Photos of wild mares at Teterville (photo: Carol Walker)
By Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved.
After no news for 2 years by BLM on their promised investigation and report to the public on the deaths of wild horses at Scott City, KS, after our 2/2/17 report titled “196 wild horses died at BLM’s Scott City feedlot (a BLM Auschwitz for wild horses),” the BLM was suddenly able to muster up a little something for the public on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website in only about a week.
It popped up under “news” and it seems the BLM was careful to not mention deaths or draw too much attention to the issue at hand in the headline, by titling their “news” “Status of Off Range Corral in Scott City, KS.”
In fact, buried at the end of the 3rd paragraph, the BLM (with more current information) finally stated that 213 mares died (out of the 1,493 wild mares) between June 2014 and October, 2016.
So, about 14% of the wild horses that the BLM shipped to that feedlot, died on that feedlot.
It seems that in the very little offered as a “news” report to the public, the BLM tried to cover up their actions (and more importantly, their lack of action), resulting in the deaths of so many wild horses.
In BLM’s “news” version (HERE) of what happened to wild horses on the Scott City feedlot, they cited “crowding at the feed bunks most likely resulting in some horses not receiving the protein and energy required to support their needs. The BLM made adjustments and the animals began to acclimate and show improvements in their overall health, which resulted in a dramatic decrease in the monthly mortality rate. “
SO WHY DID SO MANY WILD HORSES DIE BEFORE THE “ADJUSTMENTS” WERE MADE? In an August 2014 article on EquiMed, USDA veterinarian Dr. Al Kane stated “in addition to increasing the amount of feed being offered during feedings, we’ve worked with the onsite veterinarian and the operator to increase the energy density of the horses’ feed by increasing the ratio of alfalfa to grass in the hay mix. This helps support the horses’ nutritional needs during the transition from open-pasture to the corral environment”..
WHY WASN’T THE CORRECT FEED PLANNED BEFORE THE WILD HORSES ARRIVED AT THIS FEEDLOT? The BLM has been “managing” wild horses for about 45 years and still can’t get it right.
The BLM still didn’t inform the public that 87 of the 196 wild horses were euthanized, or that 41 wild horses died of colic or that 14 wild horses died of fractures of the spinal cord (neck and back) and 6 horses died of leg or pelvis fractures. The BLM’s version of the “news” didn’t mention the wind storms that were noted by the local veterinarian in his reports to them, or the many cases of sand colic suffered by the wild horses, or the fact that a squeeze chute wasn’t brought to the feedlot until almost 2 months after the horses arrived.
Note that the BLM’s “news” did not provide you with the name of the contractor for the Teterville Off Range Pasture (ORP) in Kansas. (And, also note that the BLM doesn’t disclose the names of ALL of the ORP contractors for the public anywhere on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website.)
While omitting so many important facts for the public in their “news,” the BLM managed to hone in on a couple of mistakes in our article. We corrected these immediately. However, we didn’t kill 213 wild horses and the BLM can’t “undo” what they did.
The real issue is that 213 wild horses (that we know of), died on this feedlot, no matter what the time frame, and the BLM didn’t issue a promised report to the public until now.
If the BLM would give more information to the public, there would be no mistakes. We request that the BLM, in the spirit of transparency, post the spreadsheet containing the freezemark numbers of the horses that died, the dates of deaths and causes of death, and all of the veterinary, necropsy and blood pathology reports of the Scott City wild mares on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website.
We can only hope the BLM will apply some focus to noticing and correcting their mistakes in their own statistics and data, and in their management of the Wild Horse & Burro Program.