1)No matter where you live, please contact John Bel Edwards(Louisiana) TODAY AT: firstname.lastname@example.org Copy this letter, or leave your own comment. Rally his support for protection that is desperately needed. DO IT TODAY!
Here is a Summary:
- While past photos showed herds of horses in multiple areas, not many can be found, even with searching for miles and miles and miles. One photo from 01/01/2016 showed a vast landing zone and no horses in grassy areas on either side of it. Other photos showed only small herds of the small, compact, very quick, surefooted and elusive horses, congregating in smaller groups toward the cover of the trees up in Peason Ridge. They weren’t even sighted up by a watering site that the horses often frequented.
- While this is dismal news, it is believed there are likely even less horses down by Fort Polk Base. Within the past week, a lone stallion was seen in a vast grassy area, wandering by himself, with no herd to watch over. Other sightings of larger horses, closer to Pitkin, LA revealed small herds of 5-7 or less. They are very scarce and hard to find. We await an announcement and hope the Army gives advocates a chance to assist with management before they are all gone.
- The lawsuit has been tracked; all parties received the information on 12/23/2015. A complaint, including an application for a Temporary Restraining Order was filed in the US Eastern District of Louisiana on 12/21/2015 against the U.S. Army, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service to stop the pending elimination, and the current capture program, targeting removals of the Free Roaming Fort Polk and Kisatchie National Forest equines.PLEASE take ACTION on below items. The equines require focused efforts from ALL of us right now!
What prompted the need for these actions?
- Earlier this year, Army officials advised no action would be taken regarding “elimination” of the equines in Kisatchie National Forest until an announcement after 01/01/2016. Multiple individuals responded to the Army’s request to submit ideas and offers to assist with humane management (by their deadline). However, the Army proceeded with their expresssed, specific intent to eliminate them by allowing inhumane captures of equines, by individuals who are not contractually accountable for their whereabouts. What is the integrity & honor in this? NONE
- In the past, the Army had referred to the free roaming herds, estimated to be at least 450, as Wild Horses. The Army’s paid civilian Public Affairs Officer, has referred to ALL Kisatchie National Forest equines as “Trespass” horses (using his words: “based on anecdotal evidence”, meaning not necessarily true or reliable, rather than based on facts or research.) Further, he has continually referred to the Limited Access Capture Agreements as “adoptions”. These terms “trespass and adoptions” are coined only to meet the Army’s agenda of eliminating the equines. What is the integrity & honor in this? ZERO
- While the Army asserts it determined a need to reduce the herd numbers on its land (or land it has use of within Kisatchie), Federal and State Animal Cruelty laws are also the legal mandate for humane handling of equines and the Army or its agents are not exempt from compliance to these laws. The captures have caused injuries, some resulting in death. Therefore, the immediate halt of the captures as well as halting the progression of the “elimination” is merited.
- Locals have also contended the equines lived peacefully in the grassy and remote, wooded Kisatchie areas for as long as they could remember; and are descendants of horses that had been there much longer. And they are RIGHT. Historical colonization references indicate a large and widespread presence of people of French, Spanish, Native American and European descent, that brought the horses to the Kisatchie areas, over 150 years ago.
- While the horse on the right in the below picture represents a type of horse that was produced through the United States Breeding Program and imported into Louisiana for military use, the smaller, more compact horse on the left is representative of the type of horse that was a part of Kisatchie National Forest, including the Fort Polk and Peason Ridge areas. Hundreds of horses, along with mules were utilized by Camp Polk, due to the shortage of Cavalry horses. Indeed, one horse represents the Thoroughbred cross military Cavalry horse, while the other represents the Spanish type horses, that not only helped to colonize and farm Louisiana by Heritage families, but also helped to PROTECT Camp Polk soldiers and our country~they roam Kisatchie today! http://www.livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/colonialspanish
- Some 90 years ago, horses and mules were released into the Forest in Peason Ridge and other areas to run with existing wild horses, after wide spread logging work ceased. While there were others, one sawmill town in the Sabine Parish area alone had over 2000 inhabitants. 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: http://polkhistory.org/…
- Reports further indicate loosed equines into the in the Kisatchie Forest during and many decades after the WWI and II era.
- While the Government alleges that removal of the horses is necessary for the safety of its military training exercises, on September 28, 2015, a request for public records including “statistics regarding the number of accidents that occurred as a result of the roaming horses on the Fort Polk Base” was submitted pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). However, no records pertaining to training accidents on base were provided. Where is their integrity & honor in compliance to the FOIA request? NONE
- After the sale or transfer of ownership of the captured equines, there is no way to track whereabouts of the animals, or to prevent them from shipping to slaughter. In recent years, foals have been orphaned because their mothers were captured and sold for slaughter. One mare has already been intercepted after she was captured by a horse trader/self admitted kill buyer, and sold to a woman, who only after a very short time was willing to sell the horse in poor condition, to the first person that could come up with the money to buy her. Where is the honor in this? NONE
- Cease and desist request letters were sent on October 14, 2015 and December 4, 2015 in an effort to communicate to the Government that it is PEGA’s belief that its equine capture program is in violation of state and federal regulations. However, no response to the letters has been received.
- The Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act of 1960 (MUSY) 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 that their ancestors were a vital and important part of Louisiana’s early history. A common ground needs to be determined that allows public interests to be preserved (and not eliminated) in Kisatchie National Forest.