysterectomies done in the field so they still look like normal horses only they have been sterilized. Advocates are outraged. The roundup run by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), United States FIsh and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Cattoor Livestock, is happening without any public notification or provisions for observation.

“I walked over a ridge and began to see horse bones,” explains Leslie Peeples, operating in Sheldon on a tip from Leigh, “The bone trail became more abundant and led me to a large pit that had been recently covered up near another one freshly dug up. I photographed what I observed there.”

Peeples continued onward to view more than 250 wild horses alive in a temporary holding facility out of the 400 intend to secretly gather.

“When I got back into my car I was chased from the area by the roundup contractor’s helicopter that came within 20-30 feet of my car,” Peeples states. “I was afraid for my life.”

On Friday, Sept 24th Leigh filed for injunctive relief in connection with her lawsuit, supported by Grass Roots Horse, in Reno federal district court. She asks for the cessation of all activities associated with the clandestine protocols surrounding wild horse roundups and asks for documentation to be made public about all facets of wild horse and burro management under the Department of Interior. Leigh also asks that all private facilities be open to the public, including long-term warehousing where public horses are currently stockpiled and off-limits to public view with their ultimate bulk sale receipts to alleged kill-buyers kept hidden.

As a result of the 2004 Burns Ammendment, BLM now has the legal right to partake in unlimited sales of wild horses to alleged kill-buyers as well as mass euthanasia.

The Sheldon incident and all of it’s details including photographs, experimental vasectomy and hysterectomy accounts, and statements have been added to Leigh’s motion in order to illustrate the extraordinary efforts made to hide roundup activities by privately contracted individuals paid for by tax dollars.

“This iron curtain of secrecy must end now,” states Leigh. “Without transparency, democracy fails.”

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Leigh vs Salazar http://www.grassrootshorse.com/ Click on Legal Actions Page & view Leslie Peeples

Wild Horse Experimental Hysterectomies & Vasectomies in the Field http://bit.ly/cU8GKg

Congress Sends Letter for Wild Herds to Secretary Salazar http://bit.ly/54sign

Roundup Schedule- http://bit.ly/roundupsched

‘Herd-Watch: Public Eyes for Public Horses’ http://bit.ly/9Wvh58

Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act http://bit.ly/a7hOeS

American Herds – “What’s Left?”  http://americanherds.blogspot.com/2009/12/whats-left.html

Unified Moratorium on Roundups Letter http://bit.ly/MoratoriumLtr

Mestengo. Mustang. Misfit.  America’s Disappearing Wild Horses – A History http://bit.ly/8ZCk8e

Frequently Asked Questions on Wild Horses


Stampede to Oblivion: An Investigate Report from Las Vegas Now  http://bit.ly/Stampede2Oblivion

Photos, video and interviews are available

The Cloud Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana.

107 S. 7th St. – Colorado Springs, CO 80905




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LAS VEGAS — The Bureau of Land Management has suffered two defeats in federal court in recent weeks. One judge ordered BLM to make public the names of ranchers who lease public land for grazing, something BLM didn’t want to do. A second judge struck down a BLM plan to severely limit public input into how public lands are managed.

BLM management has come under severe criticism from wild horse advocates who allege the agency seems to be morphing a public program into a private, off-limits undertaking.

The BLM is in the middle of the most ambitious schedule of wild horse roundups in modern history, with some 10,000 mustangs from Nevada and other states in its crosshairs — meaning they will be captured and then shipped off to holding pens or long term warehousing at a cost of tens of millions of public dollars.

BLM says it values transparency, but has gone to great lengths to hide what it’s doing from the very taxpayers who foot the bill. It’s as if BLM is taking a lesson from other three-letter agencies, like CIA.

The 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act was passed with overwhelming support from the public for the preservation of wild herds on public ranges, but BLM has chafed under this edict ever since, despite P.R. statements to the contrary.

More than 20 million acres that were set aside for the herds have been zeroed out — wiped free of horses even though privately owned cattle still graze on the same acres.

BLM has apparently grown tired of being pummeled for the roundups, but when you chase wild animals with helicopters across miles of tough terrain, there will always be consequences and BLM no longer wants you to see them.

All of its most recent roundups have been headquartered on islands of private land located within the public acres. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but by putting their operations on private property, BLM managers get total control over who gets to see what they do.

At last winter’s Calico Roundup in Nevada, the bloodiest roundup in memory, observers from the public and media were invited to watch for only designated times and from a considerable distance.

Horse advocates didn’t see animals injured or killed, yet we know it happened, a lot, since more than 100 mustangs died either at the site or in holding pens later. It likewise didn’t want to see images on the evening news of the horses that keeled over dead during the Owyhee Roundup after being run for miles during the hottest month of the year.

