The Terrible Truth About Wild Horse and Burro “Bait Trapping”

Bait Trapped

by Grandma Gregg

First, I want you to take a close look at the photo above of wild horses that were trapped by a BLM hired and approved bait trapping contractor, so that you will be aware that the so called “safe and humane” bait trapping method is not safe and is not humane.  This photo is from Freedom of Information (FOIA) data.  These horses were obviously seriously injured and likely were euthanized by BLM due to their critical eye injuries.

Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse, is defined as the human infliction of suffering or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defense or survival.

FOIA PROOF OF HIGH PERCENTAGE OF DEATHS OF BAIT TRAPPED WILD HORSES

Through FOIA data, I discovered that during a 15 month period of wild horse and burro bait/water trapping (October 2012 through December 2013), 634 wild horses and burros were bait/water trapped, and within that same 15 month period, 56 of those were reported as dead.

Unlike the BLM’s usual “injuries and death are not frequent and usually average less than 0.5% to 1.0% [one percent or less] of the total animals captured” propaganda, we can see in actuality these figures prove a 9% (NINE percent, rounded) death rate due to capture by bait/water trapping, by BLM hired and approved contractors.

And, that 9% does not even include the unknown deaths that occurred for these wild horses and burros after that 15 month bait/water trapping period.

How many of these wild horses and burros that were reported as “dead” could actually have been driven “out the back door” and down the slaughter pipeline?  Either way, they are dead.

To assist us with knowledge about bait trapping verses helicopter capture, I am providing my responses to a National Mustang Association/Colorado bait trapping proposal.  (National Mustang Association comments are in bold italics below.)

National Mustang Association (NMA): Why is bait trapping a desirable alternative to helicopter roundups?

  • Far more cost-effective

My response:  I realize that using an in-house (BLM employees) bait trapping process could be more cost effective than using private contractors, but most bait trapping is done by BLM hired private contractors who have proven their disregard for wild horses and burros?  This makes a huge difference.

  • Easier for the horses

My response:  Although I realize that in-house (BLM, with continual public observation) bait trapping would likely be safer for the horses themselves, this is not the norm for the BLM’s current private contractor bait trapping contracts, which clearly state that hot-shots are acceptable (if not used on the head or anus or genitals of the animal) and clearly states that no public observation is allowed.

Since anyone who has researched the BLM’s for-hire contractor documentation of animal abuse knows, even when public observers have been allowed in sight of the capture area, the animal abuse was evident; so how can anyone believe that without constant public observation, that the private contractor is giving safe and humane treatment to the wild horses?  We cannot – and the facts and photos show us the real truth.

  •  Better publicity for BLM   

My response:  BLM’s public image is a NON issue – the entire issue is the 1971 WH&B law that clearly states, “wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death” and entitled to roam free on public lands where they were living at the time the Act was passed in 1971.  The protection of the wild horses and burros is the only issue – the BLM’s persona has nothing at all to do with the law and procedures to protect the wild horses and burros.

The above information is only a fragment of the wild horse and burro bait trapping story, but it needed to be shared.  I wish to add here that I am not, and never will be, in favor of helicopter roundups – they have a long history of animal stress and abuse and deaths – but the public needs to be aware that the bait trapping method is also not acceptable to the American people, who own and care about our wild horses and burros.

More information:

https://rtfitchauthor.com/2012/08/06/wild-horse-and-burro-bait-trapping-going-going-gone/

 

 

52 comments on “The Terrible Truth About Wild Horse and Burro “Bait Trapping”

  1. For this reason, Reserve Design and Giving the Wild Horses adequate space and habitat, so that these dreadful roundups can be avoided, please, for the horses’ precious sake!

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  2. “In-House”….

    I’m reminded of a blog from back in 2010, in which two women observed the Moriah roundup.
    The entire removal was conducted by BLM wranglers and the helicopter, flown by a BLM pilot. Even transport to holding (if I recall correctly) was done by BLM.
    The BIG difference with that roundup was an attention to detail where wild horse welfare was concerned:
    The pilot worked for quite a while trying to get a wise old stallion into the trap. When the exhausted old boy finally got away, the pilot simply let him go home; there was no additional pursuit, no horseback attempts to rope and wrangle him.
    They just let him go.
    They took 53 horses from the area, and no deaths or injuries occurred. 12 were bait trapped. It took BLM four days of easing these animals into captivity, rather than running them virtually to death.
    Of course, the biggest difference between this roundup and one done by a contractor is BLM wranglers don’t work on commission. And as reprehensible as the attempt to zero out such a tiny herd is, in observing the video posted by these ladies, it was apparent the health of the animals was paramount, over and above the necessity of makin’ a thousand bucks a head.
    There’s no question the WH&B Program is out of control – in money spent on captures and captives toward a ridiculous goal of less than 27,000 wild horses and burros on tens of millions of acres of Public land. So you have to wonder WHY more importance is placed on contractor obligations than the more cost-efficient In-house.
    We should remember next time sniveling turns to the massive costs of this Program, and remember the pictures above – what goals this Program truly serves.

