Twin Peaks Stampede Outrage

Photo’s Submitted by Leslie Peeples during first Days of Stampede

(Slide Show Updated)

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BLM Contractors and Things that go “Bump” in the Night

(In My Humble Opinion) by R.T. Fitch ~ author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart”

I have had to take a deep breath and look around in an effort to make some sort of sense out of all the nonsense and garbage that is flying not only around us but at us; if not managed correctly it could quickly become overwhelming.  Here are just a few examples:

A California Judge just gave the BLM the thumbs up to strip 2,000 horses from Twin Peaks

To date, Judge Hicks has not said whether or not he would hear Laura Leigh’s contempt of court case over the Tuscarora fiasco

The BLM is frantically attempting to get their numbers on their web site straight full knowing that we are watching and reporting their documented errors and sloppy accounting

The BLM and Cattoors have colluded and are landing on 34 (not counting the shot mare and her foal) dead wild horses from their mess at Tuscarora

The captured survivors of the Calico massacre now have over 150 herd members dead

54 Congressmen signed a letter to Salazar calling for a moratorium on murdering wild horses and no one has heard squat

BLM helicopter stampede contractor, Sue Cattoor, wants more of the lime-light (as usual) and writes a rebuttal to Horseback Magazine

I, personally, get close to the truth and BLM’s marketing specialist calls me “rude”

…and the cattle poop just keeps on mounting up.  (I used cattle poop as a stinky example as horse poop actually smells rather pleasant, if you like horses)

Looking over the above list I believe that we will leave the roundup/court cases to the AP and the big boys as that is news on a much grander scale but down here in the trenches I feel obligated to drive a “Why Tree” all the way down to its roots and those roots are embedded firmly in the truth where the hearts and souls of the good American taxpayers reside.

So I will leave ‘s comments for another commentary as I feel addressing Mrs. Cattoor’s statement to be of a much higher priority.  It’s time for those who do not have the best interest of the American equine in mind to learn that we will respond to their rhetoric quickly, effectively and with full disclosure.  The days of the American public sitting back and watching the train wreck only to comment after the fact are over; we are proactive not reactive.

First, Sue, what can I say; you gave it your best shot, you had several weeks to think about it, massage it, rationalize it and sadly your statement fell flat on its face in front of God and your fellow countryman.  I actually believe that I heard a wet, squishy “splat”, or was it a “plop”, when reading the last line of your letter in Horseback Magazine.  In retrospect, it was sort of a nasty sound from a visceral point of view.

I won’t beleaguer your “point/counter-point” with Steven Long on the details of your “justification” and rebuttal, folks can click on the link above to read that in full, but instead I would like jump to the “statement”  (inserted <unedited> below) to which you beseeched Steven to include in his magazine.  Now that is worthy of comment.

You need to understand why I think the wild horses have to be managed and why they should not just be left alone and let nature take charge and overpopulate until they run out of food or water and die. My family and all of our wranglers really love horses and that includes wild horses and we have seen horses dying of starvation and dying of thirst and we get really upset .

Ginger Kathrens filming Sue Cattoor at Cloud's Roundup ~ Photo by R.T. Fitch

Dying of thirst is the worst – horses that starve to death have an easier time. We know we are doing the right thing by gathering wild horses and we know using the helicopter is the most humane way to do it. We know after we finish an area that some of the wild horses we have caught will maybe be adopted and some will go to pastures where there is plenty of food and water. And the ones left on the range will have enough water and feed also. Steve you just told me you were not by your computer but out feeding your horses. So you love horses too, right. What would you do if you could no longer feed your horses or if you no longer had water for them and they were slowly dying of thirst or starvation? You would feel really sad and you would do all you could to see that they did not die of thirst or did not starve to death. I know Ginger Kathrens has said just like you that she would rather let nature just take charge. But I bet if Cloud and his family were dying of thirst or starvation she would want to do all she could to save them. That is exactly what we – meaning all of us and our wranglers and the BLM are trying to do when we do roundups.”

