Last week a nine-person board that advises the Bureau of Land Management on its Wild Horse and Burro Program, voted 8-1 to allow euthanasia to help manage the 45,000 animals currently under the BLM’s control.

That idea was met with outrage by animal rights activists and others, which forced BLM to backtrack. Yesterday the feds said none of the animals will be euthanized or sold to slaughter, despite the fact the program costs roughly $50 million.

Despite decades of round-up, the feds estimate 67,000 wild horses and burros roam the West, mostly in Nevada and California. They say 27,000 is roughly the number that would prevent overgrazing and preserve land for other animals.

Big food vs big food

Last year’s food safety and burrito-borne disaster threw Chipotle off message. To turn things around they’ve offered free food and drinks, but their real strategy is to get back on message – the one that vilified other foods while disparaging beef and pork producers. The Denver Post reports that “Chipotle’s “Cultivate” festivals encapsulate the food industry’s hottest marketing trend: crusading against Big Food.” About 18,000 attended Chipotle’s festival this summer in Kansas City to hear a message aimed at those who feel the established food system is to blame for poor eating habits, and tries to engage them to feel like allies rather than customers.

Pipeline protest sours

Many North Dakota ranchers have grown weary of the protests over a multi-billion dollar oil pipeline.

The New York Times reports that many local residents view the protests with a mix of frustration and fear, reflecting the deep cultural divides and racial attitudes in Indian country. Thousands of Native Americans have joined the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAP).

President Barack Obama said Sept. 9 that construction on the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline would be shelved until the government can determine the effects it will have on the environment.

Battle against feral pigs

Wildlife biologists are fighting what they call the "ecological train wreck" of wild pigs running amok in Ohio fields and forests. It's easy to spot the signs that pigs are roaming the Wayne National Forest, say biologists Steve Blatt and Patrick Mercer. Indicators include mud holes dug for wallowing and swaths of soil rooted so deeply it looks like a rototiller came through. Officials say the non-native, invasive species members are nuisance animals that hurt native wildlife and the environment, trample crop fields and carry disease.