Horse News

BLM to Move 200 Captive Wild Horses from Foul Facility

(The News As We See It) by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/Director of HfH Advisory Council

Public Outcry Pushed Proper Buttons to Assist Horses

Approximately 200 captive, wild horses currently imprisoned at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Salt Lake Regional Wild Horse and Burro Center in Herriman, Utah, will allegedly be relocated according to recommendations made by an investigative BLM appointed team who visited the site earlier this month.

The well respected and world renowned Wild Horse advocacy organization, the Cloud Foundation, issued a stunning video and carefully written report on April 9th outlining and documenting the abuse suffered by the captive wild horses as observed by wild horse adopter Lisa Friday as she visited the Salt Lake facility in mid-March of this year.

The video clearly displayed “suctioned-in” horses that could not move in urine soaked mud knee deep to the adult horses.  Several horses remained in frozen positions during Ms. Friday’s visit as they were unable to move.  When local facility personnel were notified of the horse’s plight a piece of heavy equipment was run towards the horses in an effort to scare them and make them move yet they remained stuck in place during the duration of Ms. Friday’s visit.

After a deluge of calls local newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune, published a biased and lopsided report that everything was “Okay” as reported by Tribune reporter Brandon Loomis.  Loomis indicated that fault erred with the Cloud Foundation and with Ms. Friday as the facility’s manager, Jared Redington was interviewed, by phone, as saying;

“We don’t have anything to hide,”

Also quoted in the dubious article was dog and cat investigator for the Humane Society of Utah, not to be confused with the Humane Society of the United States, John Fox postulating that he did not observe any violations of animal cruelty laws and that wet conditions are to be expected this time of year while the animals appeared to be in good health.

Since the above article was published both its author and the newspaper have been publicly spanked as the report does not clearly reflect the actual findings of the investigative team.  To the contrary, 200 wild horses will be removed to the BLM’s Gunnison facility about 125 miles to the south of Salt Lake under the recommendation of the team’s investigation and it has been further recommended that a agricultural engineer familiar with large animal holding facilities be hired to evaluate the site for improvements.

Where the report falls short is on the issue of abuse and neglect as the internal team stated that more than 90 percent of the captive horses displayed body conditions of between 4 and 6 on the Henneke Body Condition Scale. Inspectors said tooth eruption probably contributed to the condition of a three-year-old mare described in the Cloud report as ‘thin.’

“The cause for her weight loss was unknown but thought to most likely be due to shedding incisors, a molar, or retained cap causing a decrease in appetite or feed conversion efficiency,” the report said.

“We are pleased that they are improving the conditions for this facility, but we hope they use the money Congress has approved for good use such as water improvements and plan treatments rather than roundups,” said Ginger Kathrens, founder of the Cloud Foundation.

“Disgruntled taxpayers are taking to the streets to demand BLM stop costly roundups and lifelong incarceration of the last of America’s wild mustangs,” continues  Kathrens, “The immediate solution is to release wild horses back into zeroed out herd areas originally designated for their use by Congress. BLM admits this is an option, but has failed to move on it—perhaps fearing reprisal from extractive users, many of whom are large multi-national corporations trying to enlarge their profits at the expense of taxpayers.”

55 replies »

  1. all one need do is to LOOK at the area (a hollow) and realize that it’s the worst place to put a feeder….morons….


  2. Stupid ignorant imbecils , What else is new with the BLM>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> They have no business handling anything that breathes much less our precious Wild Mustangs………………….All this and still they are allowed to continue their torture of the most beautiful animals in the world, ISNT THERE ANY jUSTICE IN ALL THIS?????????? Still Our Mustangs innocently suffer at the hands of these no account morons from Hell……………………………


  3. I met Ginger Kathrens at the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison last weekend. I was inspired by her talk about the Wild Horses. I think she awakened the packed room as well.
    She truely cares for the horses and is devoted to them, especially Clouds family.
    It was clear how passionate she is ,one can feel her calm but determined spirit- I enjoyed her sense of humor.
    I share this passion and am grateful she was there and talked about them.The wild horses belong to no one, they are free and should be, because that is what we want for them and what we want for ourselves. Even tho I have not been out west to see the horses in person I can feel their spirit and you know the creator is among us.
    I purchased 2 vidoes from Ginger. Cloud and his band are remarkable and spiritual and truly beauty to behold when they are free. Lets keep them that way.
    Thank you Ginger for sharing your knowledge with us, and R.T. for keeping us informed about happenings of our sacred horses.


