Lawsuit filed to protect Louisiana’s Wild Horses

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Fort Polk, Louisiana (December 14, 2016)

Pegasus Equine Guardian Association, represented by Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, filed a lawsuit in the Louisiana District Court against the US Army at Fort Polk Louisiana, charging that the Army’s plan to eliminate herds of horses violates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

The suit is about the historic and cultural significance the free roaming Heritage Horses have on the landscapes of Western Louisiana and the Army’s intention and actions to “eliminate” them. Wild horse herds across the United States are remnants of our country’s earliest history and they exist in the Kisatchie National Forest region of Louisiana, where they roamed on vast grazing areas near abundant water sources and dense stands of trees that sheltered them from harm and the elements for generations. They were in the area long before Louisiana became a state in 1812. Horses referred to today as Spanish Colonial Horses, were obtained from the Spanish and brought from Texas by Native Americans to the Kisatchie region. The Caddoan, Comanche and Avoyel horse cultures traded them with the French and others to the north and east, past the Mississippi as early as 1682 (r1). This is also the Louisiana Purchase and Neutral Zone region where thousands of wild cattle and horses were driven from the Piney woods of East Texas near the Sabine Parish area to the Natchitoches livestock markets on a trail known as Old Beef Trail or Burrs Ferry Road. This small, compact horse is found in the wild herds of Peason Ridge, LA and in the remote areas down toward Fort Polk, LA. As settlers moved to the region and made farming their livelihood, they documented the numbers of livestock produced (r2). In the mid 1800’s, thousands of horses were free ranged with no fencing on vast grazing areas in today’s Sabine, Vernon, Beauregard, Rapides, Grant, Natchitoches, Webster, Claiborne and Winn Parishes, Leesville and Fort Polk. Furthermore, auction and estate sale records show hundreds of saddle horses and wild horses were sold in these areas. Horses and mules also came by railroad and were transportation for the area’s sawmill towns and massive logging industry. When commercial logging subsided, some horses were reported loosed with existing wild horses, others were left behind when the army took over Heritage Families’ land by eminent domain (r3).

Horses of every size and age were also utilized by the military from locals and used as “remounts” and service animals because of the shortage of regulation cavalry horses. Hundreds served alongside the cavalry horses during the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941 involving over 400,000 men (17,000 mounted Cavalry Troops) in preparation for WWII.

“Those horses are part of our ecosystem. They were here before we got here and we just have to figure out how we’re going to deal with that,” 
– Retired Army General Russel Honore’

“In light of the thousands of wild horses and burros that the federal government wants to remove from the range in Nevada and elsewhere, it would be irresponsible for the Department of Defense to move forward without a long-term, humane management plan for the Fort Polk horses. We respectfully urge the army to partner with local organizations to create and implement a humane management plan, using safe, proven fertility control, to reduce the number of horses over time..”
-Neda DeMayo, wild horse expert, President and founder of Return to Freedom.

“The Army’s plan sets a dangerous precedent for future viability of these unique horses. The unique herds of truly wild horses are of value both environmentally and culturally, especially to the inhabitants of the area, but also to all Americans. They should be preserved and protected. Wild horses are wild by their nature, regardless of what label some want to put on them. The wild horses that survive today may be regarded as “feral” by some, however, the fact that horses were domesticated before they were reintroduced back to the North American continent matters little from a biological nor a welfare standpoint. Regardless if the horses are abandoned, generationally wild or otherwise wild, their welfare and long term viability is at stake.”
– Amy Hanchey, President, Pegasus Equine Guardian Association

Citizens and animal welfare organizations have expressed concerns for the welfare of these innocent creatures. Locals have reported seeing them in the area as long as they can remember. Several attempts have been made to collect information pertaining to the horses on behalf of Pegasus Equine Guardian Association, however the Army has been unable to provide basic information regarding Louisiana’s Heritage Horses in Kisatchie National Forest.

View Lawsuit Here

Reference 1 USDA USFS Kisatchie Heritage Program 
Reference 2: A Good Home for a Poor Man: Fort Polk and Vernon Parish, 1800-1940 by Steven D. Smith 
Reference 3: www.PolkHistory.org

Contact Information

Amy Hanchey, President
Pegasus Equine Guardian Association
PO Box 82564
Lafayette, La 70598
Phone: (337) 739-0036
Email: admin@pegasusequine.org

Machelle Lee Hall
6329 Freret Street
New Orleans, LA 70118-6321
Phone: (504) 862-8819
Fax: (504) 862-8721
Email: mhall@tulane.edu
Counsel for Pegasus Equine Guardian Association

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Peason Ridge Training Area Fort Polk – Photo #1
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Peason Ridge Training Area Fort Polk – Photo #2
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Training Area Fort Polk (Main) – Photo #1
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Training Area Fort Polk (Main) – Photo #2
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Colonel Otto Wagner, the first commander of Camp Polk,. This photo showcases the different types of horses who served the Army .

 

Advocates Oppose Wild Horse Removal Program

banner-pressFt. Polk, Louisiana                                                                                                                   

The U.S. Army at Fort Polk is in the process of removing wild horses from ranges and pine forests that the horses have inhabited for many generations.

There are two things seriously wrong with this:

First, when these unique Louisiana wild horses are removed, their role as part of the area’s natural environment comes to an end; and the horses themselves become something other than what they were as wild horses. The same thing happened to the American Indians when they were removed from the land, and forced to become something different. What they were as a part of their natural environment was lost forever.

Further, when the wild horses are gone, so will be their historic role as part of the heritage of the region. Wild horses have always held a special place in the hearts of many Americans. They are icons of our American heritage.

Second, despite the fact that Ft. Polk Commanding General Gary Brito has said the removal of the horses is to be humane, in actuality, the Army has shown no serious concern, and will shoulder no responsibility, for what happens to the horses after they are removed. That very likely means the horses will end up going to a cruel death at slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.

The Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center [JRTC, Ft. Polk] encompasses approximately 150,000 acres (243 sq. mi.) in west-central Louisiana, bordering parts of the Kisatchie National Forest (604,000 acres in totality), and partially interspersed with private holdings and state wildlife management areas. The JRTC conducts simulated warfare exercises, where a resident “enemy” army battles visiting military units (some from foreign countries).

Surprisingly for some, the region has been home to hundreds of wild horses since the early twentieth century, if not longer. Much of the JRTC and surrounding lands are covered in piney forests and rangeland where the horses have lived and freely roamed for decades.

To more fully understand the situation, it is extremely important to realize that the truly wild horses (numbering close to a hundred or more and characterized by their uniformity in coloration, physical characteristics, gait and wild horse behavior in individual family bands, with stallions and their harems of mares), inhabit an area that includes the Peason Ridge “hot” training area where weapons are fired. When activity starts in the Peason Ridge area, the horses make themselves scarce.

Approximately twenty miles south of Peason Ridge, the army’s training area at Fort Polk is also occupied by horses, but they are less disturbed by the army’s training activities. These horses are a mix of wild horses (some similar to the wild horses on Peason Ridge), some abandoned horses, and horses born free-roaming and wild to mares from the various groups. They have become more acclimated to the commotion of the army’s activities.

Failing to understand the distinction between the groups of horses has led to the faulty perception that they all are abandoned, when this is not the case at all.

There are wild horses on the main post at Fort Polk as well as at Peason Ridge, and throughout Kisatchie National Forest. Pegasus Equine Guardian Association [Pegasus] strives to preserve and protect them. That’s not to say that the other (abandoned) horses are not also a matter of serious concern. They also deserve to be kept from harm’s way and from going to slaughter. See pictures of the two groups of horses below and at:
https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/

Ft. Polk spokespersons have avoided any recognition of the truly wild horses. They seem to have intentionally fostered misconceptions and confusion by focusing media attention on the horses on and around the main post at Ft. Polk (that don’t seem wild because they have become acclimated, and because they no doubt include a number of abandoned horses).

This has made Pegasus’ attempts to enlist the public in their campaign to preserve and protect the environmentally and culturally valuable wild horses of Louisiana more difficult. Their propaganda calls the horses “trespass” horses. “Trespass” means illegally coming onto the land. The label is certainly usable to demean some recently abandoned horses. But, what about the majority of the horses: those that have reverted to the wild state, and those wild horses that were born into wild bands on JRTC lands. The truly wild horses they have called “trespass horses in their progeny”. It fits into their propaganda scheme, but how absurd in reality.

Soldiers are injured and killed in accidents at Ft. Polk, but never has any such accident involved the horses. Frankly, Ft. Polk has underhandedly cited anything, no matter how far-fetched, in hopes of justifying to the public their compulsion, driven by only a few, to “eliminate” the horses. But, sometimes the horses are present on the “Geronimo” parachute drop zone on the main post. And, even though it has never happened before, there could be a collision between a “jumper” and a horse. Since trainees can surely do without such distractions, it does make sense to take precautions. But, wouldn’t it be OK just to exclude the horses from the places where they may, from time to time, be a nuisance.

One young woman, who lives on the main post, summarizes the feeling of many locals:

I feel upset about them being removed. They are so beautiful! They don’t harm anyone, and they were here before us. They bring joy to a lot of folks here. It’s what Fork Polk is known for!

Pegasus wants the Army to establish protected sanctuaries for the horses where the number of horses could be ethically and humanely managed with the fertility controlling drug PZP. This would keep the horses safe from going to slaughter, which Pegasus, with good reason, believes would be their fate otherwise. Any such operation could be funded and run by non-government organizations, sparing the Army an added expense which they say they cannot afford. If necessary, those organizations could manage and carefully oversee adoption of horses.

Neda DeMayo [nationally known wild horse expert: President, Return to Freedom (Wild Horse Preservation, Education & Sanctuary); and Founder, American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, a coalition of organizations dealing with current wild horse crisis issues] advises:

In light of the thousands of wild horses and burros that the federal government wants to remove from the range in Nevada and elsewhere, it would be irresponsible for the Department of Defense to move forward without a long-term, humane management plan for the Ft. Polk horses. We respectfully urge the Army to partner with local organizations to create and implement a humane management plan, using safe, proven fertility control, to reduce the number of horses over time.

Ft. Polk has recently acquired 45,000 acres between the Ft. Polk main post and Peason Ridge. A Ft. Polk ranking officer said the Army will need to use all the land, and the training units will be larger. However, Pegasus observes that a sizable tract within the acquired land is to be held in reserve for ten years when the timber will be harvested. And the size of training units have been becoming smaller, not larger. The training areas formerly used (for training troops for Vietnam and Desert Storm) are more than adequate for the foreseeable future. Of course, the actual need could change abruptly, and other arrangements would have to be made for the horses. But, Ft. Polk has tolerated them for many decades. They ought to be able to tolerate them a little longer while reasonable accommodations can be made for them, and not continue to rush into a situation that can only end very badly for the horses.

This month, Ft. Polk has starting putting horses into the hands of a Texas humane society that claims they can take them and get them adopted. They are the only respondent to Ft. Polk’s solicitation. If the adoptions are to reliable people only, and none of the horses are allowed to go to slaughter (out the back door, so to speak), it is highly unlikely that their goal can be anywhere close to being realized. That’s why horse advocates are so concerned. They can’t see how slaughter will not be the outcome for most of the horses, especially the wild ones.

