Horse News

Casey: BLM Fails to Protect Horses, Burros from Heat

by Ginger Casey

“Our good friend, Ginger Casey, forwarded an article that she had written for us to share, here, at SFTHH.  The article, likewise, appeared in the Reno Gazette.  Ginger Casey is an Emmy-award winning journalist who began her career in Reno and we thank her for sharing with us.  Keep the faith!” ~ R.T.

“The irony is that in order to adopt one of the animals, you have to prove you have shelter from the elements available for them.”

As the temperatures in the area began to climb north of 100 degrees last summer, the public began to petition the BLM to do something about the conditions at the Palomino Valley wild horse adoption facility north of Reno. Nearly two thousand horses and burros were languishing in triple-digit heat in huge, open, dirt pens with neither shade nor shelter.

The outcry, along with the temperatures, continued to climb until the facility announced it was going to start installing sprinklers for the horses. Praise, including mine, rolled in [RGJ, July 6, 2013]. Officials from Washington then flew to Reno to hold a community meeting to “brainstorm with the public” on solutions for providing the horses some relief. Horse advocates arrived from Nevada and beyond, armed with proposals. They brought offers for shade and documentation from several equine veterinarians that high heat and no shelter could be lethal to the animals. One former USDA veterinarian even warned the BLM that the conditions were calling for “emergency action” to ensure the safety of the horses and burros.

The officials arrived, made promises and flew back to Washington. Shortly afterward, advocates discovered there were only two common household sprinklers attached to a fence at Palomino Valley for the nearly 2,000 animals and that no more sprinklers would be forthcoming. No shade was forthcoming either. The horses and burros continued to be subjected to scorching heat, driving rain, wind and snow through the rest of the summer and winter. Had they been in the wild, they would have been seeking shelter under bushes and trees.

Half of the horses and burros are gone now, sent out to other facilities across the country. A shade “trial” is underway, with three temporary tarps, which cannot adequately provide protection for 900 animals. The two sprinklers that were installed are gone. Advocates who believed the promises now feel betrayed; those of us who applauded the initial news release regarding the sprinklers feel foolish.

The irony is that in order to adopt one of the animals, you have to prove you have shelter from the elements available for them. You are required to have a structure with a roof, able to block winds. Tarps are considered “unacceptable.”

Last year, the National Academy of Sciences issued a harsh report on the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. Even though the study — commissioned by the BLM — concluded the agency’s own management of the animals was a large part of the problem, the BLM is continuing to do business as usual while the number of horses and burros in holding continues to skyrocket, as does their carrying costs.

The situation has now reached crisis proportions. Some members of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, which is made up of mostly ranching, mining and hunting interests, have already suggested slaughtering the animals to control their numbers. The winds seem to be shifting against the horses and burros. And from this wind, there is no shelter.

Despite being federally protected, the management of America’s wild horses and burros is complicated and dominated by politics, priorities and special interests. But there is nothing complicated about temperatures over 100 degrees or those below freezing. This kind of weather kills. Given that half of the wild horses that are left live in Nevada, the BLM must find a way to provide these warehoused animals at least a minimum of shade and shelter. Anything less is just talk to a public grown weary of empty promises.

30 replies »

  1. I could ask the question:
    Why aren’t the Ranchers livestock corralled or at best fenced


    We all know the answer to that:
    Tax Payers $$$$


  2. When the day arrives, and journalists take the walk down the plank, we’ll see some “hard hitting” articles. Sorry, this article preserves a lot of things, not the least of which is this writer’s position.


  3. It’s the same at the wild horse corral a few miles outside Boise. It’s just a dirt lot in a sea of sage brush, windy and dusty, completely exposed. It’s supposed to be 99 degrees today. I asked one of the BLM staffers out there why there was no protection from heat and cold. Predictably, he told me they’re wild and don’t need it, and then he scurried back into his nice cool office.


  4. Why can’t we require an equal number of cattle and sheep be confined alongside the WHBs… at their owner’s expense. This at least would garner support for humane living conditions from their owners, and perhaps the HSUS.


