Congressman Criticizes BLM Nevada Wild Horse Helicopter Stampede

By MARTIN GRIFFITH

An Arizona congressman is lashing out against federal land managers’ emergency roundup of wild horses in northern Nevada, saying it poses a risk to the animals because it’s taking place during the height of foaling season.

“We know that it is our policy to only publish “Good News” on Sundays so although this piece brings forward the battle that we face on a daily basis it is also a perfect opportunity to encourage both the good Congressman and Martin Griffith to continue to fight and aide us in our fight to save our national icons.” ~ R.T.

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RENO, Nev. — An Arizona congressman is lashing out against federal land managers’ emergency roundup of wild horses in northern Nevada, saying it poses a risk to the animals because it’s taking place during the height of foaling season.

Rep. Raul Grijalva said the operation in the Jackson Mountains northwest of Winnemucca involves the use of a helicopter to drive horses for miles to corrals in hot weather, and the Bureau of Land Management should have considered “less dangerous alternatives” to remove the animals from the range.

Grijalva, the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, maintains the agency is conducting the roundup “under cover of an emergency,” but the situation facing horses around the Jackson Mountains does not meet the BLM’s own criteria for an emergency.

“June is the height of foaling season, meaning that BLM will be stampeding tiny foals, heavily pregnant mares and other horses that may already be compromised by lack of adequate water and forage,” Grijalva, D-Ariz., wrote in a letter sent Thursday to BLM Acting Director Mike Pool.

“Please be sure that I am watching this foaling season closely and hope to see BLM make a good faith effort to protect wild horse population health, as your own policies mandate.”

BLM spokeswoman JoLynn Worley said her agency is working closely with the contract helicopter pilot to ensure the gather is conducted in the most humane manner possible. Among other steps, the BLM has instructed the pilot to drive horses to corrals no faster than the slowest member of the herd.

“Certainly, there’s always a risk of driving a pregnant horse. We’ve had some miscarriages in the past,” Worley told The Associated Press. “Certainly, having young foals run and follow a mare for long distances can be hard on their hooves. These are things we’re aware of, and we’re trying to mitigate those issues as best we can.”

She said while BLM policy is to not round up horses during foaling season, a lack of forage because of the drought justifies their removal form the range a month early. Foaling season lasts from March 1 to June 30.

The agency plans to remove 630 of an estimated 930 horses in the Jackson Mountains Herd Management Area. Twenty-seven mustangs, including 15 mares and two foals, were removed during the first day of the operation Friday.

Eleven national horse advocacy organizations, including the Cloud Foundation and American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, signed a letter asking the BLM to consider a “humane alternative” to the helicopter roundup.

Like Grijalva, they prefer “bait trapping,” which involves setting up panels and using food and water to lure mustangs into a trap.

“The BLM is using the drought as an excuse to clear out wild horses while risking their death,” said Anne Novak of Protect Mustangs. “They are leaving livestock on the same allegedly drought-afflicted land to graze, so BLM’s actions don’t make any sense.”

Worley said ranchers have voluntarily removed livestock from the hardest-hit area, and bait trapping has not been proven to be an effective method to gather large numbers of horses.

The agency is trying to avoid a repeat of 2007, when it lost 180 of about 900 mustangs it removed from the same area during similar drought conditions, Worley said.

“We waited too late (to begin the roundup) and are not going to take that chance again,” she said.

Nevada is home to about half of the estimated 37,000 wild horses on public lands in 10 western states.

48 comments on “Congressman Criticizes BLM Nevada Wild Horse Helicopter Stampede

  1. It is about time that more legislators, etc., STRONGLY object to these dangerous roundups!! BLM is well aware of the dangers of their “timing!!!” To remove the horses; leave cattle there!!! Is not the bottom line,the BLM, Salazar want the land for their cattle!! SHAME..

  2. thank you mr. griffiths, please continue to convince these heartless bas—-s, what is happening is inhumane and criminal and these people like ken salazar and that ugly woman from wyoming (can’t think of her name right now) oh yeah, SUE WALLACE, and anyone who would scare an animal to death with a giant helicopter should be jailed for life!!!!!!!!

  3. Congressman Grijalva is a hero for the wild horses and burros. BTW there are probably less than 15,000 wild horses still free –not 37,000. Comment on the article .

  4. Obviously, the BLM has not learned one darn thing about the Mustangs that being well known , why would anyone condone their behavior towards Mustangs?????? much less pay them??????The Government should be embarrassed and terminate the whole entire bunch of them………… No one in their right mind would ever round up horses during foaling season, these boys gotta go NOW!!!!!