  4. The fact that government officials who sing reform and claim they are “professional” in their handling and caring of these illegally removed public horses from federally protected habitat is an outrage – whilst their welfare and survival in these unacceptable conditions depend on the public. A continous increase of mistrust and anger by the American tax payers is only obvious, as even the very basic care for these animals is not fitting the picture that BLM wants to represent to the American public. The BLM appears more oblivious to the need of horses than many realize, the proof is here once again. Not only is the illegal eviction of our wild horses and burros cause for a higher instance to interfere, the suffering and languishing in so called holding pens is not acceptable – whilst their stolen lands are continued to be leased to subsidized cattle permittees. BLM’s motto of willfully deceiving the nation and milking Congress for funding based on untruths is a menace. The low animal welfare standards present in ALL operations BLM do NOT reflect 21st century values of this nation. Had BLM put in as much effort to comprise the return of our wild horses and burros to their rightful habitats and disallow the monopolizing of our lands to ranchers and biased multiple uses, then the West would be the great place it once was. What is most shocking is the fact that the general public does not know the truth and how they are being lied to, and that is why we must continue to speak up. Thank you Ginger for your work on this and exposing that truth.


  5. What I can’t figure out is why does the public always have to point these things out to the caretakers of our wild horses? Are they blind?

    PS Facility manager, you probably didn’t have to use “heavy equipment” to try to scare the stuck horses into moving. Who are these idiots we pay to watch over our horses after they lose their freedom?


    • Good Question???????? high paid Idiots………………….Who have no common sense……………………………………………


  6. The BLM is just moving these Horses from one prison to another–where the public CANNOT see them. They SHOULD be released back onto one the “zeroed out” Herd Management Areas where they belong.


    • Discusting isnt it !!!!! Message to the BLM , put Americas damn horses back where you got them from !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess that needed to be said for sure……………………. Were now talking save the horses and America !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  7. Does the BLM have staff whose sole job it is to go around and inspect the facilities of our wild horse holding pens? They should. That increase in budget they are crying for should go to 1) hiring more vets 2) hiring vet tech staff 3) improving conditions at all facilities including installing protection from the elements 4) Hiring inspectors who write actual honest reports. But I won’t hold my breath as they will use it all to pay kamikaze helicopter pilots and convicted multi-millionaire horse rustlers.


    • Unfortunately it appears BLM only hires vets that lie as well as they do. Nothing like “officially” falsified documentation. What is needed are GENUINE independent veterinarians hired by the public via the animal welfare organizations to disprove the lies with documentation and to demand the right for these horses to be seen by independent vets for evaluations and inspections – vets who actually live by their sworn oaths 😉


    • You think the BLM will ever do things right??? While the horses disappear we need to be fighting to free them from BLM Bondage and set up a new program that is positive, humane and educational while managing all the horses on their land with the badly abused budget BLM has as funding. The land and horses and wildlife need real science and not constant modification for removals and disenfranchisement.


  8. I spent a couple of hours reading that whole report. The conclusions they came to were not a surprise. I realize that staff is kinda overworked–the report says they have 4 employees. Why weren’t the people that retired–why weren’t replacements found? If they needed more employees that should have been kicked to higher and higher management all the way to Bobby boo boo Abbey.

    If they have been having mud issues for some time–why did they take the Antelope Complex horses? They knew that were overworked and didn’t have the staff to properly care for these horses.

    They didn’t have a manure removal contract in place BEFORE they were over run with the Antelope Complex horses???? First thing you learn in Pony Club–mucking stalls.

