Horse Health

Wild Horse Stampede Dispute Escalates in Nevada

Story by Emerson Marcus as published on RGJ.com

Hundreds of Private Cattle Remain While Protected Wild Horses are Removed

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s emergency roundup about 50 miles west of Winnemucca started Friday and has been disputed throughout.

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz, became the most recent critic Friday writing a letter to BLM suggesting they should consider “less dangerous alternatives” than helicopter roundup during foaling season.

The BLM gathered 107 horses — 19 of them foals — in the 283,000 acre Jackson Mountains herd management area Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The roundup continued Monday and is expected to run through the next three to four weeks, BLM spokeswoman JoLynn Worley said.

More emergency roundups could happen this summer, given the drought conditions, Worley said Monday.

Three horses were euthanized Sunday because of poor health conditions established prior to the roundup, Worley said. No other injuries have been reported.

The dispute stems from the BLM’s decision to move the roundup date to Friday during the foaling season. BLM had planned the roundup start date after the foaling season in July.

“We are noticing that there aren’t as many foals out there as there should be and what that tells us is they may not be surviving,” BLM spokeswoman Heather Emmons said. “There just isn’t enough water out there.

The foals being brought in are very thin, Emmons said.

“Moms and babies are struggling,” she said.

The BLM said its goal is to reduce the estimated Jackson Mountain horse population of 930 to fewer than 270 because of a lack of forage and water.

Horses are corralled by a single helicopter contracted by Sun J Livestock Inc., of Vernal, Utah and transported to the National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley, 17800 Pyramid Highway. Gathered horses are gentled and put up for adoption.

But the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, along with Grijalva, said the BLM’s decision is inhumane and their emergency efforts are disingenuous.

“Jackson Mountain (roundup) is very different,” American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign spokeswoman Deniz Bolbol said. “We have business as usual, but this is taking it to a whole new level. This is one of the most egregious BLM decisions.”

Bolbol said she received a phone call from the BLM in April. The bureau told her that drought conditions created an escalating situation and that the it would start filling troughs in the region with water, Bolbol said.

Advocacy groups asked to help with water trapping, but the BLM ignored them, Bolbol said.

Worley said water trapping, where horses are lured into a corral by water, is ineffective because skittish wild horses react before they can be corralled.

She said “over the years the BLM has found that using a helicopter to herd groups of small horses into capture site or corral is much more effective.”

The BLM attempted water trapping in the Jackson Mountains earlier this year without help from advocacy groups, but horses scattered and none were corralled, Worley said.

Environmental assessments — including three wildlife cameras that exposed malnourished wild horses — concluded that the emergency roundup was necessary, and delay could lead to poorer horse conditions before the scheduled July 1 gathering, Emmons said.

Horses have also neglected seeking new water outlets and often stayed at the same source, sucking mud from the ground in the same spot they once had water, she said.

Bolbol said the BLM is “stuck in its ways,” has exaggerated the situation and is opposed to alternative forms of horse gathering.

“This is a situation that does not develop overnight,” she said. “A drought does not even meet BLM’s decision of an emergency. Emergency is something that is unexpected. When you have a drought situation you know well in advance….They should have worked with us all along.”

BLM Winnemucca District Manager Gene Seidlitz said he organized a meeting May 4 to discuss the Jackson Mountain horse roundup. All six of the advocacy groups he invited did not attend, he said. Bolbel said she had prior arrangements that day.

Worley attributed much of the outcry against the roundup to the expanse of social media.

“More people are aware of it so we hear from more people through social media,” she said. “As far a congressional interest, that’s similar to what we’ve seen in the past.”

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30 replies »

  1. BLM hasn’t curtailed use by any of the huge water guzzlers in the area – like mining. Mines are sucking up millions of gallons of water from the aquifers and lowering the water tables over vast areas of land. This means not only less water, but less forage.

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    • Yes, there are more cattle than horses on this HMA….ranchers had been asked to voluntarily remove cattle, and a few did. But they are not being required to remove the cattle, therefore the lack of forage for our horses….a very sick and disturbing situation!

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      • Actually, the livestockers do remove for the purpose of hiding their numbers and extraction abuses per DOI/USDA order……and then DOI/USDA let them come right back after the wild equines have been massacred.

        It is, however very possible that the Feds have gotten so brazen with the wild equines that they don’t remove the livestock prior to roundups like they used to.

        Anyone see the 60 Minutes piece on exotic animals and “wild” (aka CANNED) hunts?

        Remarkable and jaw dropping.

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  2. I wonder why a dvocacy Did not attend. Did they really get the message. It is so unjustified that the BLM.
    Rejects help when offered. The situation is so maddening

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  3. What about all of the other projects that have been allowed into the Jackson Mountains LEGALLY DESIGNATED HERD MANAGEMENT AREA? Are they going to be curtailed due to drought conditions?

