Friday, May 20, 2011


UPDATE:   AB 329 WAS NOT PASSED; THE WILD HORSES AND BURROS ARE STILL LEGALLY A PART OF NEVADA'S WILDLIFE.   NEVADA LAWMAKERS HEARD US.  Due to the machinations of Nevada politics, for at least the next two years, this issue is dead.  My confidence in Nevada's legislature is increased.  My thanks and respect to them for listening and discerning truth from self-serving fictions.  

My heartfelt thanks to every single person who wrote, called, and/or showed up for the hearing.  The horses and burros need every single one of us.  Together, we are their voice.   I want to give special acknowledgement to Bruce Wagman for his fine work and to AWHPC (American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign) for having the wisdom and will to engage him in refuting and unearthing the legal ramifications to this fallacious bill.

I am posting video segments of the 5/13/11 Nevada Senate Committee hearing of AB 329 in Carson City, Nevada, at which I spoke against this diabolical bill on behalf of Humane Observer, The Cloud Foundation, Front Range Equine Rescue, and the Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition.    

The bill would remove wild horses and burros from under the "wildlife" designation.   This affects the State Engineer's ability under the law to issue water permits for these animals, i.e., no new water permits would be issued for wild horses or burros.

If you haven't sent in a comment to Nevada senators below, I ask that you please do so today if you possibly can.  The Committee is preparing to vote on this bill, most probably tomorrow (Friday, May 20).   

In a nutshell, this bill seeks to remove horses from the designation of "wildlife," a ludicrous proposition, but there it is above in black and white.  In order to use or be issued permits to use any water in the State of Nevada, it must be fore a "beneficial use."  Allowing access to wildlife falls under a beneficial use.  By removing wild horses and burros from the category of "wildlife," issuing water permits or giving a wild horse or burro a drink would no longer be a "beneficial use" of Nevada's water. 

Some ramifications:  No new water permits for wild horses and burros.  Therefore, no new sanctuaries, like Madeleine Pickens' planned sanctuary, can be issued permits to use water for wild horses or burros.  

There was talk at the hearing that the State Engineer thought they could be given water under the "livestock" designation, but wild (or domestic) horses and burros are not livestock, and that is a semantic game to try and mollify the thousands of wild horse and burro supporters, a small fraction of whom jammed the standing-room-only hearing room AND overflow room.

Here in this video are some on-point comments from Carrol Abel and Deniz Bolbol.  Deniz, representing American WIld Horse Preservation, presented the Committee with a legal analysis from attorney Bruce Wagman, one of the leading wild horse attorneys practicing today.  

This bill opens a Pandora's box.  The legal ramifications are so far-reaching for the state and the horses, the surface hasn't even been scratched, but it bodes ill, gravely so. Yet Nevada has not even gotten a legal opinion as to the ramifications, something we in California are accustomed to seeing for any proposed new legislation. Deniz, above, sees it really fast and articulates well.

More on-point comments from Debbie Coffey, Laura Leigh, and Kimberly Rhodemyre.
Polite, rational comments are needed in floods.  Friday is it; they will  vote on Friday, May 20, around 3:30 pm, I'm told. 

Here is more from Americans who went out of their way to turn out for the love of our wild horses, people with no financial incentive, people who are not looking to make money off the backs of the horses or profit from their removal.

Carla Bowers sheds light and perspective under the inquisitive Chairman Manendo's questions  as she articulates the wild horse and burro numbers in context, i.e., in relationship to their diminshing HMA acreage, wildlife, and vast numbers of privately owned cows and sheep outnumbering wild horses and burros on the wild horse and burros' own HMAs (herd management areas).  

Chairman Manendo didn't know that.  Legislators have been getting spoonfed "The horses are starving" story by BLM. Listen to the conversation between Chairman Manendo and Carla.  

Bear in mind that BLM manages 160 million acres for grazing cows and sheep.  As Carla points out, only 26 million acres remain to the wild horses and burros, down from 51 million acres they started with in 1971 when the law designed to protect them was passed and said they should have that 51 million in perpetuity.   The final blow is that the wild horses and burros are allocated only 25 percent of the forage on that scant 26 million acres; the cows and sheep usually are allocated 50 percent, and wildlife is allocated the rest.  That is why I keep showing up.  

Chairman Manendo was gracious in remaining late so many of the people who came were able to speak uncensored, and all advocates who spoke were relevant, heartfelt, knowledgable, and didn't overstay their welcome with only one exception, and all were patient with this kind soul who meant well.  

We will soon see how seriously they took us.   I know they wanted more details and clarification about Laura's testimony, which was, in a nutshell (to quote Laura), "AML is fiction, and the assertion that Nevada is being overrun by wild horses is absurd."

