Please Comment to Protect Wyoming’s Wild Horses from the Devastating 2017 Checkerboard Roundup

Source:  wildhoofbeats.com

Adobe Town Family

by Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Please Comment by April 4, 2017 on the Checkerboard 2017 Roundup

The BLM was unable to roundup wild horses from Salt Wells Creek, Adobe Town and Great Divide Basin in 2016 because we won a lawsuit that prohibits the BLM from managing the wild horses in the Checkerboard using only Section 4 of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which allows them to remove wild horses from private lands.  Because the Checkerboard includes public lands, it is illegal to manage them as if they were privately owned by the ranchers demanding these roundups.  In order to legally roundup wild horses from the Checkerboard, the BLM must prove that the numbers are above Appropriate Management Level, or AML.  Now, they are not even conducting a census to prove this, instead they are “projecting” that the horses are over the high end of AML.

Roundups cause the destruction of hundreds of wild horse families, as well as injuries and death to the horses as they are chased by helicopters and flee in terror into traps.  These captured wild horses are chased into trailers and taken away from the only home they have ever had to end up spending the rest of their days languishing in holding corrals with no shelter.  Only a lucky few are adopted by members of the public and these do not always mean good homes – the return rate back to the BLM for adopted or purchased wild horses is over 50%.  Many many of these horses will end up at slaughter in Mexico.  There is no good reason to roundup and remove these horses from Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin.

I have been following and observing and photographing the wild horses in these three herd management areas for the last 13 years. These horses are uniquely suited to this sometime harsh high desert environment.  They are the last three largest herds in Wyoming, and they deserve to be preserved on our public lands.  Although the Checkerboard presents challenges to BLM management because of its pattern of public alternating with private lands, that is no reason to cave into petty demands from the Rock Springs Grazing Association, which is made up from less than 25 members.  These wild horses are valuable to us, the American public, and so every effort must be made to preserve them here where they were found at the time the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed.  These horses were here long before the Grazing Association, and now what needs to happen is land swaps to consolidate blocks of public land that the horses can continue to roam upon.  Managing the wild horses on the range, on our public lands where they can continue to roam free and making these necessary land swaps happen is what the BLM needs to be working on, not perpetuating this every 3 year pattern of roundup, removal, then warehouse our wild horses.  The Field Manager of the Rock Springs BLM Field Office has been quoted as saying: “For all intents and purposes, we consider the Checkerboard private.”  But it is NOT private.  In fact, over half of the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas are public land, that belongs to us, the citizens of the United States of America, not the Rock Springs Grazing Association.

Great Divide Basin Family

This time, the BLM wants to remove 1029 wild horses: 584 removed from Salt Wells Creek, 210 removed from Adobe Town, and 235 removed from Great Divide Basin.

They are not even calculating their numbers from an actual aerial census – they are making these numbers up.  Every year, the BLM conducts and aerial census in late April, but now they are just “projecting” the numbers.

Read the rest of this article and find out how YOU can comment HERE.

Myths and Facts about Wild Horses and Burros

Stallion of Antelope Valley HMA ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

by Bonnie Kohleriter

MYTH 1   26,500 wild horses and burros are to be on our public lands in 10 states, as that number was on our public lands in 1971 when the Wild Horse and Burro Law was passed.  Wild horses and burros are in AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, and WY.

FACT 1  No census of numbers of wild horses and burros was done in 1971 when the Law was passed in December of that year.  The 1971 Law did not say the number of wild horses and burros that could be on our public lands.  26,500 is an arbitrary, non-evidenced based number.

MYTH 2  Wild horses and burros are on our public lands everywhere and they are destroying our public lands.

FACT 2  The BLM manages 245 M acres of our public lands.  About 3 M livestock are on 160 M acres, wildlife is everywhere, and wild horses and burros are limited to 29 M acres in areas called Herd Management Areas (HMAs).  Within the HMAs about 400,000 livestock that reside here as well are allocated 82% of the forage while the wild horses and burros are assigned 17%.  In 1971 the wild horses and burros were in Herd Areas (HAs), but the BLM said those areas were too difficult to manage so they drew circles within the HAs and called them HMAs.  Unbeknown to the animals where the boundaries are when they go into HA land, they are fodder to be removed without question.

