Horse News

BLM Plans Helicopter Roundup of Pregnant Mares and Tiny Foals

Wild horse groups unite to protest proposed action in the Jackson Mountains

BLM Contract Chopper Cruelty ~ photo by Terry Fitch

RENO, Nev. (June 6, 2012)—Wild horse advocates are united in protesting the planned helicopter roundup of the entire Jackson Mountain wild horse herd at the height of foaling season. The Bureau of Land Management’s Winnemucca District Office is scheduled to issue their Decision Record regarding the mustangs in this drought stricken area of northern Nevada at any time.

Representatives of Sun J Livestock, a helicopter roundup contractor for BLM, are already in Winnemucca, awaiting the decision from District Manager, Gene Seidlitz. During the few short years the now infamous roundup company has been in business hundreds of mustangs have lost their lives. Despite significant input from wild horse advocates and even those from within BLM, Gene Seidlitz, seems willing to take a chance, opting for the harshest possible measures in dealing with the herd which, according to him, includes “mares heavy with foal and tiny foals.”

“When I spoke with Mr. Seidlitz yesterday, we emphasized the risks involved in running these animals for miles during peak foaling season,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation. “He has been given contacts for water and bait trapping experts who have successfully captured hundreds of wild horses and burros using these far less dangerous methods.” Kathrens fears her pleas may have fallen on deaf ears.

Ironically, privately-owned cattle still graze in the Jackson Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA) and advocates have been asking Manager Seidlitz to use his statutory authority to remove the livestock first, then continue hauling water to wild horses and set up roundpen panels around the water sources for water trapping.

“Why are they still leaving livestock on the range if it is so bad?” asks Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs. “This is peak foaling season—the most dangerous time of year to be chasing mustangs.”

Spontaneous abortion of late term mares is likely as well as lethal injuries to foals too young to keep up with their mothers. In the past the hooves of these young horses have literally fallen off during and after helicopter stampedes.

“I can’t think of anything more irresponsible or cruel,” says Kathrens. “If BLM would only opt for water trapping rather than a helicopter stampede it would allow us to support the agency rather than continually battling their harsh tactics.”

The Cloud Foundation in conjunction with the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Animal Law Coalition, Colorado Wild Horse & Burro Coalition, Equine Welfare Alliance, Front Range Equine Rescue, International Fund for Horses, Protect Mustangs, Respect4Horses, Wild Horse Education, and the Wild Horse Freedom Federation encourages the public to urge BLM Winnemucca District Manager, Gene Seidlitz, ( or 775-623-1501) to opt for humane wild horse management methods.

24 replies »

  1. This entire thing is more than ridiculous!! BLM deliberately does this in the most cruel, violent, destructive and traumatizing way any evil mind could think up. That they do the roundups and removals at all is evil beyond what any NORMAL person could think or do. It HAS to STOP!!! When the government is deliberately destroying innocent lives, you know things are completely out of control.


  2. There is so much violence and danger in this world that is brought on naturally by weather and other causes….why should men create violence and danger for innocent animals?
    If they cannot have compassion for horses, then maybe they could envision doing this to a group of human mothers and toddlers, would that be enough to stop them?


  3. I wrote to implore Gene Seidlitz to cancel the proposed helicopter roundup of horses at Jackson Mountain. In the past the barbaric BLM roundups have caused the deaths of horses, and this stampeding of horses actually ran the hooves off a tiny foal, who died. Mares died. Tiny foals were separated from their mothers and died. I read that newly born foals tried to run and were too small and were stampeded to death. What kind of monsters were responsible for this uncivilized cruelty? So-called leaders at Bureau of Land Management committed this heinous atrocity.

    It is especially horrible to contemplate this mindless stampeding of the horses now, since it is foaling season. We are not a country of barbarians yet, or are we? As a tax paying citizen of this country I have been sickened in the past by the behavior of the Bureau of Land Management in the heartless and ignorant use of helicopters to run horses from the land Congress gave them. This unscrupulous cruelty causes the horses’ terror and their deaths. Those who survived were penned in horrendous pens, and to what purpose? Why? It has remained an inexplicable mystery.
    The horses, our Mustangs, that were removed from the lands on which they lived peaceably and caused no problems for anyone, are mostly now dead or suffering agony. They were brutalized and starved by people who bought them at inappropriate auctions by BLM, and some were slaughtered. Where are the horses who were stampeded by helicopters in the past, other than those lucky enough to be saved by Madelaine Pickens? I ask these questions, but never receive answers.