Putting it simply from the point of view of those hoping to preserve and protect the horses: the JRTC has no plan addressing the likelihood that the horses, however unintentionally, will be sucked into the horse slaughter “pipeline”, a grisly, horribly cruel, and well organized machine that eagerly and impatiently waits to grab unwanted horses, domestic, wild or generationally wild.

The horses have been appreciated by many, including locals, visitors to the area, and Army personnel alike for many decades. Some have maintained that all of the horses lend an air of realism to the manufactured 3rd World setting, and an element of unpredictability typical of authentic military operations. In fact, a former JRTC commander, General Samuel Thompson, wrote in May, 1999:

I don’t want to lose those herds!

Please let the Army know you want the wild horses to stay in the Ft. Polk/ Kisatchie area, humanely managed or placed in proper care only when necessary, and that you want all of the horses to be kept from slaughter.

Contact information for the Ft. Polk Public Affairs Office is:
7073 Radio Rd, Fort Polk, LA 71459
Phone: (337) 531-7203
Fax: (337) 531-6014
eMail: usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil

Pegasus asks that any communication sent to Fort Polk also be sent to:
admin@pegasusequine.org for a record that will be supplied to General Brito.

See ADDENDUM (at bottom) with information on:
horse slaughter, BLM problem adopting wild horses, etc.

Ft. Polk / JRTC Wild Horses / Peason Ridge Training Area – 1:

Peason Ridge Louisiana Horses
Peason Ridge Louisiana Horses

Ft. Polk / JRTC Wild Horses / Peason Ridge Training Area – 2:

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Peason Ridge Louisiana Horses

Ft. Polk / JRTC Wild Horses / Ft. Polk (Main) – 1:

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Fort Polk Louisiana Horses

Ft. Polk / JRTC Wild Horses / Ft. Polk (Main) – 2:

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Fort Polk Louisiana Horses


 

ADDENDUM

1. What You Need To Know About The Horror Of Horse Slaughter
2. Risks and Struggles of Adoption
3. A Little History

Continue reading

Press Release: The US Army is proceeding with the removal of wild horses from Louisiana’s ranges and piney forests.

November 3rd, 2016

The US Army is in the process of removing wild horses from Louisiana’s ranges and piney forests. These horses have inhabited this area for generations.

There are two things seriously wrong with this:

First, taking the horses out of their natural environment of which they are a part, destroys their standing as generationally wild horses and ends their historic role as an important part of the region’s earliest beginnings and of the heritage of Americans who have come to appreciate our wild horses as American icons.

Secondly, although Ft. Polk’s Command, General Gary Brito, has said the removal of the horses is to be humane, in actuality, the Army has shown no serious concern for what happens to the horses after they are removed. They are leaving those concerns to those whom the Army allows to take them. That very likely means the horses will end up going to a cruel death at slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.

The Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center [JRTC, Ft. Polk] encompasses approximately 150,000 acres in west-central Louisiana, bordering parts of the Kisatchie National Forest (604,000 acres in totality), and partially interspersed with private holdings and state wildlife management areas. The JRTC conducts simulated warfare exercises, where a resident “enemy” army battles visiting military units (some from foreign countries).

Surprisingly for some, the region has been home to hundreds of wild horses since the early twentieth century, if not longer. Much of the JRTC and surrounding lands are covered in piney forests and rangeland where the horses have lived and freely roamed for decades.

To more fully understand the situation, it’s extremely important to realize that the truly wild horses, (numbering close to a hundred or more) characterized by their uniformity in coloration, physical characteristics, gait and wild horse behavior in individual family bands (with stallions and their harems of mares), inhabit an area that includes the Peason Ridge “hot” training area where weapons are fired. When activity starts in the Peason Ridge area, the horses make themselves scarce.

Approximately twenty miles south of Peason Ridge, the army’s Training area at Fort Polk is also occupied by horses, but they are less disturbed by the army’s training activities. These horses are a mix of some abandoned horses, their offspring, and wild horses (similar to the larger herd of wild horses up in Peason Ridge) that have become more acclimated to the commotion of the army’s activities. Failing to understand the distinction between the two groups of horses has led to the faulty perception that they all are abandoned, when this is not the case at all.

Because there are wild horses down by Fort Polk as well as the larger wild horse herds at Peason Ridge, and throughout Kisatchie National Forest; Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (Pegasus) strives to preserve and protect them. That’s not to say that the other (abandoned) horses are not also a matter of serious concern that also deserve to be kept from harm’s way or going to slaughter.

See: pictures of the two groups of horses  https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/

Peason Ridge Louisiana Horses
Peason Ridge Louisiana Horses
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Peason Ridge Louisiana Horses
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Fort Polk Louisiana Horses
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Fort Polk Louisiana Horses

Ft. Polk spokespersons seem to have intentionally fostered the misconceptions and confusion by focusing media attention on the horses on and around Ft. Polk Main (that are abandoned) and avoiding any recognition of the truly wild horses near Fort Polk and the larger wild horse herd at Peason Ridge. This has made Pegasus’ attempts to enlist the public in their campaign to preserve and protect the environmentally and culturally valuable wild horses of Louisiana more difficult. Their propaganda calls the horses “trespass” horses. “Trespass” means illegally coming onto the land. The label is certainly usable to demean some recently abandoned horses. But, what about the majority of the horses: those that have reverted to the wild state, and those wild horses that were born into wild bands on JRTC lands. The truly wild horses they have called “trespass horses in their progeny”. It fits into their propaganda scheme, but how absurd in reality.

For more on the Army’s publicized Course of Action visit: U.S. Army’s Removal Plan Designed to Benefit the Kill Buyer COA 7

Soldiers are injured and killed in accidents at Ft. Polk, but never has any such accident involved the horses. Frankly, Ft. Polk has underhandedly cited anything, no matter how far-fetched, in hopes of justifying to the public their compulsion, driven by only a few, to “eliminate” the horses. But, sometimes the horses are present on the “Geronimo” parachute drop zone at Ft. Polk Main. And, there could, even though it has never happened before, be a collision between a “jumper” and a horse. Since trainees can surely do without such distraction, it does make sense to take precautions. But, wouldn’t it be OK just to exclude the horses from the places where they may, from time to time, be a nuisance. Pegasus wants the Army to establish protected sanctuaries for the horses where the number of horses could be reduced over time with the fertility controlling drug PZP. This would keep the horses safe from going to slaughter, which Pegasus, with good reason, believes would be their fate otherwise. Any such operation could be funded and run by non-government organizations, sparing the Army an added expense which they say they cannot afford. If necessary, those organizations could manage and carefully oversee adoption of horses.

Ft. Polk has recently acquired 45,000 acres between Ft. Polk Main and Peason Ridge. But, Ft. Polk Col. Gregg Athey has indicated the Army will need to use all the land, and the training units will be larger. However, Pegasus observes that the size of training units have been becoming smaller, not larger. And, the training areas formerly used (for training troops for Vietnam and Desert Storm) are more than adequate for the foreseeable future. Of course, the actual need could change abruptly, and other arrangements would have to be made for the horses. But, Ft. Polk has tolerated them for many decades. They ought to be able to tolerate them a little longer while reasonable accommodations can be made for them, and not continue to rush into a situation that can only end very badly for the horses.

Putting it simply from the point of view of those hoping to preserve and protect the horses: the JRTC has no plan addressing the likelihood that the horses will be, however unintentionally, sucked into the horse slaughter “pipeline”, a grisly, horribly cruel, and well organized machine that eagerly and impatiently waits to grab unwanted horses, domestic, wild or generationally wild.

The horses have been appreciated by many, including locals, visitors to the area, and Army personnel alike for many decades. Some have maintained that all of the horses lend an air of realism to the manufactured 3rd World setting, and an element of unpredictability typical of authentic military operations. In fact, a former JRTC commander, General Samuel Thompson, wrote in May, 1999, “I don’t want to lose those herds!”

Pegasus is asking you, the public, to let the Army know we want the wild horses to stay in Kisatchie, humanely managed or placed in proper care only when necessary, and we want all of the horses to be kept from slaughter.

The contact information for the Ft. Polk Public Affairs Office is:

7073 Radio Rd, Fort Polk, LA 71459

Phone: (337) 531-7203

Fax: (337) 531-6014

eMail: usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil

Pegasus asks that any communication sent to Fort Polk also be sent to:

kisatchiehorses@gmail.com for a record that will be supplied to General Brito.

Pegasus Equine Guardian Association Contact:                                                                                    Amy Hanchey, operationcowgirl@gmail.com , 337-739-0036

Part II

According to some locals, the soldiering exercises on JRTC lands have coexisted with the wild horses as far back as they can remember (before WWII). Army training began in the area, circa 1941, before our entry into World War II. We still had mounted cavalry. General George Patton, had been an Olympic equestrian competitor (1912), and was a mounted cavalry officer in Hawaii before participating in the “Louisiana Maneuvers” in 1941. The maneuvers tested tanks against anti-tank weapons and 32,000 cavalry horses, including the 10th Cavalry “Buffalo Soldiers”. The horses actually won the first round. Incidentally, General Brito, the Ft. Polk Commander, comes from the same Hawaiian infantry that trained at Ft. Polk in the early years of its existence. Near the end of the war, some of Patton’s men, in cooperation with some of our German adversaries, risked their lives behind the lines to save from the advancing Russian Army the famous Lipizzaner Stallions, the grand white performing war horses of Austria, and champion Polish Arabians. It was expected, as they had done before, that the food-deprived Russian “liberators” would have slaughtered and eaten the horses.

In the 1800’s, Custer’s 7th cavalry operated in Louisiana prior to his appointment with destiny near the Little Big Horn river in Montana, June, 1876. At that time, southwest Louisiana was a kind of no-man’s land. Custer, under Sheridan’s orders, had ruthlessly massacred Indians, and many hundreds of their horses, while his regimental band played “Garryowen”, in the Indian wintering grounds in the Red River region that divides Texas and Oklahoma. The valley of the Red River extends from there down into central Louisiana making a “highway” for horses that reverted to their wild state.

Now, do to the efforts of a few, including pressure from a ranking civilian administrator, and the acquiescence of a short-term commanding general who sought to modernize Ft. Polk, it has been ordered that the horses must go.

Their propaganda calls the horses “trespass” horses. “Trespass” means illegally coming onto the land. The label is certainly usable to demean some recently abandoned horses. But, what about the majority of the horses: those that have reverted to the wild state, and those wild horses that were born into wild bands on JRTC lands. The truly wild horses they have called “trespass horses in their progeny”. It fits into their propaganda scheme, but how absurd in reality.

Putting it simply from the point of view of those hoping to preserve and protect the horses: the JRTC has no plan addressing the likelihood that the horses will be, however unintentionally, sucked into the horse slaughter “pipeline”, a grisly, horribly cruel, and well organized machine that eagerly and impatiently waits to grab unwanted horses, domestic or wild.

Here’s what Ft. Polk intends: Without any attempt to mark or trace the horses, they say they will give horses to charitable animal rescue organizations. Failing that, they will give the horses to anyone who wants them, and trust them to humanely care for the horses.

That’s what they say. However, they have been in communication, not only with charities, one in particular that says they can take all of the horses (a doubtful prospect), but also with known “kill buyers” who channel horses into the slaughter “pipeline”. Contrary to what Ft. Polk says publicly, one man gave written testimony that Ft. Polk offered him, as an individual, all of the horses.

