Devil’s Garden Roundup Over?

The incident began on September 12.  No updates have been posted since October 12.

Devils Garden Roundup Over 10-23-22

If this is the final report, 383 horses were captured, with three dead and two returned.

The number of horses shipped was not specified.

The death rate was 0.8%.

The number of horses removed was 381.

The percentage of foals is not known.

The percentages of males and females are not known.

The capture and removal goals are unknown.

The WHT is managed primarily for livestock.

RELATED: Fifth Annual Devil’s Garden Roundup Starts Next Month.

One thought on “Devil’s Garden Roundup Over?

  1. Some notes in response to your post:

    The USFS spokesperson stated their goal of rounding up “around 500” horses on the public Zoom meeting this summer.

    We will call FS in the next couple days to see if they have stopped this horror.

    Looks like they can’t find all the horses they claim are there, just like some other recent Roundups.

    We called the day before the roundup was scheduled to ask if they were going to continue, with the forest fires and heat; and a nice staff person volunteered the information that there was an open action on the Modoc Forest planning page.

    This turned out, after a bit of searching, to be the NEPA Scoping process for the Modoc WHT Plan Revision. Last revision was 2013. We searched and could not find any public announcement. In the letter, it states the EA/EIS process will be announced around March 2023.

    The focus of the documents was, of course, the disputed piece of land in the middle of the territory. And then all kinds of fertility control nonsense.

    The only public Scoping process comment that is available to view is by TCF.

    We submitted a comment, which was not published on the FS page. We were informed upon calling to inquire, that our comment contained sensitive material, though at first the FS said it was not posted because we were not an organization(?).

    Attached is a piece we wrote which was excerpted in the submitted comment. There are highlighted quotes from a former FS spokesperson that is likely the “sensitive material”:

    September 19, 2022

    WILD HORSES ROUNDED UP WHILE WILDFIRES RAGE

    While California forests burn, forcing large areas of mandatory evacuations and filling the region’s air with smoke and ash; the wild horses of Devil’s Garden, known to be nature’s fire prevention, are aggressively rounded up yet again.

    In an abusive practice that results in severe injuries and death, family bands of heritage wild horses including foals and pregnant mares will be driven by helicopter through steep, volcanic terrain. Contractors for inhumane wild horse and burro roundups make enormous profits, at the expense of the American taxpayer, to the benefit of cattle grazing allotment holders.

    The US Forest Service began removal of five hundred horses from Modoc National Forest on September 12, despite having removed 2,400 from the federally designated Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory in helicopter roundups every year since 2018.

    The outdated land management plan for this area disregards the science of the ecology of the horses and the actual capacity and forage available. Instead of reserving the Wild Horse Territory (WHT) forage as required by law per the “Wild Horse Act” of 1971 for “principal use” of the horses, the horses are torn away from their lands and family units and sent to expensive holding facilities so cattle can dominate the landscape, forage and water.

    In a letter signed by thirty eight members of Congress, Representative Ted Lieu of California recently called for the halt of this roundup. He writes, noting significant welfare concerns:

    “The agency appears to lack a comprehensive and enforceable animal welfare program to guide the handling and care of animals during helicopter roundups, during transport, and in off-range holding facilities.The agency appears to lack adequate policies and procedures to screen potential adopters and purchasers to ensure the welfare and safety of the horses.”

    In a 2021 interview, Modoc National Forest staff described the condition of Devil’s Garden wild horses after being driven by helicopter across steep and rough land, as horrific: “You can’t believe their condition. We have seen eyes hanging on by a thread and cuts to the bone.” In addition to these injuries, heat stress and overexertion result in deaths, and the trauma can affect terrorized horses for life.

    Livestock are recognized by science as the cause of degradation of range and forest and as the main culprit in desertification, yet the USFS persists in removing our wild horses, a keystone species, from the land to increase cattle grazing. Cattle outnumber wild horses approximately 30:1 on our Western public lands, per PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, 2021 study).

    Wild horses serve as the first line of defense by reducing fuel loads. One horse eats 5.5 TONS of wildfire fuel per year in the form of grasses and bushes that invasive livestock won’t eat, according to long time wild horse observer William Simpson. Multiply by 2,400 wild horses removed, and we are looking at a scenario for many more fires in the Modoc Forest. It goes against science and reason to remove nature’s wildfire prevention in these times of deadly infernos.

    Nature’s lawn mowers, wild horses, do not damage the forest: they regenerate the land, cutting plants above the root with their top and lower incisors, spreading seeds up to a twenty mile radius every day. They don’t destroy or dominate water springs and pools. Cattle congregate around water sources, damaging riparian areas. Cattle need an enormous amount of water, a major concern in these times of drought.

    A Forest Service spokesperson explained, “The round ups are necessary to issue more livestock grazing contracts.” In other words, not to preserve the “thriving ecological balance” mandated by federal law, but to benefit a few cattle grazing allotment owners, as well as an industry that has grown around these series of incessant roundups on public lands.

    Despite related past criminal charges and convictions, the largest contractor, Catoor Livestock Roundup Inc, will receive $610,117.00 of taxpayer money to conduct this questionable 2022 roundup, after pocketing $692,240.00 to remove 800-1,000 horses in 2021, per USASpending.Gov.

    Wild Horses have shaped our lands and benefited our ecosystems for generations.

    Now is not the time to spend taxpayers’ money to remove nature’s wildfire control while National Forests burn.

    Having disregarded Congress, citizens, environmental scientists. advocates, and the public interest when it comes to the management of our designated Wild Horse Territories; US Forest Service and the other agencies involved in wild horse and burro management must be investigated, and these corrupt and ill-advised roundups stopped.

    Linda Kemp Penny Jackson email: prgroup.sowh@gmail.com

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