Many people have sighed for the ‘good old days’ and regretted the ‘passing of the horse,’ but today, when only those who like horses own them, it is a far better time for horses. — Anon.
As mentioned in previous articles, we received information via Freedom of Information Act that there was 29 Wild Horses, inventoried and area Bait and Trap Roundup defined, listed as “DEAD” – from Murderer’s Creek Horse Management Area, in the State of Oregon (the spreadsheet detail given after article below).
This area was under heavy scrutiny, as it was in Federal Court — Stout vs U.S. Forestry, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ironically, Judge Ancer Haggerty within this same court and after a few years of gathering information and hearing testimony, suddenly decided a prompt scientific consultation and ultimately a settlement was in order.
The fact of blaming Wild Horses for the ruination of the Riparian Area at Murderer’s Creek was unacceptable to Judge Ancer Haggerty of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. . . finding that the Forest Service must engage in Endangered Species Act consultation with NMFS to determine whether wild horse management impacts steelhead – the key to the legal action.
It is acknowledged by many others, to include myself, that the Stout’s legal actions were based upon the idea to get rid of the Wild Horses off lands that the Stouts used to graze their cattle, which were Public Lands – the Stouts are Welfare Ranchers and receives subsidies from the Government in accord with the amount of cattle they have in their possession and that graze on Public Lands —
More Cattle needed for more subsidies – claimed non-destructive
In April 2007, after a federal court ruled that portions of the biological opinions given to the court by the Stout Family Attorney, were in violation of the Endangered Species Act (i.e. cattle roaming and destroying the riparian areas of Murderer’s Creek, et al) is when things changed for the Stout family.
Also, it was made clear that the Forestry, and other government agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of the Interior, did not give to the court legitimate science and information in the matter of Wild Horses being at fault in Murderer’s Creek destruction, rather it was the cattle and not the wild horses at all – Judge Haggerty favored in the matter immediately, and would not permit any further misinformation given to the court by these agencies, with the exception of the NMFS consultation and findings.
After an injunction was granted in the spring of 2008, cattle were taken off of grazing allotments on the Malheur. Loren and Piper Stout were told they could no longer graze cattle on their 62,000-acre Public Lands allotment along Murderers Creek and nearby Deer Creek. The Stouts once again filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service, alleging that the agency was not complying with its own policies towards the mustangs and was letting them exceed the management level of fifty to 140 horses for the area. According to the suit, elk and horses, which occupy the range full time, were damaging riparian areas.
Good Science shows beyond a doubt, confirmed by many studies, that horses spend less time in riparian areas than cattle, and that an abundance of literature shows that cattle grazing has a greater impact on riparian areas. Yet another fact is that degradation is apparent throughout the Malheur where cattle are grazed, even where horses are not present. This information developed into the facts given to the Federal Court in 2013, leading to the NMFS statements.
The interagency consultation concluded in January 2013, upon NMFS’ issuance of a biological opinion. NMFS concluded, based on the best available scientific evidence that:
“. . . wild horses are unlikely to cause measurable impacts to [the steelhead’s] tributary habitat within the action area” and impacts due to wild horses “are likely to be small and have minimal impacts on steelhead, [or] their habitat.”
“Because wild horses — unlike cattle and sheep — have only minimal effects on steelhead and steelhead habitat, NMFS authorized the Forest Service to continue managing wild horses at their previously established appropriate management level of 50-140 horses in Murderers Creek without proposing any reduction to that level.”
A Recent Interview on shooting Wild Horses
This interview was with Clinton Garsh, a 65 year old cowboy, who worked his entire life on one ranch or another riding fence-line, rounding up cattle for branding, and wrangler on “. . .many a God-fer-Sakin cattle and horse drives,” as Clinton says. He had moved to Oregon 3 years earlier, from a ranch in Montana, Divorced the wife, and looking for work as a cowhand in Oregon. He says he gave up on the eastern Oregon bunch, as they shot horses and too much dirt and dust to swallow!
Here is a small portion of the interview:
John: “Did you find any jobs in Oregon you liked yet?”
Clinton: “Thought everything fine for awhile, anyway, over in Eastern Oregon, corporate ranching and all. I found out things there I probably shouldn’t have.”
John: “What was that?”
Clinton: “They use cattle-prods over there, on the cows and the horses. We didn’t meet eye-to-eye on those issues. A lot of those cow-hands illegals on the corporate ranches . . . they brought their ways of doin’ things up here. But shooting of horses was the last straw. . .”
John: “Shooting Horses?”
Clinton: “Ya. Out of Baker; Out of Burns; as far over as John Day, then up to Lakeview from what I heard.”
John: “You actually seen this?”
Clinton: “Nope. I would throw-down on a man, if I saw him shoot a horse. The hands would come back to the bunk house at night, and brag about how the horse fell when they shot it; or where they shot it. They would say it didn’t make any difference, since the horses wild and were too small for ranch work; and the Kiger Mustangs, over off the Steens, too slow.”
John: “How many do you suppose were shot?”
Clinton: “Don’t know for sure, quite a few though. A few of the ranchers that run cattle on free-land (author note: Public Lands) pay pretty good per horse – but a lot of us against all of that. My life is with horses, and I make my living with them – sure as hell won’t hurt them in any way or matter!”
John: “Any names come up?”
Clinton: “None that I can speak of or will speak of! Don’t know’em, don’t want to know’em! I stay out of all of that! That’s how we all make our money – keepin’ to ourselves, and workin’ with the people that won’t get you hurt!”
John: “What about BLM or Forestry employees?”
Clinton: “Heresay is all! They’re involved. I always heard since I was small, Just cause trouble comes visiting doesn’t mean you have to offer it a place to sit down. I tend to my own business, keep to myself, just like I said awhile ago — but there are some things that I just don’t take to at all! Killing horses is one of those things!”
F.O.I.A. MATERIAL FROM SPREADSHEET:
10/10/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1AAAAAC 1. Dead
10/10/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HM1ACAEBD 2. Dead
10/10/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HM1ADADBC 3. Dead
10/15/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAAHD 4. Dead
10/16/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1AAAABC 5. Dead
10/22/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1AAAAAD 6. Dead
10/22/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HM1AAAAAC 7. Dead
10/31/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1AAAEBD 8. Dead
11/05/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1ABAAHC 9. Dead
11/05/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1ADAAEP 10. Dead
11/05/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAABB 11. Dead
11/08/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HM1ADADBD 12. Dead
11/13/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1DEAAFC 13. Dead
12/04/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAABC 14. Dead
12/21/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAABF 15. Dead
01/02/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1AAAAAC 16. Dead
01/02/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HM_______ 17. Dead
08/01/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAABF 18. Dead
08/04/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAAFB 19. Dead
08/04/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HM1AAAABD 20. Dead
08/12/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap H________ 21. Dead
08/28/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1ADACHC 22. Dead
09/23/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1AAAAAD 23. Dead
09/23/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1ADCEBB 24. Dead
09/24/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF2AAAABB 25. Dead
10/01/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap H________ 26. Dead
09/24/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AFDBFB 27. Dead
09/24/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF2AAAABD 28. Dead
10/24/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAABD 29. Dead