Horse Health

Equine Advocates and Animal Welfare Groups Challenge Adobe Town Wild Mare Experimentation by BLM and Wyoming State University

Press Release

“if the BLM had any concern at all for the safety and well-being of the wild horses under its care they would not use dangerous radio collars…”

Rawlins, WY – On December 8, Appellants Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) and Citizens Against Equine Slaughter (CAES) filed an Appeal and Stay Order with the Interior Department’s Board of Land Appeal (IBLA) to stop the BLM from collaring Adobe Town wild mares and using helicopters inappropriately in an unnecessary, unsafe and wasteful experiment. The BLM in partnership with Wyoming State University (UWY) plans to capture and fit some 30 mares with radio collars to see if they will move into the void created by the 2016 Checkerboard roundup.

16CarolWalker002Carol Walker, WHOA member, noted that the 2016 Checkerboard roundup never took place due to a recent 10th District Court decision that the Wyoming roundup was in violation of the law. She added that: “if the BLM had any concern at all for the safety and well-being of the wild horses under its care they would not use dangerous radio collars and insist on either bait trapping or rounding up the wild mares with helicopters in the coldest part of winter, but would instead hire Interns to observe and document the movement of the wild horses in Adobe Town.”

Former BLM manager Lloyd Eisenhauer of Cheyenne, WY, another WHOA member, stated that “harassing the Adobe Town horses and upsetting their natural behavior for no valid scientific reason is not research, it is abuse.“ The plaintiffs point out that the BLM’s decision to proceed is not supported either by the evidence, by the record, or by a consideration of alternatives; it is simply a case of “this is what we want to do and we’re going to do it anyway.”

Organizations endorsing this Administrative Appeal and Petition of Stay include: In Defense of Animals, Mobilization for Animals, Pity Not Cruelty, Wild Equid League of Colorado, Wild Horse Freedom Federation, and Union for the Preservation of Wildlife.

This is the second time CAES and WHOA have worked together on an IBLA appeal, winning the first to stop cruel experiments to sterilize wild mares. Notably, other organizations such as environmental and animal welfare groups have also joined in supporting these legal actions to protect the horses! We will continue working to improve and preserve life for American wild and domestic horses.

Media Contact:
Theresa J Barbour
Citizens Against Equine Slaughter
Attorney pro se

4 replies »

  1. This “research” was rendered moot by the Checkerboard removals which were determined to be illegal. Further, it was already well known that wild horses in the continuous HMAs in this part of Wyoming (and CO) were intermingling. Beyond that, it is simple biological fact that nature abhors a void and when animals are artificially removed by people there are predictable and unpredictable consequences. The radio collaring study will endanger the few remaining horses which are being subjected to birth control already, and will produce no information of any value. It is a pointless expenditure of taxpayer funds to produce nothing of value while causing lasting harm. These funds can and should be better spent towards meaningful research that honors both the BLM’s legal protection mandates and the public purse.

    If they persist with this plan, I propose they perform a similar project in tandem with it, that being to collar private livestock freely grazing the Checkerboard, which includes both public and private lands. Since so many horses were illegally removed from the public lands, and animals do move into a void, it should be documented when and where privately owned livestock are using the public lands. These two data sets should be collected simultaneously and compared with a control to produce any data of value.


  2. In the 1980s similar “research” was done on wild horses with devastating results including collars being embedded into the wild horses’ flesh and some ultimate deaths caused by this collaring procedure. The report can be read online at google books.

    “1991 WILD HORSE POPULATIONS: FIELD STUDIES IN GENETICS AND FERTILITY Report to the Bureau of Land Management U.S. Department of the Interior Committee on Wild Horse and Burro Research Board on Agriculture National Research Council”
    Excerpts: “The wounds caused by tight collars were unquestionably grim in appearance… In some cases, the horse grew into the collar material, so that the collar became imbedded in the animal’s neck. In other cases, the collar abraded
    the skin under the neck where the radio unit was attached, causing an open
    sore that subsequently became infected.”
    Many other wild horses died in association with this collaring experiment but BLM said most of those were “natural” deaths … bull-pucky!


  3. At what cost to the animals are we willing to weigh our data results and go ahead and proceed at any price tag to the animals being studied? The Bureau of Land Management / University of Wyoming research proposal includes unsubstantiated “predictions” about wild horse migration, “disproportionate” use of riparian resources, and impacts on wildlife and livestock, thus revealing an underlying bias and possible conspiracy against wild horses by the investigators. This built-in bias is unacceptable to credible research and credible scientists.

    This EA proposal study as written, is in no way, shape or form in the best interests of the horses or the tax-paying public. The researchers are seeking to prove that wild horses will “move into a void” created by rounding up and removing horses from the Checkerboard, so they can “prove” that it impossible to remove horses from the Checkerboard and keep them out. This again shows a clear purpose to appease the private/corporate for-private-profit Rock Springs Grazing Association’s wishes for all wild horses to be removed from Wyoming.

    Relocation of wild horses after collaring with family bands disrupted due to being chased and disrupted and now “gone” and then animals released into unfamiliar habitat, all result in incompetent “research”. Actual field observation in the wild with natural family bands in their normal habitat area would reveal far more scientifically supportable and less intrusion to the natural and healthy world of wild horses and the entire ecosystem. Individual wild horse identification and group identification (commonly known as “family bands” and bachelor bands”) can be easily done during field observation with the assistance of photographs and field notes.

    If wild horse researchers can’t even identify wild horses, who are by far easier to identify by their markings and coloring and specific face blaze characteristics, then the U of WY researchers are not capable of doing any credible research study and therefore are not only wasting their time and jeopardizing the wild horses but they are wasting tax-payer money on a worthless so-called “study”. This again proves that the dangerous procedure of collaring wild horses for a study is duplicitous and fraudulent.

    The collaring proposal is inhumane for our wild horses. I invite anyone who believes it is “humane treatment”, to wear a radio collar around their neck and see just how much they like it. Shame on biologists and anyone else who supports this torture especially since it is unnecessary and an incompetent method of doing any wild horse scientific study.


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