Horse News

BLM’s Covert Wild Horse Operations have Americans Questioning Motives

written by Cheryl Hanna

Terrorized and Frozen, the Horses of the Calico BLM Roundup - Photo by Kurt Golgart/Bureau of Land Management

What was promised by the Bureau of Land Management to be a completely transparent wild horse roundup of 2500 horses has been treated like a covert security operation with no accountability; compliments of millions of dollars of taxpayer money. To date, BLM reports that 1195 horses have been gathered, 1193 have been moved to the Fallon holding facility, 2 horses have been euthanized at the gather site, 1 death of a foal because of a pre-existing condition, 1 horse escaped and 6 deaths at the Fallon holding facility.

Repeated requests to observe all aspects of the government operation have been consistently denied, despite continued requests from In Defense of Animals and The Cloud Foundation.

On January 21,2010, the BLM’s Daily Gather Update website  announced, “One colt with multiple hoof sloughs from the capture was euthanized at the facility.” No further information was provided. When asked how the colt was euthanized, no answers have been forthcoming. BLM has reported  two mares were “euthanized,” and  only later to learn that these mares were killed by gunshot rifles. On the veterinarian report for the colt, the method of euthanasia  was not mentioned. One would have expected the veterinarian to have reported he humanely euthanized the colt.

Spokeswoman Jolynn Worley for the BLM stated, ” The colt’s hind feet abscessed, and the outer hoof wall did separate.”

The BLM’s own Daily Gather Updates web page is suspected  of deliberately  creating confusion due to the highly censored information provided to the public. On January 21,2010 the BLM’s account of the colt was changed on the BLM’s web page to reflect a different gather date of January 6, 2010 ( versus January 21 ) and presumably from a different roundup, namely the Black Rock East HMA ( Herd Management Area). Horse advocates question why, if the colt was being treated for two weeks as the BLM site now contends, why weren’t these reports ever made public especially in light of such a contentious program that BLM is trying to convince the public is so necessary and humane for the preservation of the future of wild horses?

” For the BLM to withhold for four days information that the roundup inflicted such severe hoof trauma on a colt that he was killed is yet another example of the lack of transparency  of this agency,” states Deniz Bolbol, a humane observer. “There is no excuse for the BLM to omit this type of information from its daily updates – unless they needed four days to create their story. We have repeatedly requested to be allowed to observe all aspects of this taxpayer-funded operation, but the BLM refuses and  only provides a charade of public observation which is heavily restricted to a few hours a week.”

In addition the BLM veterinarian Richard Sanford, DVM states in his report, “The cause of these hoof abscesses/sloughs was most likely hoof trauma from the gather operations.”

In the latest roundups, horses and their foals have been run up to 10 miles on rough, hilly, volcanic rock terrain; an inhumane practice to run a foal or any horse in these  conditions especially during the winter months.

More confusion continues with a report from George Knapp, an investigative journalist from Las Vegas stating Freedom, the wild stallion that managed to escape from the BLM’s trap site and crashing through barbed wire enclosures, had been recaptured. BLM, who were the very agency initiating the story, will no, now, confirm or deny the  story.

The public will not be allowed to observe any more roundups until Tuesday, January 26, 2010 despite what was originally on the BLM website. It read as follows, and this information has since been deleted,

.” The BLM will rendezvous with interested members of the public in Gerlach at 8:00 AM and caravan to the trap site………. The observation days will last approximately 5 hours, leaving the trap site around 1:00 PM on the following dates: January 6,8,11,13,16,18,20,23,27,30.

Humane observers report that the ” approximately 5 hours ” includes driving up to 2 hours each way to the trap site; thus reducing the observation time to approximately 1 to 2 hours.  Calls by the Cloud Foundation to Assistant Director of Renewable Resources and Planning, Ed Roberson and BLM Director Abbey have not been returned.