The Bureau of Land Management [BLM], the Department of Interior agency charged with the protection of wild horses on their wild horse ranges, is holding more than 44,000 horses and more than 11,000 burros they have removed and are keeping in holding facilities awaiting adoption. Even though they have taken significant precautions, including permanent, unalterable and unmistakably visible freeze-brand markings on the horses they adopt out, their horses still end-up at Mexican and Canadian horse slaughterhouses.  Too often, adopters find their good intention of adopting a “mustang” was unrealistic. And, of course, there are “adopters” who’s intention from the start is selling horses at auction, where there is a very high probability that the purchaser will be a “kill buyer” who channels the horse to the slaughterhouse.

If the BLM, with their precautions, can’t keep horses out of the slaughter “pipeline”, Ft. Polk, with no serious precautions, certainly won’t be doing it.

Because of drought conditions in the West, and the large numbers of wild horses which have been taken off the land, and those already in sanctuaries that need to be provided for, it is not likely that wild horses taken off JRTC lands will have a rosy future. In fact, slaughter is the likely outcome.

Why is slaughter so devastatingly cruel?

Slaughter is a convenient way for excess horses to be eliminated. Many breeders intentionally over-breed. About 100,000 horses per year go to slaughter. The propaganda here is that animals are better off dead than in the hands of those who neglect or abuse them. Slaughter proponents say something like, “If people in other countries consume horse meat, and if slaughter is humane, then what’s the problem?”

Firstly, there is no humane horse slaughter. Starting with the means of transportation: Horses are fractious animals that want to flee danger. When jammed together in a frightening situation, they fight. Transporters have poked out their eyes to make them manageable. After a journey of hundreds of miles into Mexico and Canada where the slaughterhouses are, and without having been fed or watered, the horses are immobilized. The slaughter line is required to move fast, and the workers are men who can get no other employment. Some are rejects from society that violently take their frustration out on the horses. Horses are in panic as they go to slaughter, seemingly knowing their fate. In Mexico, horses are prevented from struggling by cutting into the spine with a dagger. In Canada, they are shot in the head with a small caliber bullet. Neither, kills the horse. In other slaughterhouses in these countries where horses are brought from the United States to be slaughtered, a pneumatic (high pressure air) gun is used. It has a “captive” bolt that pops out and is supposed to strike the horse in the forehead. But, the horse’s head is not sufficiently restrained, and it may take multiple shots to sufficiently immobilize the horse. The horse is painfully wounded with each shot, as its head is lacerated and its skull is crushed. Often, the horse enters the slaughtering procedure only stunned, but not unconscious. The horse dies in circumstances which can only be described as torture.

Secondly, horses, we often hear, have a special place in the hearts of people who want them respected as animals upon whom we have depended for our progress, and which are integral to our American heritage. Those people want our horses to be treated with kindness, not brutally slaughtered to satisfy the palates of wealthy, self-absorbed individuals in Belgium, France, Japan, and elsewhere.

So, what are the alternatives for the horses on the JRTC lands?

The obvious conclusion, considering the vastness of government lands in the region, is to preserve the horses as wild horses where they now exist, managing their population if necessary (which may or may not be necessary depending on environmental factors), and excluding them from areas where they may be a nuisance for the Army.

“In light of the thousands of wild horses and burros that the federal government wants to remove from the range in Nevada and elsewhere, it would be irresponsible for the Department of Defense to move forward without a long-term, humane management plan for the Ft. Polk horses. We respectfully urge the Army to partner with local organizations to create and implement a humane management plan, using safe, proven fertility control, to reduce the number of horses over time..” – Neda DeMayo, nationally known wild horse expert: Return to Freedom , The American Wild Horse Campaign, a coalition of organizations dealing with current wild horse crisis issues and The Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance (WHSBA) ; a coalition founded in a collaborative effort by Return to Freedom, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, and Habitat for Horses.

Soldiers are injured and killed in accidents at Ft. Polk, but never has any such accident involved the horses. Frankly, Ft. Polk has underhandedly cited anything, no matter how far-fetched, in hopes of justifying to the public their compulsion, driven by only a few, to “eliminate” the horses. But, sometimes the horses are present on the “Geronimo” parachute drop zone at Ft. Polk Main. And, there could, even though it has never happened before, be a collision between a “jumper” and a horse. Since trainees can surely do without such distraction, it does make sense to take precautions. But, wouldn’t it be OK just to exclude the horses from the places where they may, from time to time, be a nuisance. Pegasus wants the Army to establish protected sanctuaries for the horses where the number of horses could be reduced over time with the fertility controlling drug PZP. This would keep the horses safe from going to slaughter, which Pegasus, with good reason, believes would be their fate otherwise. Any such operation could be funded and run by non-government organizations, sparing the Army an added expense which they say they cannot afford. If necessary, those organizations could manage and carefully oversee adoption of horses.

Ft. Polk has recently acquired 45,000 acres between Ft. Polk Main and Peason Ridge. But, Ft. Polk Col. Gregg Athey has indicated the Army will need to use all the land, and the training units will be larger. However, Pegasus observes that the size of training units have been becoming smaller, not larger. And, the training areas formerly used (for training troops for Vietnam and Desert Storm) are more than adequate for the foreseeable future. Of course, the actual need could change abruptly, and other arrangements would have to be made for the horses. But, Ft. Polk has tolerated them for many decades. They ought to be able to tolerate them a little longer while reasonable accommodations can be made for them, and not continue to rush into a situation that can only end very badly for the horses.

Pegasus is asking you, the public, to let the Army know we want the wild horses to stay in Kisatchie, humanely managed or placed in proper care only when necessary, and we want all of the horses to be kept from slaughter.

The contact information for the Ft. Polk Public Affairs Office is:

7073 Radio Rd, Fort Polk, LA 71459

Phone: (337) 531-7203

Fax: (337) 531-6014

EMail: usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil

Pegasus asks that any communication sent to Fort Polk also be sent to:

kisatchiehorses@gmail.com for a record that will be supplied to General Brito.

Pegasus Equine Guardian Association Contact: Amy Hanchey, operationcowgirl@gmail.com , 337-739-0036

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Peason Ridge Louisiana Horses

Press Release: Horse Welfare Advocates Looking for a Long-Term Ethical Plan to Ensure the Protection of Louisiana’s Heritage Horses

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Peason Ridge Louisiana Wild Horses

Horse Welfare Advocates Looking for a Long-Term Ethical Plan to Ensure the Protection of Louisiana’s Heritage Horses

In a recent article published in the Beauregard Daily News titled, Making Sense of Fort Polk Horses Plan, discusses a controversial wild horse removal plan.  Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA) feels there is still so much to make sense of and this raises serious concern among horse welfare advocates.

While it is true that there are abandoned horses at Fort Polk, there are also in reality herds of Wild Horses on the Fort Polk / Kisatchie lands, regardless of the label “trespass horses” that Ft. Polk placed upon all of the horses, not just the abandoned ones. Ft. Polk spokespersons always accentuate their claim that all of the horses are “trespass horses” by pointing to a court decision that happened about 15 years ago.However, the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971 was implemented for the purpose of preservation and protection of wild horses, Congress uses the term “unbranded and unclaimed” in reference to what distinguishes wild horses on the ranges where they existed prior to 1971. Unfortunately, an appeal from a humane organization to have the wild horses recognized as “wild” under the 1971 law resulted in an unfavorable decision by the court, in part because of misinformation from the government’s side and insufficient evidence to the contrary. However, today there is sufficient evidence based upon historical documentation, physical appearance, location, and behavior of the herds of wild horses.

There are in fact several unique herds of truly wild horses that are of value both environmentally and culturally, especially to the inhabitants of the area, but also to all Americans. They should be preserved and protected. Wild horses are wild horses by their nature, regardless of what label some want to put on them.The wild horses that survive today may be regarded as “feral” by some, however, the fact that horses were domesticated before they were reintroduced back to the North American continent matters little from a biological nor welfare standpoint. Regardless if the horses are abandoned, Generationally Wild or otherwise Wild, their welfare is at stake..

PEGA would like to express the difference between herd management methods when discussing Wild Horses vs. Domesticated Horses. The domestic horse mentality uses the term “Sterilization” which implies gelding of stallions and/or ovariectomy of mares. These methods of sterilization have been shown to be detrimental to the health and nature of these horses, and are never recommended as solutions for Wild Horses.

So what can be done?

Fertility Control is an option that can be successful, if administered responsibly, using methods and practices that are consistent with its recommended use to perpetuate healthy herds with genetic viability and diversity

There is a significant likelihood that horses being removed run the risk of being sent to slaughter. We have received several statements that both federal and state officials have actually reached out to known Kill Buyers offering to make deals for removal. This lack of serious concern will surely result in the horses going to slaughter.

Slaughter is what happens to the majority of “unwanted” horses in this country as shown by the Animal Welfare Institute, 2015 Horse Slaughter Statistics, approx. 125,000 American horses were sent to a brutal, inhumane, terrorizing death last year. The term, Kill Buyer, is a commonly used term to describe those who profit from buying and selling horses for slaughter and these individuals are fixtures at horse sales (commonly referred to as Auctions, Sale Barns or Feed Lots).   Notice the pictured horse in the link below; this is a freeze branded mustang that was slaughtered.  https://rtfitchauthor.com/2011/09/10/for-horse-lovers-everywhere-the-truth-about-horse-slaughter/

“The journey to this cruel death is preceded by horrendous handling and transport methods. This process often includes the horses being shipped from auction to auction, in scorching heat or freezing blizzards and are deprived of food, water and rest. They are not separated by gender, age, size, or degree of aggressiveness. These trailers, designed with lower ceilings for cattle, prevent the horses from holding their heads upright during transport, which often causes them severe head, neck and limb injuries. During transport and at the slaughterhouse, eyes are often poked out on unruly horses. In some Mexican regional plants, horses are not rendered unconscious during the killing process but are merely immobilized by being stabbed repeatedly with a sort of dagger called a “puntilla” in the back of the neck to break the spinal cord. The excruciatingly painful, horribly bloody stabbing neither kills nor renders unconscious; it merely incapacitates the horses, making them the equivalent of tetraplegic, before they are hoisted, whereupon their throats are slit and their bodies are dismembered. During the entire process, the horses in Mexico are fully aware. [The foregoing paragraph is from an article by Jerry Finch, Habitat for Horses.] 

[Please see: http://humaneheart.org/horses for links to Habitat for Horses 5 article series on horse slaughter or visit Habitat for Horses website at http://www.habitatforhorses.org/]

Furthermore, NO humane horse slaughter exists, whether done in USA, Mexico or Canada, partially due to equipment described below and partially because of the equines’ explosive flight instinct and the physiology of their long flailing neck to escape attempts to render them unconscious. In Mexico, with the exception of those plants that have continued to use the savage puntilla knife, even after Mexican plants were no longer European regulated as of January 2015, a good percentage of equines are actually slaughtered with the use the captive bolt device (not designed for equines) often requiring multiple bone shattering strikes to incapacitate the animal. Some have regained consciousnesses in the kill box before the chains were applied to hang them by their back legs to slit their throat so their heart pumps the blood out of their tissues. This is especially important for the public to understand for the following reason: When equine slaughter for the purpose of human consumption ended in the United States, operations simply moved to Mexican slaughter plants. In Canada, a 22 type weapon is often used, not to kill the animal in all methods described above, but to incapacitate the animal.