    • This is not new. It has been going on and on and has not been addressed directly by the agencies involved. Over the decades the government is informed by those who have done studies and histories of the grazing culture that irreparable damage was occurring. We are not taking care of our lands because those using them have mostly not wanted any interference which would loosen their grip. Resistance to change has been selfish and destructive. The few in ranch culture who have tried to give the land a rest have been criticized and some even have lost allotments. Wildlife, including our wild ones, is either welcome because hunters bring money to a region or tourists come for recreating. To shift priorities and create new land management at this point during the largest rush to claim recourses for energy and hard rock mining removal Is not likely unless their was a real revolution in thinking and use which could sweep through the country. I don’t see that, although it is needed desperately to stop this head on collision with pollution and greed. But I do see a small program, the Wild Horse and Burro program, which may be saved in and of itself if it were lifted away from BLM and given new power and directives from DC. Added heritage designation and separation from those destroying the herds and stealing their lands could save wild ones. Legislation is needed. Airtight law. Yet there is still something going on in DC that we are not privy to and there is motion to reclassify wild lands. I have never seen such a mess and never seen so many members of the public denied redress and rightful open discussion which might lead to more protections and a reflection of this public opinion.

      Unless the wild horse advocacy organizes and grows we are going to struggle uphill. We need professionalism and funding. There is a future to aspire to. Can it be secure with all the vague but powerful stands of international pressures? Which direction is best and will succeed? Can we finally overcome our own compulsions to wait and worry and adopt a more active approach with a higher profile? It is up to us to create this change and make protections strong enough to make an island of safety that can last.

      What more can you do? Each one of us. How do you use your weekly wild horse time now and how can you improve your effectiveness as an advocate? It is up to all of us. Let’s do more!

      • If BLM and DOI now feel free to lease and sell our lands to the rich and corporate entities we are up against then being as small as we are, with thousands of hidden assets who have stayed quiet, we have the option of being counted also. How can we become the buyer, lessee and user of our own public lands? What requirements are there and can we acquire them? Hmmm?

  5. The Bureau of Land Management does not care what anybody says, and their pretense at taking comments from the public means nothing. This is merely a public relations cover up to disguise their killing of innocent horses. These BLM people have lied in the past and continue to lie about what they are doing to our horses and why. They will continue to put the horses who survive on an auction block where mindless, cruel and ignorant persons will obtain the horses for little or no money, and with whom the horses will suffer and die. The horses who survive being run by helicopters, then placed in tiny pens in the heat to live in horrendous circumstances, will then be transported to auctions where they will suffer and eventually die after being auctioned to people who neglect and abuse them.

    No words could ever describe my contempt for the BLM employees who have perpetrated this scheme for years, paid by us with taxpayers’ money, and for the corruption involved in their continuing to destroy our American horses.

    • T.-
      Completely true and beyond belief for anyone that sees what is happening … and yet on and on it goes regardless that we try year after year with science and with facts and with legalities to get them to stop and they are laughing at us as they “have their way” with our wild ones. I am sick when I think of these final few years of our wild ones … absolutely sick.

    • If anyone Lynnette could help it would be Congressman Grijalva……The BLM is on a collision course of destruction and they will surely destroy our Mustangs ………………..

      • You are right that the BLM is on a collision course to destroy our mustangs. The American people did to unite to abolish the BLM. Congress would only appropriate enough money to make sure the horses are taken care of, contract that paper work out to American Express, Price Waterhouse, or some other accounting firm. Hire a team of ecologists to manage the land, and turn the mining and minerals management to OSM. The BLM is rotten from top to bottom—-with a few notable exceptions.

        No more tax money for salaries, benefits, and pensions for this ship of fools.

    • Right on, Lynette!

      I’m all for speaking out, Rep Grijalva…..but the wild equines and our public lands are running (literally) out of time. I hope you are yanking Pelosi and Reid’s chains! I hope you are pulling every legislative trick in the book to stop the holocaust of equines (all wildlife) and the rape of the public lands.

      Why can’t you DEMAND a Congressional inquiry?

      • Yes, why has this not been an option? What does it take? A scandal? Surely we have one here of epic proportions and the wild ones are caught in the middle. They are not ‘acceptable losses’ in our opinion. They are being treated like Collateral Damage. Where did democracy go?

  6. EMAIL SENT TO BLM:
    Dear Mr. Seidlitz –

    Please do not round up wild horses in Nevada during the foaling season, especially by helicopter or any other means that forces the horses to run over any distance. At this time of year, if gathers must be done, please consider more humane methods such as water or bait trapping.