MYTH 3  The BLM has 177 herd management areas (HMAs) for wild horses and burros giving the illusion horses and burros are in those areas.

FACT 3  The BLM has only 160 HMAs where wild horses and burros are now found.  The other areas don’t have any horses or burros in them, or are part of the military or forest service or are double counted.  The BLM had 339 HMAs initially, but little by little has zeroed them out.

MYTH 4  The BLM sets “Appropriate Management Levels” (AMLs) for the wild horses and burros in each area.  It sets a low number at which the animals should be and allows them to breed to a higher number after which it gathers, removes and reduces the animals to the low number again.  The overall low number is 17, 810 and the high number is 27,500.

FACT 4  “Appropriate” is inappropriate.  Allowing only 17,810 horses and burros in 160 areas in 10 western states is a species that is threatened or endangered.

MYTH 5  The BLM says it strives to have healthy horses on healthy rangelands.

FACT 5  Dr. Gus Cothran, the retained geneticist for the Wild Horse and Burro Program, says the following: Conservation geneticists maintain a minimum of 150-200 animals is needed in a herd with 50 effective breeding animals to have sufficient genetic variability for continued long term viability.  Of these herds, only 28 herds have 150-200+ horses allowed in them, and of these herds, only 3 herds have 150-200+ burros allowed in them.  In other words, 82% of the herds don’t have appropriate allowable numbers in them for continued health and viability.

MYTH 6  The herd members intermingle with the herd members in other herds so the individual numbers within a herd don’t matter.

FACT 6  Intermingling of the herds has not been scientifically researched and validated, and established by the BLM.

MYTH 7  Horses and burros can be imported from other herds to sustain genetic viability.

FACT 7  The 1971 Law says the horses are supposed to be “where found.”

MYTH 8  The BLM strives to have a “thriving, natural, ecological balance” on our public lands with a multiple use mandate.

FACT 8  The wild horses and burros are not a thriving species, the arbitrary numbers are not natural, and the numbers are not in balance, (27,000 vs. 400,000) in the ecological environment in which they are to be distributed.  The National Academy of Sciences addressed this Myth in 2013, in Chapter 7 of its report, Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program.

MYTH 9  The BLM asserted 67,000 wild horses and burros were on our public lands in 2016 and 47,000 were in off the range holding facilities.  The number of livestock within the 27 M acres needs to stay there as they feed the world.  The number of livestock have been reduced by 35% from 1971-2014.

FACT 9  Livestock within the HMAs provide less than ½ of 1% of the United States meat.  The number of livestock have been reduced due to overgrazing and drought.  Cow/calf size has increased by 1 ½, offsetting the reduction in number of allowable livestock.  Though ways of counting wild horses and burros have improved, counting continues to be a challenge.  Reducing the number of livestock only within the HMAs and increasing the number of allowable wild horses and burros has not been explored.  The Cattlemen’s Association and now the Gas, Oil, and Mining Industries are powerful competitors and lobbyists for our public lands on which the wild horses and burros depend.

MYTH 10  The BLM is mandated by the 1971 Law to manage, protect, and control the wild horses and burros on our public lands.

FACT 10  Look at the BLM’s budget.  The BLM, unlike wildlife and livestock groups, does ever so little to manage and protect the wild horses and burros on our public lands.  The BLM doesn’t tend to water, forage, or space (fence) issues.  The BLM’s focus is on control, hiring contractors to gather and remove animals, hiring contractors to house animals off the range in short-term corrals or in long-term pastures, hiring contractors to move animals around the country for adoptions, and hiring administrators to complete the paperwork.

The BLM does not engage in using fertility control treatment (PZP) as a way to keep the wild horses and burros on the range though volunteers stand ready to help.  Up to now only four small herds have used this control method but now five more larger herds  are involved in its use.  In 2013, 509 horses received PZP, in 2014, 384, and in 2015, 469, paltry numbers.  The BLM does not engage in promoting recreational tourism on the range which could and would bring in money and in which volunteers stand ready to help.  The BLM has considered sterilizing mares but the procedures are dangerous for the mares and foals and the BLM is researching geldings to be used in on the range horse and burro herds.