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    • Why don’t they do it in house, if they have to do it at all, instead of contracting those expensive & abusive cattlemen contractors?

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      • I wish I knew, dee…after I saw the Moriah video, I asked BLM in every comment to an EA, and never got any answers back.
        Last I heard, the Contractor Who Shall Not Be Named scored over $600,000 for a single roundup season.
        That’s $600,000 that could have gone to better use elsewhere if roundups or trapping were done ‘in-house’, isn’t it?

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  3. This is extremely disturbing, and very important to know. This is very bad news and the very worst part is the no public scrutiny.
    I have to tell you that I did observe bait trapping in the Pryor Mountains in the summer of 2012 which was done by BLM staff. The wild horse and burro expert in Billings, Jared was in charge and did most of the work. The public was kept at a distance so as not to disrupt the trapping, but we were close enough to see everything. The trap was very well planned out and no horses were injured or died. There was no use of hot shots. This appeared far more humane to me than the roundup in 2009 in the Pryors when horses were run over 13 miles in over 100 degree heat down a rocky steep mountain, and two foals were exhausted and lame.
    So I believe that bait trapping CAN be humane if it is done correctly by people who care about the welfare of the horses, and with public observation to encourage humane treatment of the horses. The BLM needs to be held accountable for humane treatment of our wild horses no matter who is doing the trapping or helicopter roundups.

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    • There is so much scrutiny on the pryors, small acreage, varied terrain, it is hard to get away with anything, I don’t think it can be the poster child for the way wild horses are treated and modeled on.There are 179 HMAs left that deserve our attention and just a few who can be run like sanctuaries…There are too many “ifs” If only–is a pipe dream..someone is gonna pay for that pipe dream and it will be the rest of the wild horses. Any tool becomes a weapon in the BLMs hands

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      • As you say … the thousands of “other” wild horses deserve our attention and yes, it is our wild horses and burros who have and continue to “pay” … most with their lives. Sorry that this is such a negative subject but it is a fact and until the truth is known we and our wild ones continue to be at the mercy of the BLM.

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  4. thanks Grandma, my next question is what are we going to find out about the darting taking place by volunteers? getting training at zoo montana..ARM is posting pictures of themselves and recruits dressed up like duck dynasty dropouts and pointing guns at imaginary wild horses-their target in this war like atmosphere claiming they are going out to dart the wild horses they are in charge of..in the excitement of the chase will horses get darts in the eye, anyone knows shooting at a target is a world away from chasing a wild horse trying to get a dart in the right place..will we ever hear of those deaths incurred? I doubt it…no advocate involved in that is going to want that revealed..ARM has since removed the post from FB as it was going viral with comments

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  5. Depending whether or not the BLM is following the 1971 law (doesn’t appear to be) or the 1997 International Plant Protection Convention where the horse and burro are treated as animal species that are potential plant pasts–exotic, alien, invasive, feral non-indigenous species to be prevented, controlled, and eradicated where found to the extent practicable under the direction of UN 1992 CBD Art. 8 (h), contractors could be getting a bonus for every horse they kill post 2009 when Secretary Salazar began enforcing the scientifically fraudulent classification created to defraud the American people by individuals with scientific credentials creating political policy w/o scientific evidence. Evidence supports the later.

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  6. Of course, as you explain, bait trapping CAN be done humanly (not that we want ANY of them captured and/or removed from their legal land) but the point is that behind our backs it is NOT BEING DONE HUMANELY and per the bait trapping contracts hot shots are allowed (and Cattoor is one of the trapping contractors – see link) and no public observation is allowed and the facts of the deaths speak the truth.

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      • Not that I am aware of – as if THAT would have been a good idea considering that most of the ranchers with domestic allotments want the wild horses and burros removed ANY way they can – and have heard some say (during RAC meetings) that there are plenty of remote canyons where they could “take care of the wild horse problem” and as you probably know many of or wild horses and burros have been killed “out there”.

