Horse News

BLM Abuse Continues at Nevada Roundup

Press Release from the Cloud Foundation

Wild burros hotshotted during Calico Complex roundup

RENO, Nev. (Dec. 13, 2011) – During the helicopter roundup of wild horses and burros in the Calico Complex of northwestern Nevada last Thursday, Ginger Kathrens, director of the Cloud Foundation, filmed the hotshotting of a group of 10 burros that had been captured and were being loaded into a stock trailer by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contractors, Sun J Livestock.

“At least one crewmember repeatedly hotshotted the burros while they were in the alleyway and while they were in the trailer,” states Kathrens. “It is ironic that this inhumane treatment occurred on the very day that BLM Director Bob Abbey announced procedures to improve what he referred to as ‘aggressive and rough handling of wild horses.’ I guess someone in BLM forgot to tell the Sun J crew.”

“It is obvious that there is a disconnect between the national BLM office and BLM field personnel,” states Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist who attended two days of the roundup with Kathrens and her assistant, Lauryn Wachs. “Electric cattle prods are barbaric and should not be used on already traumatized wild horses and burros. It can cause a lifelong fear of humans.”

The roundup of both mustangs and burros is currently in progress in the nearly 600,000-acre Calico Complex where BLM is allowing only 572 wild horses and 39 burros.

Kathrens explained the events that led up to the use of the cattle prods on the band of nine adult burros and one foal: “In the afternoon, the helicopter pilot drove 10 burros into the trap site with the help of four mounted riders. A short time later, we heard the pilot radio the ground crew, ‘Can you handle more horses?’ A male voice responded ‘Yeah. Bring them on.’ At that point, everything seemed to go into overdrive. If they could load the burros, the capture corral would be clear for the horses. There was money to be made,” Kathrens adds. “The contractor is paid by the head, so the 5 horses they got in after the burro incident netted them around $1,750.”

Sun J is typically paid $350 for each animal they catch. Advocates have long complained that this payment per head system encourages crews to move too fast and to use any means available to catch more animals.

“The ground crew began to rush, trying to get the burros into the back compartment of a stock trailer that already contained two mustang in the front section.” Kathrens explains.

“That was their first mistake,” states Marjorie Farabee, equine manager of Todd Mission Ranch and TMR Rescue in Plantersville, Texas, and an expert on the handling of burros. “You don’t do things quickly with burros and you have to have enough trailer space for them. They are not flight animals and they push into pressure which is just the opposite response you get with horses.”

Roger Oyler, BLM State Program Lead for Wild Burros and Horses in Arizona agreed, “You have to make it their idea, not yours. You have to have patience.”

“When the burros resisted getting into the trailer, the hotshot came out,” says Kathrens. The HD footage shows a man hanging over the fence near the back of the trailer. He is plunging the prod down into the burros in the alleyway. A few minutes later, he begins jabbing the prod into the back of the trailer where four burros stood facing out.

“If repeated shocks to the faces and bodies of these animals is not inhumane, then what is?” observes Wachs, who attended both the Sun J roundup in northeastern Nevada in January and the Calico roundup last week with Kathrens “BLM has the authority and the responsibility to step in, yet they did not. In this instance they just stood by and watched the torture.”

“Our on-going legal battle with the BLM over this very same issue of ‘humane care’ and handling in the Triple B roundup last summer is about to be ruled on by the U.S. District Court of Nevada,” states R.T. Fitch, president of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF). “The agency now has the opportunity to do the right thing and implement appropriate humane procedures, today, or risk waiting until the ruling comes down from the court and such implementation will be mandated by a Federal Judge. Either way, these acts of cruelty need to stop, and stop quickly.”

“Sun J has a history of abuse, yet BLM continues to award contracts to them,” says Kathrens, who filmed the Antelope Complex roundup in eastern Nevada last January and asked the District Attorney of White Pine County to file charges against the BLM and the Sun J crew for running animals to exhaustion. The District Attorney refused to act on the complaint.

“The communication and law enforcement teams during our three days of observation of the Calico roundup were very knowledgeable and helpful,” adds Kathrens. “It’s really too bad that this contractor and those in charge on site make everyone in BLM look bad.”

Links of Interest:

Burros Hotshotted in Calico – Foundation video:

WHE Analysis of BLM Triple B Report:

AP Article on BLM internal review findings:

Exhausted mare collapses at Antelope Complex roundup – Foundation video:

BLM Press Release on internal review:

Congressional Appeal to Stop the Roundups – Foundation video:

54 replies »

  1. HOLEEE KOW (no pun intended) and GOOD LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is just disgusting!

    Ginger, Craig, LL and team…thanks for the info. I just wish it wasn’t ALWAYS so horrendous.


  2. Despicable unnecessary cruelty, These people are disgusting inhumane Bastards, who they themselves need to be hotshotted…………………….This is Criminal action that needs to be addressed immediately………….What in the hell is wrong with these demented jerks,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,This kind of cruelty is on my last nerve……………………….