My thoughts (Remember the First Amendment?):

1.)    With all due respect, I don’t “need” to understand what you think, we all have a pretty good idea as to what energizes your motives and it is obvious to all that the primary driver is money and money alone.  It does not have one single thing to do with love, care or consideration; it is all about the bank account and the spotlight.  If you really “cared” about the horses you might consider donating some of your millions of tax payer’s dollars to a wild horse sanctuary and put your money where you is, just like the rest of us.  In this economy there are huge numbers of Americans who are taxed without representation to pay your inflated and unwanted day rates, with one hand, while they donate to rescues, foundations, sanctuaries and are now giving additional funds to legal services trying to fight the likes of the BLM and you as their contractors with the other.  Caring Americans get screwed from all sides but then, you don’t see that do you?  Your tunnel vision is limited to your fiscal needs today and the concept of the “big picture” has yet to permeate your consciousness.  Are you not aware of the fact that you are working yourself out of a job; that your business is not sustainable as you wipe out entire herds and what horses remain, elsewhere, are no longer considered to be viable herds?  You are rapidly destroying your own sordid business and it does not appear that you have a clue.  Are you cognizant of any of that?

2.)    “horses have to be managed and why they should not just be left alone and let nature take charge and overpopulate until they run out of food or water and die” Good grief, dear lady, I pity you for the burden that you feel you are forced shoulder.  You actually believe that you hold the power of God and Mother Nature over these wild horses and it is you who decides who lives or dies.  What did those poor horses do for the hundreds and hundreds of years prior to Sue Cattoor?  How egotistical is it that you believe your intervention into the balance of nature actually helps and promotes the future for these horses?  What a load you must carry.  The American public has yet to see “proof” that the wild horses are over populated, in fact visual observations point to the contrary.  Even if there was an ounce of truth, in your statement, it would only point to the fact that the BLM has whittled away at the land that was rightfully given to the wild horses and burros and they are now encroaching and crowding them into much smaller areas.  But even then, swooping in and stampeding them into holding pens where they will never again know freedom is not the answer.  Your arrogance is stunning.

3.)    “My family and all of our wranglers really love horses”  That is all relative, Sue.  A wife abuser “loves” his wife as he beats her to death so your comment is out of scope and therefore invalid in this discussion.  But I will give you this; on the last day of the Pryor debacle, when the survivors were released from their imprisoning pens, your wranglers on horseback were very kind and gentle while guiding the horses out of what had been the trap chute.  Maybe it was because on the bluff, overlooking the operation and within ear-shot, were some of the world’s best known wild horse photographers and videotagraphers but none the less, the guys did a fine job and we waved and thanked them. (Being the cold and heartless tree-huggers that we are)  But if you really loved wild horses then why did your husband sell them to slaughter; you can’t escape that.  Why do you aid and abet an agency that wanted to sell ALL of the horses to slaughter just two short years ago.  Leopards don’t change their spots that quickly and we have memories like the horses; we don’t forget.  And how do you sleep at night knowing that the BLM accelerates the adoption process so that they can get the 3-Strikers out the door, quick and easy, and into the hands of killer buyers so they can hustle them down the road to Mexico for butchering, how do you manage Sue?  If you really loved those horses wouldn’t you do something to aide and assist their condition instead of acting as the leech that sucks the blood out of the horses until they are dead and then takes the very bread out of the mouth of American children, huh Sue?  Don’t BS us; we can see right through it.

4.)    You asked Steve, “What would you do if you could no longer feed your horses or if you no longer had water for them and they were slowly dying of thirst or starvation?”  Well, I can tell you that my good friend Steven Long would not sell his horse to slaughter like your family members have been known to do, that is for sure.  Steven would do whatever it took to ensure that his horses would be cared for, anything, you name it as no job would be too small for him to take in an effort to take care of his family because he is a man of honor with an impeccable record and because he is honest to a fault; he does not have to make excuses.  Can you say that?  Steve has something else that you may not know or understand; he has friends, a very deep and sincere following of friends that would help him and his family to ensure that no one went without sustenance. In this part of the world we call that caring, compassion and the American way.

