Horse News

Grim Remains Discovered at Calico Complex after Wild Horse Round-up

Commentary by Elyse Gardner and R.T. Fitch Photography by Craig Downer

Advocates Search for Remaining Wild Horses at Calico and find more Death

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Today, Sunday 4/11/10, is the day that Wild Horse Advocates Elyse Gardner, Craig Downer, Terri Farley, and Don Molde are making their way back to the BLM’s Fallon Wild Horse concentration camp after being denied access for two weeks.  Personally, I am afraid of what they may find.  Highly contagious Pigeon Fever has been reported running through the herd and who knows how many horses have been put down, shot, moved or disposed of since last a sane set of eyes has looked at the herd.

We await their report with a very painful knot in our stomachs.

Regrettably, however, the above dedicated advocates did not rest while the BLM continued to operate behind locked gates.  Last week the team traveled to the Calico Complex, itself, in an effort to see if they could locate any remaining mustangs on the land.  The BLM has claimed that they graciously have allowed 600 horses to remain free and live out their lives as God intended.  To date no one has seen the horses, but early into their travels the advocates were distracted bya grisly reminder of the cruel ignorance of the BLM.

Pictured, here, are the skeletal remains of a wild horse that became trapped in a BLM cattle guard and died a miserable and agonizing death.  Please allow me to share Elyse Gardner’s very words as per her post on the Humane Observer Blog, this day:

What you are seeing are the remains of a wild horse, discovered by Craig Downer, Terri Farley, and Don Molde on a recent excursion into the Calico Mountains looking for the living remnants of the herds, our remaining wild horse friends of the Calico Mountain herd complex, whoever remains of the living herd after the Bureau of Land Management‘s relentless, take-all-prisoners wild horse purge of these starkly beautiful mountains.

"Wildhorse Annie Cattle Guard": Observe the life-saving steel rebar cemented in between the yellow railings. It would have saved this horse's life.

This horse died a miserable, agonizing death trapped in this cattle guard.  She stepped onto it, her hoof went through the rails, and she was trapped.  She may have broken her leg.  Even if she did not, she was trapped and could not escape.  She may have been attacked by opportunistic coyotes while caught, or she may have died slowly, but we know she was trapped.  And, ultimately, we know her leg was literally sawed off in order to extricate her from the cattle guard, as evidenced by the clean-cut bone visible on her leg.  It did not have to be this way.

This horse’s demise is a predictable, highly possible outcome when you have non-Wildhorse- Annie cattle guards along a path in a Herd Management Area (HMA) undergoing active helicopter roundup operations.  The BLM’s choice to abandon the regulation providing for Wildhorse Annie cattle guards directly resulted in this horse’s tragic, terrible death.”

And the deadly beat goes on!

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19 replies »

  1. I too am anxiously awaiting the first reports from fallon after 2 weeks of no one in there to check on these horses; I too am scared to death of what they will find.
    I also want to know if any are left in this glorious mountain range. Good thoughts and prayers of hope and strenght to Craig, Elyse, Terri, Don, Cat, and the others who will visit today.


  2. Believe it or not my senator, Dick Durbin D IL, believes the BLM & supports the round ups. Our taxes are being used to kill horses. Our taxes pay the BLM & the politicians who support the BLM.
    The horses were happy in the wild. No management was needed.


    • I too am tired of Durbin’s canned responses to my emails and letters about this issue, so now he and the rest of the do-nothings in our government, who get their salaries from US, need to know that we will NOT be supporting them in reelection. They are to represent us,listen to us, NOT dictate to us and do what they want.


  3. Dick Durbin isn’t up to speed on wild horses and doesn’t care to be! His office does not even bother to read emails sent regarding this issue. His standard reply to any wild horse issues shows a lack of concern and failed leadership. He is on his way out, I hope, if Chicagoans will just wake up! He remains in the Senate to fill his pockets.

    I too hope they find some wild horses in the Calico area; I have wanted an answer to this since the BLM claimed over 600 were “left.”


  4. I think the BLM helicoptors stopped that round-up because they KNEW many mustangs were crippled, broken legged, road foundered, and aborting near-term foals.
    They did not want their helicoptors ‘running’ in a bunch of mustangs dragging broken legs in front of all the cameras!

