Article by Debby Coffey ~ all rights reserved
Sun J Stampede Contractor Thumbs Nose at Dept. of Transportation Regulations
On 2/10/2011, during the Antelope wild horse roundup in Nevada, and the day before Tom Gorey of the BLM issued a press release (below) on BLM’s investigation into their contractor, Sun J Livestock, Inc., the Sun J truck was found to be in violation of several DOT regulations.
Dept. of Transportation records indicate that DOT number 2072963 (Sun J Livestock’s truck) “Denotes this carrier exceeds the FMCSA intervention threshold relative to its safety event grouping based upon roadside data and/or has been cited with one or more serious violations within the past 12 months during an investigation. Therefore, this carrier may be prioritized for an intervention action and roadside inspection.”
On 2/10/2011, Sun J’s truck was noted for these violations:
- speeding 15 or more miles per hour over the speed limit (unsafe)
- No Drivers’ Record of Duty Status (Fatigued – meaning the operation of CMV by drivers who are ill, fatigued or in non-compliance with Hours of Service regulation)
- No Medical Certification in Driver’s possession (driver fitness)
- Failure of driver to use a seat belt
BLM’s very narrow investigation of only one incident at the roundup, instead of a broader investigation (maybe BLM didn’t want to look too hard in case they might actually have seen/found something) failed to uncover another 10/29/2010 speeding violation by Sun J’s truck.
The BLM’s review team, established by Dean Bolstad, Deputy Division Chief, BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program, and Amy Lueders, Acting State Director, BLM-Nevada, consisted of Dr. Albert J. Kane, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), APHIS/BLM Wild Horse and Burro Partnership; Gus Warr, BLM-Utah Wild Horse and Burro Program Specialist; Lili Thomas, Wild Horse and Burro National Program Office, Contracting Officer Representative; and Mary D’Aversa, BLM-Nevada Schell Field Office Manager
Although Bob Abbey stated that the BLM review team found no violations of BLM policy and procedures, and called for a “new Normal” for doing business, here we are at the Triple B wild horse roundup with Sun J, running horses in 90-94 degree heat. Sun J is also using the same helicopter pilot, Josh Hellyer, who, according to Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education, consistently flies too fast, flies on top of horses, dives at the horses, and gets in front of the horses, especially at the mouth of the trap, causing the horses to turn away. Leigh noted that at one time today, Hellyer drove in only 2 mares and a foal, so he is most likely breaking up the bands as he drives them in.
Bob Abbey, does this sound like the BLM is minimizing risks to animals? This is an open invitation for you and Secretary Ken Salazar to put on your cowboy hats and attend at least ONE roundup to see what’s really going on.
Release Date: 02/11/11
|Contacts:||Tom Gorey: 202-912-7420|
BLM Review Team Finds No Violation by Wild Horse Gather Contractor of Existing BLM Policy and Procedures; BLM Director Calls for “New Normal” for Doing Business
An internal review by the Bureau of Land Management has found that Sun J Livestock, one of the BLM’s wild horse gather contractors, did not violate existing BLM policy or procedures in connection with a Jan. 27, 2011, incident involving a mare that fell, got up, and was subsequently pursued by the contractor’s helicopter during the ongoing gather of wild horses at the Antelope Complex, located in Elko and White Pine counties, Nevada. The controversial incident, captured on videotape, was widely disseminated on the Internet and through the news media.
The four-member BLM review team concluded that the mare had stumbled or tripped and fell when she lost her footing in a small snow drift. She was not over-driven and did not collapse from exhaustion, the review team found. Following attempts by the helicopter to herd her into the trap, she ran off uncaptured.
BLM Director Bob Abbey said, “The BLM review team was asked to look into this incident to see whether Sun J violated any existing BLM policy or procedures relating to the gathering of wild horses from the Antelope Complex, an overpopulated Herd Management Area in Nevada. The team found that no such violation occurred.” Abbey added, “This finding does not mean that the BLM is satisfied with its existing policy and procedures dealing with wild horse gathers. We will carefully review our policies, consider advice from experts, and continue to look for ways to improve and minimize the risks to animals.”
Today it is the heat, early in the year it was the cold that the BLM and Sun J tormented the Horses with at Antelope
- Fitch Outs BLM Employee Who Advocates Hunting Season on Wild Horses (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- BLM Employee/Contractor Publicly Promotes Hunting Season on Wild Horses and Burros (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- BLM Boss Bob Abbey Plays Congress (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- HSUS Misses the Mark on BLM Wild Horse Stampedes (rtfitch.wordpress.com)