5.)    And in closing you have to take yet another swipe at one of America’s last true pioneer women, the much respected and loved Ginger Kathrens.  Her success really gets to you doesn’t it, just eats at your core so much that you seethe with envy and anger.  It shows in public and you can’t keep it out of your comments.  Don’t worry, honey, you’ll never get there so you really need to give it up.  Ginger’s pinky finger contains more knowledge about wild horses than you will ever hope to perceive.  She has spent over a decade and half roughing it in the Pryor Mountains doing one thing and one thing only, observing the behavior of wild horses.  Her documentaries are a testament to a patient and kind soul that only exists to share the wisdom and insight into the magical life and relationships of the wild horse.  Ginger gladly imparts her knowledge to friends and foes, she does not care.  I watched her spend time with Ken McNabb’s children, at the Pryor’s, even though McNabb did his best to publicly embarrass her.  I watched her tolerate you, Sue, and your friends who made comments and continually sniped at her and the rest of our advocate contingent for over a week.  But you just can’t leave it alone, can you?  You even tried to steal our one and only happy moment with Cloud last September.  That was his release.  We were in awe watching him “snake” the tattered remnants of his herd as he wanted to stay and find his other family members; the ones the BLM had ripped from him only minutes before.  We commented on his strength and commitment to family and how it was a valid lesson to humans while you stood behind us and picked, pooh-poohed and laughed at us like an adolescent school girl.  You wanted to steal the spirit of Cloud as it once again soared and when you could not succeed, even with the help of the BLM guards, you slipped back into the shadows from whence you came as you had lost and we had won.   You will never, ever steal the spirit of the wild horse from our souls; never.

So give it all a rest, Sue, we don’t care.  No animosity on that point but its just that you are a government contractor (that we don’t want) hired by a federal agency (that is out of control) so your point of view, personal issues and business justifications mean nothing to us.  It’s bad enough that we are paying you so it only adds injury to insult when we are forced to hear you.

We would, respectfully, like to see you go away and for the care and management of our national icons to be overseen by a scientific and knowledgeable body of professional individuals who use science, experience and facts to govern their actions/decisions versus “shoot from the hip” junk science and conjecture.  Simply go home, leave our wild horses at peace and retire your shrill rhetoric to the ancient archives of “How Things Used To Be” so that the rest of us can get back to living life in the “now” versus being dragged back to the 1800’s.  Sue Cattoor, please, just go home.

Thank you.

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Catch 22, BLM Hiding Identity of Landowners

Breaking News by Steven Long ~ editor/publisher of Horseback Magazine

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The federal Bureau of Land Management is hiding the identity of landowners who are providing wild horse trap sites.

Champion of American Wild Horses, Laura Leigh ~ Photo by Terry Fitch

Journalist, author, and artist Laura Leigh won a major First Amendment victory in federal court when Reno’s Judge Larry Hicks ruled it unconstitutional for the BLM to bar observers and the press from observing wild horse “gathers.”

But she was barred by local deputies and threatened with if she pursued her recently won right to observe wild horse “gathers.” Why? Because the trap site used by the federal agency was located on privately owned land. Leigh was told the landowner would not allow press and public on his property.

BLM officials told her to get permission from the landowner if she wanted to see the horses.

“In the BLM response to my desire to observe Tuscarora (Owyhee specific) they claim that I should have independently contacted the landowner. How can I do that if they do not provide the trap site locations that are actually in use and the landowner’s information? Are we supposed to trespass and then ask the person listed on the summons?” she wrote to Horseback Magazine.

In a letter to BLM dated July 27th, the magazine asked for the names and contact information for the landowners. The agency response – a stone wall reminiscent of the classic Joseph Heller anti bureaucracy satire, Catch 22.

Click (HERE) to read Story in it’s Entirety

Click (HERE) to Help Legal Fight Against the BLM

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I Hate these Wild Horses: Once a work of Fiction, now pure Fact

by R.T. Fitch, author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart

(I wrote this piece as pure fiction in the beginning of December in anticipation of what “might” happen at Calico, and did.  Now, with the massacre going on at Tuscarora and the latest article by Steven Long proving that the BLM lies, decieves and covers up their crimes AND with Sue Cattoor admitting that her husband, with a record, acts as vet/judge/jury and God by shooting wild horses from a helicopter, well it’s time to bring this back.  Sadly, fact modeled itself after fiction – R.T.)


