Running Horses until they Die is Not a Stampede in BLMese
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Officials of the federal Bureau of Land Management have become increasingly sensitive to the media’s frequent use of a common English word. Horseback Online and many other news sites have used the word “stampede” to describe what BLM bureaucrats in Washington routinely describe as a “gather.”
In a note to Horseback on the first Monday of the year, BLM’s chief Washington spokesman Tom Gorey said, “Wild horses and burros are not stampeded during gathers. Go observe one for yourself. Stampede is an anti-BLM propaganda term, pure and simple.”
“Tom, stampede is a word common to the English language. Your response drove me to my copy of the 2,129 page Webster’s Universal Dictionary,” said Horseback Magazine Editor Steven Long. “The definition I quote in the first reference is ‘A sudden headlong running away of a group of frightened animals, especially horses or cattle.’ That seems to fit perfectly what I have seen in every video of the BLM roundups. I don’t view it as a propaganda term whatsoever, and I’m certainly not anti-BLM as you well know. It is simply a term which best describes for my reader, in common language he will understand, what is going on. While I’m certain BLM would prefer me to call these things a gentle trot down the trail, that doesn’t seem to be fitting considering hundreds of horses have died in the process.
Horseback has also learned that controversial BLM chase contractors, Cattoor Livestock Roundups have been awarded a new five year contract.
“October 1, started a new contract for the wild horses roundups and CLR, and another company, Sun J, received the two awards for the next 5 years,” Sue Cattoor told Horseback Magazine last week. We asked Ms. Cattoor about the new firm.
“They are not based out of Nephi, but out of Vernal, Utah, and they are not related to us,” she said.
Asked if the BLM had used any new criteria in awarding the contracts to Cattoor in light of the unprecedented number of wild horse deaths in 2010, Gory said it was business as usual.
“The Cattoors have demonstrated an ability to conduct safe and humane roundups, so that’s why their contract was renewed,” Gorey said.
Today, CNN ran a story critical of BLM’s wild horse roundups showing a helicopter flipping a donkey with its skid. The news network didn’t identify the company chasing the burro.
Horseback asked Gorey if pilots actually touching animals with the skids of their helicopters was taken into consideration in awarding contracts.
“Regarding the new footage concerning the burro, I’m trying to get the specifics of where and when this happened,” Gorey said.
In earlier video shown on You Tube, a horse appeared to be flipped by another helicopter flying low, its skid apparently touching the animal. Again the company flying the helicopter in the chase wasn’t identified.
“Several weeks ago a piece of footage purporting to show a horse getting flipped over by a helicopter was shown on YouTube,” Gorey responded. “The footage, in point of fact, shows no such thing.”
Asked if in light of the overwhelming number of equine deaths caused by BLM in its 2010 “gather” schedule, BLM was considering ceasing helicopter roundups.
“No. Gathers are necessary to protect rangeland health,” he said.
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