Horse Health

An Ugly Day for America’s Wild Horses & Burros

Source: Wild Horse Freedom Federation

OpEd R.T. Fitch, President/Co-Founder Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“While we were on the BLM hay wagon viewing former wild mares in holding the House was voting to rip their ovaries out…”

I am pretty much at a loss for words, a very rare occurrence indeed.  Be it attending a BLM stampede where wild horses are being ripped from their rightful range with their families and freedom forever lost or viewing formerly free horses in gender segregated BLM prisons waiting for their futures to be determined by a special-interest motivated government bureaucracy it all tends me to make me want to hurl my last meal.  Today was no different…the tension in my gut is at an all-time high with my “Stupid Meter” pegged at zero.

Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation – photo by R.T. Fitch

Today, world renowned equine photographer and Wild Horse Freedom Federation Director, Carol Walker, and I attended the annual tour of the BLM Wild Horse Holding Facility at Bruneau, Idaho.  Nuff said?

That in its own self would be enough to pull the plug and make my soul circle the drain but add the House Appropriation Committee’s vote to allow the BLM to cruelly, surgically sterilize all of our wild horse & burro herds and I don’t think I will be able to keep food down for a month.

None the less, Carol, myself and 18 other individuals (some advocates and the rest pro-BLM sympathizers) were given a hay ride around a privately-owned stock yard where 1,056 formerly wild horses currently now reside.  All but around 40ish are all mares, many with foals which are not counted.

I am posting a video or two in an effort to give you a feel for a place bereft of natural landscape and shelter, but Carol will be posting a more definitive pictorial post over the weekend.

I am not the photographer; remember, as dictated by the boss mares in my life, I am the guy who takes pictures of the mares taking pictures of the mares.  Sounds complicated, well…Life Happens.

Footnote: There may be several adoptions by Clare Staples of Sky Dog Sanctuary (a very positive thing) and the young BLM employees were very amiable and kind.  The local staff does not set policy or procedure, this we understand.

19 replies »

  1. Although it appears that this feed-lot has been recently cleaned up, I noticed in the video that many horses were having to stretch through their prison bars to reach the food. When I adopted two mustangs from Palomino Valley who had been being held in the Broken Arrow (Indian Lakes, Fallon NV) feed lot holding facility, their mane hair was almost scraped clean from having to stretch like this for their hay. A feed lot is no place for a wild horse to live!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This country is reminding me more and more of Nazi Germany. Instead of moving forward with intelligence, ingenuity and compassion, we are going backwards into barbarism. It would be better to humanely euthanize them and not put them through the pain of the operation and then slowly die in agony from peritonitis. They deserve much better and have just as much right to be living on the planet as homo sapiens. This really hurts my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a desolate place. They could at least plant a few trees along the outside fences. Also did they have plenty of water at least for that day ?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Humans have always been responsible in a stewardship of the creatures of this planet, but not out of motives of greed and monetary gain, arrogance and selfrighteousness, nor out of vengeance, anger or predjudice. Rather it was always intended to be out of compassion and kindness, and a respect for other lives and what they are, realizing also that there is a connection and as it were a solidarity that can be experienced if this stewardship is understood in that manner, that is a respect for life. To experience them in the wild, on their turf so to speak, and as they are in the wild, is something that cannot be expressed in words, although we try. This has been my experience and that of many others, in the case of wolves, marine mammals, and so many other creatures, and yes with the wild horses and burros. You see what they are, and how full of life they are in what they are, and the niche they are filling. In the case of wild equine it is enough to say that they are wild, and in this state they must be allowed to exist, as is the case with all wild creatures, Wild does not mean having artificial alterations placed upon them, nor being an object of experimentation. It means having the manmade restrictions removed from their lives, so that they can be what they were intended to be. This includes fencing that would restrict free movement in and out of areas, migratory routes and paths to water sites, winter and summer grazing areas. It includes those restrictions that would hinder free movement in and out of areas, that would allow genetic viability to me maintained..It includes sex ratio alterations, manmade population alterations and any mechanism that would tamper with natural reproduction, all based upon wrong motives and hearts, and dare I say, finite or static thinking. So many of us have seen the beauty of what wild equine are in the wild. They are indeed free roaming, as the 1971 act has designated. We have seen the vitality, the playfulness, the energy, and the love, not to mention courage and the will to watch over each other. We have understood in them an amazing intelligence, as is found in real living creatures. They are not feelingless cyborgs. They feel saddness and joy, they remember the family bonds, and closeness of their little ones. They shed tears in having their hearts broken. Yes, many of us have seen this last one also. In the wild they are alive, yet when placed in a holding facility with barred restrictions, they have been forced to cease being what they were intended to be, that is free roaming, and in that state of free roaming fulfilling everything they were intended to be. Much more when one looks into their eyes after the roundups, while they stand in a state of shock in holding facilities, after losing everything that they are, they are no longer alive inside. They do feel, and they do remember!! After the Calico Mt Complex roundup in 2009 and 2010, this I could see in those at Broken Arrow, in Fallon, Nevada. Those that had been rescued, and temporarily in a safe place, could still be seen staring out into the mountains from where they came, like Calico Ruby, from Black Rock East, who was thought perhaps to be Freedom’s lead mare. Although at these rescues and sanctuaries, they are safe, but still, their place is in the wild. What is happening now with wild horses and wild burros, is a throw back to the years when the native american tribes were stripped of their lives and lands, and much more who, and what they were. It is a throw back to the days of slavery, or the days when Nazi Germany, attempted to strip the Jew of everything they were and are. Yes, in reference to the wild horses, its as though we are living in the days of the German Gestapo, while these wild equine are under the touch of the Wild Horse and Burro Program of the Bureau of Land Management. And this is called progress?! Wild equine fulfill an amazing and rejuevenating role in nature if allowed to be what they are, unmanaged and untouched. Many don’t like that terminology, ” unmanaged and untouched” but it is how it must be if they are to fulfill what they are. When we experience them, as all wild creatures, in the wild, unmanaged and untouched, we are reminded of why we have believed in the freedom from tyranny, in these United States. Isn’t that what wild equine desire also. There has been such a spiritual blackness that has risen up against wild horses and burros, yet It has also extended to all equine in many areas including horse slaughter. For our wild equine, if we give them that breathing room they need, to be what they are, protected yes, but restrictions removed, and yes, unmanaged and untouched, I dare say we will see an amazing rejuevenation in ourselves, and transformation, remembering that freedom from tyranny, any kind if tyranny, is what life is about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said as always.