    The following are excerpts from Debbie Coffey’s letter to BLM. Take a look at the energy projects. These projects use huge amounts of water. Are they going to be halted because of drought conditions?

    https://rtfitchauthor.com/2012/05/21/wild-mares-giving-birth-to-littersaccording-to-blm-population-estimates-they-do/

    by Debbie Coffey ~ (Director of Wild Horse Affairs at Wild Horse Freedom Federation) published in PPJ Gazette

    RE: Public comment/Jackson Mountain wild horse gather

    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.

    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.”

    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.”

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  4. Horses cut off from their resources by fencing, too many roundups remove the older horses with “herd wisdom”, depleting aquifers, too many cows/sheep – once again the horses pay the price with their lives and freedom.
    “As far a congressional interest, that’s similar to what we’ve seen in the past.” – (we always ignore them! and the American people).
    note: cattle in the northern HMA are not being removed (drought not in that area), why can’t horses go there? it’s their legal domain!

    Do you think Hitler’s SS cared about pregnant women or children? Genocide is not compassionate.

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  5. Could this be one of the reasons for this roundup….against ALL HUMANE and reasonable objections?

    What about all of the other projects that have been allowed into the Jackson Mountains LEGALLY DESIGNATED HERD MANAGEMENT AREAS? Are they going to be curtailed due to drought conditions?
    The following are excerpts from Debbie Coffey’s letter to BLM. Take a look at the energy projects. These projects use huge amounts of water. Are they going to be halted because of drought conditions?
    https://rtfitchauthor.com/2012/05/21/wild-mares-giving-birth-to-littersaccording-to-blm-population-estimates-they-do/
    by Debbie Coffey ~ (Director of Wild Horse Affairs at Wild Horse Freedom Federation) published in PPJ Gazette
    RE: Public comment/Jackson Mountain wild horse gather
    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.
    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.”
    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.”

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  6. BLM/Worley says there may be more roundups… roundups are removals. They are one way trips to various holding situations and a tiny percentage of adoptions. There are always alternatives and if the law was respected the horses would never leave their lands to be stockpiled. Moving horses to other areas is more sensible than removing them forever and the expense is temporary. BLM management is inadequate for the horses and burros needs to continue life in the wild. What has already been done by BLM by way of removals is devastating . I refuse to believe it is irreversible. We need our national organization that will include professionals and volunteers, as well as scientists. We need to create this to keep our work to make change effective and to grow a real movement that supports saving our wild horses in the wild and from the long term holding dead end.

    We make our voices heard across the country but we are not developing the bridge to the future by aggressively seeking change in legislation to exclude the Burn’s Amendment and to protect our wild ones from this drain of removals and holding. Why are we standing still? If RT or anyone can create work to accomplish real goals then we need to be doing it now and not wasting time waiting for removals to continue. Funding is being lost to ‘poor book keeping’ practices and personal agendas the donors are unaware of. What we all have given to the field has not all been used in the field or for the stated purposes it was raised for. Do some homework!

    Once again we are putting all our eggs in one basket and waiting for someone to make a miracle? More hard working people is what this campaign needs and a direction away from a narrow scope of goals. If BLM can adjust itself to comply to the outcry we all have made for years now, then we have done this thing, all of us, and it is time to do much more. You, the advocates have made everything possible but it is not enough!

    I have tried to post what BLM released on June 11th, here, stating their intentions to gentle down their removals by helicopter. It seems they have done this. What I posted was removed. I thought it was because there would be a post from someone addressing this and expanding on it but this has not yet been done.

    I tried to post the link to this BLM Press Release and it was removed. If BLM has complied with public outcry then we have done something together. It has never been a one person fight with BLM, as no one has done a thing with out the funds we all put into this. There are no individual victories here, we have all payed dearly for what we got. Now we need to do more!!! I hope the press release from BLM will be discussed here and also the fact that we have been backing everything that has been done in the open. We have, all together, made strides because we have been the engine and the fuel that made it happen. Let’s do more and let’s do it now. Please.

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  7. This was brought up by one of the readers who commented under an article on HORSEBACK:

    If any BLM employees genuinely cares for the welfare of our endangered mustangs/burros, then they need to do the right thing and bring down this agency of corruption. http://www.employmentlawgroup.net/LP/Whistleblower-Protection.html?_SR=Google%20Adwords&_AC=Whistleblower%20Law&_AG=Whistleblower%20Protection&_kk=whistleblower%20protection&_ph=1-888-263-4305&gclid=CK_vrerIy7ACFc1k7AodOmqqYQ

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  8. http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/info/newsroom/2012/june/jackson_mountain_day.html

    This is dated today!? It was up a couple days ago. Wonder what the date change is about!

