Written by Examiner reporter, Maureen Harmonay
BLM restricts wild horse observers to Sunday only visits at Fallon Nevada holding facility
As had been feared, the BLM has announced that effective immediately, visits to the 320-acre Indian Lakes Road facility where the wild horses rounded up from Nevada’s Calico Mountain Complex will be restricted to a two-hour window on Sundays, by appointment only. The agency will accommodate only 10 people each week, on a “first-come, first-served” basis, and even those observers will only be able to see what the BLM wants them to see on its “guided tours.”
The BLM says the strict new visitation policy is necessary “due to horse preparation for adoption activities (freezemarking, vaccinations, blood tests, deworming, aging and recordation of animal descriptions),” and it implies that it simply won’t be able to do its work under the watchful eye of humane observers such as Elyse Gardener or Craig Downer.
Meanwhile, a report by veterinarian Richard Sanford, entitled “History and Report on Outcomes and Complications for Horses Adapting to Hay,” attempts to rationalize the disproportionate number of deaths among the wild horses being held captive in the Fallon, Nevada holding pens. According to Dr. Sanford:
“Eighteen horses have died or have been euthanized as acts of mercy because they were not adapting to being fed grass hay in a domestic setting. These horses ranged in age from 12 to 20 years and had Henneke body condition scores from 2 to 3. The horses that were euthanized were losing weight and condition and were incapable of maintaining a Henneke body condition equal to or greater than three. These horses came off the range in poor condition and were most likely eating brush (woody shrubs) because of the lack of preferred grass forage on overgrazed rangelands.”
There are two issues here: most independent observers–including investigative reporter George Knapp–who were present to see horses arriving at the facility have disputed the BLM’s contention that the horses from the Calico Complex arrived in “poor condition.” They were doing just fine before they were stampeded for miles and nearly run into the ground.
Second, Dr. Sanford’s report states that 1646 horses from the Calico Herd Management Areas were brought into the Indian Lakes Road holding pens between December 28th, 2009 through February 1st, 2010. The roundup was halted on February 5th, before any new horses were brought in that day, and the BLM announced at that time that it had already removed 1922 wild horses from their ranges. Were 276 horses corralled in the three-day period from February 2-4?
If not, where are they?
“Thanks to Maureen for this timely article. The implications are terrifying!” – R.T.