100 Captive Wild Horses Moved From Squalid BLM Facility

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

BLM clings to “No Wrong Doing” on its part!

Multiple news reports indicate that more than 100 wild horses have been moved to a short-term holding concentration camp at the Utah State Prison in Gunnison. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) allegedly moved the captive mustangs to a BLM corral at the prison after the agency’s Butterfield Canyon facility near Salt Lake City incited national outrage.

True to form, the move of 108 horses does not mean that the BLM is accepting any accountability. Mouthpieces for the agency insist the horses are well-treated and the national attention — triggered by a professional video of muddy, filthy corrals and a documented written report — are without merit.

“We’ve always had mud issues, but not like this year’s,” said Jared Redington, who manages the corrals for the BLM. “The reason we shipped those horses out was to make a little more room here at the facility.”

Last week Redington sang a different tune when he reported that everything was “Okay” for an initial Salt Lake Tribune article on the incident.

“With all the rain that’s projected we’re going to have,” Redington said, “we thought it was best to move those horses out of the facility to give us a little more room so we can rotate the horses into drier pens.”

The controversy began on March 15 when a potential horse adopter,  Lisa Friday, had the misfortune to visited the facility. Obviously concerned by what she saw at the filthy facility, she recorded video and wrote a detailed report that she submitted to the Cloud Foundation, a world-wide recognized mainstream  wild horse advocacy organization. The video was professionally edited and narrated by Emmy award-winning cinematographer Ginger Kathrens.  Ms. Kathrens carefully and accurately states, in the tape, that, “Lisa was unprepared for what she saw, animals that had no dry place to lay down, or those that had trouble walking in a urine-soaked quagmire of mud and manure.” Then, as a scene unfolds showing a motionless mare lying on the ground, Friday herself is heard on the video, saying, “That horse has been laying down since we got here. Hasn’t moved.”  The video on its own merits is extremely compelling.

The exposure of the wanton conditions at the facility generated heated criticism of the BLM, but Redington continues to cling to the concept of misrepresentation.

“Yes, there was some things in there where they didn’t tell the whole story,” Redington said. “But that’s their given right to come out and look at the facility. But what the video doesn’t show is the straw that we have out for the horses. And where the mare was actually laying down was on dry ground.”

In addition to raising criticism about muddy corrals, the video suggested inadequate medical attention. In one scene, the video shows a mare with a gaping shoulder wound, surrounded by flesh or hair that has a ghastly purple color. The tape’s dialogue indicates that the wound may be infected while equine owners from across the country could clearly see that it needed to be sutured at the very least.

Redington said the discoloration actually came from a purple antibiotic medicine sprayed on the wound. “What they were interpreting as an infection was actually a treatment,” Redington said. “The veterinarian that was on site said the horse is fine.”  A statement that is rebuffed by credentialed veterinarians.

Redington continued to crawfish by saying that the movement of horses did not directly result from the controversy. He said a potential movement of horses had been under discussion anyway, but he acknowledges the controversy may have sped up the decision.

As usual, the ultimate fate of the captive wild horses is unclear. The BLM’s broken policy of removing federally protected and healthy wild horses from their rightful natural habitat has resulted in a log-jam of more horses being held prisoner in short and long-term holding than are free on the public lands of the west.  Said mismanagement all but assures that the moved horses will enter into the BLM’s system of obscurity where they will either be shipped off to long-term holding centers in the Midwest, at taxpayers expense or mysteriously disappear at auction for destinations unknown but assuredly not in the best interest of America’s national icon; the wild horse.