Information has been constantly withheld. Why aren’t wild horse advocates, citizens of the US or anyone interested in wild horses not allowed to make unannounced visits to the taxpayer holding facility at Fallon? Humane observer Elyse Gardner was denied access to Fallon this past week because it was not a “designated” day.

Americans deserve answers.

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30 replies »

  1. Because I couldn’t say it any better I am going to send this article (with credit) to Mr. Obama & my useless Senators Feinstein & Boxer. I guess we have to go to the various BLM sites everyday and do a screen capture. As far as the BLM is concerned these brutalities will just be another number in another inaccurate report. They don’t care but I do. I can’t get the image of that little colt out of my mind. I think of the pain of just walking with a blister on my foot and cannot imagine the screaming pain this little guy felt as he ran over rocks. They don’t care, not even enough to tell the truth.


    • Don’t feel helpless, Suzanne.

      You are one of the big voices, out there, speaking for the horses.

      We need to keep cranking up the volume and shut this illegal and rouge agency down.


  2. Suzanne I know the feeling, sometimes I just want to dig a hole and climb into it and hope it will all go away, but then that would not achieve anything, I cry tears of frustration and hurt about this daily. Just keep doing what u are doing, I am trying to as well, it all helps, just one person at a time, as long as we are moving forward that is all that matters and with people like RT and the Cloud Foundtion and a zillion more I truly believe that good will win through. (((Hugs)))


  3. These horses are WILD and have no idea what a trailer is let alone how to get into one. If one of them had fallen it would have been trampled, plain and simple. They were all just lucky enough to keep their footing even after falling back out of the trailer! Slapping those whips around, forcing the horses to bang their legs into the trailer over and over! I would actually like to take one of those whips to those people myself! AND why do they have to separate the babies from their mothers? Why can’t they stay together at least while they are going threw the short-term holding ordeal? What is the point in keeping them apart? This is horrible, these people really are sadists.


    • “and why do they have to separate the babies”… because they are on a powertrip and want to demonstrate THEY don’t have to follow protocol – or be humane – THEY are the gatherers, IN CHARGE.
      At Pryor Mt., BLM’ers drove into the hotel parking lot, standing up in the bed of the pickup, cheering, high-fiving each other, like teenagers trying to impress their girlfriends… ANOTHER successful day of “operations”… showing off their bully attitude with pride, no professionalism, no integrity, no class… that is what BLM is… a bunch of bullies who brag and lie.


      • I try to keep a Christian like attitude, and see the good in all people… but I really do HATE the BLM horse-nazis right now. Hate is such a powerful word and I do not use it lightly or frequently.


    • Kas there was one instance during the one supervised viewing of operations where a mare was down in the trailer, correct me if I am wrong but that mare was later euthenased and when it was brought to Catoors attention by one of the observers, it was just shrugged off and the person told that it happens from time to time and would be dealt with!


  4. AMERICA WAKE UP !!!! The cruelty, habitual secrecy and deceptive stunts of BLM are nothing short from TREASON – the oozing lies and manipulations of CATTOOR and BLM are treacherous and I AM BEYOND BELIEF they get away with it – constantly, permanently, get away while the ones in charge turn a blind eye – this must be stopped and exposed – this country is in a deep sleep and has lost it’s integrity and morals towards the wild horses of America… Where is the pride, the sense of their everloving “freedom”, the call for unity when it comes to this ???
    I can’t barely stand this anymore – looking good to the outside… but inside…
    a land of corruption, greed, deception an cover ups. America the SAD. America the LOST. America the CRUEL. Write to media and press. Put a sign into your yard, to express your outrage. Maybe someone passing by will wake up.
    DO IT !!!


  5. It is sad to know that when we could not stop this terror and violent abuse that these very things would occur. I do believe the judge should stop this and he needs to be informed of all that is happening. This is barbaric and the world sees this more clearly than our administration. What all of us are doing is worth every tear we shed. Nothing BLM and DOI are doing is worth the life of even one of our beautiful wild ones. Stay the course and truth will win out. We are a true force to reckon with and the horses give us inspiration daily to continue. I am so proud of what we do. mar


  6. Thank you again, RT. I went to bed last night feeling that there was something else I should be doing and didn’t have the energy to figure out what that was. And then, when I read your entry this morning, there were tears and anger–you fired me up to do what I needed to do: letters to write, newspapers to check and comment on, and posters to make for protest this weekend. Many thanks for keeping us all in the loop with relentless passion and outrage.


