by Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation
BLM has announced it will be removing 2200 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex, starting in October 2017. This would be after the Checkerboard Roundup, where the BLM is planning to remove 1560 wild horses starting in September. This means 3760 wild horses will be removed from their homes and from their families, and this is over half the wild horses remaining in Wyoming.
This is insane. Right now, Congress is considering the 2018 Budget which now includes language that will allow the killing of the 46,000 wild horses in short and long term holding as well as thousands more on the range.
Adding 3760 more horses makes absolutely no sense. There is nowhere to even put this number of horses in short term holding unless the BLM has already begun shipping wild horses in holding to slaughter.
Rounding up and removing these horses is a death sentence to them if this budget passes without an amendment to protect the horses.
In the Red Desert Complex, the 5 herds will all be reduced to numbers below the 150-200 adults needed to maintain genetic viability. Stewart Creek will be at 150, Lost Creek at 60, Antelope Hills at 60 Crooks Mountain at 65 and Green Mountain will be left at the closest to the number needed, at 170.
The rationale is that the horses travel back and forth between areas so they consider the Complex as a whole at 480 wild horses. But I dispute this. There may be some mixing of the members of herds at the boundaries, but these are vast areas and horses tend to be territorial – they cannot guarantee that the horses will mix sufficiently to maintain genetic viability. There is data provided on each herd’s genetic viability but most of this is very old data, not from the most recent roundup in 2011 and 2012.
Then they plan to use PZP-22 on all mares over 1 year old that are released back into the area.
This is a recipe for destroying these unique herds, not preserving them.
The BLM is making the worst possible decisions for the wild horses under their care, as they have been for decades.
Be sure to read Carol Walker’s blog, Wild Hoofbeats.