BLM not only put roundup operations on private land, its holding pens are now private too. Horse advocates were previously able to visit the Fallon corrals to photograph the carnage, such as the colts whose hooves were literally ground off by the forced run over miles of sharp rock.

A few months ago, BLM decided it had had enough of those images, so it severely limited public access to holding facilities. It has even declared the air space off limits, a power it doesn’t have.

Horse advocates who tried to get in to see one recent roundup were threatened with arrest, even after a federal judge ordered BLM to allow them in.

What next, will they start stashing wild horses down in the bowels of Area 51, right there with the corpses of extraterrestrials? Will mustangs become the black budget equivalent of stealth drones and death rays?

The BLM doesn’t want the public to see the money shot — that is, a dead or dying horse or a cowboy kicking a colt in the head, so access is tightly controlled, you know, for our own protection.

The wild horse program isn’t part of the Pentagon’s black budget. National security is not at stake out on the range. Those are public dollars being spent on public lands by public employees. There is no room in those wide open spaces for secrecy and subterfuge.

Another roundup is set to begin this week in Nevada. BLM says it will arrange for at least one day for the public to observe the operation.

YOU LIE!!!!!! AGAIN!!!!


August 3, 2010


HOUSTON, (Horseback) – A BLM helicopter contractor has confirmed that there was abundant water in a freely flowing river after agency lawyers told a federal judge wild Nevada horses faced dying of thirst if they weren’t captured. At least 54 members of Congress have demanded BLM stop the deadly roundups. For details go to www.horsebackmagazine.com <http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=17697087&msgid=260139&act=9GKL&c=561286&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.horsebackmagazine.com> .

Contact: news@horsebackmagazine.com

Jailed Mustangs denied water…..


For Immediate Release:

Mustangs Fenced Out of Water- NV Roundup Death Toll Rises to 12

Independent Investigation requested to uncover cause of mustang deaths and inability to access water

Elko, NV (July 15, 2010)—Mustangs of the Tuscarora/Owyhee Complex in NE Nevada are now the focus of a BLM “emergency” as the agency claims that they don’t have enough water. The issue is not one of lack of water but prevention of access to water as the Tuscarora mustangs must navigate a maze of livestock fences and closed gates. Miles of fencing prevent their free-roaming behavior and ability to access water sites they’ve used for decades if not centuries. 12 Tuscarora wild horses have died after BLM contractors used a helicopter to roundup 228 of them in less than 150 minutes on July 10.  Prior to the roundup BLM told advocates that they were confident this was a reasonable window to remove horses in and maintain their good condition despite the presence of very young foals and the heat. However when the first day proved to be fatal and the roundup placed on hold, BLM began referring to the horses’ situation as an emergency. BLM now states that “an escalating drought” necessitates an emergency “gather.” However this is a typical weather pattern for the area in the hottest month of the year and the Cloud Foundation points to the fencing off of water sources and division between herd management areas in the complex as the root cause of their “emergency.”

“Why didn’t BLM know the water situation before going in and running 228 horses, at least 5% of them to subsequent death? The public deserves answers, not excuses,” explains Cloud Foundation Director Ginger Kathrens who has 16 years experience with wild horses across the ten western states. “The idea that wild horses are not capable of finding their way ten miles to a river to drink is absolute myth—mustangs regularly travel distances farther than that if allowed their free-roaming behavior. Distance or standard drought levels are not the issue, the real question is what is preventing these mustangs from using traditional perennial water sources.”

BLM has ‘pasturized’ the Tuscarora horses into cattle allotments to facilitate the grazing of 4,000 head of cattle in an area they say can support only 400 horses. The public has no way of knowing which gates are open and which are closed, and nor do the horses. For individual gain, BLM allows private interest to prevent the wild horses from accessing the water – rivers, creeks, reservoirs and water holes- that are present in this herd complex. Carving up herd management areas with fences is typical and prevents wild horse movement within their ranges set forth by the Free-Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

“BLM has reduced our wild horses to a labyrinth of cattle pastures and has no regard for their needs,” explains Kathrens.

The Cloud Foundation’s Herd-Watch Program Coordinator Laura Leigh filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to halt the Tuscarora Roundup on July 12 and United States District Judge Larry R. Hicks yesterday granted the injunction. Until further order of the court BLM is prevented  from continuing their removal operation. The hearing for Laura Leigh v. Ken Salazar (3:10-cv-00417-LRH-VPC) will be held Thursday, July 15 at the US District Court, 400 S. Virginia Street in Reno, beginning at 2:30 p.m. Leigh’s legal efforts are being funded by GrassRootsHorse.com, a collection of independent grassroots wild horse advocates.