His four, small legs pounded and slipped through the snow, rocks and ice.  He was loosing her, he couldn’t keep up.  Through the blowing snow and the roaring sound from above she kept running and running as fast as she could.

With the distance between them beginning to grow he could feel the panic of separation building in his young chest.

His mother would dodge to the left then run to the right attempting to shake the pursuing horror from above.  He knew she was trying to lead the terror from the skies away from him but he wanted and needed to be with her; he had never been this afraid in his entire young life.

His nostrils flared and his lungs burned as he gulped down the frigid air while attempting to maintain his footing down the icy mountainside.

He did not know where the giant, thumping creature had come from but his mother knew enough to run and he followed her as the beast from the clouds roared and screamed over their heads.

His vision was obscured with the whirling white snow beating him in the face and stinging his eyes.  He could no longer hear his mother over the screeching wings above him.

The noise increased, the snow swirled quicker and in his state of visual deprivation and sensory overload he just stopped; he locked up his knees and skidded to a clumsy halt on the slick, slopping ground.

As quickly as it had come, the dark, sinister monster in the sky sped away while the snow stopped it’s frantic dance and gently settled back onto the, now, quiet ground.

He shook his head, not just in an effort to clear his mind but also to shake the settled snow from his face and mane.

Where was his mother?

As the snow settled he could now see down the slope and realized that he had stopped just short of a steep drop off; yet his proud, dark mother was nowhere to be seen.

With his nose to the ground, ears alert and eyes peering forward he slowly followed her scent the few feet to the edge of the cliff.  The depth of the drop off startled him so he scooted backwards out of fear but not before he caught a glimpse of a familiar figure far below.

He took in a breath of winter air and edged forward until he could just peek over the edge and there, far below him, lay the crumpled, still form of what had once been his mother.

He screamed, he slipped, he scurried back as the cold darkness of fear, dread and loss overtook him.

His mother was gone.

Cattoor Chopper - by Terry Fitch

“Condor to Eagle’s Nest, Condor to Eagle’s Nest, come in Eagle’s Nest”, barked the helicopter pilot as he headed his chopper on a southerly heading only about 200 ft off the valley floor.

“Go ahead Condor this is Eagle’s Nest” came crackling back over his headphones.

“Looks like I lost another one; oh rats”, laughed the pilot.

“Are you doing that on purpose?’ asked the voice in the headphones, “That’s the seventh one today”

“Not really, but if you are keeping score you may as well call it eight as she had a foal and he ain’t gonna be able to make the night without his mama, do I get extra points for that?”

“Naw, but we still have a lot of work to do and a bunch more of those bastards to roundup so you better get back after it.”

“It is what it is when you do this crap in the winter.  Any of those tree hugging protesters over there today?”

“Nope, guess it is too cold or they just plain gave up.  They might have finally realized that they aren’t going to win, that we are going to take them all.”

“Bunch of candy-assed pussies, not worth the powder to blow them from here to hell.”

“Roger that, but this is a no- name herd that won’t draw much publicity, not like there is some TV show made about them or anything so they probably just went back and crawled into their books and their magical fairyland.”

“Let em go, good place for um.”

“Say, you know you are about working yourself out of a job up there, don’t you?”

“How’s that?”

“We’ve almost got all these useless wild horses cleared off the land so what are you planning to do next?”

“Maybe I will learn how to herd the cattle that you plan to place out here.”

The voice in the pilot’s headphones laughed, “Yea, in your dreams.”

“Probably so, ya gotta love your job to be able to survive.”

“It’s my turn to ask ‘How’s that’?”

“Because I love my job, maybe too much, cause I hate these wild horses”

“Roger that, me too.  So earn your dammed, inflated day rate and go get us some of those bastard wild horses.”

“Will do, but you’re buying the beer tonight.”

“Affirmative Condor, now get to work.”

“Condor out and gunning for more!”

With that the helicopter pilot twisted the collective and pulled his stick hard to the right.  The chopper smartly curved towards the mountains to the west and in only a matter of moments the pilot could make out several dark and tan shapes against the snow on the lower slopes.