    Perhaps there is a lot of fur flying “behind” the scenes on this one. We can only hope. In the end, the important thing is the care and well being of the horses which in this case fell far below acceptable levels.

    Once you take a wild horse off the range you have committed to his care for the rest of his/her life. This means you will have water available at all times. Even if the pipes freeze during a heavy frost–you go out and fix it. The horses might have to wait a little while but you make EVERY SINGLE effort to ensure this is seen to IMMEDIATELY. You commit to cleaning stalls or corrals–wherever the horse is located at. And you make sure that horse has feed.

    Why didn’t the facility manager see to getting a manure removal contract–even an emergency one–going? They knew they were getting more horses. Seems to me that if you don’t know how to operate a bulldozer–call around. The Mormon Church is big on lending help. All the guy had to do was call a local Bishop and he’d have more help than he’d work for–for all the volunteers. Someone would know how to operate a bulldozer. It was just sheer laziness.

    This particular story still has me screaming with rage. It was just so un-necessary to treat horses this way. I don’t want my taxes spent paying these peoples salary when all they can is sit on the rumps and NOT LIFT A FINGER TO HELP THE HORSES.

    No one would have done a thing without this video coming to light. Say what you will but I hope more horses will be better cared for now.


  9. It was a relief a few days ago to see a short report aired on one of the local TV news stations about this travesty. The report credited the publicity generated by The Cloud Foundation as the impetus behind the BLM’s announced resolution. The report also included a few seconds of the photos or video Lisa took when she was out there, at least it looked to me as if that must have been the origin. They did announce that a BLM spokes person said something to the effect they had been unaware of the plight of the horses and would now move them to another facility so the Harriman one could be renovated or moved to a better location and constructed with improved drainage and shelter. If they said where they were taking them I missed that part. Of course there was no mention or acknowledgement that I heard of any wrongdoing on the part of the BLM. It was my impression that BLM was as usual portraying themselves as the victims of unfair accusations by wild horse advocacy groups even though they do truly care about the welfare of the horses in their charge.
    I did not hear them actually come out and say it like that so maybe I am just a tiny bit prejudiced toward that most honorable federal agency given their impeccable record of taking care of these animals they insist would have long ago eaten and reproduced themselves out of house and home if not for the tender ministrations of the BLM and their hired “roundup” crews. I missed the SL Tribune article but then I always miss what that rag has to say about anything every chance I get because they cannot be trusted to report in a fair and unbiased manner.
    Anyway, this is another little step forward and shows that public pressure can sometimes have a positive effect so keep hammering congress to begin to fix this by refusing to fund or allow continued roundup and removal of these living symbols of our culture. Also keep insisting that they conduct a thorough investigation of the charges of abuse and inhumane treatment along with the contracting practices of the BLM. And by investigation we do not mean just asking BLM for their version but actually sending investigators unannounced to holding facilities and any stampedes that are in progress so conditions and actions can be observed first hand and unfiltered by the BLM smoke screen machines.


  10. Downsizing is being done at the base, rather than at the top, where it SHOULD be done–that is why positions are not replaced when employees retire. Management makes the decisions as to where to make the cuts and therefore we have increasingly top-heavy corporate/governmental institutions–yet another reason why things are going awry. The workload for the rank and file workers has increased while upper level management positions have remained untouched.


  11. First off–the horses should not be removed from the wild. How come, before BLM, the horses were fine?? They ate/roamed/reproduced/stayed out of the mud/lived and died –and were basically just fine/fat/free–all before BLMs cattle operation. So now we all support a multiple level travesty–we pay for federal land for horses that get removed by a federal agency, to be shipped to a “boarding” stable,to be gelded/maintained for life–and you can’t see them. You’ve paid for them about 5 times in the process—and it’s all secret. And it stinks–like a poorly maintained holding pen—and we are suctioned in –and paying for it. How did this happen? Do other federal agencies operate like this? I’m really sick of being screwed.


    • Ann, May I quote you on my facebook? You have really said a mouthful in just a few great sentences here and covered the fiscal aspect that is often not considered. Great way of putting it. And, yes, I hate being screwed too!