The Cloud Foundation calls for an immediate independent investigation into the current situation in the Owyhee Complex. Bringing in BLM to analyze how their agency has failed yet more wild horses is not the answer; there needs to be an advocate for the wild horses participating in the current review of the Tuscarora disaster. It is essential that this person understand the needs and nature of wild horses.

“Has the BLM allowed pre-roundup hazing of the horses to position them closer to trap sites and farther away from where they would typically be?” questions author/advocate R.T. Fitch.


Links of interest:

‘Herd-Watch: Public Eyes for Public Horses’ http://bit.ly/9Wvh58

Court Order Granting Injunction http://bit.ly/doc10LeighvSalazar

Restraining order sought – AP article http://bit.ly/TROsought

Grass Roots Horse http://www.grassrootshorse.com/

Roundup Schedule- updated July 12, 2010  http://bit.ly/roundupschedule

The Mustang Conspiracy: Sex, Drugs, Corruption, and BP – investigative report http://www.abovetopsecret.com/mustangconspiracy/

Wild Horse and Burro Act http://bit.ly/a7hOeS

Tuscarora/Owyhee Complex Roundup Information from BLM http://bit.ly/Tuscarora

Disappointment Valley… A Modern Day Western Trailer- excellent sample of interviews regarding the issues http://bit.ly/awFbwm

PR Firm Hired for the Destruction of America’s Wild Horse and Burro Herds http://bit.ly/czf3HB

Fact Sheet on Wild Herds & The Salazar Plan http://bit.ly/bfdX1y

Link to this press release online http://bit.ly/Livestockfences

Past Cloud Foundation press releases http://bit.ly/TCFpress

Photos, video and interviews available from:

The Cloud Foundation


The Cloud Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana.

107 S. 7th St. – Colorado Springs, CO 80905 – 719-633-3842 www.thecloudfoundation.org

Anne Novak

Tel: 415-531-8454

Makendra Silverman

Tel: 719-351-8187


Mustangs and Burros Slated for Summer Roundup‏

For Immediate Release:

