The Cibola-Trigo Environmental Assessment

Courtesy of The Cloud Foundation

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages wild burro herds at disastrously low numbers throughout the West. One of the few viable burro herds lives in the immense Cibola-Trigo Herd Management Area (HMA) in southwestern Arizona along the Colorado River-a 600,000 acre area.

Yet, even here, burros are in danger. The inept Sun J roundup crew is set to swoop into their peaceful desert home in early April, the height of the foaling time for burros.* Pregnant jennies are in danger of spontaneous abortion and small foals can be permanently damaged or killed.
Jennie & foal, Marietta Wild Burro Range, NV
 350 burros will lose their freedom-roughly half the herd.
Even worse, the BLM plan calls for capturing and gelding 50 males and releasing them back to the range. Returning geldings into a reproducing wild herd would set a deadly precedent. There are no studies that measure the potential damage to a society of wild burros (or horses). From a behavioral standpoint, geldings have no role in either a wild horse or wild burro herd.
BLM rejects the use of dartable infertility drugs saying they have not been tested on wild burros, yet they opt for surgically sterilizing jack burros. In fact, PZP was successfully tested on the U.S. Virgin Islands wild burro herd in 1996.  
BLM states in their EA "at no time should cryptorchid jacks be released back into an HMA." The EA continues saying that they will be "shipped to a BLM facility for appropriate surgery or euthanasia (emphasis added) if it is determined they cannot be fully castrated."  If the jack is a full cryptrorchid  (two undescended testicles), it is likely sterile, yet will display all the natural behaviors of an intact male. By allowing these jacks to remain on the range, BLM could avail themselves of a natural form of population control.
To justify removing half the burro herd, BLM cites a high adoption demand for burros. (If this reasoning holds true, then BLM should immediately cease the removal of any more wild horses from their homes on the range!)Below are suggested points to make in your letters. Please use your own polite words.
Comments must be submitted by Tuesday, February 28th, no later than the close of business at 4:30 PM Mountain Time. If you feel like a little light bedtime reading, you can read the EA here.
Comments can be submitted via mail to:
John MacDonald, Field Manager
BLM Yuma Field Office
2555 E. Gila Ridge Rd
Yuma, AZ 85365
Or via email at: – with "Cibola-Trigo EA Comments" in the subject line.
Dear Sir;

  • Select the No Action Alternative
  • Conduct an accurate, current census using the most up-to-date technology
  • Consider other methods of population control (PZP)
  • Return cryptorchid jacks to the range as natural population control
  • Do not kill healthy burros for any reason
  • Consider capture methods other than a helicopter roundup (bait and water trapping)  
  • Do not run small foals and pregnant jennies with a helicopter
  • Do not geld the jacks and do not release gelded jacks into the herd area
  • Do not threaten the social dynamics of a wild burro society by returning geldings to the range
  • Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement before taking the drastic sterilization actions outlined in this EA
  • Do not skew the sex ratio
  • Do not remove any elder animals
  • Do not use our tax dollars to conduct this costly roundup

[Your name]
*Burros are polyestrous and foal throughout the year in the American southwest, but the documented height of the foaling period is March and April according to international expert and CITES representative for asses, Patricia Moehlman. 

Calls and Letters Appear to Have Stopped Dog Cull

dog and person

Update Sept. 22, 2009: Thanks to your calls and letters and the actions of people all over the world including in China, it appears the dog cull set to begin in Qinhuangdao has been called off.

Signs announcing the cull have been taken down. 

For more information including about China’s proposed animal cruelty law and efforts to help Chinese provinces and cities with animal control and rabies, read Animal Law Coalition’s original report below.    

Original report: Another massive dog cull is set to begin in Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province, China.

After reports of several people dying from rabies, authorities ordered the slaughter of dogs that fail to comply with the city’s dog management regulations. The regulations ban several breeds of dogs deemed "dangerous" and also all dogs over 35 cm tall. Dogs allowed in the province, those under 35 cm, are not allowed in public between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Dogs must be licensed.

Dogs culls are not unique to China. The culls are carried out usually by teams of people chasing down and beating dogs to death with heavy sticks. It is horrific, of course, archaic and terribly cruel. The fear and suffering of the dogs is unimaginable.

Owners in Qinhuangdao who are not in compliance with the regulations, have been told to kill their dogs or the police will take them (the dogs) and beat them to death. These owners must also pay the equivalent of $30 as a fine. 

A dog cull in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, China, earlier this year resulted in the bludgeoning deaths of over 35,000 dogs. That cull was prompted by the deaths of several people from rabies and reports of dogs biting approximately 6,200 people.     

Rabies kills 3,000 people each year in China. There are also concerns about sanitation as well as safety from abandoned, aggressive or feral dogs.

The good news is that education about responsible pet ownership and other measures to control rabies and numbers of strays, is helping. Animals Asia has recommended that Chinese provinces and cities consider regulations requiring registration of all dogs in the household, rabies vaccinations, micro-chipping, and tags; and offer reduced registration fees for sterilized dogs and for the elderly, people with service dogs and those who have kept up their registration. Animals Asia also recommends laws requiring owners to pick up after their dog and walk them in designated areas. Other laws would regulate breeders and sellers, impose animal welfare standards and require owners to keep dogs from acting aggressively. Trap neuter return for feral dogs and holding and rehoming facilities for stray or abandoned pets are more ideas being implemented in some Asian cities. Go here for more information.   

Also, China is considering its first national animal cruelty law. If this proposed law passes, dog culls would be illegal. As would hauling cats to Guangdong Province where they are boiled alive in water to create a delicacy, shui zhu huo mao.  Acts like these would be considered cruelty that could mean prison time for violators.  The proposal includes fines for lesser offenses up to 6,000 yuan ($877) and periods of detention.

The proposals also include humane farm animal practices in breeding, transportation and slaughter.  

To control incidents of abandoned animals, proposals call for bans on breeding of pets and require micro-chipping.

The proposed law is undergoing review and is expected to be submitted to the State Council by the end of the year. It is not on the agenda, however, for the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, the top legislature, for 2010-2013. So nothing will happen soon.

Go here for an interview with Jill Robinson at Animals Asia.


Animals Asia recommends that it is more effective for you to write a personal letter to the "Chinese Ambassador and send it to the main embassy address in your country. Embassy addresses can be found here:

Explain, politely but firmly, that the policy is cruel, heartless and ineffective, and paints the people and government of Qinghuangdao in a very poor light.

Urge the Chinese authorities to persuade the Qinghuangdao City government to abandon this policy of killing dogs taller than 35cm high. Please urge the authorities to allow dog owners to keep the dogs they already have and allow them to live out their natural lives."