    • Unfortunately it isn’t that cut and dry. Many public lands are really no longer safe for horses, if many in fact ever have been when you research it more thoroughly.

      Doesn’t it make more sense to relocate herds to public lands which aren’t being used for mining, testing, etc.? I think the more the public digs their feet into the dirt demanding horses stay on the same public lands where they are – and have been – shooting ducks, well you can keep kissing all the wild horses goodbye.

      Why not round them up humanely, transport them to safer lands and designated public wild horse and private sanctuaries? Western Watersheds Project has been very successful with battling the cattle baron robbers 🙂 and may know where safer public lands are for the wild herds. ?

      I say efforts can be made to relocate entire herds from Nevada first, then battle the multi-use public land issues if you want to AFTER the horses are out of there.

      My ideas aren’t too popular with people, but I think they make sense for the horses. I think trying to have the cake and eat it too is killing more horses than it will ever save. Let’s face it, it’s the most convenient for US to say “leave them where they are,” it doesn’t cost us a thing, we can just complain and opine while the horses keep dying and nothing is changing, it may in fact be getting worse.

      Please do some research into multi-use government lands and the competition in key areas. There’s more to this than meets the eye. As much as we want to picture horses running free in the wild where they were born, we’re living in the 21st century. Time to wake up.

      Just think: no more roundups. It’s an idea which is actually sensible and simple. It will require an initial outlay of hard work, money and cooperation but how can BLM not consider this a viable solution?

      Once the herds are relocated it’s just a matter of good stewardship on OUR part after that.


      • I wish for action/agreement/compromise that would put our horses on good range that is for them; that it could be done reasonably and safely. Reason, safety and good ideas do not change a thing against this BLM Wall of Disregard! Working with them would be a breeze if it were possible to get where you need to be… and to stop what has been the overriding plan; to remove and stockpile wild horses.

        There has been nothing established with BLM that shows this or anything positive for the horses to be managed In the wild on range they would not be squeezed off of. It is a nice thought but such things are just not happening and we should get further along into writing totally new legislation that will help us access all the horses and their information- and re-situate those in agreeably bad places to better ones.

        But BLM has simply been zeroing out horses whose ranges they have deliberately invaded with mining and more cattle. Owyhee was a prime example as were several more in Nevada. Not all the places left without horses have been used and i agree these places should have horses returned to them. I have asked BLM this question a number of times; If you don’t want them where they are can you agree to put them in places they can be safe? Where should they be if not where they are?? LTH is not the answer and neither are all the removals and neither is indiscriminately PZPing all the mares as if it were an ‘eradication of foaling project’!

        In light of all this the wild herds and the captives seem to need a new program that will reverse damage and manage the land and horses with wildlife and keep the cattle away. Cattle and sheep need to be reduced and the Corporate Welfare ranching ended for good.


      • Relocation sounds good but try to get it done… really. Try. It could help many and be far better than LTH.

        In light of things, again, we need to be saving bloodlines and bands of horses in order to do this one day, privately if necessary. It is the hardest thing of all for a nation struck down economically to place herds on private lands for their safety and future.
        To keep them on public lands would be best. We do want them safe. We do want them to have a future. So many have been lost this past decade I feel we have been robbed by BLM of a resource they have not a clue what their true value is. BLM has gone off the charts and we must not allow it to continue.


      • Congress already has designated public lands for them. All over the West. Millions of acres. Federally protected designated public lands where they may be allowed to roam free unharassed and unharmed. (If only)

        Shouldn’t we demand the BLM follow the law instead of moving every last horse? That is preposterous. This planet is not for man alone. And what protects them on their new “designated lands and sanctuaries?” What if a gas company wants to frack their new designated “home?” What happens when a sanctuary owner passes away and there is no one to take over ? Wild horses belongs exactly where they are and where Congress decreed they belong by the voice of the American people.

        Does a wild horse not have the right to exist where it is? Perhaps it is man that needs to move. Leave the horses alone, for God’s sake.