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  7. Of course I agree there’s no reason for BLM “gathers.” After watching helicopter roundups, though, I’ve assumed bait trapping was more humane. Grandma Gregg, does the FOIA indicate how the wild horses incurred these injuries? Did they document other injuries besides the facial wounds? This is really upsetting.

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    • Many of us “assumed” that trapping was more humane but as the facts show us – it is not.

      For your information (and there is a lot more that I have not included) this FOIA has been going on for two and a half years – and the BLM has discontinued providing any further information to me (imagine that!) – although that ALSO is illegal – and many other segments REQUIRED in the legal contract (both by BLM and by the contractors) were not done as per the legal contract yet the contractors WERE paid. Does the word “fraud” come to mind?

      Not providing the FOIA information is completely illegal. No information was supplied as to the how these horse were injured but as you and I know, they didn’t look like this when they were free on the range.

      As you say, this is really upsetting and again and again it is our wild ones who suffer.

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      • I saw a video of a long bait trapper handling the horses once the gate was closed. Because the horses were not worn out, the sight of men so close to them drove them into a frenzy, spinning and crashing into the rails. As the men backed the trailer up, the whole bunch of them 6, surged like a wave against each other and the rails. It was incredibly violent. Memories of horses klled by breaking necks, legs broken surged back. Of course, bait trapping sounds so benevolent. Serene. But the fact is these are WILD animals. .I know there are some who bait trap and get away with no injuries. But really most vendors are just in it for the money and so are the employees of BLM. We are not assuming these are just escaped first generation saddle horses are we?

        Thank you Deb and Grandma Gregg, you never lose your edge.

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      • Nor do YOU. Thank you for your excellent observations about the supposed lack of injuries during transportation. It seems like truth is not being reported on many BLM reports.

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  8. Used to be the vet reports on horses coming in to short term holding always reported injuries, bite wounds, leg injuries, broken bones etc. The reports were predictable because when truckloads of stallions are shipped, the stress of close proximity, the biting and kicking don’t stop – they missed the class on “getting along.”. Tthey dive at each other, wipe their faces out on the overhead, skin their knees from falling, the hocks are battered from the sides. And even the mares will be irritable and kicking and biting when different bands are mixed together. The poiint is, recent years every report on horses arriving, even at far flung facilities says “Arrived in good shape.”. maybe they did take the class on getting along but I believe that BLM is not reporting the truth (even when it is acceptably real) and will never again report the truth because they don’t really care what you or I think. Until they get beat by the law we put in place and we boot the WHB program out of their camp – damage to the horses and burros and their lands will continue. Please do everything you can to keep those damages minimal.

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    • You said, “I saw a video of a long bait trapper handling the horses once the gate was closed.” Please post that video here.

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  9. WHY AREN’T THE LAWS OF 1971 BEING ADHERED TO ? WHY CAN’T WE JUST LEAVE THE WILD HORSES IN THE WILD ? !!! WE PUT THESE GATHERS IN THE HANDS OF GREEDY CATTLEMEN WHO SEEM TO ENJOY ABUSING THE WILD HORSES… WHERE DOES THIS ALL END ? !!! HARRY REID OF NEVADA SEEMS PARTICULARLY FOND OF THE CATTLE RANCHERS.

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  10. The ESRD, our equivalent to your BLM, in Canada, just finished culling our wildies, yet again. They hired “professional wranglers” who were allowed to bait traps, but also chased, roped and dragged young foals into the traps, and then in turned, used the foals to lure in the mares and stallion. If they couldn’t get the entire herd, they contented themselves with roping the youngest and dragged them off and threw them into the trailer with all the others. This year, all was done in secrecy and the traps were only found in the last days of the cull, so I shudder to think what went on before they knew they were being watched. By the way, roping is not allowed under the Horse Capture Regulation, so we’ll see if the eye witnesses come forward with complaints. It really makes you wonder, if they are willing to do this in full sight of others, what goes on when no one is watching!

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    • thanks for letting us know what is happening with bait trapping in Alberta. it’s my opinion that the BLM only started to bait trap because it was the only way for them to get around allowing public observation.

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  11. WHAT WAS DONE TO THESE HORSES?

    Inner-View: A Look At 29 Wild Horses Listed As Dead Via F.O.I.A. BLM Documents
    https://prophoto7journal.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/inner-view-a-look-at-29-wild-horses-listed-as-dead-via-f-o-i-a-blm-documents/

    As mentioned in previous articles, we received information via Freedom of Information Act that there was 29 Wild Horses, inventoried and area Bait and Trap Roundup defined, listed as “DEAD” – from Murderer’s Creek Horse Management Area, in the State of Oregon (the spreadsheet detail given after article below).