    Wisconsin is a long distance away from Nevada, but the wild horses belong to all Americans. We have a Mustang gathered from the Bald Mountain area in Jan 2009, and he is an amazing saddle horse and my daughter’s best friend.

    Again, we ask that you reconsider gathers at this time of year, and less harsh methods than helicopter stampedes to remove wild horses and burros from running free on public and BLM managed lands.

    Hutchings
    Ripon, WI

  7. Where are the gather reports for yesterday? why are they not updating the website here:
    http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/wfo/blm_programs/wild_horses_and_burros/Jackson_Mountains_Gather/gatreports.html
    They started on Friday, gathered 27 horses, no update for yesterday and here it is Sunday, who knows what’s going on?
    I’m also very alarmed about reports of the Palomino Valley horses being cleared out overnight last week, where are they now? Does anyone know?

  8. A federal court ruled that the BLM may not remain studiously ignorant of scientific facts….

    And the BLM lifted its collective chin and replied, “Why not? Who’s going to stop me? I do what I do because I can.”

    • Been saying exactly that for years, We are all in this to win it ,arnt we I think we need to get busy , with a whole new approach dont you????

  9. The reasons for removing the wild horses from their home that the BLM comes up with now is because of the drought conditions in order to save them!!! Yet most of the removed will just end up going to the slaughter house anyway. How is that saving them? They have endured all kinds of conditions out on the range for more eons than the BLM has existed and yet this agency is telling us they know how to manage things nowadays. Wow, I am amazed! Which is better, living out your life on your home area or being put into holding pens for the rest of your life??? I think we all know the real reason and I definitly am getting tired of the excuses and reasoning that they put out to the public.

  10. 3-10-11 MICHAEL BLAKE AT PHOENIX STOP-THE-ROUNDUPS PRESS CONFERENCE

    Talk by Michael Blake, Dances With Wolves author/filmmaker, at Stop-the-Roundups press conference preceding a national meeting of the federal Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board.

  11. PETITION:

    http://www.horsefund.org/wild-horses-action-alert-impeach-abbey.php
    THE LAW
    Article Two of the United States Constitution, Section 4, states that:“The President, Vice President, and all Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
    This means that the President, Vice-President, Cabinet Secretaries, and other executive officers, as well as judges, may be impeached by the House of Representatives and tried in the Senate.

    Jefferson’s Manual Section LIII, 603 states that citizens can petition through what is called a “memorial.”

  12. Thank You Mr, Blake and Louie also !!!!!! The BLM could not manage themselves out of a paper bag………………I am sick of the Mustangs suffering isnt anyone else here mad enough to actually do something?????

  13. There must be some collective idea to stop this charade??????? of greed and dissemination…………………… Is there nothing we can do to end this suffering of the innocent Mustangs??????

  14. We are working on new approaches and we need real bodies to work… more soon. And RT still has something to bring forward. Believe me, Arlene, we have been in a passive mode, work wise, and we need people to be in an active work mode, badly. We need our base and backbone to be writing more entities. Organization, contacts, legislation and whole new projects need to be launched and to compliment one another, aggressively, but not too…. We are the ones that must change our outlook and get serious about more goals.

  15. New BLM report out, please read;

    Release Date: 06/10/12
    Contacts: Heather Emmons , 775-623-1541 , hlemmons@blm.gov
    News Release No. 2012-19

    BLM Conducts First Day of Emergency Wild Horse Gather

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) emergency wild horse gather in the Jackson Mountains started on Friday, June 8, with the capture of 27 animals in the drought stricken southern end of the Herd Management Area (HMA). The gather operations started at 6:30 a.m. and ended at approximately 10:00 a.m. because of windy conditions. The gather resumed today at 6:00 a.m.

    “Gather operations were conducted in a slow and patient manner,” said BLM Winnemucca District Manager Gene Seidlitz. “The contractor and the BLM employees followed the guidance outlined in our agency expectations document, which was developed to ensure humane capture and handling of wild horses during a gather operation.”

    The document, which is posted on the BLM Nevada website at http://www.blm.gov/nv, lists 24 points to ensure the humane handling of wild horses during gather operations.

    Some of the points are:
    Gather helicopter may not come in contact with an animal.
    Foals will not be left behind or orphaned in the field.
    Mares with dependent foals will be separated from other animals in a designated mare/foal pen, until they can be shipped to the BLM preparation facility.
    The BLM and the contractor will ensure that the distance animals are brought to the gather site is based on the terrain, environmental conditions, and animal health.
    Electric prods may not be used routinely and may not be applied to sensitive areas.