Like a World War I bi-plane the helicopter went into a steep dive, aiming directly at the innocent, wild horses below.  As the aircraft fell upon the startled horses the pilot imagined that he had gun sights on his windscreen and keyed his transmission button like it was a machine gun trigger.  “Take that, and that you bloody bastards, you’re all dead anyway”, he laughed as he pulled back his stick to make another pass at the terrified animals below.  He wanted to drive them down the slope and to the east and then run them down the valley to the trap in the south.

He came at them down the slope from above as the band stallion deftly turned to the north with his herd following close behind.  The pilot lowered his aircraft to just inches over the panicked horses and he would have heard them screaming over the beating of his own blades if he were not growling through clenched teeth, “I hate these wild horses!!!”

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Were Mohammed Incarnate Today…BLM Beware!

by Sheila Shayon ~President/Founder, Third Eye Media (Live Link)

As the Prophet Mohammed‘s army marched towards Mecca in 630 to conquer it they passed a female dog with puppies. The Prophet gave orders that they should not be disturbed and posted a man to see that this was done. He said, “Verily, there is heavenly reward for every act of kindness done to a living animal.”

The Prophet forbade the practice of cutting tails and manes of horses, of branding animals at any soft spot, and of keeping horses saddled unnecessarily. (Sahih Muslim) If he saw any animal over-loaded or ill-fed he would pull up the owner and say, “Fear Allah in your treatment of animals.” (Abu Dawud, Kitab Jihad)

Wild horses and burros are being systematically destroyed in the USA by the government agency, Bureau of Land Management, (BLM) and the powers that be and the public at large are turning a blind eye. Despite the fervent and passionate work of thousands of committed animal welfare advocates, the mainstream media remains on the sidelines, mute.

The most deadly round-up to date in BLM history took place in January in the remote Calico Mountains of Nevada. In the dead of winter, over rocky terrain and rugged wilderness, the terrified animals were literally run to death trying to escape the roaring helicopters hired by the agency…the usual modus operandi in ‘gathers.’ To date, 150 horses and foals have died in the wake of this one — many in the holding pens in the Fallon Facility.

The scores of videos posted on YouTube and other online sites showing the systemic BLM abuse are not for the feint of heart. The round-ups are now being called ‘gathers’ — a more palatable term in print?

The Humane Society released a statement in July in response to a summer ‘gather’ and the deaths of seven wild horses in Elko County, Nevada: “The seven mustangs died as result of dehydration, water intoxication, and injuries sustained following the Tuscarora wild horse roundup. In this case, the BLM conducted this gather in July — the hottest month of the year for Elko County — when water is scarce and temperatures exceed 90 degrees. The probable effect of chasing stressed and dehydrated animals for miles and then offering water should have been known to BLM, and in fact, the BLM admitted it was aware of the danger of “water intoxication,” but proceeded with the roundup under extremely adverse conditions anyway.”

What many don’t know is: “The public pays for those roundups, it pays BLM salaries, and it pays for the management of the public ranges. We have every right to be out there to watch what BLM is doing with our money and with the horses. Whether you care about wild horses or not, those are your dollars being spent.” George Knapp is a Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter for KLAS-TV Channel 8;

BLM’s footprint is enormous and covers large portions of Western states including Utah and Nevada, where the BLM manages 42 percent and 67 percent of the land, respectively.

BLM governs these areas with multiple-use” management, making decisions on land usage and distribution for conservation, recreation, mining and designated grazing.

Bob Abbey, director of the BLM recently said: “The fact is right now we have three to five times the population of wild horses that the range can sustain.”

Wild horses are unique in that they cannot legally be hunted or slaughtered and have no natural predator. The BLM says ‘gathers’ ultimately save the lives of horses.

Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, a vocal opponent of the BLM, has cited that in 1971 when the National Wild Horse and Burro Programme was created, 54 million acres were available for wild horses and burros. As of today, half that acreage remains and more than 32,000 wild horses are being held in captivity.