MYTH 11  The National Advisory Board of the Wild Horse and Burro Program and the horse advocates on the 9 Regional Advisory Councils are available to advise on what is best for the future of the wild horses and burros.

FACT 11  The advisory board members are people with livestock, wildlife and land interests, not with wild horse and burro interests.  They are cattlemen and livestock vets.  They are not horse and burro geneticists, equine vets, biologists and ecologists, recreational entrepreneurs, volunteer coordinators.

This is a broken program in need of change and a different direction.  This is a program that needs to focus on ways to retain wild horses and burros on our public lands in controlled but healthy numbers, and to focus on providing them with adequate water, forage, and space.

Wild horses evolved in the Americas.  They left during the Ice Age 10,000 years ago and were domesticated in Europe.  They were brought back to the Americas and were left to be wild again when automation was introduced.  They were used to settle our country and to fight our wars in WW1 and WW2.  Today, they are symbols of our past of the Wild Wild West.  They are symbols of our freedom. We as Americans are charged to be stewards of them.  They need to be managed and protected on our public lands,  controlled in genetically healthy numbers, and when those goals are met, in my opinion, then given fertility control treatment.

Judge tells BLM that horse roundup plan needs more review

Wyoming Wild Horses at Rick ~ photo courtesy of Carol Walker

Good going on this one, Friends of Animals.

Source:  Gillettenewsrecord.com

Horse roundup plan needs more review

CHEYENNE — A federal judge in Cheyenne has ordered the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to re-evaluate plans for a wild horse roundup in central Wyoming.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal told the BLM on Monday to reconsider how the roundup would affect wild horses with traits inherited from horses used by Spanish explorers and settlers hundreds of years ago.

The BLM planned to round up more than 2,000 wild horses from an area one-third the size of Yellowstone National Park.  The agency says wild horses have overpopulated the area.

Read the rest of the article here.

Public Lands Issues effect on wildlife and wild horses and burros

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

by Bonnie Kohleriter

Our public lands are now under attack which has enormous consequences for our wild horses and burros and for our wildlife.  The attacks are coming from Trump’s cabinet members, particularly the Dept. of Agriculture and the Dept. of the Interior, and from Congressional Republicans.

First, Rep. Jason Chaffetz R UT, introduced a bill early in January, 2017, to sell off 3.3 M acres of Federal land to states.  With an outcry from conservatives and sports groups, he withdrew that bill.

Then Rep. Jason Chaffetz R UT, introduced a bill later in January, 2017, called the Local Lands Act, wherein Federal law enforcement on our Federal Forest Service (FS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, will be supplanted with State law enforcement with the States being given block grants.  The bill is currently in the Natural Resources Committee: Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry.

Then Rep. Don Young (R) AK, moved a bill, House Joint Resolution 69, through the Congress in February, 2017, wherein the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on Federal Alaskan lands will no longer manage its Federal wildlife, and its Federal wildlife will be managed by the State of Alaska.  Resolution 69 went to the Senate, where Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) AK and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) AK, moved the resolution through the Senate in March, 2017.

It is concerning as attempts are in process to take away Federal land and give it to the States, to take away Federal law enforcement on Federal lands and give it to the States, and to take away Federal management of Federal wildlife on Federal land and give the management to the States.  What’s next?  In addition to give aways, the Senate voted 51-48 to kill the 2.0 plan which was developed by the Dept. of the Interior.  That plan authorized public lands stakeholders to give input into the use of the land.  The killing of the 2.0 plan is designed to give the local and state governments more control over the Federal public lands for development such as use for businesses.

Now Ken Ivory, a Rep. in the Utah State Legislature, under House Concurrent Resolution 22, is asking the President and Congress to repeal the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and grant authority and resources to the States to manage feral horse and burro populations within their jurisdictions.  The Legislature and Governor maintain the horses and burros are damaging the rangelands for wildlife and livestock that share the same areas.  This bill would authorize the States to geld the stallions.  Some outspoken ranchers and hunters want our public land for their gains.  The ranchers in Utah have expressed they want to “harvest” (slaughter) the horses and burros like they harvest cattle.