    For me, I am grief stricken for what people at BLM continue to do to horses that are our American Heritage. Why are they moved from their land? Is it to cater to Ranchers or to foster plots to build pipelines, or is there some reason nobody can really fathom at all, other than just something that BLM does just to do it? It is beyond cruel, and it is a blight on this country and an insult to every tax paying American. Who is going to stop these people after YEARS of abuse of the horses?


    • I totally agree with you T Boyd! something must be done!!! I think our so called president knows this and hasn’t stopped it.. I bet his daughters wouldn’t be happy to know there dad allows this atrossaity to happen to these poor wild mustangs!!!!


  4. BLM needs to be reined in. If they want to round up something with their damn helicopters go chase the welfare cattle off of public lands set aside for wild life not 300,000 private rancher cattle that only contribute 5% of nation’s beef and cost taxpayers over 1.5 million dollars in deficit spending.


  5. This is absolutely cruel and inhumane! What are they thinking and don’t they have any compassion at all for life?! First of all, to remove them from everything that is natural and important to them is unconscionable, but to do so with pregnant mares and baby foals is deplorable!!! Where are the humane organizations on this and are they speaking out?


  6. Another wipe out of our wild horses, I care because of the cruelty to the animals . The wild horse and burros have a legal right to stay on public land. The blm ignores this fact. Where is the protest from our elected congress. that the blm is wasting tax money. If the Government would stop the waste , our President would not need to raise taxes.



    Comment from reader:
    .Does anyone know for sure if cattle are still on the range or, if not, when were they removed? If there is no forage and no water, why would the cattle still be there?
    I have seen no video at all of the conditions there and since they talked about this at their WH&B meeting in April, they have had PLENTY of time to come up with a strategy other than their “go to” helicopter roundup.

    admin on June 7, 2012 at 8:01 am
    Horseback has received reports that cattle are indeed on the range with the horses. We take the position that the horses should only be removed by mounted wranglers during foaling season and the harsh summer months thereafter.


  8. I have no decent words to describe the BLM. They are inhumane, greedy bas____s. they have no conscience and we the people pay them!!!!! Outrageous.


    Take Action Now: Stop BLM’s Jackson Mountain helicopter roundup during peak foaling season
    You can email and fax Gene Seidlitz, BLM Winnemucca District Manager, and politely ask him to not conduct the proposed helicopter roundup at Jackson Mountain–during peak foaling season. You can ask for them to truck out water and feed as needed. His email is The Fax # is 775-623-1503.
    Please take action now!


    • The PR lady, Artelia, said they had been hauling water for the last month and that the horses were score at 2 to 4 for body condition (see BLM Press release).


    Take Action Now: Stop BLM’s Jackson Mountain helicopter roundup during peak foaling season
    You can email and fax Gene Seidlitz, BLM Winnemucca District Manager, and politely ask him to not conduct the proposed helicopter roundup at Jackson Mountain–during peak foaling season. You can ask for them to truck out water and feed as needed. His email is The Fax # is 775-623-1503.


  11. Lisa LeBlanc wrote at FB that there is only a northern portion of the HMA that is in the drought area and both she and Craig Downer said there is rain and more coming. The horses will not stay where there is no water! If they need water, then bringing it to them is more reasonable than removals into a system already over loaded with wild ones and stretched thin financially. BLM’s decision making will not favor the wild horse and burro on the range. This roundup is an excuse and working to keep the horses on their home ranges has simply not been BLM’s idea of helping them. This is just insane. Mares and new foals will suffer in ways this modern society should be ashamed of allowing a government agency to inflict upon them. This is a matter of management failure to live up to the law. Policy is not law. Change the policy or change the agency.