    Release Date: 06/13/12
    Contacts: Heather Emmons , 775-623-1541 , hlemmons@blm.gov
    News Release No. 2012-19

    BLM Conducts First Day of Emergency Wild Horse Gather

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) emergency wild horse gather in the Jackson Mountains started on Friday, June 8, with the capture of 27 animals in the drought stricken southern end of the Herd Management Area (HMA). The gather operations started at 6:30 a.m. and ended at approximately 10:00 a.m. because of windy conditions. The gather resumed today at 6:00 a.m.

    “Gather operations were conducted in a slow and patient manner,” said BLM Winnemucca District Manager Gene Seidlitz. “The contractor and the BLM employees followed the guidance outlined in our agency expectations document, which was developed to ensure humane capture and handling of wild horses during a gather operation.”

    The document, which is posted on the BLM Nevada website at http://www.blm.gov/nv, lists 24 points to ensure the humane handling of wild horses during gather operations.

    Some of the points are:
    Gather helicopter may not come in contact with an animal.
    Foals will not be left behind or orphaned in the field.
    Mares with dependent foals will be separated from other animals in a designated mare/foal pen, until they can be shipped to the BLM preparation facility.
    The BLM and the contractor will ensure that the distance animals are brought to the gather site is based on the terrain, environmental conditions, and animal health.
    Electric prods may not be used routinely and may not be applied to sensitive areas.

    The emergency gather was started three weeks before the end of the foaling season, which is usually March through June. To prepare for mares with foals and horses in declining body conditions, the BLM is taking some added measures:
    Provide additional pen space at the short-term holding corrals to ensure mares and foals have more dedicated pens in which to pair up and be closely monitored.
    Provide additional pen space for weaker animals to be separated from stronger ones for added care.
    Closely monitor animal condition at the trap location and temporary holding corrals.
    Closely monitor weather conditions and temperatures to avoid gathering animals during hot temperatures.
    According to Seidlitz, prior to starting the emergency gather, the BLM closely monitored the condition of the animals, and the availability of forage and water.

    “Our hope was that the gather could start in July,” said Seidlitz. “It increasingly became apparent that the condition of the animals was deteriorating to the point that holding off gathering would put us in the position of gathering animals in declining health if we waited.”

    The BLM began the initial steps involved with water trapping through the placement of a temporary water trough and storage tanks and by hauling water, but this activity scattered the animals away from dwindling water sources.

    “We determined the placement of panels for a water trap would further add to the skittish behavior of the horses, and we discontinued water trapping efforts and kept as low a human presence as possible, so the horses would continue to come in to drink,” said Seidlitz. “The BLM hauled about 5,000 gallons of water a week for five weeks to troughs set up in the southern end of the HMA.”

    The gathered animals will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center north of Sparks, Nev., where they will receive health checks, fresh water and grass hay. These animals will be available for adoption. The Center is open to the public six days a week. For more information, call the Center at (775) 475-2222.

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  9. I believe the time for asking is over , I believe it is now time to demanding !!!!!! It has long been determined that the BLM is full of corruption,and lies….. This situations continues to escalate Our Mustangs cannot be continually eradicated…………………How they withstand the constant bombardment of these needless , round ups is unknown….. The BLM has only proved that they have no concrete evidence what so ever to do these murderous roundups……. If there infact was a water crisis remove the cattle also…………………………..

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      • Yes Mar, I am frustrated , It makes no sense at all, why we cant stop these demented fools………. The land from what I have read is devastated from the cattle all ready,, its effects will be long time to rejuvenate the land, here where the horses would have been departmental, it would have never happened, why in heck were the horses there, because the were suppose to be, they are essential!!!!It doesnt take a scholar to figure this out, Horses do not devastate the land, cattle do??? What part of that is so hard to figure????? A like Cattle ,they srap their tongues around foliage and rip it out, Horses only eat the grass from the top??????? The devastation MADE BY THE CATTLE WILL TAKE FOREVER TO REPLACE!~!!!! When are they going to learn its not nice to try and fool Mother Nature !!!! She handles the Balance !!!!!

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  10. There has never been an overall effort to allow the land to heal. It would be a wonderful thing to see and do. There have been fights about this for decades. Favoritism wins.

    I have just been censored at HorseBack Magazine for attempting to comment to another comment and just following the lead of the that comment. I am sad to say that this and other indications from HorseBack show there is this sort of prejudice toward truth as well as opinion.

    “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations.”

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  11. But in spite of all that the BLM subjects these horses to they accept no responsibility for their own actions. Who do they think they’re fooling? When the BLM moves in there goes the neighborhood ( as the old saying goes). These horses would flourish if left alone. The healthy ones would survive and the weak would die naturally. Leave them alone!

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    • Yes, they are definitely fooling around with survival of the fittest by forcing removals. Really compromising the gene pool and playing God, which man is really lousy at.

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  12. This is such a load of horse manure. Anyone with half a brain knows BLM and ranchers are hand in glove…it’s all about the money, screw ethics, humanity and compassion.

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