Here was my two cents, and that of two long-term committed Nevadan horsepeople, Mandy McNitt and Betty Kelly.
Nevada needs to follow through with the ban on the sadistic practice of horse tripping, called Charreada, practiced in Mexican rodeo.   A rope is thrown around the front legs of a (frightened) running horse (or the back legs, depending on which event), and tightened, and of course the horse goes down hard.  Young mares are used.  Horse tripping has already been banned in 11 states and is its own nightmare with no legitmate reason.

Nevada became afraid their calf roping would be attacked, so they dropped the bill but are considering bringing it back because they realize the Charreada supporters lied (they stated the horses don't "go down"; can you believe it? ).  THEY CAN SQUEEZE IT IN TOMORROW.  Tell them you want to see horse tripping banned, please.

Here is recent video taken in Nevada at a Charreada event.  WARNING:  It is hard to watch.  I think this is some of the most egregious stuff I've ever seen, but thankfully they all get up.  Anyone who reads this blog or follows my work knows I cry all the time; what else is new?   I could really have done without the music, though.  Keep the sound down.  I cry with you...and then we push and push and we shut it DOWN.  Okay?

And this little girl was hotshotted in the face.  They used a hotshot indiscriminantly at this event; I've seen other footage which I hope to obtain. Unbelievable.  "Get out the cannon, Maude, there's a fly in the house."  All he wanted her to do was to back up.  It was so uncalled for.   Those who use a hotshot have no horse handling skills.

Let it make you sad, then let it make you mad enough to send firm but civil emails, please, and call lawmakers, and tell your friends.  America is about pressure politics, so let's keep the pressure on and WE WILL STOP THIS MADNESS.  And pray, seriously, for the people doing this; they just don't get it.  So scary.

One thing:  Proponents of this brutal practice tried to tell me I was "racist" because I am opposed to this brutality.  My (and many thousands of others') revulsion at this "horse tripping" practice, which tears your heart out when you watch it, has nothing to do with any ethnicity or skin.  It's cruelty and abuse, straight up.

Quick points to make in emails to Nevada even if you are not a Nevada resident, and feel free to cut and paste.  

If you are a Nevada resident, please email or call one (or more, or all) of the below people and voice your opposition to AB329, and ask them also to please revive and pass the ban on horse tripping.

As a U.S. taxpayer, I feel Nevada has no right to determine how federal land which belongs to all of us, not just Nevada, is managed.  If Nevada passes AB329, it will likely face litigation from the federal government and a loss of tourism because thousands of people like me are so upset/dissatisfied/angry/outraged/disgusted/grieved with Nevada because of how she treats  our wild horses and burros,  and yet they are on Nevada's quarter.

I also understand Nevada allowed the ban on Charreada/horse tripping to fall through.  Between AB 329's attempt to sabotage both new sanctuaries and the possibility of returning wild horses to areas they formerly occupied, and its refusing to ban horse tripping, Nevada is not a place I want to visit or support.   (Nevada is hurting financially and the loss of tourism will hurt.)  We have enjoyed Nevada in the past but cannot continue to support a state that allows such cruelty as horse tripping.
In this work I have realized that in lobbying and approaching lawmakers, I fare best when I remember to seek a mindset toward that of educating an ally, because that is hopefully who they are.  Thinking of them as an enemy or adversary is counterproductive, and many want to do a good job; we need to show them what that looks like.

The vote is today (Friday, May 20) at 3:30 pm, I'm told.  Action now means everything.  Thank you so much.

For all horses and burros everywhere,

Elyse Gardner
Humane Advocate Observer

Here is a cut-and-paste email line to all of the below senators:

  Senator John Lee       
775/684-1424 (work)     
702/258-5447  (home)

Senator Michael Roberson   
775/684-1481  (work)
702/612-6929  (home)

Senator Dean Rhoads  
775/684-1447  (work)
775/756-6582  (home)

Senator Mark Manendo      
775/684-6503  (work)            He is Chairman, very personable, really listened, asked good questions:
702/451-8654  (home)

Senator David Parks   
775/684-6504  (work)
702/736-6929  (home)


  1. The Wild Mustangs and Burros are wildlife that has been there for hundreds of years.. this is a travesty to all animals and to the people of the United States.. to deny them the life of water..

  2. What is happening here is a nothing but a path to death for these non-human animals that someone has set forth for profit. This is carnage. These horses are not property but living, breathing, emotional, and thinking, sentient beings. That are trapped, scared, dehidrated, hungry,they bleed and are bleeding, haveing mistreatment and are deprived of proper care in the hands of these captures. You are killing not only something that you look at as just a dirty animal, but a spirit that travels hundreds of miles, who is a very part of this country. There is a conspiracy. It is apparent. This is irrisponsible and cruel and the world is watching. This will get much larger. We are asking that these horses be released to the proper protection agencies immediately. They also need water and need it immediately. They will receive water one way or another!