Since we know that the horse market is already flooded with healthy horses, we can assert that the minute the horses enter the horse market their risk for ending up in auctions and eventually slaughterhouses increases substantially.

While we applaud attempts by organizations to assist, we have serious concerns.  It is a huge under-taking and that is where our concern comes from.   For example, many of the BLM placed horses end-up in the slaughter pipeline. The BLM has approximately 55,000 horses and 11,000 burros that they have been taking from public lands and have been keeping (for years) in holding facilities awaiting adoption.

“In light of the thousands of wild horses and burros that the federal government wants to remove from the range in Nevada and elsewhere, it would be irresponsible for the Department of Defense to move forward without a long-term, humane management plan for the Ft. Polk horses. We respectfully urge the Army to partner with local organizations to create and implement a humane management plan, using safe, proven fertility control, to reduce the number of horses over time..” – Neda DeMayo, nationally known wild horse expert: Return to Freedom , The American Wild Horse Campaign, a coalition of organizations dealing with current wild horse crisis issues and The Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary Alliance (WHSBA) ; a coalition founded in a collaborative effort by Return to Freedom, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, and Habitat for Horses.

The article “Making Sense of Fort Polk Horses Plan”, concluded with a paragraph that implied everything will be “OK” because animal advocates will be looking out for the horses. This is very misleading. Ft. Polk has already said they will be doing nothing with regard to following-up on the horses that leave Ft. Polk. The end result is that the horses will be in jeopardy as a result of the Ft. Polk “plan”.

PEGA would like to see a partnership between governing organizations, wild horse preservation groups, advocates and citizens. It is believed many of the Military’s safety concerns could be addressed as well as acting in the best interest of the horses and enhancing public relations. We feel the Army’s plan falls short. Here are some examples of what horse welfare advocates would like to see; a horse registry, low-stress handling, and non-permanent fertility control while maintaining the uniqueness of the Wild Horse herds. Also their plan has no mention of what governing authorities will do about the in ability to enforce basic animal abandonment laws, which is a problem that will only continue unless addressed. It is important to realize that partnerships like this do exist and are successful; for example North Dakota Badlands Horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a excellent example for Louisiana to follow.

Please check them out.  http://ndbh.org/

So If you feel the same sense of concern as PEGA does, we urge you make those concerns known to Fort Polk as well as Local and Federal Government Officials. PEGA hopes to encourage citizens to find ways to preserve the wild horses, and take a sensible & low-stress approach to managing the unique horse herds in Kisatchie and Fort Polk.

See Contact Info Below!

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Contact the White House

Email: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Phone: 202-456-1111

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VicePresidentJoeBiden/
Twitter: @JoeBiden  Twitter: @Potus

Contact Louisiana State Elected Officials 

*Jeff Landry, Louisiana Attorney General @AGJeffLandry  https://www.facebook.com/AGJeffLandry/

*‎John Fleming‬ LA-4  202-225-2777 (Running for Senate 2016) – Covers Kisatchie Now
https://fleming.house.gov/contact/contactform.htm

*Mike Strain – LA Ag Commissioner, USFS , USDA
Email: commissioner@ldaf.state.la.us
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/DoctorStrain/
https://m.facebook.com/DoctorMikeStrain
Phone: 225.922.1234

*John Bel Edwards – Louisiana Governor
Twitter @JohnBelForLA
EMAIL: edwardsj@legis.la.gov
https://m.facebook.com/pages/John-Bel-Edwards-for-Louisiana/497483806955179
Phone: (985)748-2245

*Ralph Abraham LA-5  202-225-8490
https://abraham.house.gov/contact

*Billy Nungesser – Lt Governor – State Parks and Tourism fall under his rule.
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/BillyNungesserPage/
Email: ltgov@crt.la.gov
Twitter: @BillyNungesser
Phone: (225) 342-1949

*Bill Cassidy – Senator
https://www.cassidy.senate.gov/contact
Phone: 337-261-1400

*Charles Boustany Jr. – Running for Senate 2016
Twitter: @RepBoustany
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charlesboustany/?fref=ts
Phone: 202-225-2031

For More on Louisiana politicians and the 2016 State Elections, Click Link

Louisiana Congressional Members and 2016 Candidates

For More about the Armys Planned Removal ( COA7 ), Click Link Below

U.S. ARMY’S REMOVAL PLAN DESIGNED TO BENEFIT THE KILL BUYER COA 7

JRTC Fort Polk – U.S. ARMY provided Website specific to these horses:

http://www.jrtc-polk.army.mil/trespass_horses.html

JRTC Fort Polk – U.S. ARMY provided contact info below:
****Careful.. There are 2 different email addresses.. One forces your email Subject to say “trespass horses” …. USE BOTH*****
 
usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil
usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil?subject=Trespass Horses
List of Participating 501c3 -Provider by U.S. Army
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U.S. Army’s Removal Plan Designed to Benefit the Kill Buyer COA 7

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COA 7: The Break Down

2.3.7 Course of Action 7 – Adopt, Give Away, Sell  and Relocate 

This COA would start with the capture of lots of horses consisting of one to three bands (10-30 horses). The intent of capturing small groups of horses over an extended period of time is to permit the various participating organizations sufficient time to move the horses through their adoption programs rather than overwhelming those organizations with all of the horses in a one to three-month period. No restriction on the future use or treatment will be placed on any person/entity acquiring a horse through this COA, nor will there be any restriction on the ability of the person/entity acquiring the horse to impose restrictions on future use for subsequent acquirers of the horse. 

**** Meaning can be sold for slaughter and or subjected to cruel treatment ****

The initial captures would likely be conducted by Fort Polk personnel. As the capture of the horses becomes more difficult and time intensive due to reduction in herd size and the remaining horses become wary of capture attempts, the capture process would likely transition to capture by contract personnel. Once a small lot of horses is captured, they would be placed temporarily into a holding pen stocked with sufficient water and forage. A list of potential adopter organizations (adopter list) would be created, with only tax exempt animal welfare organizations approved under 26 U.S.C. §501c3 (501c3 organization) eligible to be placed on the list. A 501c3 organization may request to be placed on the adopter list by submitting a written request by letter or email to the designated point of contact at Fort Polk, with documents showing that the organization is eligible to be on the adopter list.

Check out the Army 501c3 List on their website – Link Below.  As of 9/5/16.

ZERO 501c3 Listed 

http://www.jrtc-polk.army.mil/Trespass_Horses/List_Of_Particpating_501(c)(3)_Organizations.pdf

The list of adopters will be a numbered hierarchical list based on the date/time the organization’s request with eligibility documentation was received by Fort Polk personnel. A copy of the adopter list will be maintained on a Fort Polk website accessible to the public and updated on a monthly basis. When a lot of horses is captured, the first organization on the current adopter list will be notified of the number of horses available and given 48 hours to notify Fort Polk via email that they will take the horses. The adopter organization will then have 8 days to pick up the horses from Fort Polk. If an adopter organization fails to respond within 48 hours, declines to take all available horses, or fails to pick up horses within the 8 day deadline, that organization will be permanently removed from the adopter list and not be permitted to be placed on the list in the future. 

**** 501c3 Oganizations get a 48hr notification and an 8 Day Window to pick up …. …. If you fail to meet this deadline, YOUR Organization Will Be Permanently Removed and Not Permitted to be on the list in Future, and horses will be offered to those “DESIRING to acquire the Horse” ****

The adopter organization will be responsible for compliance with all applicable laws, including but not limited to, disease testing, branding, tattooing or microchipping, ascertaining and resolving any ownership issues for horses with existing brands, tattoos or microchipping, transporting from Fort Polk and all other requirements pertaining to either adoption and/or horse ownership from the time loaded into the organization’s trailer at Fort Polk. If there are no adopter organizations on the adopter list, or if any horses are not picked up by an adopter organization within the 8 day time period, the horses will be offered to any member of the public desiring to acquire the horse(s). A list (give away list) of members of the public interested in acquiring the horses would be created, with any person or entity eligible to be placed on the list. All persons/entities on the giveaway list will be notified via email of the number of horses available and will be given 48 hours to notify Fort Polk via email of the number of horses they will take. If more than one person/entity desires to acquire the horses, the person/entity whose acceptance email is received first by Fort Polk will be permitted to take the horses up to the number desired

*** Give-A-Way List – Public gets 48hr notice and a 5 Day Window to pick up Horse …   If you fail to meet this deadline, YOU Will Be Permanently Removed and Not Permitted to be on the list in Future, and horses will be offered to those “DESIRING to acquire the Horses ****

That person/entity will be notified by email and given 5 days to pick up the horses from Fort Polk. If a person/entity fails to pick up the horses by the deadline, that person/entity will be permanently removed from the giveaway list and not be permitted to be placed on the list in the future. The person/entity taking the horses will be responsible for compliance with all applicable laws, including but not limited to, disease testing, branding, tattooing or microchipping, ascertaining and resolving any ownership issues for horses with existing brands, tattoos or microchipping, transporting from Fort Polk and all other requirements pertaining to either adoption and/or horse ownership from the time loaded into the person/entities’ trailer at Fort Polk.

If there are any horses remaining after the Give-Away phase, Fort Polk will decide to either transport the remaining horses to a livestock sale facility to sell the horses or combine the remaining horses with the next lot captured to cycle through the process again. The next lot of horses will then be captured and be processed through the same steps. This cyclical process in this COA will continue until all horses are eliminated from Army- owned land at Fort Polk and will be used for any horses which are found on Army- owned land at Fort Polk thereafter. In addition to, and concurrent with, the cyclical process outlined above, Fort Polk may also relocate the horses. If Fort Polk relocates the horses to a private land owner or other government entity, the relocation process described in section 2.3.3 will be followed. 

“So for example, if Jane responds first that she wants X number of horses out of the total, she gets first dibs. Whoever was second, gets the next dibs. And so on. I know if a KB is on there, they will take them all. No one else even gets a chance.”

 

The Wild Horses of Louisiana ARE absolutely in danger of being sent to SLAUGHTER

150,000 American horses are shipped to slaughter each year; this fact tells me that we have a responsibility to these Heritage Horses to ensure they are protected AND spared from death more cruel than most would care to even imagine.
They need YOUR help!

Contact Vice Pres. Joe Biden & President Obama NOW!!!!!!!!

Ask him to protect these horses!

Email: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Phone: tel:202-456-1111

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VicePresidentJoeBiden/
Twitter: @JoeBiden

Twitter: @Potus
Facebook: Potus President Obama

Contact these Louisiana State Elected Officials IMMEDIATELY.

