Comments needed NOW to save wild horses

Wild horses at the Sheldon-Hart Mountain Wildlife Refuge are again in peril of being captured and removed from their home range. Please don’t wait! Your comments are needed by Wednesday, September 26.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has created a revised Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) in an apparent move toward continuing roundups of wild horses at the Sheldon refuge, despite the fact that they still have not justified the necessity or prudence of removing horses at this time, and whose list of alternatives far from assures the safety of the animals during or after capture.

Since before the Refuge was established, the antelope, sheep and other wildlife have shared this area with herds of wild horses and burros. Although the revised report puts the count of wild horses at about half of the number on they based last year's roundup, they want to continue nevertheless.

See the revised EA (PDF).
http://www.fws.gov/sheldonhartmtn/sheldon/Sheldon_Horse_EA_draft_revised.pdf

In Defense of Animals (IDA) recently succeeded in halting this roundup in its tracks by threatening a lawsuit to force the agency to comply with regulations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Now the agency is again trying to sidestep the NEPA requirement to perform a full EIS.

IDA, along with the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), has requested that the comment period be extended in order to more fairly accommodate public opinion and consideration, but we can’t count on that—please write today.

Photographs from last year’s Sheldon roundup showed frantic horses being chased by helicopters and trampled. Some foals who couldn’t keep up were tackled, hog-tied, and left behind, alone out on the range for days, and some died in the process. Some members of Congress, including Nick J. Rahall, II, Chairman of the Committee of Natural Resources submitted a letter calling for the roundup to be halted. But the pressure is on once again.

IDA, along with the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), has requested that the comment period be extended in order to more fairly accommodate public opinion and consideration, but we can’t count on that—please write today.

Please "Take Action" and urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to follow "Alternative A- (no action)" and not round up any more horses at the Sheldon refuge until a thorough, scientific Environmental Impact Statement is performed to determine the sustainable carrying capacity of the Refuge.

Such drastic action as capture and removal should not be allowed, in the absence of an exhaustive, scientific evaluation, after which the public should be fairly allowed the opportunity for input.

Address your comments to:
Paul Steblein, Project Leader
Sheldon-Hart Mountain Wildlife Refuge

Written comments can be e-mailed to:
sheldon-hart@fws.gov

or mailed to:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
P.O. Box 111,
Lakeview, OR 97630

Act Quickly! Comments on the revised draft EA need to be submitted no later than Wednesday, September 26th to be counted in the public record.

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