    F.O.I.A. MATERIAL FROM SPREADSHEET:
    10/10/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1AAAAAC 1. Dead
    10/10/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HM1ACAEBD 2. Dead
    10/10/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HM1ADADBC 3. Dead
    10/15/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAAHD 4. Dead
    10/16/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1AAAABC 5. Dead
    10/22/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1AAAAAD 6. Dead
    10/22/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HM1AAAAAC 7. Dead
    10/31/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1AAAEBD 8. Dead
    11/05/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1ABAAHC 9. Dead
    11/05/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1ADAAEP 10. Dead
    11/05/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAABB 11. Dead
    11/08/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HM1ADADBD 12. Dead
    11/13/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1DEAAFC 13. Dead
    12/04/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAABC 14. Dead
    12/21/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAABF 15. Dead
    01/02/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1AAAAAC 16. Dead
    01/02/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HM_______ 17. Dead
    08/01/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAABF 18. Dead
    08/04/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAAFB 19. Dead
    08/04/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HM1AAAABD 20. Dead
    08/12/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap H________ 21. Dead
    08/28/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1ADACHC 22. Dead
    09/23/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1AAAAAD 23. Dead
    09/23/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HG1ADCEBB 24. Dead
    09/24/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF2AAAABB 25. Dead
    10/01/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap H________ 26. Dead
    09/24/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AFDBFB 27. Dead
    09/24/2013 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF2AAAABD 28. Dead
    10/24/2012 (OR0019) Murderers Creek Food Trap HF1AAAABD 29. Dead

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  12. BULLITIN: Confirmed — Bureau of Land Management’s Bait and Trap Roundup Kills 29 Wild Horses, as their Paperwork Shows Clearly! A $29,000 SCAM TO RECEIVE TAXPAYER MONEY
    https://prophoto7journal.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/bullitin-confirmed-bureau-of-land-managements-bait-and-trap-roundup-kills-29-wild-horses-as-their-paperwork-shows-clearly-a-29000-scam-to-receive-taxpayer-money/

    Here’s the thing of interest: The Murderer’s Creek Roundup paid $1,000 per horse; 29 horses dIed directly relating to the Murderer’s Creek Roundup; the contractors were paid for these dead horses (blanks within the paperwork for these inventoried and numbered horses blacked-out, and do not show arrival at corrals, cause of death, rather, simply marked “Dead”) in the amount of $29,000, shown on inventory from both Gather/Capture, Voucher, and Final Payment!

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  13. This is the first time I’ve heard of bait trapping and I ain’t liking it. I’m getting really disheartened about the world we live in; so much so I don’t want to live it in, period. It breaks my heart 😦

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    • I recall Catoors were running the bait trap there after failing miserably to catch any by helicopter-just 1 aged stallion..these are forest horses-even more shy than normal wild horses, problem is wild horse traps have to be monitored constantly, which has always been the concern..are they leaving traps unmonitored so that horses die there in the pens from starvation or a lack of water it does not take long without water. there are also a whole lot of mountain lions in the john day area, and pens of trapped horses would be a prime target
      I recall during the silver king roundup mess in Nevada catoors had to be called away from the murders creek trap site to deal with the man made water crisis and dying horses next to the owyhee river..I think we all remember the horror of that situation, and the palamino mare and foal that went over a cliff. must have been early in 2010

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      • another very small herd of wild horses exists in the Ochoco mountains out of prineville Or about 60 miles from the murders creek horses-managed by the forest service, catoors tryed to round up those poor horses and most were killed in the forest in the attempt and a couple had to be put down in the corral..there are serious genetic problems among this herd, bone density is one…autopsies have been done to determine this, caused by a lack of genetic diversity..which is always my primary concern and a subject that needs to have more intense discussion..people do not have the background to understand the serious dangers PZP can amplify. I want that discussion to happen before that loss of genetic diversity..because you will be unable to reverse it..a herd will have to be destroyed as horses that are left will all carry that double recessive gene hidden in their DNA…I know alot about this subject, from years of running a line breeding program

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      • It is very difficult to get info. on the status of these horses as the advocates for them..closely monitor them and are terrified they are going to lose them all…There seems to be alot of that going around these days..They tried introducing a new stallion as an outcross(takes a long time to turn those double recessive genes around} easier to wipe out Eboli-he was killed by a resident stallion..you can’t just take a stallion from the desert and stick him in a forest environment..I would love to have them talk openly about this but just can’t see it happening, their experience would have great impact on the discussion of PZP and use currently going on..I feel sorry for everyone involved in these situations but its time to have some adult conversations-cause it should all be about saving the wild horses-not only from the BLM-but from our good intentions