What else is coming?  Environmental groups have identified “Public Lands Enemies.  Interestingly they are all Republicans. They are:

Sen. Mike Lee           Utah    Sen. Lisa Murkowski Al    Rep Mark Amodei        NV

Sen. Orin Hatch        Utah    Sen. Dan Sullivan      AL    Rep Dean Heller           NV

Rep. Rob Bishop       Utah    Rep. Don Young        AL    Rep Tom McClintock   CA

Rep. Jason Chaffetz Utah    Sen. Jeff Flake           AZ     Rep Doug La Malfa      CA

Rep. Chris Stewart    Utah   Rep. Paul Gosar        AZ     Rep Steve Pearce        NM

Rep. Mia Love            Utah   Sen. Barrasso            WY   Rep Raul Labrador       ID

In California, McClintock is from the Central Valley and La Malfa is from NE California.  La Malfa is a 4th generation rice farmer and has received $ 5M in federal commodity subsidies starting in 1995, or on average a quarter of a million dollars every year from the federal government.  Now that’s the real “welfare” food stamps subsidy.

While Republican Congressional Representatives primarily supported by ranchers and hunters in their respective states, wrangle in Congress to take from the Federal government and give to the States, the Wildlife Services within the U.S. Department of Agriculture yearly brutally kills millions of carnivores and omnivores on our public lands to appease the hunters and ranchers.  The hunters claim the carnivores and omnivores kill the herbivores they want to hunt and the ranchers on our public lands claim the carnivores and omnivores kill their livestock.  The killings are brutal: aerial gunning, cyanide poisoning, steel jaw and leg trapping… In 2016 the Ag Dept. Wildlife Services killed 2.7 M animals on our public lands.  415 gray wolves, 77,000 coyotes, 407 black bears, 334 mountain lions, 997 bobcats, 21,000 beavers, 4000 foxes, …

Our public lands are to have a multiple use mandate, but it seems the powerful, monied hunting and ranching lobbies, as well as now, the gas, oil and mining lobbies in Washington are dictating what will go on with our public lands through their elected congressional representatives.  Get involved.  Contact your elected congressional representatives, especially those on the natural resources, agricultural, and appropriations committees in the House and the agricultural, nutrition, forestry, and environmental and public works and appropriations committees in the Senate.  Tell your representatives what it is you want on our public lands.

 

BLM Wants Earlier Wyoming Wild Horse Rip-Off

Source: Multiple – (Unedited)

“Welfare Ranchers want DIBS over Wildlife on Public Lands…”

(2014) BLM destroying the last of Wyoming’s Wild Horses for the benefit of Welfare Ranchers ~ photo taken by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

A U.S. Bureau of Land Management official says he’d like to round up excess wild horses from an area southeast of Riverton later this year.

The roundup had been planned next year but BLM Lander Field Office Manager Rick Vander Voet tells Fremont County commissioners the horse population is way above desired numbers.

BLM officials want to maintain a population on the low end of between 480 and 720 horses.

The BLM estimates more than 1,000 wild horses currently inhabit the area. Horse advocates advocate keeping large numbers of wild horses on the range but ranchers say wild horses can damage grazing lands and compete with cattle for forage.

‘Horrific incident’: Family Speaks Out after Pet Dog Killed by ‘Cyanide Bomb’

By Shelbie Harris as published on The Idaho State Journal

“While at first glance this sad story might not appear to have much to do with wild horses and burros but it most certainly applies, with spades.  Some time ago, myself and fellow investigators from Wild Horse Freedom Federation were documenting BLM Contract long term holding facilities when we came across one contractor’s property, used to house former wild horses, with prominent signs indicating that like poison devices were in use on the very same property that captive wild horses were grazing.  To date, this finding haunts us as we continue to seek ways and means to stop the barbaric removal of protected wild horses and burros from their congressionaly approved, rightful range.” ~ R.T.


Signage on BLM contractor’s property housing former wild horses. (Click to Enlarge) ~ photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

POCATELLO — As he walked his dog along the ridgeline of the hillside just south of his family’s home on West Buckskin Road, 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield noticed what he thought was a sprinkler head protruding 6 inches from the ground.

Like many curious teenagers would, he bent down and touched the pipe, which erupted with a loud popping noise that knocked Canyon off his feet. A hissing sound ensued and Canyon noticed his clothing and face were covered with an orange, powdery substance. After quickly washing his face and clothes in a nearby patch of snow, he called for his dog, a 3-year-old Lab named Casey.