    BLM Refuses Expert Offer for Humane Alternative to Dangerous Helicopter Roundup In Jackson Mountains, Nevada
    June 7, 2012 by admin • Leave a Comment
    Tiny Foals, Heavily Pregnant Mares and Compromised Horses to be Stampeded By Helicopter Beginning Tomorrow in Jackson Mountains, Nevada

    This tiny mare and foal are among the horses who will be stampeded by helicopter beginning tomorrow in Nevada.
    Reno, NV – (June 8, 2012) — Despite the offer of experts to assist the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to provide a humane alternative, and under the guise of an “emergency,” the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today that it will launch a helicopter roundup tomorrow in the Jackson Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA) in northwestern Nevada. The action violates the agency’s own policy prohibiting the helicopter stampede of wild horses during peak foaling season (March 1 – June 30) and fails to meet the agency’s own criteria for an “emergency” situation.
    This morning, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) joined by The Cloud Foundation, sent an urgent letter to the BLM informing the agency of the immediate availability of an expert in bait/water trapping who works with the U.S. Forest Service who can assess the Jackson Mountains situation and begin bait/water trapping in the area.
    June is the height of foaling season, and the BLM’s decision means that BLM-contracted helicopters will be stampeding tiny foals, heavily pregnant mares and other horses who may already be compromised from lack of adequate water and forage with helicopters for untold miles over rugged terrain in high summer desert temperatures.
    BLM has not done due diligence in evaluating less dangerous alternatives to a helicopter drive in the middle of foaling season. In fact, the agency could have been water/bait trapping for the last month, in order to avoid a helicopter stampede.
    “The BLM’s decision to subject tiny foals, pregnant mares and already compromised horses to the trauma of a helicopter stampede without even attempting a safer and more humane clearly demonstrates the BLM’s callous disregard for the well-being of these federally-protected animals,” said Deniz Bolbol, communications director of the AWHPC.
    The letter highlights that, “…it would be the height of irresponsibility for the BLM to proceed with a helicopter roundup and stampede in Jackson Mountains during peak foaling season, in an area where horses may already be stressed from lack of water and forage…”
    BLM policy prohibits helicopter roundups during peak foaling season:
    “The capture of wild horses by using a helicopter to herd the animals is prohibited during the foaling period, which is defined as six weeks on either side of the peakof foaling to assure that young foals are mature enough to be able to remain with their band during gather activities. This period is generally March 1 to June 30 for most wild horse herds…” (BLM Wild Horse and Burro Management Handbook, June 2010)
    However, the agency is moving forward under the guise of an “emergency,” but the situation in Jackson Mountains HMA does not meet the BLM’s own criteria for an emergency:
    “Emergencies generally are unexpected events that threaten the health and welfare of a WH&B population and/or their habitat. Examples of emergencies include fire, insect infestation, disease, or other events of a catastrophic and unanticipated nature. alternative means or procedures to comply with NEPA.” (BLM Wild Horse and Burro Management Handbook, June 2010)
    In fact, the EA for the roundup plan stated specifically that the situation was not an emergency.
    “We’re calling on BLM to halt all plans to conduct a dangerous and cruel helicopter roundup in Jackson Mountains and to instead immediately call on the available expertise to implement a humane capture alternative that would involve the humane use of water and bait traps,” Bolbol concluded.
    The BLM plans to use helicopters to roundup 630 horses from an estimated population of 930 horses (including 738 adults and 96 foals who were counted in April 2012) in the Jackson Mountains area. The capture operation will encompass over 775,000 acres – of which 286,000 acres are within the Jackson Mountains HMA.


    • Artelia, A PR person for the BLM at the Winnemucca office said it is raining. Such irony. Why is every roundup a permanent removal? These horses should be able to come home… in a real crisis they could one day.


  13. Apparently, Sun J is the contractor of choice at this point – not much mention of them before 2011.
    Certainly lots of money to be made by these people – and there doesnt seem to be any thought towards humane treatment – boggles my mind how they can find people who have so little compassion for the horses. And the BLM ? Is there noone with any authority who looks at this mess & sees there is a better way? I guess if you feel that way, you get pushed out…


  14. I did send an email to Mr. Seidlitz – sure wish he would listen to the experts.
    This is going to be a disaster for the horses.