  5. I have seen this myself and it made me cry. Below is an excerpt from my eyewitness observation last June.

    BLM’s Litchfield holding facility near Susanville, California appeared to be about half full with approximately 500 wild horses and burros still standing in this “feedlot” situation while literally just over the hill the legally designated wild horse and burro land is almost empty. BLM’s Palomino Valley holding facility near Reno, Nevada also appeared approximately half full with about 1,000 wild horses standing in their “feedlot” corrals. They have no shade from the blazing sun and no shelter from the freezing winter winds. HORSES WERE EVEN LYING DOWN AND TRYING TO COOL THEMSELVES IN A FEW SMALL INDENTATIONS IN THE MOIST SOIL WHERE A LITTLE WATER HAD LEAKED OUT FROM THE TROUGH. These magnificent wild animals should be in their legal herd areas. The BLM’s management is unjust, illegal and inhumane.
    (Photo in report)


  6. Can’t understand why BLM carries out such unspeakable cruelty to wild equines they are mandated by law to protect and gets away with it.


  7. Each and every one of those Federally Protected Wild Horses and/or Burros should be returned to their LEGAL Herd Management Areas and those
    ” holding facility”/concentration camps should be shut down…permanently.


  8. to everyone involved with b.l.m. and cattlemen’s assoc. are so full of s..t . i’ll bet they are never going to do anything about it sorry people . i’ll bet the worst has not yet arrived . these people are not going to listen to us or something would have already been done about it . bet ,their animals are not treated like that . iwonder what it would be like if they would just work with us ….but nooo, they just blow us off i’m not sure what to do now ,they just pull us in conflicting directions .just like what the rest of our government is doing . and t/y debbie for bringing out that article about agenda 21 sure seems like they have sped up that buiss. again. with this border crisis and everyone on vac. then the health risks, just so much going on at the same time/ with no end in sight .america as we know it is slipping away……….


  9. I will have to let you all know, that if you drive by 28th and Youngfield in Wheat ridge CO (the BLM office for CO) and see the parking lot of about 100 autos – you will see the brand new pickups and bmw’s – you will see why they didn’t have enough frigging money left for shelter for the horses.


  10. A biologist’s response to the BLM’s wild horse “problem”

    A biologist’s response to the BLM’s wild horse “problem”
    By Robert C. Bauer

    The rangelands, however, can easily sustain not only the wild horses and burros existing out there now, but also every one of those in holding facilities, which now number well over 40,000.

    The truth is that every one of those wild horses and burros in holding facilities,
    if released back to the areas from which they were taken, along with those in the wild, would help bring the balance back to the rangelands, a balance that is so very vital!


  11. To : The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
    You all are stupid,selfish,despicable asshats!!
    You all do not give a damn about all the wild horses & burros you have captured. All you do care about is the color green,gold,silver & how much $$$$$$ is in your bank accounts!! Everyone knows damn right well you all are getting your palms greesed by all of the ranchers. Karmas commin & she isnt pretty. I pray you all get exactly what u deserve x 1000!!!


  12. As long as the Ranchers are aloud to unjustifiable blame wild horses, burros and wolves for their failures, to collect tax dollars they will do so

    It’s called fraud

    And the BLM has a legal obligation to stop the fraud

    There should be on the board, American tax payers, after all it is our land, Veterinarians, horse advocates and not just the ranchers which does appear to be a conflict of interest

    It also appears that the BLM is on the “take”


  13. Now is the time to stop asking for shelter and shade , it is the time to DEMAND immediately or we will…………………………… Nicey nice does not work with this Corrupt rogue Agency !!!!!! Either they provide it or we will nothing short of that !!!!! Either we make this happen or why are we here , ???????????????????????????


  14. If inspiration is needed watch the Movie made in,1995 if you have not already seen it the true story, IN THE PURSUIT OF HONOR,you can get it at your Local Library…………….


    • You are right Arlene -In pursuit of honor is what our country does with our horses once they no longer need them -and what a differnce just a few can make – well worth watching.


  15. Thank You Geri !!!!! I do own the Movie I have watched it 163 times , I have researched this movie, no where in the annuals of history can it be found, it was erased by ?????? because of the total embarrasment of General Mc Aurther and his unwise and unpopular disicision !!!!!! Although as of 2009 their were several living soligers who varified it !!!!! if this movie doesnt move you to action nothing will !!!!!!


    • And I heard just yesterday that they are changing and/or erasing some of our early WHITE history from the history books so we know It happens.


  16. Yes Geri, they can do anything they want !!!!!! I do truly believe that this happened , as it was told by the soligers who witnessed it and then it was erased from History !!!!!!


  17. How could anybody believe pathological liars? I never did…there has never been a shred of truth that has come out of their mouths. They either want to kill them or slaughter them. Dammit, these are CATTLE MEN AND WOMEN running the show and we know how they feel about the horses. Their motto is if you feed it you should eat it.


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