But Canyon’s best friend didn’t respond.

“He just stayed on the ground mumbling,” Canyon said. “I thought he was playing with his toy, but I saw the toy a couple yards away from him. … So, I called him again and got really scared. I sprinted toward him and landed on my knees and saw this red froth coming from his mouth and his eyes turning glassy and he was having a seizure.”

Within minutes, Casey was dead.

“My little brother is lying in bed crying next to me,” said Canyon’s sister, Madison Mansfield. “He spent yesterday in the emergency room after stumbling upon an unmarked cyanide bomb in the woods directly behind my home. He watched his best friend suffocate as sodium cyanide was deposited in his mouth.”

Canyon was taken to Portneuf Medical Center, where he was treated and released. But he must continue daily follow-up appointments to check toxicity levels.

On Thursday afternoon, Casey joined thousands of other non-targeted animals — both wild and domestic — that have been mistakenly killed by one of the most lethal tools at the disposal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — spring-loaded metal cylinders that are baited with scent that shoot sodium cyanide powder into the mouth or face of whatever or whoever touches them.

Known as M-44 devices, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) division of the USDA deploys these sodium cyanide capsules throughout the West to protect livestock from coyotes, wild dogs, and red and gray foxes.

M-44s are hollow metal tubes 5 to 7 inches long that are driven into the ground, loaded with 0.9 grams of sodium cyanide and coated with the smelliest bait possible…(CONTINUED)

http://www.idahostatejournal.com/outdoors/xtreme_idaho/horrific-incident-family-speaks-out-after-pet-dog-killed-by/article_93f3d07e-6ecb-5035-8d39-f27c791eb4b5.html

BLM Seeks Public Comment on Plan to Rip More than 1,000 Wild Horses Out Of Wyoming

“This is Your Chance to be a Voice for the Horses…”

Destruction of Wyoming’s Adobe Town herd by the BLM ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Bureau of Land Management offices in Rock Springs and Rawlins are launching a 30-day public scoping period prior to preparing an environmental assessment on proposed deadly wild horse stampedes in the Salt Wells Creek, Adobe Town, and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas.

The war on Wyoming’s last remaining wild horses is allegedly scheduled to begin in the fall of 2017.

Written comments should be received by April 4, and should be e-mailed to blm_wy_adobetown_saltwells_hma@blm.gov. (Please include “2017 AML Gather” in the subject line).

Mailed or hand-delivered comments can be made during regular business hours (7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. local time) at: BLM Rock Springs Field Office, 2017 AML Gather, 280 Highway 191 North, Rock Springs, WY 82901.

To verbally express your disdain, please contact the BLM at 307-352-0256.

For more details on how the BLM plans to destroy wild horse families and strip them of their freedom visit (HERE)

BLM Set to Wage War on Wyoming’s Wild Horses, AGAIN!

Sources: Multiple

“Using poor science and bad numbers the BLM continues to ensure that the wild horses of Wyoming will have no families, freedom or future.  Unedited, propaganda article posted below. (Herds do not double in size every four years – Fake News)” ~ R.T.

Adobe Town ~ photo by Carol Walker

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo.  — The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to remove about 1,000 wild horses from three herd management areas, including Adobe Town, in southwest Wyoming in order to meet population level objectives.

Kimberlee Foster, field manager for the Rock Springs BLM field office, said there are too many horses on the land, and rules require them to remove horses when they are above management levels.

Foster said the gathered horses will go to the Rock Springs Holding Facility where they will be put up for adoption.

The BLM plans to remove 210 horses from Adobe Town, 584 from Salt Wells Creek and 235 from Great Divide Basin.

There are many reasons the BLM must carefully maintain certain population ranges for wild horses in Wyoming. For one, there are no natural predators for horses in the state and equines can be prodigious breeders.

“Typically a herd management area can double in size every four or five years,” Foster told the Rawlins Daily Times (http://bit.ly/2mayVKA ).

If wild horse populations become too large, the natural forage on the land won’t be able to support them.

Herd management is based around the usage of the land, Foster said, as well as the amount of available forage for the animals. Additionally, the BLM has agreed to act to reduce herd sizes should population levels reach a certain point.

