Horse News

The BLM and Lack of Transparency

Guest Commentary by Nell Walton of AllHorses Post

The Public can Connect the Dots

On April 29, the Bureau of Land Management issued a press release announcing that its Wild Horse and Burro Long Term holding facility near Tulsa, OK would be open for one day for a public visit in June.

Interesting that this announcement comes so closely on the heels of The Cloud Foundation’s release of this viral video which graphically illustrated the horrible living conditions of wild horses at the Lake City Short Term Holding Facility near Salt Lake City, UT:

Oddly enough, last fall the BLM conducted a media tour of some its other long term holding facilities in Oklahoma about three weeks after the release of another viral video titled “The Death of Braveheart” which illustrates the death of a wild stallion at a roundup at the Silver Kind Herd Management Area in Nevada:

To call these extremely transparent and weak attempts at damage control is a gross understatement.  Why must the BLM always be in the damage control business?  What’s wrong with the PREVENTION mindset?  Why not do something completely radical and have humane treatment and public observation at ALL facilities?

 Even though I don’t like to “go there,” I have to say that this opening of these model long term holding facilities in response to negative media headaches brings to mind how the Nazi regime used the Czechoslovakian concentration camp of Theresienstadt as a propaganda tool to illustrate how well Jews were treated in the 3rd Reich.  Tours of the ‘spa camp’ facility (including tours by the International Red Cross) were the answers to negative (and factual) media reports of what was really going on behind the barbed wire in Nazi Germany.

Common sense clearly shows that having the public at large traipsing through the wild horse and burro holding facilities willy-nilly would not be a workable solution – too much stress on the animals and an excessive amount of work for holding facility staff.

HOWEVER, I think routine tours by humane association observers of nationally recognized organizations as well as the interested public – preferably on a monthly or bi-weekly basis are clearly indicated at a minimum.

BLM – you work for us.  You have been given the task of caring for one of our most precious symbols of freedom.

Please stop screwing it up.  Please give the America people what they are asking for – transparency, honesty and compassion in your Wild Horse and Burro Program.

And please give us come credit.  We are not such great fools that we can’t connect the dots on your damage control efforts.

14 replies »

  1. The government is in the business of shaping opinion it’s called propaganda. It has become the circus barker for corporations profiting from the exploitation of our air, water, and land for profit. Unfortunately our mustangs are an impediment of their taking of our land.


    • I agree! We advocats need to ban together and get the word out. I live in the east and have found that very few people know about the wild horses. When
      I fill them in they are stunned.


  2. Nell, I’m glad you got “wound up” and wrote this! Seems like these tours are also in response to the first amendment rights lawsuit, LEIGH v SALAZAR, which was recently filed in the 9th Circuit Court. This lawsuit includes our right to ACCESS.
    I worry that any representatives the BLM chooses to be “humane observers” will be cherry picked and people who seem to be beholdin’ to the BLM or APHIS in some way.


    • Brief and temporary visits are not a sincere attempt at transparency. This issue is standing in the way of information gathering which we all have a right to do on any aspect of the wild horses and burros handling and management.

      Going to see the horses when we can is still important. We may learn something we did not know or see something that we want an explanation for. Showing our complete interest is also good. There are 5 people signed up right now and I do not yet know what their limit is. There was one the last time.

      An advocate friend and her husband may be going and I have asked her to make inquiries about the foals born at the facility. These foals become the property of the holder contractor. I am not agreeable to this. What become of these foals?? How many are then taken from the contracted holding when weaned? We have a right to know.

      Please, if you can take the time to go see these horses please reserve a space and go. Take pictures, ask questions and listen to what they say… closely.


  3. Nell, I read recently that the Jewish investigators are STILL tracking down the criminals from that regime…..they are in their 80s now…the ones that are left.
    We have to have the same tenacity.


  4. A few well placed web cams wouldn’t disturb the horses or “inconvenience” the BLM staff. (And they’d be a whole lot cheaper than paying lawyers … just saying.) Laura thanks for doing what you’re doing and Nell for your posts.


  5. Laura – one point of confusion for me is how many suits are there in the system right now? There is another one that I saw a press release about recently, which I think was also in the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, then there is a recent one in New Mexico that I just read about.

    Is there one place to get all the information about what legal action on the Wild Horse issues are ongoing? If I could just be pointed in the right direction I’d be willing to do a story on it.


  6. I’ll see what I can put together. If nothing else what court it is in, the status, the issues and the plaintiffs.


    • Please do this, Nell!! These cases need understanding and a place in the considerations of advocates who want ‘something to be done’. Something Is being done and it continues and is influential. These cases have everything to do with pressures on BLM and decisions they are making. There has been something good out of every one of the cases filed against BLM including the Cloud suit against the fence… which could still come down in the Arrowhead Mountains of Montana.


  7. And the Horses that are in short term holding…Laura’s lawsuit encompasses that, as well. When they are hauled off to prisons camps such as Gunnison, we never see them again. The short term holding facilities is where so much damage is done. The stallions are castrated and the mares are injecteded with the PZP. The foals…what happens to the foals?


  8. Here’s another Lawsuit:

    Wild Horse Observers Association sues over wild horses in Placitas area
    May 4, 2011 by admin • Leave a Comment
    First Posted: May 02, 2011 – 2:10 pm, Last Updated: May 02, 2011 – 3:24 pm
    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Supporters of wild horses in the Placitas area north of Albuquerque have sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to prevent the horses from being rounded up and sold.
    The Wild Horse Observers Association contends Salazar and the BLM have violated a 1971 federal law designed to protect wild horses by never recognizing horses roaming around the Placitas area as wild.


Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.