  15. Tragedy in the making! Why?
    “When I spoke with Mr. Seidlitz yesterday, we emphasized the risks involved in running these animals for miles during peak foaling season,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation. “He has been given contacts for water and bait trapping experts who have successfully captured hundreds of wild horses and burros using these far less dangerous methods.” Kathrens fears her pleas may have fallen on deaf ears.

    Why would anyone do this in this day and age as if we do not know better?


    Debbie Coffey PPJ GAZETTE
    Open Letter to the BLM:
    May 18, 2012
    RE: Public comment/Jackson Mountain wild horse gather
    At the same time your office claims to need to remove wild horses to “prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands by protecting rangeland resources from deterioration associated with excess population of wild horses…,” on January 2012 your office issued an EA for the Hycroft Mine Expansion Project, which uses 900 million gallons of water a year (did you request 1′ and 5′ water drawdown maps for this EA?). A wild horse only drinks 15 gallons of water a day.
    This Hycroft Expansion Project will use an additional 5,895 acres of PUBLIC LAND, with 2,172 acres of “new disturbance.” ON PUBLIC LAND, it seems this one project has 85 acres of roads, 176 acres including an open pit, 451 acres for heap leach pads, and 451 acres for waste rock facilities. Wild horses leave some hoofprints and eat some forage.
    Please explain, exactly, how removing the wild horses will “restore a thriving ecological balance.”
    Also, please explain how the Hycroft Mine Expansion’s many uses of water and disturbance of public lands, KEEP a “thriving ecological balance” and with 5 years needed for reclamation, how is this not years of “undue degradation” or “deterioration?”
    Your district also has the Coeur Rochester Mine Expansion Project. In August 2010, the EPA sent a letter to Bob Edwards of the BLM, stating that the EPA was concerned about this 7th Amendment to the Plan of Operation (POO) since 1986 and that no Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) were conducted regarding the Plan of Operation OR its amendments. The EPA stated it had concerns about the proposed project’s “potential direct and cumulative impacts on water and air quality.”
    24 years and no EIS? It sure seems that “uses” of public lands that make more money get Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSI), which is in violation of FLPMA (Federal Land Policy and Management Act).
    Your office also gave a FONSI to Newmont Mining’s Sandman Exploration Project, in the EA, it states this project will cause 500 acres of disturbance, and “none of the drilling products to be used under the Proposed Action contain hazardous substances and all are approved for well drilling and would therefore, not contaminate ground water aquifers or surface waters. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for common drill additives are included in the Plan.”
    “2.1.9 Solid and Hazardous Materials …Hazardous materials utilized within the Project Area would include diesel fuel, gasoline, and lubricating grease.”
    Isn’t lubricating grease used on the drill? (If so, shouldn’t lubricating grease be considered a drilling product?). Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is being used for this project, isn’t it? It seems a Finding of No Significant Impact is often given to uses that have the potential for a LOT of impact.
    In conclusion, without any photographs or videos of the wild horses, you cannot prove there is an excess and you only have the legal authority to remove the wild horses from their HMAs (Herd Management Areas) if there is an excess.


  17. It is like they get off on harming helpless animals, like a killer gets killing for their high. They are no better than a criminal, in fact it is a. Crime and cruelty to the horses.


  18. It’s all about the powers that be and the beef and mining industry. There is almost nowhere that you can go in the hundreds and hundreds of square miles on BLM land in Nevada, when you think you’re in the middle of nowhere, get out of the car to pee- no matter where you go- cow shit. Ranchers are raising beef after wiping out Indians and buffalo- and there is no room for anything that does not lead to profit. It’s greed. Our beautiful horses are paying a horrible price and they are not the only ones. There is indiscriminant killing of coyotes, mountain lions as well. There is no respect FOR ANYTHING OR ANY CREATURE that interferes with ego driven profits.
    I agree that we cannot give up protecting our beautiful and innocent horses. It sickens me and horrifies me as well. We cannot give up! I agree that it is murder- I truly feel that way. Evil


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