The BLM is accepting public comment until April 4 on its horse roundup plan.

Wild Adobe Town Mares with Radio Collars Released in BLM and University of Wyoming Study

SOURCE:  Wildhoofbeats.com

“18 months is a long time to wear these old fashioned, bulky and dangerous collars.  And I hope that if any of these mares do run into trouble that the researchers at University of Wyoming are actually able to release the collars before the mares die.  I still very firmly believe that the best way to study wild horses is in the field, without capturing them and removing them from their families, without endangering their lives with these dangerous radio collars.”  –  Carol Walker

The line of vehicles

By Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

On Saturday morning, on a very cold day, I joined up with the BLM, researcher from University of Wyoming and a BLM ranger as we caravaned out to Adobe Town to release wild mares that had been fitted with radio collars on Thursday.  There were also some mares that had been being held for several weeks at the Rock Springs corrals, and I was very glad that they were finally being released.  As usual, I was the only member of the public attending.

Meryl jumps out of the trailer

Her friend is just as eager to get out

We turned off at Bitter Creek Road, and started down the road, which was in good condition until after we passed Eversole Ranch. Then, as we continued south more and more big drifts of snow covered the road.  The big truck towing the horse trailer in front was breaking through the drifts for the rest of us.  After about 10 miles, we stopped, and let out the first collared mare, a light grey color, I am calling her Meryl.  She jumped out and then her friend, a bay mare jumped out behind her.

Meryl turns to look at us

Meryl and her friend do not look concerned

Together

Even though she was being let go about 20 – 25 miles from where she had been captured, at least she had a friend with her, unlike most of the mares who had been released before, all alone.  They went a little way from the trailer, then turned around and looked at us, then casually strolling and exploring.  They did not seem alarmed.

We got back into our vehicles, then stopped after 2 miles.  After checking with the researcher, we got back in – despite the worsening road conditions he wanted us to go further away – they want these mares collars to be “spread out.”  We kept going another 2 miles until stopping at a big snow drift – the truck and trailer were stuck in a huge snow drift!  So they decided to let the remaining mares out here, just past Cow Camp, a collection of old derelict buildings.

A sorrel mare jumps out first

The mare with the radio collar and friend

Read the rest of this article HERE.

BLM Violates Own Wild Horse Welfare Standards

Source: The Cloud Foundation

Roundup Incident Sparks Outcry

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – On February 12, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducted a helicopter roundup of wild horses at Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA) in Utah.  The Cloud Foundation (TCF) and advocates across the country contend that BLM’s actions at the roundup violate standards in their own Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program (CAWP).

Eyewitness, Mosie Trewhitt, a professional horse trainer, photographed the incident of a lone pinto mare being driven by a helicopter. The mare could not keep up with her band but the helicopter kept pushing her. Then a wrangler joined the pursuit and both helicopter and wrangler chased the mare on a dead run along a barbed wire fence line. The wrangler tried to rope her numerous times and was finally successful. The mare lurched and flipped over or tried to jump the fence. She became entangled in the barbed wire, and ended up on the other side of the fence.

The mare escaped, dragging the rope behind her and has not been seen since the incident according to BLM who also contend she was uninjured. Trewhitt’s blog, Voices of the Herd, documents the incident with vivid photographs. Fears persist that this mare who appears to be pregnant may be strangled by the rope or suffer from infection due to an obvious gash on her right rear leg.

“I’ve witnessed roundups since 1994 in which inhumane actions were common and often ignored,” states Ginger Kathrens, the Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation and the BLM’s Humane Advocate on the National Wild Horse and Bureau Advisory Board. “To their credit BLM responded to growing concerns about the inhumane treatment of wild horses and burros during and after roundups by creating the CAWP.”

In 2011 BLM began the process of creating humane roundup standards.  The final product, published in 2015, tried to reduce incidents like this.  “Years were spent on this document at considerable expense, but the document does no good if the BLM does not follow or enforce the standards,” adds Paula King, TCF Communications Director.