  7. Ok, I’m getting mixed messages causing me confusion. If I’m going to talk to people about this I need to know – so in doing my own research, I find form several sources that gunshot appears to the the best and most assured means of immediate death if done by trained persons, (expecting a veterinarian to be so trained). I even found a web page that shows how this is done, exactly were the bullet should go, head restraint, all that.

    Thanks for any help anyone can offer me.

    I can tell eveyone here from personal experieince and from experieince with having my own pets put down that intraveinous chemical “anything” can go very, very wrong.


    USDS approved methods of livestock euthanasia-

    Chemical (carbon dioxide)
    This method is approved for sheep, calves and swine. The animal is asphyxiated by the use of carbon dioxide gas.

    Mechanical (captive bolt)
    This method is approved for sheep, swine, goats, calves, cattle, horses, mules, and other equines. A captive bolt stunner is applied to the livestock so as to produce immediate unconsciousness in the animals before they are butchered.

    Mechanical (gunshot)
    This method is approved for cattle, calves, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, and other equines. The gun is used to render the animal immediately unconscious (and presumably dead) before butchering.

    Electrical (stunning or slaughtering with electric current)
    This method is approved for swine, sheep, calves, cattle, and goats. The current applied is sufficient to ensure surgical anesthesia throughout the “bleeding” of the animal.”

    Here’s hoping this topic can one day go away and our wild horses can be federally protected heritage wildlife, living free on thier home ranges, and BLM can go to ….


    • Roxy- Opinions vary among experts; “gunshot appears to the the best and most assured means of immediate death if done by trained persons” The problem I see is who are the ‘trained persons’ within the BLM? Since they clearly can not be trusted and won’t say in certain (euthanasia) situations, who’s doing what and how they are carrying out these “mercy killings” what are we to think?
      In March of last year I had to have my 25 year old gelding euthanized. Things did not go as well as we would have liked. My vet was very distraught over his trauma, more so than I was… I think. Given the circumstances, we did the best we could as quickly as we could.


      • kas thanks.

        Any method of euthanasia can go wrong or right. I will say about this particular vet – if he can’t do rifle shot right, he can’t do intraveinous right either – I’m going with the method is not the issue and a waste of time to speculate, that the whole roundup is the issue and Cattor has proven it cannot be done humanly.

        Cattor – put camereas live streaming on those helicopters! I want to “see” those horses strolling through the woods until you get them to the chutes.

        BLM put cameras live streaming at the gather sight and at the holding sites.

        It is through secrecy that DOI, BLM and Cattor perpetrates their own perception of dishonesty. Ms. Hanna has said it so well.


  8. I’m not religious, but I find myself repeating the Lords Prayer, as I am having such hatefullness toward these fellow human beings. Makes me hope there is reincarnatin and that all will suffer what they have done to these horses.

    BLM – Don’t bother telling me that cattle prods were not used when the cameras and observers were gone. We saw that they used them at Pryor.

    I’m so ashamed of my government.


  9. These people know nothing and care nothing about horses. I had a article published in Horse’sHoof and Natural Horse magazines in 2004, regarding BLM and their shoddy feeding practices. The brutal helicopter chases, the stress, the feeding straight alfalfa to growing horses, over-vaccinating and deworming- all set these animals up for developmental orthopedic disease, laminitis, metabolic syndrome and injury. Not to mention PTSD and lifelong emotional problems. Their “Wild horse and burro experts” are not required to have training or a degree in equine science. As a former licensed vet tech and graduate of a two year equine science program, I am a genius compared to most BLM employees. Can’t they afford to hire people with at least as much training as I have, to control the destinies of thousands of noble, intelligent animals? My sanctuary is filled with the walking wounded victims of the BLM. Catherine Ritlaw, Journey’s End Ranch Animal Sanctuary, Kingman, Az.