    • Old habits die hard.

      Most humans will compromise their value system for whatever reason; most of all for greed, ego and anger….bottom line (and level) humans.

      Remember that most of these “contractors” used to be in the horsemeat biz before the 1971 Act (remember “The Misfits”) and probably did domestic equine slaughter in parallel with roundups. They turned off their souls and conscience a long time ago….or maybe they had such mutilated childhoods, they never had them in the first place.

      Ever see some of the KBs arrest records…creepy.


      • Denise,
        The phrase “turned off their souls and conscience a long time ago…or maybe they had such mutilated childhoods,they never had them in the first place.” That rings SO TRUE. I view people like the contractors and the BLM and all such ilk as souless with no conscience.

        Thank you for putting it so succinctly.


  3. Why are “we” paying the contractors more per head to capture than the adoption fees charged? Talk about a gross waste of tax dollars! The BLM has more holes than Swiss cheese. If they stopped all roundups for the next 10 years, there still wouldn’t be as many horses on OUR land than there were even 5 yrs ago. The total eradication of our wild ones will be at the hands of the BLM if this doesn’t stop soon.


    • Well, if you don’t have an accurate census…the removal numbers aren’t important.

      And yeah, the price per head, dead, injured or alive is just freaking sick (and SLOPPY CONTRACTING)….unless, you just want them GONE.


      • DUHHHHH….YEAH!?! (aka, I agree with you)

        BUT, again, this goes back to the contracting specs AND AUTHORITY!

        Sun J does it because they have always been allowed to DO it.

        BTW..wth has happened with wild equine abuser #2? (oops…make that 2b…NO 1 is USDA.DOI with Sun J being 2a).


      • BOTH contractors are allowed this abusive behavior by BLM.

        (about 7 minutes into the video – Cattoor hits horse with helicopter)


  4. I think this video was shot (no pun intended)the day BLM released that article about some inappropriate behavior but no inhumanity.

    You know that guy that is standing on the fence–you know what I’d love to do with the cattle prod in that open space! And he’d deserve it!

    Totally unacceptable. Hotshot ting in the head and/or face?!

    Can we say HITLER REINCARNATED! And we’re paying for this? Unfreaking believable!


  5. The APHIS vet looks like all vets I’ve seen on kill floors….”I don’t want to watch!”

    Seriously, please tell me the vet did more in the way of observing than looking at blocked panels and open joints in the pens and alley ways???

    I mean, wth can he/she see from that vantage point???


    • HE is a poor excuse for a Vet , he is paid to see no evil hear no evil , he can not see Jack Sh– from where he is positioned


      • Makes me start to believe there is something terribly wrong with food in general and what is REALLY going on with our traditional meat sources…and it scares me.


  6. Definition: Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is the infliction of suffering or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defense… harm for specific gain.
    “Specific gain” – does that sound like both the contractors and the BLM and their “associates” to you?


  7. The reply by ground staff if they were ready for more horses, should have been No, not yet, hold off a little. We are still loading burros. But you will never hear these words out of a private contractor paid by the head, especially one with such a horrendous track record as Sun J personnel. If they could, they probably would have driven the horses right over the backs of the burros. They are not going to change. They don’t care. They are scum. Fire them.


    • You really dont expect any considers for the horses from demented people do you???? Look I am so sick of this atrocity i could scream, and I already have, it is horrible to know all this stuff going on , and have to sit here feeling there isnt a thing you can do about it, Then I think of the the pain the horses are receiving for no reason other then greed, I have tried and convicted them long ago, These so called people got to be stopped , but how do we end this???? Always the answer is the same ,, take a stand , a physical stand……….. When you think about even two years ago has any one thing changed for the horses??? That answer is yes, its gotten worst for them………..There suffering will continue until we stop it for them……………


    • They simply do not care, they have no connection to kindness towards the horses or the burros. I am not saying that ALL BLM employees are without compassion. It is the ones in the field, and the Bob Abbey’s..


  8. Our burros have been sorely abused and this is just another offense but one we have seen. BLM tries to hide burro roundups from us by scheduling and canceling then I see on the Roundups completed report they were rounded up a month before the first scheduled date was canceled. There will burros taken in NV this winter/spring and weather permitting I do hope someone is there to document as we need more on these wonder creatures!


  9. Sun J, I have just written your bosses and demand you be fired. You are not capable of following directions or changing, so time for you to be unemployed.


    • I think the energy would be better spent on your rep and senators…with an info copy to that sad piece of poop that is our Federal Attorney General, Eric Holder or the local NV branch of the Fed AG.

      Reporting Sun J to DOI is like tinkle-ling into the stiff NV west wind in winter.


      • swh…I don’t think you are wrong for complaining to DOI. I just don’t believe it makes any difference to the killers.