1.) Billy Nungesser , As Lt Governor, State Parks and Tourism fall under his rule. 
<< Dont Live in Lousiana ??  Let this man know how you feel about this plan>>
Twitter: @BillyNungesser
2.) Mike Strain – LA Ag Commissioner, USFS , USDA
Phone: 225.922.1234
3.) John Bel Edwards, Louisiana Governor
Twitter @JohnBelForLA
4.) LA-5 Ralph Abraham‬ 202-225-8490
5.) LA-4 ‎John Fleming‬ 202-225-2777 (Running for Senate 2016) – Covers Kisatchie Now
JRTC Fort Polk – U.S. ARMY provided Website specific to these horses:
JRTC Fort Polk – U.S. ARMY provided contact info below:
****Careful.. There are 2 different email addresses.. One forces your email Subject to say “trespass horses” …. USE BOTH*****
List of Participating 501c3 -Provider by U.S. Army
Want to learn more about this situation and our struggle to ensure the Generationally Wild Heritage Horses are protected?
Click links below…
Fort Polk Horses of Kisatchie Facebookhttps://m.facebook.com/FortPolkHorsesPEGA/

 

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The Historical Importance of the Wild and Free Roaming Horses of Fort Polk, Peason Ridge & Kisatchie National Forest, Louisiana

The Historical Importance of the Wild and Free Roaming Horses of Fort Polk, Peason Ridge & Kisatchie National Forest

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Updated 08/27/2016 Sterilization and mass removals are not the answer. These drastic and damaging measures ERASE & WIPE OUT part of early Kisatchie’s history. Their numbers have been drastically reduced!

While free roaming wild equine herds in early settlement regions of the United States are quickly disappearing from our American landscape, they can still be found in Kisatchie National Forest (KNF), Louisiana. While each herd member is an integral part of their family band, many are also unique remnants of early horses that inhabited the Kisatchie region with homesteaders well over a century ago. Generations of herds were self sufficient with the lands’ fresh water, grass varieties and the seclusion of dense and vast stands of trees to shelter them from the elements, long before there ever was a Fort Polk. And they are still there, living with their families and herd bands that make this region their home.

Many were descended from livestock of heritage families, settlers and farmers in the area that had been used for many purposes as they toiled to carve out a rugged existence in the early years, long before Louisiana became a state in 1812. Yet Fort Polk Army Base wants to eliminate them. The herds, previously estimated by the military to be at least 600, have roamed in Kisatchie National Forest for well over a century. But now, (since September 2015) there may be hundreds less. Referred to by generations of locals as Piney Horses, they have peacefully grazed in the wide open grassy and remote wooded areas for as long as they can remember…many are descendants of horses that had been there much longer.

Horses first arrived with French settlers as early as the 1690’s in the Sabine Parish area. View “The Arrival of Horses into the Americas” to see that horses were distributed in early America, right across the Kisatchie Region: http://www.galiceno.org/history-of-horses-in-the-americas.html The Caddoans (a group of Native American tribes) traded horses with other existing tribes and settlers to the north and eastward past the Mississippi . “Caddoan sites, although not abundant, occur on most districts of the Kisatchie National Forest.” 

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/kisatchie/landmanagement/resourcemanagement/?cid=fsbdev3_024697

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The Arrival of Horses into the Americas – http://www.galiceno.org/

 

Hundreds of range bred small, compact horses (regarded in modern times as Spanish Colonial Horses), were brought or migrated north and east ward, across Louisiana and toward the western states, where wild horses also can be still be found.

For Native American and settlement history, reference “A Good Home for a Poor Man: Fort Polk and Vernon Parish, 1800-1940” Funded by the United States Department of Defense. Read on line version with photographs, pictures, maps and illustrations here:

http://scholarcommons.sc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1049&context=anth_facpub

Thousands of horses and mules served as locomotion to support the area’s massive logging industry that is historically recorded as the foremost business for Vernon Parish and surrounding areas in the early 1900’s. Read about the area’s rich logging history that spans almost a century back and a 6+ acre corral site area that housed cattle, horses and mules in the southeast section of Sabine Parish, LA. Reference: http://www.sfasu.edu/heritagecenter/7552.asp   While there were others, one sawmill town in the Sabine Parish area alone had over 2000 inhabitants. Some 90 years ago, loosed horses and mules ran in Peason Ridge and other areas of Kisatchie, along with existing wild horses after wide spread logging work ceased.

In later years, loosed livestock remained after heritage families and sharecroppers were forced to leave their land, taken for Camp Polk’s military training use in the 1930’s. Additionally, while Thoroughbred cross military mounts were produced through the United States Breeding Program and imported into Louisiana to serve at Camp Polk, a smaller more compact Spanish type horse, owned by local families near Camp Polk and Peason Ridge areas have never been given their due credit for their roles as military training mounts at Camp Polk. Hundreds of local heritage families’ horses not only helped to colonize and farm Louisiana, but they also helped to PROTECT Camp Polk soldiers and our country during Camp Polk training operations, due to the shortage of imported Cavalry horses in WWII era. Reports further indicate loosed equines into the in the Kisatchie Forest during and many decades after the WWII era. Reference: http://www.livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/colonialspanish

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The group Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA) formed to unify efforts to preserve and protect these free roaming herds. PEGA asserts that the free roaming herds of Kisatchie have been a part of Louisiana’s local culture since its early beginnings, and therefore should have Heritage standing, as descendants of the animals that toiled alongside homesteaders that shaped the early history of parishes in and around Kisatchie National Forest.

Follow PEGA here: https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com.

We hope that the army will cease the elimination of the Fort Polk and Peason Ridge equines as these captures and removals do not fulfill the interests of humane animal welfare, or those of area citizens, whose ancestors were a part of early Louisiana.

There have been approx 40-50 commanding generals in Fort Polk’s history. PEGA and many citizens contend that the misjudgment of a temporary general (McGuire), should not have determined the equines’ potential demise. He relinquished his command to General Brito in May of this year, yet as of August 22 , 2016, the army has not fully complied with providing information as specified in 3 FOIA requests from PEGA, Tulane Law School and Animal Legal Defense Fund’s legal council staff. The seemingly sketchy and incomplete responses the army provided include information that could be dated, as opposed to more current information that is needed.

Equally concerning is that multiple advocates submitted proposals and offers to help these animals August of 2015 and it was announced that no decision would be made until after the first of the year. Yet, some hold the opinion that a few officials have continued to allow captures and removals. Additionally, the army may not have updated this list of advocates/potential adopters for close to a year now. And now, in the wake of the flooding in south central Louisiana, rescues (who normally don’t handle wild or range bred horses) are already beyond filled to capacity. There are still hundreds of misplaced animals, some are injured. Recovering from the flood disaster will take months. This could put the horses at Fort Polk in grave jeopardy if “given away…to any citizen” or sold at auction to anyone…for meat prices, should the army formally carry out it’s plans as specified in the Environmental Assessment (EA) here:

Environmental Assessment: http://www.jrtc-polk.army.mil/Main_Page_Docs/Trespass_Horses/Final_Environmental_Assessment_for_Trespass_Horses_28APR16_ver2.pdf

PEGA and other advocates would like to be a resource to document their numbers and to provide humane, responsible management of the animals that are in need of adoption or care, using low stress livestock handling techniques. Because there are 604,000 acres, the horses could be transported to another area, where they and other wildlife can live more peacefully and there, they could be responsibly and humanely managed. PEGA could also help facilitate any needed legitimate adoptions or placement of animals in sanctuaries.

Here is some history that brought us up to present- September 2015, PEGA submitted a request for public records including “statistics regarding the number of accidents that occurred as a result of the free roaming horses on the Fort Polk Base” pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A response dated February 23, 2016 indicated no record of training accidents involving any horses. This is likely because during rotations, the migratory equines and other animals do not stay in these areas because of the loud blasts and activity. Instead they seek quieter areas that span over some of 604,000 acres that is their home. The army intentionally uses livestock in their villages (in the training areas) for an element of “realism” during rotations, yet they wish to rid the horses from their home?

While PEGA understands that under General McGuire’s command, the army determined a need to reduce the herd numbers on its land within Kisatchie, Federal and State Animal Cruelty laws have remained the legal mandate for humane handling of equines. Because the army nor it’s civilian agents are exempt from compliance to these laws, PEGA sent cease and desist request letters to stop removals on October 2015 and December 2015 in an effort to communicate to the Government that PEGA’s belief is that its Equine Capture Program (that has been in effect since 2010), is in violation of state and federal regulations. Also, many reports allege removals occurred years before and during the army’s “capture program”.

There are pens and corrals on both Fort Polk and Peason Ridge areas; however it is unclear if individuals are using them or even the barriers of the training villages for captures, or if they are purely for the army’s Environmental Services use, possibly for reported sterilization or removals to control populations. It is important to note that Gelding or sterilizing horses living in the Wild as a solution for population control is a MISTAKE. It also skews the gene pool which could result in inbreeding, health defects and less hardiness in the horses that are left to survive on their own in the Wild. The “domesticated” point of reference to gelding or sterilization is not applicable for horses left in the Wild, they need ALL of the hormone driven instinct and genetic diversity that nature has given them for procreation, natural selection and survival.

The support of our elected officials, law enforcement and the public’s engagement is needed to help insure open dialogue with the army, its agents or U.S. Forestry, to determine best practice strategy and actions, that will insure humane treatment and responsible management of all equines. PEGA seeks to implement practices toward preserving their habitat, to facilitate legitimately needed adoptions and to document the future welfare of the equines, with the safety of the public and those enlisted at Fort Polk being paramount

Additionally, some have the opinion there is an imbalance in budgetary priority at Fort Polk. Concerns include the disrepair of a 6’ fence (erected after 9/11) that surrounds the base. Some ask if the army’s own Forestry Division plans for rotational burning of tree stands on tens of thousands of acres of land it owns or manages “for aesthetics” each fiscal year, why can’t they budget for fences to be kept in good repair for the safety of all? One elected official concerned citizens can contact is Charles W. Boustany Jr., at 202-225-2031 (Ways and Means). Although this area is not his district, he may be influential with some of his peers in other districts.

PEGA contends that while the army has use of Kisatchie National Forest land, National Forests are for the Public. The Multiple Use Sustained Yield (MUSY) Act of 1960 named multiple uses: including recreation, range, timber watershed, wildlife, and fish. The Act stated that no specific use could predominate. This carried over to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, in which scenic drives were often mentioned under Recreation. PEGA asserts that the proposed “elimination” of the Kisatchie area free roaming equines, does not fulfill the interests of the citizens who cherish their natural beauty and recognize that their ancestors were a vital and important part of Louisiana history. A common ground that allows for public interests (which include enjoying the beauty of the free roaming equines) to be preserved in the Kisatchie region, needs to be explored.

The capture “program” the army has had in place for years left the animals at high risk for injury. A ranger indicated in August of last year that attempts at captures and loading by individuals who brought portable panels had been largely unsuccessful; leaving the animals more skittish and prone to injury during future attempts. While all equines at Fort Polk and Peason Ridge areas should be treated humanely, some escaped rough and painful capture attempts last year and were photographed. Disturbing images included multiple ropes pulled tightly around a horse’s neck. Another horse roamed with an arrow dart stuck in it’s body. At least one young horse died from injuries an/or possible lethal dose sustained during a “dart” capture attempt.

While a civilian contractor army “public relations” spokesperson coined captures as “adoptions”, once separated from their families and they leave Kisatchie National Forest, these animals have been openly advertised for sale or trade, leaving them lost to any accountability for their future welfare or whereabouts. There are pens and corrals on both Fort Polk and Peason Ridge areas, however it is unclear if some individuals are using them or even the barriers of the training villages for their rough captures and removals. In past years, foals from Kisatchie were orphaned when their dams (mothers) were captured and reportedly sent to slaughter.

