Tuesday, November 16, 2010

PART 2 of FOALS AND ROUNDUPS IS ON THE WAY... but in the meantime...

 ©11/5/10 Elyse Gardner
Shelter-building project went great.  My thanks to the hardworking people who gave their time, talents, and treasure to benefit some fortunate, cold horses in northernmost California winters.  These horses really needed this shelter because they have no trees or topography to find protection.  Horses can do well in freezing temperatures if they can stay dry.  A soaked, freezing horse is going to suffer and may get very sick.
       Thank you for your patience.  I had hoped to get the Part 2 of the Foals and Roundups, How Do They Fare? post up long before this.   I have, however, received a telephone call from Contractor Sue Cattoor and wanted to go back and review some of her concerns.
       In doing so, I discovered another foal's story and have been researching that and preparing another video.  I will be sharing his story, which needs to be told, as well as Sue's concerns with you in my next post.
       In the meantime, life continues and I'm also recovering from a very painful knee surgery necessitated by injuries I sustained courtesy of the drunk driver who rear-ended me on the freeway, totaling my Rav4 on the way to the Tuscarora roundup.  
       I don't like "excuses"; I just want you all to know the long gap on this blog reflects a lot of meticulous work being done, of which the horses and you will be the recipients.
                      ©2010 Cat Kindsfather
Laura Leigh at the last hearing
        TOMORROW, 16 November 2010, an important First Amendment issue will be addressed as the Court hears a case involving the public's First Amendment right to have its free press, and public observers, view and report on the wild horses and burros, our national treasures who live on our public land, and BLM's handling of them as BLM rounds them up or does whatever they purport to do with these animals so intrinsic to our nation's history.
        We, the public, have a hard time getting in to see the things I report on this blog.  For example, in a roundup of several weeks, often BLM will allow only several "viewing days."  This is intrinsically wrong.  Wild Horse and Burro Program Director Don Glenn acknowledged that the public has a right to view any and all wild horse gathers.
         Nevertheless, the fact remains that Twin Peaks was exceptional in its seven-day-a-week access, afforded by the California BLM, nd even then on many days we were positioned so we couldn't see the horses coming, or we couldn't see the trap site. That is particularly frustrating and disappointing when you've gone to the trouble and expense to get out to these wild places only to be stuck in a crevice unable to see all but a tiny bit.  I sure hate to sound like a chronic complainer, and I acknowledge and appreciate the efforts made by the California BLM staff to provide the manpower and escorts, etc.   But when my viewfinder can't see horses or trap pens, we have a problem, regardless of how much effort everybody makes.  And I must be careful not to fall all over myself thanking BLM for doing the job it is supposed to do.  I believe it is our right to see our wild horses and roundups as Director Glenn affirmed.
        Also to be heard by the Court: Laura Leigh's allegation of BLM's contempt of the Court's Order affirming public access, acknowledging Ms. Leigh as a worthy advocate, credible journalist, and granting access for the public, notably Ms. Leigh and observers, to view and document the Tuscarora roundup.
         Below:  Scenes from observers' attempts to view the Tuscarora roundup.
             ©7/17/10 Elyse Gardner
Good looking cows standing around in water (they were really very cute)
             ©7/17/10 Elyse Gardner
Tuscarora HMA
               ©7/17/10 Elyse Gardner
Laura Leigh tries to comprehend some mixed messages, surprised at being rebuffed at the Tuscarora roundup after the Court's positive ruling the day before
        In other words, it's about 1st AMENDMENT:  Access Americans should have to view their government's activities on our public lands, in this case it's with our public horses using our public dollars, as well as the right of the press to go out and obtain this information for the American public.
        ACCESS TO PUBLIC LAND, PUBLIC HORSES and BURROS, AND OUR GOVERNMENT'S ACTIVITIES USING OUR PUBLIC DOLLARS.  This includes reasonable access to long-term and short-term holding facilities housing our wild horses and burros paid for with our taxpayer dollars.
        As it stands now, I am not even given the brand numbers of wild horses shipped to long-term holding.  I cannot even track where they go from short-term holding, i.e., where they go from the Litchfield Holding Facility, for example.  I was told today I had to FOIA that information (request it under a Freedom of Information Act request).  A helpful California BLM employee had to check with the National BLM representative, who stated I have to FOIA that information.  What a waste of paper and tax dollars.  
       No, once our wild horses are captured, if they are not adopted they are whisked away, never again to be seen by the public.  I will not accept this, and I hope you won't, either.
                           ©2010 Cat Kindsfather

Animator, artist, journalist, wild horse advocate Laura Leigh
                        ©2010 Cat Kindsfather
         This clever video below was sent to me today, and it so beautifully depicts the issues, I simply have to share it.  I roared, actually.  I was there...
         It is a little crude for my taste; nonetheless, I can handle it... it deserves posting.  The creator remains unnamed. I don't know who created it, but they have a pretty great wit and grasp of the issues.
         I wish Laura Leigh Godspeed and the best, because a win in Court is truly more protection for our wild horses.  The public needs to be involved and stay involved.  A win in Court on these important issues ensures my right to be there for these animals, and yours, too.  It ensures that when you take time to come out to see them, whether just grazing free, or during a roundup, you will be permitted to do so.  Unfortunately, Director Don Glenn's commitment wasn't strong enough; we need a Court ruling.
        Next time I'll have Part 2:  Foals and Roundups:  How Do They Fare?
For the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble, amazing burro friends,
Elyse Gardner

1 comment:

  1. Who says this information can only be obtained by FOIA? The same people who said they had the power to close the air space? I'd take what they say with a grain of salt.