      • Why do we write to Holder? We need to talk to the people who work for him and find an ear and use it. Holder won’t deal with us. So, we need to contact the folks at the Justice department and find someone whose job it is to listen…..


      • Mar, it is Holder’s staff that goes up against us in court! The Justice Dept defends the government not wild horses.


      • To swh:

        DOJ also prosecutes government agencies for corruption and malfeasance. I will admit that they appear to have a conflict of interest.


    • Depends on evidence rules (they are usually germane only to the case in question) and if admitted, defendant is entitled to full disclosure (time delaying).

      As to the judge, I will not say anything more.

      I hope, but…….


      • Denise I forget the word but I think Laura is able to add to her claim. One would think with Judge McKibben about to make a ruling they would be minding their manners. No matter what they should want to impress the Judge with there caring attitude.

        This doesn’t come anywhere near meeting humane or proper animal management.

        I don’t know what is the problem with these bureaucrats–other than there getting free medical–but all one has to do is watch two or three of these videos and the picture starts to become VERY clear. The news is this


        Hitting animals with the helicopters is inappropriate. No question about it.

        Repeatedly hotshotting animals is inappropriate. Not sure why the concept is so difficult to comprehend.

        Crowding pens to the point where animals can’t stand on their own because of the crowding–the system is broken.

        Lack of water–a year ago you agency killed 12 horses essentially weatherboarding them. Any questions?

        Lack of feed? Unbelievable that someone even needs to have this discussion.

        Separating babies from moms for up to eight hours with NO NOURISHMENT. UNBELIEVABLE.

        Gelding studs using a paralytic drug with NO pain killer? Can you holler ANIMAL ABUSE loud enough.

        Honestly after 40 years you should already have asked and answered these and all the other questions.

        Fix the problems. If your contractor can’t fix it or won’t–they are in violation of their contract. Boom there done. Simple as that.

        No more excuses from the vet of he didn’t see what abuse IS CLEARLY evident on video. This vet needs to be terminated immediatedly–with cause and no second chances.


  10. Idiots! How do they define inhumane? This is another picture of it. I hate that the Burros suffered, I hope that this film is another nail in the undoing of SUN J and their bosses, the BLM.
    And take down those ridiculous tarps.. I don’t think they will help the animals “settle” when a murderous madman is electrocuting them (almost)..And they certainly won’t fool the JUDGE anymore than they fool us. What Bullcrap.


  11. A big part of the problem here is that the BLM is still handling wild horses like people did back when there was a lot of ignorance about the way horses are hard wired. I think that attitude is changing. Clearly, most of us don’t buy into it. These guys have no training. They act like they have been trained by Dave Duquette, but then, that’s no training at all, unless, of course, you are a cow.


    BLM: Nev. horse roundup included use of electric prods, whips, but treatment was not inhumane
    By Associated Press, Published: December 9
    RENO, Nev. — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s internal review of a wild horse roundup in Nevada found some mustangs were whipped in the face, kicked in the head, dragged by a rope around the neck, and repeatedly shocked with electrical prods, but the agency concluded none of the mistreatment rose to the level of being inhumane.


    • Okay, fellow advocates, what do you think –
      It would be easy enough to PROVE: If they consider all that brutal treatment to be “not IN-humane”, then let’s see the BLM and other agency personnel and their hired thugs – I mean their “contractors” (All who gave the orders, all who condoned it , all who could have but did nothing to stop it, and all who did the evil deeds) be subjected to repeated doses of the “not IN-humane” treatment and see what they think about that. You can bet they’d be crying for their Momma’s after the first shock treatment to the face – even if it was turned down to be a fraction of the dose use on the equine. They just MIGHT come to realize that NO LIVING BEING deserves the brutal and violent treatment they so routinely subject the horses and burros to.


  13. Tried to post on that link, Louie….thanks.. DISGUSTING. I wish I could use that on that jerk’s ass at least once, and I’m not kidding…


  14. Joan Guilfoyle’s number: 1-202-912-7260.

    You’ll most certainly have to leave a message. Ask her what the “new normal” is because it looks a whole lot like the “old normal.”


    The shame of the BLM
    “Right now, in an area of Northern Nevada known as the Calico complex, wild horses are running in terror across some of the roughest terrain in the West. Calico was the site of the bloodiest mustang roundup in history. Two years ago, I was there for part of it. BLM ignored all warnings about conducting a huge roundup in the middle of winter. The contractors used helicopters to frighten the mustangs, running them for miles across snow-covered ground, their hooves smashing onto sharp volcanic rocks. Dozens died on the spot. Some pregnant mares aborted their young. Others died in holding pens. A few literally ran their feet off — their hooves were worn to bloody stumps, so they collapsed and died.”


    • George Knapp is a great journalist and he sees right through the BLM BS and doesn’t mind at all researching and then telling the truth… the REAL truth!


  16. I think Judge McKibben is supposed to rule sometimes in January.
    The unbelievable brutality of our wild horses and burros must stop.


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