In fact, every year, thousands of America’s wild and domestic equines are shuffled through the hands of multiple individuals in the horse trader business. They are pulled from everything they know and some eventually pass through wrong hands into the dangers of legal sale into the horse slaughter industry. While the number of animals designated on paperwork as “pleasure” instead of “slaughter” animals, that go across our US borders for the purpose of slaughter is unknown, >147,000 (2014) and >130,000 (2015) United States equines are documented to have perished to the horse slaughter industry. They suffer from stress and dehydration in crowded trailers and disease ridden feedlots that many others before them were kept in; where they compete for food and water, and often contract contagious viruses and respiratory illness, fever, colic, fungal, mange or bacterial skin infections from wounds they have endured, before meeting heinous, brutal practices in Mexican non European Union regulated slaughter plants.

A few notes: Unlike ruminant species such as cattle and white tailed deer that completely break down ingested seeds, migratory equines that are non ruminants deposit plant seeds in their droppings, helping to proliferate ground cover that helps prevent erosion. The modern horse, E. caballus, an originally *native species to North America became extinct 8,500-11,000 years ago and was re introduced by the Spaniards to the coastal islands and mainland of the southeastern United States by the early 1500’s. Trails carved by animals like bison and deer, in their seasonal migrations, were followed by explorers, pioneers, and Native Americans into the American Wilderness; that brought numbers of these highly adaptable horses from the South and East, to the Great Plains. After Smallpox outbreaks among early settlements and Indians, loosed horses known as Mustangs increased in numbers and reverted back to the wild. Although their numbers reached 2 million by the early 1800’s, tens of thousands were removed, killed or sent to slaughter up until the present. Since the early 1970’s, many species of wildlife and plants have been excessively hunted or eliminated, forever changing our ecosystems’ fragile dynamics and our American landscape. Since the Free Roaming and Wild Horse and Burros Act of 1971 was passed to protect our country’s free roaming equines, their numbers are now estimated to be less than 30,000 due to roundups from Public Lands, to make way for grazing cattle leases and energy agenda that only a few profit from. With the loss of wildlife, our country’s wild horses and burros and degraded ecology, what legacy will be left for our children?

A lil video inspiration > 

 

Author’s note: Research references for this writing include Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming, National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C., http://equinewelfarealliance.org/Equine_Datal.html, Louisiana Historian Rickey Robertson, numerous scientific articles and historical periodicals regarding the establishment of early Louisiana. 

 

  • KCS edited 08/27/2016 This note will be updated as needed 

Louisiana Congressional Members & 2016 Candidates

Louisiana Congressional Members and 2016 Candidates

Congressional Map 2016




Senate Candidates 2016

  1. Charles Boustany (R) Congressman (District 3), Surgeon, Businessman
  2. Joe Cao (R) Ex-Congressman, Attorney, Community Activist
  3. Thomas Clements (R) Businessman
  4. Donald “Crawdaddy” Crawford (R)
  5. David Duke (R) Ex-State Representative, White Supremacist, Ex-Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon
  6. John Fleming (R) Congressman (District 4), Ex-Webster Parish Coroner, Physician, Businessman, Navy Veteran
  7. John Kennedy (R) State Treasurer, Attorney, Ex-State Revenue Secretary
  8. Rob Maness (R) Retired USAF Officer, Tea Party Activist
  9. Charles Marsala (R) Financial Advisor
  10. Abhay Patel (R) Business Development Executive, Ex-Investment Banker
  11. Foster Campbell (D) State Public Service Commissioner, Insurance Agency Owner, Ex-State Senator
  12. Derrick Edwards (D) Attorney
  13. Caroline Fayard (D) Attorney, Ex-White House Aide, Ex-Congressional Aide
  14. Gary Landrieu (D) Building Contractor
  15. Vinny Mendoza (D) Ex-Assistant USAF Inspector General, Farmer
  16. Josh Pellerin (D) Energy Executive
  17. Peter Williams (D) Tree Farmer
  18. Beryl Billiot (Independent) Businessman, USMC Veteran
  19. Troy Hebert (Independent) Ex-State ATC Commissioner, Ex-State Senator, Ex-State Representative, Ex-Democrat
  20. Bob Lang (Independent) Retired Fire Chief, Vietnam War Veteran
  21. Kaitlin Marone (Independent) Comedian
  22. Gregory Taylor (Independent)
  23. Arden Wells (Independent)

House of Representatives

‎LA-1  Steve Scalise 202-225-3015

Candidates for 2016 Election:

  1. Lee Ann Dugas
  2. Danil Ezekiel Faust
  3. Joe Swider
  4. Steve Scalise – Incumbent
  5. Party Howard Kearney
  6. Eliot Barron
  7. Chuemai Yang

LA-2 Cedric Richmond 

202-225-6636

Candidates for 2016 Election:

  1. Cedric Richmond – Incumbent
  2. Kip Holden
  3. Kenneth Cutno
  4. Party Samuel Davenport

 

LA-3 Charles Boustany Jr. 202-225-2031

**Running for Senate 2016**

Candidates for 2016 Election

  1. Dorian Phibian
  2. Larry Rader
  3. Greg Ellison
  4. Gus Rantz
  5. Grover Rees
  6. Brett Geymann
  7. Scott Angelle
  8. Clay Higgins
  9. Bryan Barrilleaux
  10. Herman Vidrine
  11. Guy McLendon
  12. Kenny Scelfo

 

LA-4 ‎Fleming, John   202-225-2777 

**Covers Kisatchie Now and is running for Senate seat 2016**

Candidate for 2016 Election:

  1. Marshall Jones
  2. Trey Baucum, M.D.
  3. Elbert Guillory
  4. Oliver Jenkins
  5. Rick John
  6. Mike Johnson
  7. Mark Halverson
  8. Kenneth Krefft

 

LA-5 Abraham, Ralph  202-225-8490

Candidates for 2016 Election:

  1. Ralph Abraham – Incumbent
  2. Billy Burkette

 

LA-6 ‎Graves, Garret 202-225-3901

Candidates for 2016 Election:

  1. Richard Lieberman
  2. Jermaine Sampson
  3. Garret Graves – Incumbent
  4. Robert Lamar Bell
  5. Richard Fontanesi
  6. Devin Lance Graham

 

PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES of Pegasus Equine Guardian Association 8/21/2016

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Updated article on PEGAs Purpose & Objectives including VITAL POINTS for adoption & information regarding Army’s EA/Plan.

Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA) is a registered Louisiana Non Profit Organization that formed to help preserve and protect these animals. With an awareness that wild equines are much better left in the wild such as their home in the Kisatchie Region, PEGA continues to seek APPROPRIATE solutions, both with their long term welfare (should they need to be removed) and their preservation as part of Louisiana’s history and heritage in mind.

Fort Polk Horses of Kisatchie is a Facebook community that has featured issues about the wild and free roaming equines at Fort Polk Army Base, Peason Ridge (northwest of Fort Polk base) and Kisatchie National Park(northeast of Fort Polk base); as well as the area’s rich historical place in the expansion of early Louisiana. https://www.facebook.com/fortpolkhoses/

Important Information to Consider

Sterilization and mass removals have proven to be drastic and damaging measures for wild horses across the United States and will ERASE & WIPE OUT part of Louisiana early history, should they be eliminated from the Kisatchie area.  Read about the army’s EA and plans here: Army’s Environmental Assessment April 2016

There has been an increase of caring people inquiring and commenting about adopting the horses. It’s important to consider that un-handled or wild horses can be unpredictable, not easily worked with, and may increase liability and historically are not adoptable to the general public for long-term success. There is a difference between a horse lover or advocate and a successful wild horse adopter. Many a mustang taken from a wild state and adopted to well-meaning and compassionate people has been foundered, injured or ended up in bad hands, at auction or a kill lot. Liability is high and it takes expertise, safety knowledge and continued resources for their appropriate care.

Patience and time to interact with these horses daily by those who understand NATURAL HORSE BEHAVIOR as opposed to “horse training” will be most successful in acclimating wild or range bred equines to their new lifestyle. While some horses may be tamer and in need of assistance, secure, safe fencing, along with skills & experience to safely handle, feed, care for, socialize, adopt and conduct long term follow up on these animals at *appropriate homes* should also be seriously considered.

It’s important to consider that a 501c3 is a *tax status* and DOES NOT guarantee appropriate care or long term safety. There are dedicated non profits and individuals that do good work as well. Therefore, seek and follow the advice and experience of *reputable rescues and sanctuaries that have been helping large animals (wild and domestic) to a better life over time. These dedicated individuals and professionals will likely explain the realities and challenges of working with rescued horses, let alone un-handled ones.

Rescuing is a labor of love~ it requires time and resource sacrifices and is an important life decision not only for the animals, but for adopters and their families. It is a huge responsibility and life-long commitment to socialize a wild horse to living in civilization. Local boarding stables may not have the proper facilities for them. For example, a stall with a turnout and containment of plastic fence or barbed wire is NOT safe, nor natural for their metabolism as migratory grazers. They can get injured, or escape in attempts to reach other horses or forage. 5-6 acres realistically requires continued financial resources for round bales, water, mineral, manure management and insect control.

Well meaning people sometimes do not plan for the future and reach a point where they can no longer keep the animals. For these reasons and because of the reduced numbers of the Fort Polk, Peason Ridge and Kisatchie area equines, PEGA and others hope many can stay in their wild setting and restricted from some of Fort Polk’s land that is near the training areas or possibly be relocated to a safer area on the 604,000 acres.

A LARGER adequate sized land parcel or sanctuary, providing a way for them to naturally wear their feet down, with proper fencing, forage, nutrition, water, and shelter/windbreak (according to climate) would generally be a better fit than rescues with no experience handling wild or un-handled horses and would allow the animals the kind of life they are more accustomed to.

Lastly, while Pegasus Equine Guardian Association may independently coordinate assistance for some animals as needed, PEGA is not affiliated with nor does it currently sanction individuals or rescue groups inquiring with the army about adoption, raising funds, coordinating transportation or proceeding with adoption efforts.

 

Pegasus Equine Guardian Association~Purpose and Objectives:

“To preserve and protect the horses and other equine animals that exist on the lands of Fort Polk (including the Peason Ridge area) and lands of the Kisatchie National Forest; to promote and establish rescue mechanisms and sanctuaries for wild or other equine animals; to facilitate programs related to the rescue of said equines in the event that their removal from Fort Polk, Peason Ridge and the Kisatchie National Forest becomes necessary.

Donations can be used for any of the following purposes: Future rescue, fostering and adoption efforts, feed, hay, water, veterinary care or other equine care, resources, supplies or equipment, purchasing/leasing of facilities, shelter, land or equine transportation; as well as advocating for enforcement of Animal Cruelty Laws through legal assistance; to advocate for proper welfare and stewardship of wild or abandoned equine animals (e.g., horses, mules, donkeys, and related animals) wherever they may be found, initially and specifically including those equine animals that exist within Ft. Polk, Kisatchie  / (Louisiana), its training areas, including the main post and the Peason Ridge training area, and all such U.S.. Military controlled lands in the area, and the lands of the Kisatchie National Forest, especially that part adjacent to Ft. Polk lands, and where wild or abandoned equine animals may roam.

PEGA regards that the animals of concern to it are primarily free-roaming or abandoned equines, whether branded or not, that range upon any lands, but especially those under the purview of the U.S. Military, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but not excluding such animals that range upon other lands.