      To this I would add something often overlooked, that being we are destroying the species capacity to evolve. Genetic viability is one thing, but keeping the species ability to change and adapt to altering environs is our responsibility, for both our wild and domestic horses. A brief look at evolutionary history shows us that the equines we know today are the survivors who made it through many catastrophic crucibles throughout history. We are destroying their genetic libraries and along with it their capacity as a species for surviving into the future. For those who think this is “dominion” it is the furthest from it: destruction. It is a perversion of both faith and science to think otherwise.


      • Absolutely Very well said. Indeed what the bible translates as dominion is by implication a stewardship with the right heart. Mankind has misrepresented the true meaning of this with tyranny. It is a destruction of their ability to survive, adapt, and continue with the genetic variability that nature intends, to just be what they were intended to be

        Liked by 1 person

  5. In the last three years, you and I have paid this Simplot Livestock company $8,182,349.00 to keep our wild horses in this feedlot.


  6. isn’t it interesting that the congressman who initiated this diabolical agenda writes about good versus evil.
    Perhaps he doesn’t know the difference.

    This book series includes: The Brothers, Where Angels Fall, The Second Sun, Fury and Light, From the End of Heaven, and Clear as the Moon.

    When a new book comes out in the six-volume Great and Terrible series by Chris Stewart, I can’t resist putting everything aside that I have been reading to delve into the next installment of a story that intrigues me. It is not just that these books are page-turners, though they are. Dramatic events of the Last Days are absorbing as the clash between light and dark is so starkly portrayed.

    Though the narrative boils forward with spirituality and danger under the hands of Stewart, who is a deft storyteller, there are times when we are given to see the spiritual dimension as well. We see loved ones encouraging the mortals on earth, dark spirits needling them in whining voices.


  7. BIG PHARMA behind this?


    June 7, 2018 at 10:00 AM Edit

    I was given a heads up that the reason they want the ovaries is for a study. In other words the BLM proslaughter nuts may habe already “sold” the ovaries of dead WILD Horses via slaughter and since slaughter hasn’t materialized they may be doing this to ” harvest” the organs. It explains why they do not want contraceptives. Simultaneously a suit to stop contraceptive from going to WILD mares was brought which is strange timing given the current battle to open and spay mares. I think the person sharing this info w me is really correct. I think our argument is not why are they spaying but what are they doing with the parts removed? I think it’s an agenda already agreed to but hidden from view. U need to dig.


  8. This is a portion of an article that was posted on HABITAT FOR HORSES on June 4 and was written by
    Daniel Cordero Fernandez.
    Sometimes a person from another country has a perspective that might benefit the rest of US.
    It does have to be noted that none of these anti-Horse & Burro congressmen are all that secure in their positions. Many could not even face their constituents at town hall meetings.


    Angry at Senate overriding his personal project, Stewart managed to tuck into the FY2018 appropriations bill’s explanatory statement an obscure requirement asking BLM to produce within 30 days a “science-based plan” that “simplifies management” and reduces the cost of BLM’s wild horse program, despite the fact that its yearly budget (some 90 million approximately) is less than 0.8% of the overall DOI’s budget and is a paltry compared with the subsidies received by welfare-ranching or other pork-barreling spending items of questionable public usefulness.

    Whatever legit reasons there were in the past for Stewart and Aderholt to introduce the mustang and domestic horse slaughtering amendments respectively, it is becoming evident that this now a personal thing for them, and fact doesn’t matter when things go personal. How many times they will have to be defeated by public opinion to make them desist on this particularly toxic agenda? How many times will wild horses dodge the bullet?

    Similarly, it is becoming evident that, as long as congressmen Stewart, Aderholt, Calvert and Amodei remain in office, or are in charge of drafting appropriations legislation, we will be facing the same threat over and over again. However, since their districts are composed predominantly of welfare ranching country or otherwise captured voters, it will be nearly impossible to unseat them. Therefore, the only way to minimize this constant threat is by removing them from chairmanship positions controlling the drafting of appropriations legislation by forcing a change in House leadership. Please make sure you take this into account when you cast your ballot next elections.

    Thank you.
    by Daniel Cordero Fernandez.


  9. 2500 horses left southern WY last fall, many went to this facility. Only the most famous like Goliath have shown up for adoptions. Where are they??? All the horses and even the foals are given brand numbers, Why are these not put into a central data bank and updated each and every time the horse is moved or adopted. Why are these not available to audit? We have had great databases since the early 90’s, there is no excuse.

    Is there a link to the last committee hearing online?

    Liked by 1 person

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