Notice that about 14 of the BLM’s “rationales”(the column on the far right) – lists the reasons the BLM gives for the roundups as wild horses or burros being on “private property” and a “public safety” issue. My opinion is that it sure seems like the BLM is using this “rationale” as a management tool and bypassing NEPA. Click on each document to enlarge.
Categories: Wild Burros, Wild Horses/Mustangs
Last Chance for Animals’ (LCA) Special Investigations Unit (SIU) travelled to the Mountains of Northwest Nevada in February of 2010 to investigate and document the roundup of wild horses by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). During the course of our investigation into the Calico roundup we videotaped wild horses being chased through the snow by a couple loud menacing helicopters.
The stallions, mares and foals were terrified as they were being herded across the rocky landscape into holding pens, where they were immediately separated from one another. After being captured by the government the equine families were ripped apart. The SIU went to the Palomino adoption facility and the Fallon holding facility to see what conditions these magnificent, proud, wild horses were being forced to endure.
The horses including young foals did not have any access to shade or cover in order to escape the elements. These facilities are in Nevada where temperatures reach into the 120’s during the summer and sub-freezing during winter. Icy cold winds whip through the facilities but the horses had no way to escape the elements. They were forced to stand in the mud of their own feces and urine. The SIU saw numerous foals and horses with bloody hooves. As a result of the roundup 68 horses were directly killed. In addition over 30 mares aborted their nearly full term foals.
The BLM’s stated reason for removing the wild horses was because they were starving or soon would be. As can clearly be seen in the video, not a single one of the horses being rounded up is starving or even thin. The facts belie the BLM’s statements. The SIU also saw other wild horses out in the same area and did not see a single one who looked to be in any kind of distress. In fact the only horses they saw who were injured were those that had become so due to the BLM’s ill-advised roundup.
STOP THE GENOCIDE OF THE WEST’S WILD FREE-ROAMING HORSES & BURROS!
Horses injured during the BLM roundups
Photo by LCA’s Special Investigations Unit
LCA’s Special Investigation Unit witnessed the inhumane way in which the wild horses are gathered, herded and transported at the biggest FY 2010 BLM “Calico Roundup” in Gurlock, Nevada. The roundup is intended to roundup approx 2,500 horses and leave just 600 horses on approx 542,000 acres of this range complex. The family structure of these horses is torn apart. As the horses are herded into the trap, the stallions are separated from the mares and the foals from their mothers. The horses are shipped to another facility where they stand, their spirits broken and all life erased from their eyes, in their own waste with no escape from the elements. These iconic creatures of the Wild West will never see their grazing lands again or their family.
Although the BLM claims the horses are “starving” or malnourished, none of the horses rounded up or in the holding pen are emaciated or unhealthy looking. The BLM admits they cannot give the horses the diet they are used to in the wild and some horses get sick from the feed they are given.
COST TO TAXPAYERS
The cost to taxpayers annually is over $60 million dollars. The Obama Administration proposes to spend up to 500 million tax dollars to purchase private lands in the Midwest and East to warehouse wild horses removed from public lands (which the taxpayers already own) in the West. The cost to taxpayers annually for government holding facilities is over $60 million dollars.
What the public is not being told is that the Cattlemen with their millions of cows are getting subsidized grazing rates for their herds at the expense of taxpayers and the wild horses. Additionally, cattle are an invasive species that are much more devastating to the ecosystem than the horses. Wild horses are a small percentage of grazing animals on public lands, where they are outnumbered by cattle at least 200 to 1.
THE SURVIVAL OF WILD FREE-ROAMING HORSES IS IN JEOPARDY
The wild horse population today is smaller than in 1974 when the BLM conducted the first census after Congress protected the horses due to their dwindling numbers. The BLM says that there are approximately 33,000 horses left in the wild. There are more horses in government holding facilities than on the range. The interests of these living “historic and pioneers spirits of the West” are being forfeited for those of the livestock industry and other commercial operations. The truth is there are too few horses and burros on our public lands and unless the wild horse numbers are allowed to grow, the survival of these amazing animals is in jeopardy.
LikeLiked by 1 person
There is no reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures because there is no “over-population” of wild horses and burros on their legally designated land.
In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals were found roaming across 53,800,000 million acres. That amount of acreage could support more than about 250,000 wild horses and burros but even after 22,200,000 acres were robbed from the American people and the wild horses and burros by government agencies the remaining 31,600,000 acres could easily support more than 100,000 wild horses and burros today. It is currently independently estimated that only about 20,000 – 30,000 wild horses and burros are living on their legal land today and yet the government continues its aggressive removal and destructive management toward total wild horse and burro extermination.
What we have now is a very illegal and corrupt wild horse and wild burro program managed by the BLM and USFS that dishonors the wild horse and wild burro heritage and natural place in America. This is contemptuous of the true and core intent of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and of Congress itself, which unanimously passed this law of the United States.
I’m curious where there is no parallel argument about the public safety concerns raised by grazing cattle on PUBLIC lands. It is well documented that bulls are unpredictable and dangerous, and essentially all commercial cow/calf herds grazing public lands are going to include at least one bull and often two to ensure the cows get bred over the summer. Another problem is the protective maternal instincts of the mother cows about their calves. I’ve seen videos of mountain bikers chasing cows, and cows chasing them, too.
I know a local breeder who specifically selects for aggressive cows as they have to fend for themselves in some harsh desert locations, which means being vigorously protective against any threats, including those they perceive from humans sharing the same space. Yet another danger is the also well-documented threats to water quality from the massive amounts of e.coli cattle depost in riparian areas. Their manure has also been proven to deposit commonly used dewormers for a period of several years — manmade chemicals which are labeled “harmful to aquatic organisms” so the systemic impact is immeasurable.
And just what threat are wild horses really? Once in a while a horse gets hit on the highway, but so do cattle, sheep, deer, elk, moose and any other assortment of wildlife living in a given area.
We should demand a fully comparative risk analysis with the (far more numerous) other species before damning wild horses as problems for “public safety.” I expect far more people are killed nationwide by bulls than by wild horses.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The fact that the issue of damage done by livestock grazing is never raised – even by many conservation organizations – sort of boggles the mind. I think many of them dont want to get crosswise of the hunting & ranching lobbies. The whole danger of ecoli in the water? Could it be thats why we have more & more ecoli problems with our food? Sure does seem likely to me. HOW food becomes contaminated with ecoli doesnt appear to be investigated (unless I’ve just missed seeing it). I do remember reading about one of the groups that was testing water & was stopped from doing it by, I believe, the allotment LEASOR. This was a couple years ago.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I am hoping and praying that the roundup thats getting ready to happen in Lake Havasu City Az. dont happen. Myself my daughter and and 5 yr old grandaughter have become very attached to specifically 3 burro and a few more in the past few months. We feed them along with my neighbors and others who live nearby. Our 5 yr old named 3 of them and they will come to you when you call them by name. Tourists have been stopping and enjoying watching them along with their children and taking photos. They have become an attraction for people as well as the lake and the London Bridge. Please consider taking the male donkeys and fixing them so that they cant reproduce and that will also cut down on the males fighting until they are seriously injured. My grandaughter and the rest of us will be heartbroken when you take them away. And the tourists. Please give this consideration. These burros only pass thru to eat since its been overly dry here. and they dont hurt anything. There are alot more people who enjoy them than the ones that do not. These burros are highly intelligent and gentle. Your online page would not allow me to log in, so im trying to reach you this way. I hope and pray that you reconsider taking them away. Thankyou.