Op-Ed by R.T. Fitch - Author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart“
The BLM is Clueless about Numbers of Wild Horses
At the conclusion of the bloody helicopter stampede that was called the Calico Round-up we reported that the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) math was highly suspect when it came to accounting for the number of wild horses that were actually on the range. On the day the disastrous round-up ended, February 5th 2010, I wrote the article, “BLM’s Wild Horse Numbers Just Don’t Add Up” highlighting the fact that the number of horses in the Calico complex reported by the BLM pre-roundup didn’t match with what they reported post-roundup.
“The BLM’s 2/5/2010 press release states that they stripped the 550,000 acre complex of 1,922 native wild horses. They now estimate that 600 remain alive and free. The math indicates that there must have been a total of approximately 2,400 wild horses on the complex prior to the round-up.
Yet the BLM’s original plan stated that they had intended to gather approximately 3,000 wild horses, releasing 380 back to a remaining population of 220 which would leave 600 free in the complex. But that equation would mean that the total population, prior to round-up, would have been around 3,200. That leaves a difference of 800 horses from what actually occurred and what the BLM had proposed to do. Where are the missing 800 horses?”
Long time equine welfare advocate John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance likewise stated on 02/06/2010:
“The question in my mind is just how many horses they originally intended to leave in Calico and how many are truly still there. Despite what the press has been saying, the original schedule called for gathering 3,186 and returning only 380. No matter how you work the numbers, there were far fewer horses there than they thought. If you believe they left 600, then the population was only 1,922 + 600 or 2,522, so they could not possibly have gathered 3,186.
If the original plan had indeed been to leave 600, then they thought the population was 3,186 +600 -380 or 3406.”
Just this week, respected writer Maureen Harmonay picked up the ball in an article titled “The numbers just don’t add up for the captive Calico mustangs”:
“Let’s look at the numbers. The Gather Daily Updates list the total number of deaths as 76. That’s wrong. At least 91 horses have died, including one newborn foal who perished shortly after he was born on January 18th. He wasn’t “gathered” as an individual, but was carried into the Fallon feedlot in utero. His death deserves to be counted, but for the purpose of determining how many horses were actually taken from the Calico Herd Management Areas (HMAs), he shouldn’t be included. Using the BLM’s own daily reports, I can count 90 live wild horses who have died since the roundup began.
I went back to December 30th, the first day that any deaths were recorded. On that date, the gallant old mare, whom Elyse Gardner named, La Belle, was separated from her corralled herd members, loaded into a truck, driven away, and shot. She was the first of the Calico Mountain mustangs to perish as a direct result of the BLM’s cruel interference in these free-roaming herds.
From that day forward, I simply kept a running tally of all of the horses that the BLM itself admitted had died or been “euthanized.” I added the mare who was reported as having died on March 6th by HSVMA veterinarian Dr. Eric Davis, but who was never listed as a fatality by the BLM. It’s clear that there are other never-reported deaths; we just don’t know how many. But I can document the demise of at least 90.
When adoption preparation began on February 18th, at least 62 horses had already died. When it ended, on April 3rd, a total of 1851 horses had been freeze-branded. We can’t be sure how many of the horses who died after February 18th had been freeze-branded, but it seems possible–and even likely– that more than 1922 mustangs may have been helicopter-driven from the Calico mountains.”
This brand of “shoot from the hip” accounting is the sort of stuff that nightmares are made of. We aren’t talking about JuJu Beans, dollars/cents or grains of sand, here. We are dealing with the lives of our living American icons that should never have been harassed, killed and imprisoned in the first place. If businesses and private individuals all managed their finances using the same poor math and junk science that the BLM uses we would all currently be sitting around a campfire in loin cloths trying to figure out who had the longest spear.
The BLM is the agency that is charged with protecting (in BLMese that’s “manage”) our wild horses and the math they use to gauge the number of horses, present on their rightful land, is totally flawed. Our horses can count better than this for crying out loud. They know how many flakes of hay we are supposed to throw down, they can gauge if we have poured enough pelts in their feed buckets and if we come up a little short on the estimate, like the BLM, Terry and I get a look that says,
“Come on, you don’t think we are that stupid, do you?”
And that’s my message to the BLM:
“You don’t REALLY think that the American public is that stupid, do you?”
This is simply more concrete evidence that the BLM has no idea how many wild horses are out there nor do they have a clue as to how many wild horses they have languishing in pens. But one thing is for certain, they have many more in prison than roam free and that is a travesty that we cannot tolerate.
Tell your family, talk to your friends, speak with your co-workers about the horrible, bloody mess that the Obama administration’s BLM has gotten our wild horses into. We must stop, suspend, cease and halt these brutal and misguided helicopter driven stampedes before all of the horses are ripped from the land and we have nothing but millions of cattle ruining the last of our western frontier. (They are already out there, doing just that.)
Keep hammering at the Presidents phone number (202) 456-1111 then call Congress (202) 224-3121 and beseech, beg, plead, demand, cry out for a suspension of the bloodshed so that qualified, thoughtful individuals can interject sane comment into the calculations, numbers and condition of the land before we have lost everything.
We MUST stop this before it is too late as for tens of thousands, it already is!