    Thats why you stopped that round-up huh BLM? I see now why you never have cameras on your helicoptors, you freaking horse killers! BLM has no excuse to have horse killing cattle guards except the BLM just loves killing mustangs!


  5. oh the blm will prolly have one of their local ranch buddies dump a bunch of horses on that range and say all the people who observed the herds for years are just wrong.


  6. I believe they stopped the round up early because they could find no more horses. Those Calico hills are empty. Cattoors get paid by the head (only time foals are counted is for their paycheck) and I don’t think a limping horse would bother them, except it would take more time to round up and time is money.

    The BLM needs to see these photos and they need to get out of the holding pen business and get back on the RANGE!!! Manage the range with those millions. Fix these deathtraps! I am steamed today. What we allow them to get away with is mindboggling to me. Absolutely mindboggling!


    • so “Cattoors get paid by the head” is there a way to find out how many head they were paid for for each round-up then check numbers against the BLM reported numbers?

      If 2 documents side-by side can prove BLM has hundreds(maybe thousands) of mustangs ‘go missing’ that is a problem with federal emplotees doing something underhanded.

      Let Cartoor and the BLM point their fingers at each other to say just WHO is using made-up numbers.


  7. The BLM HAS seen these photos, they’ve see the horses in person daily and know what they’ve done to them, but they just don’t care,most of them, the ones who DO care go work somewhere else, I think. there is SOMEONE somewhere who needs to see these pictures who may actually be able to stop this! The judge who’s going to make the ruling?????? Some body who has the power to change this, who would that be????? The president and most other elected officials don’t seem to care, maybe they will care when we don’t reelect them. I think we all need to make it very clear when elections roll around just what it is we expect of them, and if they don’t do it, they won’t be representing us. we have got to put people into place who will actually listen to us.


  8. I have found a passage from a book describing where a judge WAS able to “take down” the BLM. WHO WANTS TO SEE THIS? I want to send it to a legal person who will look it over and decide whether this case can be used to show “precedent” on what looks to me like a significant ruling.

    If you are a lawyer, leave your contact info here at this blog if you are serious about looking at this information. Known lawyers already involved in this cause will be given precedent. (!)

    Any other suggestions within reason will be considered. Look out — I just colored my roots yesterday and my “eyebrows are on.” I now have supernatural powers!


  9. Laura, loved your comments and totally agree. How hard can it be to weld on some rebar or just cement it in? Would only take a minute of course you have to care.


  10. Ugggh, what we humans do to animals never ceases to amaze me. What has happened to “for the people, by the people?” Aren’t I funny, to still have such idealistic expectations of our country! Janet – please send me the info regarding that case. The more knowledge, the better. My email addy is

    My rant goes on. The majority of Americans trust the BLM. We see the BLM doing their thing, and we figure it’s necessary to manage the herds of our wonderful wild horses. The majority of Americans don’t stop to think that the BLM is simply a branch of the government, with no real knowledge, whose members get to decide what to do with America’s land. This goes for the horses, but also for forests and lakes and mountains and oil reserves. The BLM is its own power, not subject to checks and balances that would keep its work honest. The BLM is no one’s friend, IMHO.


  11. Laura, I can send you copies of BLM reports I and Cindy MacDonald broke down from reports she sent me –we worked hard on this and it was tedious and still in progress. One of these reports she uses on her American Herds Blog January 2010. It shows different side-by-side reports released by the BLM (they only gave her 1/1/07 thru Oct 07, I believe in answer to her FOIA and then have quit answering her FOIA request, violation of law there. IDA ran into a 7 yr legal battle with them over FOIAs which they won bless their persistent souls & glad to have them with us.) On these many horses went missing from one report the other. The report Cindy has submitted is a synopsis. We have the broken down reports as to horse #, capture site, how many in LTH, adopted dates, sold, title given, and too many times DEAD. This sent us both into tears many times and was part of the reason for length of time in reducing the reports. The Jackson Mtn report was tallied thru a lot of tears and time off. Anyway let me know if interested.


  12. Can WE cement rebar to the cattle guards? I will take a flight out to help.

    I am certainly not voting for Obama in the next election. I think I was an idiot to support him in the last election. I feel so betrayed. I believe Obama committed fraud on the American people. I feel the government is using our wild horses to torture us. They certainly have me on my knees begging them to stop. I have shed many tears over these horses. How can they do this? What is wrong with their soul?


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