    The emergency gather was started three weeks before the end of the foaling season, which is usually March through June. To prepare for mares with foals and horses in declining body conditions, the BLM is taking some added measures:
    Provide additional pen space at the short-term holding corrals to ensure mares and foals have more dedicated pens in which to pair up and be closely monitored.
    Provide additional pen space for weaker animals to be separated from stronger ones for added care.
    Closely monitor animal condition at the trap location and temporary holding corrals.
    Closely monitor weather conditions and temperatures to avoid gathering animals during hot temperatures.
    According to Seidlitz, prior to starting the emergency gather, the BLM closely monitored the condition of the animals, and the availability of forage and water.

    “Our hope was that the gather could start in July,” said Seidlitz. “It increasingly became apparent that the condition of the animals was deteriorating to the point that holding off gathering would put us in the position of gathering animals in declining health if we waited.”

    The BLM began the initial steps involved with water trapping through the placement of a temporary water trough and storage tanks and by hauling water, but this activity scattered the animals away from dwindling water sources.

    “We determined the placement of panels for a water trap would further add to the skittish behavior of the horses, and we discontinued water trapping efforts and kept as low a human presence as possible, so the horses would continue to come in to drink,” said Seidlitz. “The BLM hauled about 5,000 gallons of water a week for five weeks to troughs set up in the southern end of the HMA.”

    The gathered animals will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center north of Sparks, Nev., where they will receive health checks, fresh water and grass hay. These animals will be available for adoption. The Center is open to the public six days a week. For more information, call the Center at (775) 475-2222.

  16. The petition would just need to be updated and directed to the next rung UP on the ladder…the Buck stops at the TOP. Everyone living along the Gulf Coast would probably sign it. This is a serious petition. It is formulated in such a way that signatures can be signed and notarized.

    • This is the same petition??? the one thaT WE NEVER HEARD OF AGAIN, the one I sent countless notarize signatures, and was never heard about again ?????????

  17. AT THE SAME TIME
    The rest of America’s Wild Burros are being captured and removed from the Mojave Desert in Arizona by the BLM/Yuma Field Office

    From AMERICAN WILD HORSE PRESERVATION CAMPAIGN:

    The BLM’s Cibola-Trigo burro roundup in southwestern Arizona began at 7:30 a.m. on June 6,2012. On the first day, the BLM captured 62 burros in 4 helicopter runs. Included were a number of foals. On day 2, the BLM captured 12 additional burros before calling the roundup in the late morning. Day 3: BLM reporting the capture 36 additional burros for a total of 110 burros captured as of 6/8/12.

    The capture operation aims to remove 350 wild burros living in this remote region of the southern Sonora desert. Although BLM claims that burros are overgrazing, burro experts have stated that these animals regulate their population numbers in accordance with water availability. One wild burro population studied in the Mojave Desert showed a 7 percent reproduction rate — a far cry from the 15-25 percent rate of increase claimed by the BLM.

  18. This random number, 37,000 left in the wild, is a big fact lie and they will keep spitting this lie until they capture the very last one.
    Seems to me there’s quite a distance between where the horses are found and the trap pens. Disrupt. BLOCK THE TRAP PENS.

  19. You are right, Gail. SAY IT on Facebook, SAY in letters to the editor, SAY IT on radio staions, to your neighbors, your elected congressmen, SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS.

    • Yes, this is it. Do more, commit more, find a project and make it happen. Don’t let up. This has always been ‘up to us’ so we will get the results we deserve… but we want the results the wild ones deserve; preservation, protection and support from all of us for a future.

      Keep exposing the lies!!

  20. The range does NOT get into this bad shape overnight and the BLM’s only answer has been to remove horses. This is a prime example of BLM’s politically driven (not scientifically based) MIS-management of YOUR public lands.

    Heavily grazed land is not evidence that Wild Horses are the cause – and the photo captions (see BLM environmental assessment) even admit that the area shown is annually and HEAVILY grazed by livestock. To take it a step further, it shows (PURPOSELY?) that the livestock grazed the forage far below health and the Wild Horses, which rely on this area for winter grazing were left with a devastated range to try to survive on. The photos that were supplied only prove the fact that this portion of the range was highly over grazed by livestock last year and because of that it had a difficult time rejuvenating for the winter usage of the wild horses. In other words these photos show bad range management of livestock and absolutely no proof that Wild Horses over grazed this area. ONLY 4.5% – 7.5% percent of usage [AUMS] are designated for Wild Horses verses 92.5% – 95.5% range usage for livestock.

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