Opposition Grows for California Roundup of 2,500 Wild Mustangs and Burros
Northern CA Twin Peaks herd is targeted for a destructive multi-million dollar summer roundup
San Francisco, CA (July 7, 2010)—The Cloud Foundation opposes and is calling for a stop to the proposed roundup of over 2,500 mustangs and burros from one of the last viable herds in California. To avoid conflicting with deer hunting season, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to unleash contracted helicopters in the August heat to round up 2,500 mustangs and burros, including their young foals, from the Twin Peaks Range near Susanville. Vastly outnumbered by thousands of corporate-owned destructive livestock, the public’s wild horses and burros are the BLM’s scapegoats for damage on the range. Over 2,000 are now slated for removal despite healthy range conditions and an outdated census.
Anne Novak, with the Cloud Foundation, is an East Bay resident and fifth generation Californian. She visited the HMA outside of Susanville last week and recounts, “We were looking forward to seeing a lot of wild horses on the range after hearing the BLM’s reasons for the proposed roundup but we didn’t see any horses at all. We found three pronghorn and a small group of burros after covering the range all day on safari.”
The Twin Peaks wild horse and burro herd area is larger than the state of Rhode Island at 1,250 square miles. Despite the vast landscape, BLM wants to slash the herd from what they claim are 2,585 horses and burros to only 450 wild horses and 74 burros.
“We spent all day with BLM on a scheduled tour, combing the Twin Peaks area looking for wild horses and burros. We found a grand total of 20 wild horses including one foal and no burros,” explains Deb Coffey who traveled from Los Angeles to see the horses. “I really don’t believe that there are thousands of wild horses in the area.”
The BLM census estimates have come under increased scrutiny after the Calico round up in which 1,922 horses could be found, even though BLM had estimated that closer to 3,000 wild horses occupied an area of over half a million acres. The Twin Peaks numbers are based on even wilder projections. BLM numbers indicate that the herd has doubled in size in three years—a biological impossibility.
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and Executive Director of The Cloud FoundationGinger Kathrens, has filed comments on behalf of thousands of supporters who want a freeze on all the roundups until an accurate and independent census is completed and a sustainable management plan is in effect.
“Obviously BLM doesn’t have a handle on how many wild horses and burros are living in their designated ranges,” explains Kathrens. “Twin Peaks is a perfect example of a lack of scientific range data which would include an accurate census. None of the numbers add up and nothing is consistent except BLM’s mismanagement of America’s treasured wild horses and burros.”
Carla Bowers, of Volcano California reminds fellow residents that the public may “voice their opposition to the rounding up of the increasingly rare California wild horses by calling Senator Feinstein at 415-393-0707 and Senator Boxer at 916-448-2787 as well as sending emails and faxes of concern to the Senators and their representatives.”
The BLM Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville, which manages the Twin Peaks herd, reports receiving some 2,300 letters requesting cancellation of the roundup from individuals and groups but only 15 letters supporting the planned removal. Despite growing public outrage over BLM’s continuing massive roundups, which condemn wild horses to a life of confinement at taxpayer expense, BLM is expected to select alternative A (removing the maximum number of wild horses and burros) while allowing thousands of head of livestock to dominant the range.
“BLM prefers to excessively grant land use to damaging livestock rather than honor the wild horse’s unique place in the western ecosystem. If the government would consider adaptive and holistic management of America’s public land we would all reap the benefits,” adds wildlife ecologist and author, Craig Downer, who has spent 40 years on the range studying the survival strategies and contributions wild equids make to their home ranges. “When is BLM going to bring science to the table and give wild horses and the American taxpayer a break?”
The Cloud Foundation continues to ask for DOI’s assurance that the elimination of wild horse and burro herds across the West is not motivated by extractive industries.  This is difficult to believe because tens of thousands of privately-owned livestock are grazing on herd management areas across the West and oil and gas exploration is rampant in some herd areas.
“We want to safeguard our wild horses and burros on public lands and stop these dangerous roundups. We want an independent census to know exactly how many are out there,” explains Novak, continuing with, “Once they’re gone they’re gone forever. This heritage area is the home of the last stronghold of wild mustangs in California.”
Quick facts on California’s Wild Horses and Burros
Lost herds on lost ground:
At the passage of the Wild horse and burro act of 1971 there were 38 Herds designated for protection on a total of 6.6 million acres of public land. Today only 22 remain on a mere 2.4 million acres. Livestock Grazing is allowed on 8.1 million acres (including acres allocated to wild horses and burros). BLM estimates that the current population of California wild horses/burros is 4,952 and aims to reduce that to only 2,201 animals. Currently approximately 43,750 privately-owned livestock graze on California’s public lands at highly subsidized rates.
Financial Cost of the Proposed Twin Peaks Roundup & Review of Grazing Fees
10,460 cattle and up to 22,000 sheep are permitted to graze on the Twin Peaks area while BLM’s “Appropriate” Management Level (AML) for burros falls short of genetic viability at a range of 72-116 and for wild horses is unreasonably low at 448-758. The estimated revenues generated annually from livestock grazing fees of $1.35 per cow/calf per month is $120,000 while the cost of the proposed roundup/processing of 1,980 wild horses and burros (assuming 420 of these will be adopted) is at least $4.2 million: 35 times annual grazing revenues. Additional costs of 1500 wild horses placed in long-term holding for a five year period adds $3.5 million to the cost of the proposed action. Grazing revenues for the same 5 year period don’t come close to covering the cost at only $600,000 gross. Nationwide the public lands ‘welfare’ grazing program costs taxpayers well over $123 million per year.

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Links of interest:

Proposed Roundup of Wild Horses Criticized – Sacramento Bee 7/5/10 http://bit.ly/SacBeeMustang

BLM Eagle Lake Field Office Roundup Planning Documents http://bit.ly/EagleLakeBLM

The Mustang Conspiracy: Sex, Drugs, Corruption, and BP – investigative report http://www.abovetopsecret.com/mustangconspiracy/

After campaigning for Obama, Sheryl Crow at odds over his administration’s wild-horse plan (Associated Press)

CNN Report, Issues with Jane Valez-Mitchell, March 25th http://bit.ly/dvl7NE

Disappointment Valley… A Modern Day Western Trailer- excellent sample of interviews regarding the issues http://bit.ly/awFbwm

American Herds Blog http://americanherds.blogspot.com/

‘Herd-Watch: Public Eyes for Public Horses’ http://bit.ly/9Wvh58

Roundup Schedule- updated July 2010 http://bit.ly/2010roundup

PR Firm Hired for the Destruction of America’s Wild Horse and Burro Herds http://bit.ly/czf3HB

Mestengo. Mustang. Misfit.
America’s Disappearing Wild Horses

Fact Sheet on Wild Herds & The Salazar Plan http://bit.ly/bfdX1y

Wild Horse and Burro Act http://bit.ly/a7hOeS

Photos, video and interviews available from:

The Cloud Foundation ~ Makendra@TheCloudFoundation.org

The Cloud Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana.

107 S. 7th St. – Colorado Springs, CO 80905 – 719-633-3842


Makendra Silverman

Tel: 719-351-8187

Anne Novak

Tel: 415-531-8454