      • Many valid points brought out in your post. I certainly agree with you…but how can we supervise those who are to oversee all of this? How can we keep big cattle out of the areas designated for the horses? It all rather reminds of the history with the Native American tribes ~ moved onto land not worth a tinker’s damn, then trying to take away what little was given to them without regard for consequences….


      • To Mary V,

        I wonder if Western Watersheds Project has some insight and might be able to coordinate something with The Cloud Foundation, for instance, where herds can be relocated to conservation lands that are suitable, and coordinate oversight and stewardship with same. ?

        The cost of privately conducted, humane roundups and transport can be fundraised for, and I will bet a great many caring and knowledgeable horse people will step up to offer their help too.

        Anything is possible.


  12. BLM is going to take these Horses to Gunnison–Gunnison Prison? Then the public won’t EVER see them again


  13. In reading the report, you will see that these Horses were mostly from the Eagle, Moria, Cedar Mountain and Antelope round-ups in Nevada. They need to be RETURNED to Herd Management Areas that have been “zeroed out”.


  14. One has to wonder–if public lands are no longer safe for the Wild Horses, how can they be safe for ANY wildlife? Elk, Deer, Bighorn Sheep, Sage Grouse….how can they, too, not be impacted by corporate/private invasion of America’s Public Lands?


  15. As we have all learned, WATER use is a Huge issue on Public Lands and this has tremendous negative impact on nearby communities as well as ranchers. This battle has truly been a voyage of discovery. Americans cannot take the safety of their resources (including Wildlife) for granted.


  16. Corporate invasion is even removing Preditory animals this along with the removel of the Wild Mustangs will have an negative effect, they must be stopped,it is hard to believe that any intelligent human being is in inept to understand the true absolute importantace of all animals, most importantly the Wild Mustangs to upset the balance of Nature is not I repeat not a very intelligent dicision, the air, water , land resoures are not about lining ones pocket, Mother Nature was given the responsiblity to Balance the animals , for which she is the expert, not some low life agency that cannot see beyond lining their own pockets with the deaths of these animals….You know what they say is not nice to fool Mother Nature…………She and she alone handles the Balance and I must say she does an excellent job !!!!!! Any interference is not a SMART thing to do………….. It may not be able to be readily seen but it is there……………. Our Mustangs are a huge part of the Balance and we had best better stop their eradication……………. There are many reasons to numerous to write in here but I know we all got the idea…………..This singlely is BIG>………..American people must stop this attack on our Wild Mustangs………..


  17. This protected wildlife reserve in Montana is a great example of what’s possible:

    I think it’s a matter of finding the pockets of safety and working with county and state agencies to develop preserves, along with tourism, education, and so forth.

    The Corolla wild horse preserve in North Carolina, another example – tourism is very successful and generating needed income:


  18. I believe there was some talk of placing the Wild Horse and Burro program into the Park Service, rather than the BLM. That was mentioned somewhere along the way and one of the Senators was in favor of this. This is something that would have to be thoroughly evaluated by the wisest and most knowledgeable… I can see dangers even in that decision. At this point, none of us have confidence in governmental oversight.


  19. When Wild Horses are taken off the range, there are almost always terrible injuries and deaths. Transporting them is very difficult and dangerous for them–we have all seen that. We probably don’t even know how many actual fatalities there are, because we are not given accurate information. It has court action to even allow our Humane Observers ANY access at all. The less they are moved, the better.


    • I disagree, Louie. Semiloads of wild horses were safely transported long distance by Lifesavers to their sanctuary destinations – not one scratch on them. 🙂 I’ve safely and humanely transported some wild kids, many others have too. It can be done very safely by the right people, and there are plenty of exceptional horse people who know how to do it safely and humanely.


  20. OK. Let me get this straight. According to BLM, there were no undue problems at the holding facility. Everything was fine, the horses were just standing in a little knee-deep mud, the huge pile of manure was fine because it used to be somewhere else in that lot instead, and that anyone who saw the video and thought that there was a problem there was obviously just a wild eyed, crazy advocate with no sense of what’s a healthy, normal lifestyle for horses.