PEGA shall further pursue objectives including: to endeavor to prove the eligibility for special protection as wild-free roaming wild horses and burros under the Wild Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, or to prove that wild horses descended from historical American stock, such as Colonial Spanish Horses or Indian “mustangs”, or horses native to geographical areas which are regarded as a special part of our American heritage and history; to prevent animal cruelty and abuse in any handling or transportation of equine animals, and to assure that none go to slaughter; to advocate for, and sue on behalf of, members of PEGA who have a special interest in and connection to equine animals indicated above, any individuals who are of, or descended from, the “Heritage Families”, whose land was acquired from them by the U.S. Government for the purpose of establishing Ft. Polk, American Indians, and others; and to facilitate communication with, and make recommendations to the “Heritage Families”, other individuals with an interest in the equines, and all government departments, including the U.S. Military, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Agriculture, that have jurisdiction of the lands on which the equines roam.

Additionally, PEGA regards that the animals of concern to it are primarily free-roaming or abandoned equines, whether branded or not, that range upon any lands, but especially those under the purview of the U.S. Military, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but not excluding such animals that range upon other lands on which the equines roam.”

Note: Please read and consider the points in this Note,

Army’s Environmental Assessment (EA)

In corresponding with Fort Polk, please send RESPECTFUL comments to email address below:

usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil

If your internet provider is hughes.net or any other satellite provider…YOU MUST send your comment from a SMART PHONE or hard copy to:

JRTC and Fort Polk, Public Affairs Office 
Attention: Public Response
7033 Magnolia Drive Bldg. 4919
Fort Polk, LA 71459-5342

You may also call (337)531-6134

By Kimberly Sheppard. This Note will be updated as needed.

Immediate Press Release: Fort Polk Army Base, Louisiana announces Decision on Horses in midst of Historical Flood Disaster