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    • The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.
      Edward Abbey

      To TCollins –
      There is no failure except in no longer trying.
      Each of us can do “something” big or small each and every day – maybe write a letter to your government officials or to the media or tell someone about our wild ones? Carry a photo of wild horses and burros in your wallet or on your phone or on your office wall and show people that they still exist and how beautiful they are and that they are REAL living breathing caring thinking wild animals and not just vague numbers or unwanted pests – as BLM says.
      As R.T. says, Keep The Faith.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The FOIA documents tell a really gruesome story and I guess now BLM thinks it is above the law (as usual) and does not need to provide FOIA documents if the results are that the public finds out about these atrocities. Thank you very much for taking the time to expose the truth about what is going on with the bait trapping.

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  15. Great response grandma Greg! Too bad it feel on deaf ears (BLM). This sort of information is good to let the public know the truth. Thank God that there is still freedom of speech! Thank you grandma Greg! And RT for putting this out got the public to see.

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  16. Bait trapping and Helicopter roundups are just plain and simple animal cruelty laws broken.
    BLM, Cattoor the BLM hired hands and Our US. Government are nothing but criminals breaking animal cruelty laws.

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  17. AMERICA WHEN IS THE BLM SICKNESS AND CRUELTY GOING TO END?
    HAVE AMERICAS WILD HORSE FAMILIES NOT SUFFERED ENOUGH???
    PLEASE STOP ALL THIS HORRIFIC BLM CRUELTY, OUR WILD HORSES ARE NEARING EXTINCTION!!!
    Tina Wooten For Saving Our Wild Horses

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  18. DUE BY MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!

    Regardless what you think about PZP the EA Page 16 says they will be trapping and removing them in the future regardless if PZP’d or not? That is what it sounds like to me.

    “In the future SLFO would be proposing to do selective removals with bait trapping”
    https://www.blm.gov/ut/enbb/files/Onaqui_Fertility_Control_EA_2_18_15.pdf

    Hope some of us can write comments to them ASAP and please feel free to use this Bait/Water Trapping article if you wish. Every voice counts for our wild ones.

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  19. Remember this article (be sure to watch the video) about the Wildlife Services Agency – why you have never heard of this wild life killing agency – which specializes in killing wild animals – it’s one of the most opaque and least accountable agencies in the federal government “they are a world unto themselves and that is a world we are not allowed to see.”
    With Louie ‘ s posting of the mare being shot – brought this article back to my mind. http://www.revealnews.org/article/theres-a-reason-youve-never-heard-of-this-wildlife-killing-agency

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    • Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Geri. The USDA also puts out cyanide pellets (if stepped on, they spray about 10′) to kill some wildlife in forests, but what if you were out walking in the woods with your pet dog?

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    • This is a very critical piece of our public lands issue. This is exploitation and manipulation and out-right cruelty of OUR wildlife … very similar to what they have been doing to our wild horses and burros for many decades. If allowed, all these pieces fit together as nature demands. All these pieces got along perfectly before greedy humans decided they should control nature for the sake of their personal bank accounts.

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    • Do we dare to hope that this investigation will actually bring everything to light? AND change the way WS does “business”? Sure do hope so!

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  20. As I have said a million times, the BLM has NO comprehensive humane policies. This despite having a program for over 45 years. That is an EPIC fail. How can you “manage” animals at all with no policy? It is up to the field as to how long/far they are driven with helicopters, how the hot shot is used, and what weather conditions are appropriate for gathers. That is completely unacceptable. Our tax dollars are paying for the abuse of our wild horses and burros. Absent the policy local abuse laws should be applied and those guilty of abuse arrested and punished and that includes those who are conspiring to commit abuse, up to Secretary Jewel.

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  21. I too have seen it done both ways with burros. In 2000 a contractor used a bait trap made of rebar that was welded together into a corral. If you know what rebar looks like it is ribbed all around the bars, very rough. It’s meant to be used in cement work so it holds. The burros were all scraped up like the horses in the photo above. These animals do try to get out of these traps, if the bars are smooth you don’t have all of these injuries.

    In contrast, recently our local BLM burro specialist used normal corral panels to trap a burro with a deformed hoof, he caught several other burros as well, those burros were released (no injuries) and the target burro was easily loaded into his stock trailer with no injuries.

    It’s just freaking common sense. As long as the BLM does not have any humane standards that have to be followed, all of these deaths and injuries is what you get.

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