After extensive review, TCF cites the following violations of the CAWP:

 1.     II. Capture Techniques. B Helicopter Drive Trapping, Para. 1 “Regarding helicopter driving, the standards state “the helicopter must be operated using pressure and release methods to herd the animals… and should not repeatedly evoke erratic behavior in the WH&Bs causing injury or exhaustion. “

2.     II. Capture Techniques. B Helicopter Drive Trapping, Para. 4 “When WH&Bs are herded through a fence line en route to the trap, the Lead COR must be notified by the contractor.  The Lead COR must determine the appropriate width of the opening that the fence is let down to allow for safe passage through the opening.”

 3.      II. Capture Techniques. C. Roping, Para.1  “The roping of any WH&B must be approved prior to the procedure by the Lead COR.” 

 4.     II. Capture Techniques. C. Roping, Para.3  “Ropers should dally the rope to their saddle such that the animals can be brought to a stop as slowly as possible and must not tie the rope hard and fast to the saddle so as to intentionally jerk animals off their feet.”

 5.     Instruction Memorandum No. 2015-151 Policy/Action  “At all times, the care and treatment provided by the BLM and our contractors should be characterized by compassion and concern for the animal’s well-being and welfare needs.”

 6.     Instruction Memorandum 2013-60 “The Incident Command will ensure that everyone involved in gather operations receives a copy of these expectations prior to the start of the gather and the Lead Cor and all BLM employees present shall ensure that gather operations are conducted in compliance with these expectations.”

 7.     Instruction Memo 20133-59  “…animal condition and fatigue will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine the number of attempts that can be made to capture the animal.  Animals will not be pursued to a point of exhaustion or distress.”

BLM issued a statement about the account but has made no mention of any disciplinary actions they plan to take against the COR, the helicopter contractor, the wrangler or the BLM staff at the trap.

 “Who is responsible? Who was the COR on this operation? Why are contractors not required to comply with standards?  Why is no one held accountable for these abuses?” King asks. “This should never have happened.  Responsible parties must be named and held accountable,” she concluded.

Eyewitness Trewhitt writes: “With the impact, the cuts she must have gotten from the barbed wire and the trailing noose around her neck…there is no saying what could happen out there.  I hate to think about it, but we need to understand the consequences of these actions.”

“I have a basic question: what was the reason to endlessly pursue this terrified, pregnant mare to exhaustion?” Kathrens asked.

“This contractor has been rounding up wild horses for nearly 40 years, and should be aware of BLM’s humane standards,” states Lisa Friday, TCF Board Member who has extensive experience with wild horse herds in Utah. “Their helicopter pilot must have known that the mare was exhausted. Yet he continued the pursuit, and when a wrangler on horseback was dispatched the mare was run some more. This is a clear violation of the CAWP.”

“Contractors make millions of dollars at the expense of our beloved wild horse families – and at the expense of the American taxpayers,” Kathrens concludes. “They should not be rewarded for this kind of inhumane behavior and we ask that penalties be imposed on those involved.”

LINKS of Interest:

Escape of the Paint Mare

http://voicesoftheherd.com/escape-of-the-paint-mare/

 BLM Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program

https://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/comprehensive_animal.html   BLM COMPREHENSIVE ANIMAL WELFARE PROGRAM.

COMPREHENSIVE ANIMAL WELFARE PROGRAM FOR WILD HORSE AND BURRO GATHERS  -Standards  https://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/wo/Information_Resources_Management/policy/im_attachments/2015.Par.70807.File.dat/IM2015-151_att1.pdf

BLM INSTRUCTION MEMO No. 2015-151 Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program for Wild Horse and Burro Gathers  https://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/regulations/Instruction_Memos_and_Bulletins/national_instruction/2015/IM_2015-151.html

BLM INSTRUCTION MEMO: NO. 2013-059

https://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/regulations/Instruction_Memos_and_Bulletins/national_instruction/2013/IM_2013-059.html

BLM Response to Cedar Mountain Roundup

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/about-the-program/common-questions-from-the-public#quickset-wildhorse_aboutqa18_0

Charge the BLM & contractor for animal abuse for the inhumane handling of a pregnant mare.

https://www.change.org/p/representative-suzanne-bonamici-charge-the-blm-contractor-for-animal-abuse-for-the-inhumane-handling-of-a-pregnant-mare?recruiter=359330900&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=fb_send_dialog