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The Silent Echoes in Feedlots: 08/16/2016 UPDATE
In the midst of torrential downpours and catastrophic flooding in South and Central Louisiana, when 10,000 plus displaced Louisiana citizens have sought refuge in shelters because they have lost everything, rescues of every size and type are desperately trying to absorb the great need of feeding and caring for abandoned and lost small and large animals. As if Louisianan’s had not lost enough, Fort Polk Army Base made the choice to announce their intent to proceed with elimination of the migratory historic wild horse herds, some of which have made parts of 604,000 acres their home for over a century. Rescues that take in large animals will be filled to capacity for several months because many animals will now be displaced due to their owners loosing their homes. From a tactical standpoint, they have their hands full, with the current catastrophic mass flooding and resulting efforts to help the displaced animals.
Despite this, Fort Polk has sent emails to individuals from a now largely antiquated “contact list” they had gathered late August of 2015 (that’s right, almost a year ago) of rescues, groups or individuals offering to help back then. Some report that Fort Polk’s contracted Environmental Services personnel have another list, which is a list of kill buyers (horse traders) that sell equines into the slaughter business. Some individuals have already profited from selling Fort Polk and Kisatchie Region horses to slaughter. They too will likely be watching and waiting for their chance to purchase the animals at auctions or stockyards. A trailer load of 20 to 30 horses could yield $6,000-$9,000 or more for meat price.
See Info Here: http://www.jrtc-polk.army.mil/trespass_horses.html
If you are willing to provide any assistance at all, please message this page or email kisatchiehorses@gmail.com AND Contact the Army using information provided by them below:
The next step in the process is to begin developing lists of animal welfare groups and citizens interested in taking the horses. Interested parties can find the full details of the process on page 31 of the environmental assessment at
Animal welfare groups and local citizens can sign up to be added to one of the two lists Fort Polk is developing by sending an e-mail to
usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil
Animal welfare groups should send appropriate documentation so that Fort Polk officials can verify their status as 501(c)(3) groups. Everyone signing up for the program should include good contact information including email address and telephone numbers and the quantity of horses they are interested in taking.
For any reader that mistakenly thinks that commercial horse slaughter is humane, that the horses are of no value or that horses are not native to North America and that it is humane to “cull” them in this manner, this writing is for you.
It is generally understood that *domesticated* horses were introduced into North America beginning with the Spanish conquest, and that escaped or intentionally range bred horses spread throughout the American Great Plains and other areas of the United States. See link to early distribution map of horses in North America here: http://galiceno.org/history-of-horses-in-the-americas.html
Unlike the native horses that died out in North America at the end of the Pleistocene, the wild horses that survive today are regarded as “feral” and intrusive by some. However, the fact that horses were domesticated before they were reintroduced back to the North American continent matters little from a biological standpoint. Indeed, as horses naturally revert to ancient behavioral patterns if left alone to live in the wild, they demonstrate that domestication has altered them little.
The Kisatchie Region has been home to a land race type of horse that, along with other livestock and crops was raised by area families. USDA acknowledges Caddo Native American tribes trading horses in this region in the 1790’s. Besides mules and horses brought in with early settlers in the mid 1850’s, they were brought into the region during the railroading business of the early 1900’s, through the WWII era. These local animals were used for Camp Polk training operations to help prepare over 60,000 troops to fight in WWII. Many of the wild and free roaming horses in the Fort Polk, Peason Ridge and Kisatchie National Forest region of Louisiana are generational wild remnants of those that helped to shape Louisiana history. An archaeologist conducting an excavation of 1200 AD Native American artifacts reported seeing the wild horses in the 1970’s. Even the army referred to them as wild in the 1990’s. This Louisiana heritage should not be forgotten, but preserved.
Fort Polk Army Base Officials, the area’s good ole’ boy horse trader kill buyers and the hunters that don’t want the horses grazing in areas where deer and other wildlife that they KILL in South Central Louisiana will have blood of these Louisiana Heritage Animals on their hands if they continue this apathetic, irresponsible and unethical push to inhumanely rid these herds from the 604,000 plus acres that is their home. This Note is for them, the horse slaughter industry is not something for them to be proud of, it is shameful and is an American disgrace.
The Silent Echoes In the Feedlot is about the horrific conditions that American wild and domestic horses, ponies, mules, burros and donkeys fall victim to in transport, feedlots and at slaughter plants where they are butchered for their meat and sold to foreign markets. Documented numbers of equines from the United States that perished to slaughter in Canada, Mexico and overseas exceeded 130,000 in 2015 and already exceeds 50,000 ytd for 2016.
In addition to inhumane treatment at every level of their journey, at no point are these equines tested for levels of banned or residual chemicals (that are not ever administered to other species of livestock intentionally raised for meat) in their tissues.
While the aforementioned is not applicable to the truly wild horses that Fort Polk intends to eliminate, what does apply is some states don’t require and/or enforce presentation of Health Certs or Coggins results (Equine Infectious Anemia).
In reality, those that do generally don’t enforce presentation of the documents as the trailers cross state borders with full trailers and nowhere to unload and match the documentation with the loose, horses. Whether of domestic or wild origin, they are all victims of the slaughter industry. The horse traders and kill buyers that profit from their suffering contribute a never ending supply of livestock that yields disease, drug and medication-tainted meat into food exports originating in the United States. They need to be exposed for the horrific conditions they keep the animals in, many contract communicable viruses and diseases in their cramped and filthy manure ridden lots.
Horse traders that feed equines into the slaughter pipeline often pick up their displaced victims for by-the-pound prices from auctions or for FREE from irresponsible entities and individuals that want to “get rid of them”, with little or no regard for their future whereabouts. Like a car sold at auctions, the equines then *change hands* before reaching their slaughter destination. Along with selling horses to the public, horse traders sell to others whose sole intent is to ship them to the slaughter plants. A kill buyer that has the contract with the slaughter plant is actually involved the transaction of selling the equines for slaughter. This is how some horse traders say they aren’t “selling horses for slaughter” (it is only because they themselves are not selling the animals directly to the slaughter plants).
While many equines that go to slaughter plants are from the racing or breed registry industries, thousands are are discarded for various other reasons. Tens of thousands of American equines lost to the slaughter industry annually are the young, the old, the healthy and injured. They are retired carriage, camp or trail string horses, rodeo horses, Amish and logging horses, police and prison horses, lab horses, PMU (Pregnant Mare Urine) horses and their foals; or when someone dies or goes to college. Thousands of America’s free roaming wild horses and burros, that are not managed by the BLM or BLM titled or “Sale Authority” animals (defined in the Burns Amendment), have also been lost into the slaughter pipeline.
As horrific as the horse slaughter process itself actually is, the untold suffering many horses, ponies, mules and burros go through from point of sale and transport to feedlots or then to slaughter is astounding. Year around, including in the fall before winter and in the spring, countless equines are dumped at auctions, often thin and undernourished from ravages of winter and not enough groceries. Every spring and summer, young foals can be seen with their dams (mothers, mares) at auctions all over the United States. When mares are purchased by horse traders at auctions, the foals are often left behind and orphaned. Some perish due to stress, scours and dehydration because they have been separated from their dams who they depended on for nutritional and emotional sustenance. Others, considered to be of no value are clubbed or shot and killed.
Because so many mares and foals and equines of every type are dumped at auctions, there are too many for rescuers to purchase and save them all. Foals can easily be injured in trailers or large feedlots and often do not thrive, due to stress and dehydration that their mothers also suffer from. Some pregnant mares abort their foals, whose frail bodies are trampled in cramped quarters. While ponies or smaller horses generally are not accepted for slaughter due to weight, they along with senior equines, as well as injured, foundered or sick animals suffer in the disease ridden feedlots. The equines suffer due to stress and dehydration once they reach the larger disease ridden, urine and manure soaked feedlots many others before them were kept in; where they often compete for food and water, causing lower immunity.
In these crowded conditions, horses of all ages including stallions, geldings, mares, younger horses, burros, ponies and donkeys often contract contagious viruses and respiratory illness that should (but most often are not) treated with antibiotics. Equines of all ages also suffer from fever, colic, fungal, mange or bacterial skin infections from wounds they have endured, before meeting brutal practices in Mexican non-European Union regulated slaughter plants. Other equines fall victim to the live animal export trade where they are shipped in cramped crates that are fork lifted onto large ships for long journeys in severe heat conditions, with limited or no food or water; only to be slaughtered for markets in foreign countries upon their arrival.
Some of these animals are networked and sold to the public for hundreds of dollars more than the kill buyer purchased them for instead of shipping to the slaughter plant. Many have been used hard in their lives, others are gentle and well trained. Young equines with limited experience, or those that have vices from mistreatment will require patience and horsemanship in order to overcome them. Once removed from feed lots, these animals must be quarantined from other livestock for 21-30 days and often require antibiotics for contagious respiratory illnesses they were exposed to at the feedlots. Many need veterinary, dental or hoof care due to injuries sustained during transport, in the feedlot; or from neglect, abuse or founder they endured in their previous lives.
For those left behind, illness or injuries cause some to weaken to a point that they are suspected to collapse in trailers or be rejected by the slaughter plant. They are sometimes destroyed or abandoned by kill buyers in remote areas or enclosed lots because they are of no monetary value whatsoever to them. Some of these locations are hours away from any town or city, or there is no rescue intervention or assistance for them; and they are left to die of starvation and dehydration. Those who endured hunger, thirst, complications from injuries or fever from their illness and needed help the most never received a kind human hand or the mercy of euthanasia in their last days. Mass graves have been found where animals have been buried, while skeletal remains or weak animals have also been found right where they dropped in the feedlot among live animals in various stages of suffering.
For those that leave the kill buyer feedlots and ship toward the slaughter processing plants: The animals are loaded on carrier trailers or large crowded tractor semi-trailers, where they will not receive food or water or rest in the cramped, crowded trailers for the duration of the journey; and many become injured. Regardless of whether they are hauled in bitter, freezing wet cold or blistering heat toward slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico, there is no place to unload again until they reach the holding lot for inspection before crossing the border on the last leg of their journey to be slaughtered. Many laws are commonly broken with each load of equines that suffer immensely during the transport to slaughter process.
  1. DOT and USDA Laws are often broken by driving too many hours. CDL drivers hauling slaughter bound animals too long without resting themselves have caused serious highway accidents, maiming/killing people and animals they are hauling.
  2. Regardless of country horses are slaughtered in, horses are not provided rest, food and water at required intervals that are set forth in the Transport to Slaughter Act because places to unload may be miles from the main transport to slaughter routes (and they cost MONEY and TIME) or they simply do not exist on the roads the haulers travel. The majority of equines hauled in and outside of the United States travel hundreds of miles in crowded trailers (year around) for anywhere from 16, 24 or more hours without food, water or rest. (Requirements vary by state; however there is often no place to unload the animals to even cross check the paperwork for positive identification). This is why it is not possible for State Patrols or any other inspectors to check any documentation whatsoever against a crowded trailer load of loose horses, who also may not have distinguishing markings, going across state lines (over 100,000 annually) in transport trailers.
  3. All equines crossing state lines should also have accompanying documentation that can include Health Certifications and Coggins Papers (negative test results for Equine Infectious Anemia, a disease transferred by mosquitos)  **that would be based on individually drawn blood testing for each equine) and general health inspections. For more information on publicly available information pertaining to documented violations and slaughter issues.
The fate of these weary and often sick or injured souls is now sealed because their ownership has been transferred to the slaughter plants and they can no longer be helped or rescued. Equines with a Canadian slaughter plant destination ship from the kill buyer lot many hours straight across the border; being unloaded only for a few hours for inspection. For those animals shipping to Mexico: Upon arrival at the crowded Export Pens closer to the border, they are only unloaded long enough to meet the regulations; where they are forced to compete for food, water and shelter, if it exists one last time. They are then reloaded in less that 10 hours to cross the border to Mexico toward the processing plants; ending their journey to the unthinkable brutality surrounding their suffering and death that awaits them.
Regardless of how well regulated equine slaughter processes are, there is no way to make their slaughtering humane; nor was there when it was legal in the US for the purpose of human consumption. No designs or processes have changed; the processes merely moved across the border into Mexico. As with slaughter plants in Canada, once the equines are unloaded into small lots, they will be herded into the plant, following one after another; with no way to turn back or escape as they are prodded forward to the kill box and slaughter area.
Unlike with other species of livestock, often several attempts (multiple bone shattering strikes) are required to render equines unconscious; resulting in immense suffering of each animal prior to its slaughter and death. When a horse is in this extreme fear state, not only do they have explosive strength; but their head continually moves with a range of motion during the multiple captive bolt or 22 type fire arm shots used to render them unconscious. Multiple head injuries occur before the strike that finally renders them unconscious. This is due to the anatomy of a long neck and strong flight instinct in an equine; who’s head is a moving target as he desperately tries to flee and avoid the excruciating blows to his skull.
It is important to note that the captive bolt device nor 22 type firearm bullets are used to actually kill the equine because during the slaughter process, the heart MUST be pumping in order to bleed out of the animal’s tissues prior to slaughtering them. As many as 4 minutes have been documented that a horse was conscious during & after these injuries to render him unconscious. Film has shown a horse flailing on its side in the kill box after regaining consciousness in excruciating pain from the horrific skull injuries it had already experienced.
Once the chains are applied to the back legs of the animal now on its side in the kill box and the throat is slit; the horse then goes down the production line (now unconscious) hanging upside down by the hind legs. This animals is behind the horses he saw and heard screaming before him, as he smelled their blood before his own death experience.
For different reasons, pregnant mares have been accepted into the slaughterhouse and are slit in the abdomen when they are vivisected; and close to full term foals have been photographed hitting the slaughter house floor. They don’t survive the trauma; and are piled with waste from the slaughter process.
Clearly, despite any pro horse slaughter argument, there is and can be NO humane horse slaughter in the United States or abroad. In addition to the humane issues already discussed, the captive bolt and 22 type fire arm shots were also used in the United States when slaughterhouses for the purpose of human consumption were operational in the United States. In the past, regardless of what authorities witnessed during planned European Union ( EU ) inspections, documented unplanned investigations revealed the harsh reality that brutal activities in these commercial horse slaughter plants that process many animals are heinous and inhumane, regardless of the country the plant was in. Note: Because of the January 2015 ban of horse-meat from slaughter plants in Mexico going to Europe, Canada has sometimes been flooded with hundreds of equines headed for slaughter every week this year, because the kill buyers get a higher by the pound price. However, equines going into Mexico and South American countries are still slaughtered with the meat going to South American countries and others including Japan; where the EU(European Union) doesn’t regulate that commodity. And the handling and slaughter methods are very brutal.
While we should direct attention to animal welfare issues affecting all livestock, those that try to justify horse slaughter as an equalizer or solution to manage the “unwanted horses problem” in the United States must realize that equines (unlike other livestock) are not raised for the purpose of human consumption.
Slaughter is only the band aid, ***NOT*** a solution for “getting rid of” horses that don’t make the “cut” due to over breeding and other exploitive equine industries. Additionally experts are against humans (regardless of the country) eating meat tainted with chemicals that cause health problems including cancer.
It is important to note that discussions are looming to potentially open slaughter plants in the United States again. With this, there will be new international implications that will be revealed; with regard to shipping United States horse meat overseas that is tainted with medications (due to its very source). Because the sources of equines for these slaughter plants will not change, morally there are repercussions for our nation to knowingly ship off tainted meat of any species.
For a visual, put commonly used fly spray insecticide, wormer, bute, tranquilizer, or other chemicals banned for use in animals for human consumption on a dinner plate. That is what is in horse meat being shipped off to foreign countries by virtue of what the horse has been exposed to in its life. Only a small percentage of the >140,000 annually slaughtered American equines have *not been exposed to these chemicals (BANNED for use in food animals, while others have a 6 month residual period by law).
The phrase “From Stable to Table in Seven Days” says it all because from the point of purchase, that is how quickly many equines are slaughtered. If horses slaughter were legalized in US for human consumption, those poisons still are there, except more tainted meat may possibly stay in the US, instead of ship to European countries. In some pro slaughter circles, it has been suggested that our school children eat it (if slaughter were to be legalized for human consumption) in the United States. But even if our children don’t eat it, other people in South America and European countries do and it is dangerous due to the common medications used in America’s Equines.
Chemical and biological warfare itself is designed on the very premise of harmful agents entering the human body. Yet tens of thousands of pounds of horse meat that originated in the United States is purchased at grocery stores and served to school children and people in institutions. They are served this tainted meat in European countries including France, Belgium and Japan. http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/meat-and-poultry-products/manual-of-procedures/chapter-17/annex-e/eng/1370023131206/1370023203607
What about USDA statutes and inspections? There has always been complacency with regard to enforcing regulations and enforcing prosecution for USDA violations to begin with. The humanity and morals that a society has can be seen in how it treats its animals. This is a heinous industry that is no way justified by any Animal Welfare or Slaughter Animal Laws in the United States.
Breeders who keep only the best of the best, and whose registries sometimes REWARD them for breeding/registering with incentives; as well as individuals who allow horses to breed and then dump them at auctions and feedlots need to be exposed. But equally to blame, the culture needs to change and individuals that contribute to and profit from equine exploitation and suffering need to be held accountable. Just like the environmentally dangerous act of dumping tankers of slaughter house blood into soils and water tables, disposal is simply disposal. It is *not* a solution to a the bigger problem~ nor are events leading up to and the slaughter act itself of unwanted living breathing equines people have given away, sold cheaply or dumped at auctions a solution for poor choices.
NOTE: The atrocities animals of many species endure at *illegal slaughter facilities that are periodically discovered and disbanded are too many to be mentioned. Please read more here: http://www.local10.com/news/florida/loxahatchee-animal-cruelty-bust-largest-in-u-s-history- http://www.animalrecoverymission.org/operations/illegal-horse-slaughter/
Many Americans are unaware we are losing a precious part of our American Heritage~ Mustangs (Wild Horses and Burros) have been slaughtered and exterminated now for over a century. At the turn of the 20th century, over a million roamed our landscape. Now there are less than 30,000 in the Wild.
Tens of thousands of Wild and Free Roaming Horses, mules and burros living in State and National Forests and OUR Public Lands intended as safe haven for them, have been brutally rounded up and separated from their family bands, destroyed or gone to holding facilities where they are incarcerated for months or years. Many have gone into the slaughter pipeline and kill pens at an alarming rate.
Overview of The Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burros Act of 1971 Public Law 92-195 (includes Burns Amendment information). By Mary Brown
Wild Horses and Burros:
Please also write and urge politicians to lobby to Repeal the Burns Amendment
“The future of America’s Wild Horses and Burros is of huge concern. The Burns Amendment of 2004 has legalized slaughter of wild equines over the age of 10 and those that have not been adopted after three adoption attempts. Within the past year, Politicians (who are for grazing livestock on Our Public Lands) have pushed for “Wild Horse Oversight Act” (2015) and the “Stewart Amendment” (2016). This Legislation (that calls for transfer of management/oversight of wild equines from Federal to *State* would put every single Wild, Captured, Free Roaming, Blm, non Blm (Bureau of Land Management), or “Feral” Equine (all 80,000 of them) in the *VERY SAME* predicament that the below non- BLM Managed herds currently face. Wild Horses and Burros are not just in the Western states, they have been rounded up and put up for sale at auction for meat prices for decades.
Examples are:
THE WEST DOUGLAS, PICEANCE-EAST DOUGLAS HERD(Colorado), FORT POLK, PEASON RIDGE & KISATCHIE REGION WILD HORSES(Louisiana), THE HEBER HERD, PLACITAS WILD HORSES(New Mexico), VIRGINIA RANGE HORSES.
Likewise, it is extremely doubtful that individual states will budget money for holding facilities or adoptions, when several are already trying to eliminate them once and for all to male way for agriculture and energy agenda. It is more likely removals of the Blm horses will continue. They could be destroyed or be used for something else, including experimentation and surgical sterilization procedures with no anesthetic (as the University in Burns Oregon has planned). Please help to preserve a place on our American landscapes for our Wild Horses and Burros~they are part of our Heritage.”
In order to OPPOSE Horse Slaughter of ALL equines, we must urge our elected officials to become familiar with the atrocities of equine slaughter:
SUPPORT Passage of the SAFE ACT Hr1942 S1214.
Please urge them also to support to support more severe penalties for animal cruelty slaughter and non-slaughter equines in their state:
Please monitor the growing list of H.R. 1942 SAFE ACT supporters here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1942/cosponsors
Contact your State’s Representative and two Senators and request or thank them for their support. Find ALL contacts by clicking here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members
Find House of Representative contacts by clicking here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/
 
By Kimberly Sheppard. Last Edited 08/16/2016. Photo courtesy of Animals’ Angels. This document will be updated as needed. kcs