    • Catherine, I’m in Mesa and a couple of us are planning on attending the March Kingman BLM Burro roundup. I’ll look for your rescue on-line, but if you could post your webb site that would be wonderful. I’d like to come by your outfit when I can.


    • PS I too have MCS – I promise if I can come by I will have on no chemicals and only organic clothing washed in non-chemical way.


  10. This country is suppose to be a free country, but really it’s not!! They make laws for this and laws for that just to satisfy themselves. So to hear of what they are doing to our Wonderful Creatures the Wild Mustang is just another of one of their power trips. That’s all this is for the government just another power trip to prove they will do as they please and than try to cover it up. I hope some day that they will all get their just reward. Becuase what they are doing to these horses is far more the Cruelty, it’s inhumane, sadistic, there are not enough words to disscibe what they are doing and getting away with it. Please eeveryone start writting to the President, Governors and who ever eles you can think of. Maybe some day we will get througth to someone who can put a stopto all this.


  11. From BLM website, this puts this issue to sleep I guess, I would like to see the “certificatees” or some sort of evidence of how these people are trained:

    BLM Euthanasia Methods

    When necessary for humane reasons, the BLM euthanizes wild horses using methods recommended by the American Veterinarian Medical Association in their Guidelines on Euthanasia (June 2007). Acceptable methods for the euthanasia of large animals that are used include gunshot to the brain and intravenous injection of a pharmaceutical preparation (pentobarbital). Both of these methods are humane and accepted within the veterinary medical community.

    Short-term Holding Facilities
    Intravenous injection is used when a veterinarian is available and the carcass can be disposed of by burial or a rendering facility. If these conditions cannot be met and an animal needs to be euthanized immediately to prevent suffering (such as a fractured leg) a firearm is used.

    Gather Site
    A firearm is the primary method used during gather activities. Veterinarians are not always immediately available on-site and BLM gather contractors and wild horse specialists are trained to euthanize wild horses by gunshot.

    A firearm is the preferred method at gathers because the remains can be left on the public lands for scavenger animals to consume and there are no risks of residues of pharmaceutical agents entering the food chain. When a veterinarian is present the method selected for euthanasia is at his or her discretion depending on the situation at hand and resources available for carcass disposal.


      • Gardenbelle, no problem, we have new people reading all the time, no harm in repeating good links.

        At least I’m trying to get new people -haven’t hit YouTubes for while, but will be back to them soon.


  12. Monika you hit the nail on the head with your post! We are no longer a free country and neither are OUR horses. If one sits back and examines the BLM horse program you can see the it all goes hand in hand with how the government is treating it’s people. It’s a mirror. It’s scarey. And it’s the ugly truth.

    The colt and mares were SHOT. The sooner people start using the correct and direct terms for what happened instead of ‘euthanasia’ it is going to create a true depiction of what really goes on to other people who don’t know better.
    Lets call it what it was people, Dr. Stanford did not administer this colt a euthanasia shot! When out in the field or even on premisses, how is a wrangler going to get near a wild horse to hold it in his arms lovingly and administer the injection? It doesn’t happen. Do you think BLM actually conducts business and would be so kind as to administer euthanasia? If you believe this, re-think it. After everything else your finding out? The best they can do is shove the horse in a small pen or area and shoot until dead, and I say that kindly as the first shot isn’t always the last.

    As far as trailering the horses, I am wondering if they had any type of footing inside the trailer. i.e. rubber matting or wood shavings? Any experienced horse hauler knows to put something down on the floor and not leave boards exposed to urine and manuer making the surface slippery. Yes, these horses don’t know how to ride in a trailer, it takes even a calm domestic horse time to learn, and leaving floor boards exposed to dampness is irresponsible, ignorant, and wrong.