    And yet… they’re moving 200 of the horses from that perfectly acceptable location to another now just to appease us noisy advocates. Really? Since when has the BLM EVER done anything because we asked, begged, or demanded it?!

    Again, we have a situation with plentiful evidence showing proof positive that BLM will lie, deceive, mislead, and misrepresent EVERY SINGLE SITUATION, NO MATTER WHAT- until the evidence against them is SO obvious (ie video) that it simply cannot be disputed. When it’s been printed in enough publications, generated enough emails, Facebook comments, blog articles, and TV reports, they finally do what they should have done in the first plalce without any outside influence. Victims of unfair criticism? Yeah, right!


  21. War Horse, it is good to know that it is possible to move them safely and that there are success stories. Goodness knows that we need to hear some. Do you think the Horses at the Utah facility could be transported to a destination other than Gunnison prison? They will surely disappear from public view there and once they are loaded onto the trucks, there needs to be a better destination for them.


    • From our recent experiences we know a horse who is frightened and being hauled can die regardless of how gently it was hauled. These are wild animals and everything we do to them can be traumatic and deadly. We do not always have a choice in this. Our handling of wild horses damages them. Most live… and they do not know the difference between us and BLM altho’ we know there is one.


  22. Apparently the Gunnison facility holds adoptions by appointment:

    Approaching the Gunnison facility with the intention of helping them publicize their adoption and training programs? Why not? BLM’s adoption programs everywhere have admittedly been an overall failure and in dire need of private intervention and assistance. How can they turn down an opportunity for positive publicity and proactive assistance from the private sector to help them meet their purported training and adoption program goals, i.e., to get these horses out of the prison and into adoptive homes? If that is in fact what is taking place at Gunnison, they would most certainly welcome any proactive assistance, would they not?

    If they are not interested, then maybe their training and adoption program is just BS and you go to Plan B. If horses are coming in and disappearing or heading elsewhere and then disappearing, it’s real easy to figure out what’s up and find out who’s involved.

    They claim to be open by appointment according to the website. If anyone is able to go, bring a couple of seasoned (and converted) horse traders along – if there’s anything foul going on they’ll know right away 😉

    Just some thoughts.


  23. There may have been Humane Observers at Gunnison Prison, but there have been no reports. Laura Leigh tried to follow one of the trucks into Gunnison immediately after the round-up and had her phone and camera confiscated. Cameras and phones are not allowed in the prisons. Without pictures or videos, it pretty much prevents any REAL documentation that would negatively impact BLM. Pretty clever move on their part…if we go along with it.


    • The pens are within prison security and inside the fences… Cameras and journalists routinely go to prisons and take pictures. As a journalist I have toured a working prison and taken pictures. I believe the BLM was controlling the situation when Laura went there. BLM recommended she be searched so she and her vehicle were. BLM did not want her to take pictures or have a phone.


  24. What I’d like to see is some video of those poor wild horses being manhandled in chutes while having their hooves trimmed however regularly or irregularly they carry out that process in the horse prisons. Without natural rocks and natural movement, the horses feet can trim themselves naturally, so it’s good ole BLM wranglers who have to scare the daylights out of the horses doing nature’s job, and likely injuring the horses in the process. Where’s some footage of that, I wonder?


  25. It seems that taking them to Gunnison would just take them from one prison to another…still out of the view of most. There don’t seem to have been many visitors to the Salt Lake facility…how many would go to Gunnison prison to check on them?


  26. Within the last months, I have seen 3 Mustangs on Craig’s list…one was for $100 and one for Free. What will be their fate? With the current economic situation and the way it has impacted the Horse market, registered Horses are ending up in sale lots such as the one we just saw in Montana.


  27. Wonderful comments! BLM, Salazar and the President should read them. In fact, they should know how taxpayers feel about the criminal torture, killing and destruction of the beautiful and deserving Mustangs, our American heritage.

    Sadly, they don’t care. And the horses continue to suffer.


    • They’re all going to spend eternity in Hell very, very soon, so we can take comfort in knowing that what’s in store for them – they have no idea 😉


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