    What happened to the colt is not the first time Cattoors have done this to baby horses. They have done gathers in this area before. In Nov of 1985 and March of 1986 in the Slumbing Hills and South Slumbering Hills areas of the Calico Complex they did the same exact thing. Ran mares with foals over rough terrain and lava rock, breaking up their hooves down to bone and flesh. Nearly 20 babies 6 months and under were ‘destroyed’ i.e. SHOT. Cattoors and BLM know this area, and have not learned anything by their past mistakes. In fact they have made the same ones all over again. Slowing down helicopters and not pushing for the dollar would bring in horses, stressed but intact. The bottom line is they get paid for every horse they bring in,dead or alive. The quicker they can do the job the more money they will make in less time.

    During the same round up at soldier Meadows in March of 86, Cattoors and BLM loaded nearly 150 horses on to a trailer that was parked on a slant. When the horses ran in it turned the trailer over on it’s side. It took hours to unload maimed and broken horses, some dead, others were shot on site due to the injuries of broken shoulders, legs, necks, and gapping wounds.

    Lets not forget about the Sheldon Fiasco 4 years ago, when the Dept of AG and the Cattoors ran horses for 19 miles in 90+ degree heat, leaving newborns and foals less than two months behind to perish out in the desert heat. If that weren’t enough they hog tied some to ‘go back and pu with a truck’. Three weaners were found between two and four days wondering aimlessly without benefit of mothers milk or protection of the herd. Several more babies were picked up by the rescue group still hog tied out in the desert and brought to the vet in a near by town. A final tally, the group picked up 23 babies! Some died from dehydration and lack of food, others the group took to emergency care managed to survive.

    Round ups are NOT humane, and especially by the Cattoors. Just because they have been doing something for so many years and getting paid for it does not make them professionals. One only has to compare Bernie Maddoff…how long was he able to get on with his scams before he finaly got busted? It’s time the Cattoors were outlawed along with BLM.

    I too am sick of all of this, I get burned out working at taking 3 steps forward and 4 backwards. However, the unjust of it all for an animal that I love passionately somehow keeps me going. In the 80’s and even 90’s we didn’t have computers and couldn’t network with people like yourselves. Those of us on the front lines felt very alone and out numbered. Now that we have computers the truth can be told in a timely matter and we can all organize to be heard and hopefully stop this before it is too late! Keep fighting the good fight all of you! No matter how small your efforts may seem to you they make huge waves when we all band together!

    PS Monika they group the babies during transport so that they do not get trampled by bigger horses. Supposedly they turn mares and babies out together when they get to destination so they can re-pair back up.


    • Kathy, thank you for your email. Cattoor…their time will come. The stories on them will reach America’s conscience. We will not stop. They are a threat to our moral values. Armageddon. We must keep this an ongoing never-ceasing effort – we have to believe in making a difference, even in the face of evil – we face a corrupt government – but they will not shut us up and everyone here is a voice, I thank Craig and Elyse and all who are on the frontline, having to absorb the callous acts and being there for the horses. I thank all of you to keep inspiring me and wish you the same. We have reached a new era. The era of brokenness. For all the horses brutalized by BLM/CATTOOR, we will fight, and not stop.


  13. I have a several questions? Who were these animals bothering? This is a shame that Nevada lets this happen? What was the purpose of this whole ordeal?? Running these horses to death, for no purpose. Now for some odd reason, many of these beautiful horses will suffer, due to someone who is greedy, and for some odd possible reason will live out there????? Give me a break….


  14. The strongest weapon we have against evil and its stragies is The Lord’s Prayer. As Dr. Stanley reminds us…we win all battles on our knees in prayer. Christ was persistent in prayer and we must also be on our knees. We can also use our voices to appeal to St. Francis to use his prayers and petitions on behalf of compassion and social justice.

    Christ has won the battle – we just have to stay strong and on the front lines until God chooses the moment to send His son back carrying the bannkers of Justice, Love, Peace.


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