“Not only is this not a safe or desirable solution for the animals, but also it is costing the American taxpayers more than $US30 million a year. There are an estimated 37,000 mustangs and burros that live in our Western states. We now have nearly that amount in custody, and the BLM plans to remove an additional 12,000 wild horses from the ranges at a cost of millions to the American taxpayer.”

Landrieu continued: “The Obama Administration should be ashamed that this is happening under its watch. It is hard to fathom that hundreds of our wild horses have died at the hands of the federal agency entrusted to protect them.”

What can you do?

The BLM is extending a public comment period on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s long-term wild horse and burro initiative from August 3 to September 3, ostensibly “to ensure the broadest public participation possible.”

Salazar’s plan is to gather/round-up thousands of mustangs now roaming freely in the West and move them to ‘preserves’ in the Midwest and East. He says this is for the protection of the wild horses and the rangelands that support them.

What will you do?

E-mail comment to: (“WHB Public Comment” in subject line)

Mail comment to:
BLM Washington Office, 1849 C Street NW, Rm. 5665, Washington, DC 20240.
BLM is also soliciting feedback online using ePlanning:

Or do nothing, but remember, “Verily, there is heavenly reward for every act of kindness done to a living animal.”

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OIG Launches Review of BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program Amid Escalating Controversy

By: American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

Now they use Helicopters as the weapon of choice

WASHINGTON, D.C. July 27, 2010 – The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), which is supported by a coalition of more than 40 public interest, historic preservation and horse advocacy organizations, today supplemented the ongoing Department of Interior Office of Inspector General (OIG) review of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s wild horse and burro program. AWHPC filed a complaint outlining the BLM’s negligence in the conduct of the Tuscarora roundup in northeastern Nevada.

At least 25 of the 822 wild horses captured to date in that roundup have perished, the majority of them from dehydration-related complications. Most of the dead are very young horses, including foals aged 2-5 months.

The OIG launched a program-wide evaluation of the BLM’s wild horse and burro management in May.

“The BLM repeatedly claimed that the Tuscarora roundup required ‘extreme diligence,’ yet the agency’s actions reflect just the opposite,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC Campaign Director. “From failing to manage conditions on the range to avert an emergency for horses, to launching a desert roundup in the heat of summer when foals are young and vulnerable, to leaving dehydrated horses unmonitored overnight with free access to water, the BLM’s conduct exemplifies the fundamental failures of this broken federal program.”

Seven horses died within the first 24 hours of the roundup from dehydration-related complications — including colic, brain swelling and “water intoxication” — after being stampeded by helicopter for eight miles in 85 degree heat into capture pens, then left unattended overnight. The BLM found the horses dead and dying when it returned to the capture site in the morning. Water intoxication occurs when dehydrated horses are given free access to water and over-drink. All of the horses who died were under age 8, including 2-5 month old foals.

After the horses died, BLM claimed that this routine removal of “excess” horses was now an emergency rescue due to allegedly extreme water shortages on the range. Ironically, Roy said, the emergency water shortage relates only to horses and not to the hundreds of cows and the wildlife that also inhabit the range and have access to water.

The AWHPC complaint included a statement by Bruce Nock, Ph.D., tenured faculty at the Washington University School of Medicine and expert on the physiological effects of stress on animals regarding the dangers of a summer roundup.

“[I]t may take less than 20 minutes of moderate exercise to raise a horse’s body temperature to dangerous levels . . . Add the sympathetic nervous system activation triggered by being chased by a helicopter in summer heat and you have the potential for real problems … deadly problems,” wrote Dr. Nock wrote. “But the high ambient temperatures of summer aren’t the only problem. The year’s crop of foals are only months old during their first summer. . . . [E]arly development is a fragile time when stress/trauma can have a devastating impact that can last a life time.”

Dr. Nock previously wrote a report for AWHPC on the traumatic effects of helicopter roundup and capture on wild horses:

The Tuscarora roundup continues. The agency intends to use helicopters to roundup 1,548 wild horses and permanently removal of 1,137-1,197 of these animals from the Owyhee, Little Humboldt and Rock Creek HMAs in Elko County, Nevada over the next several weeks.

AWHPC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.


The Legal Voice of the Amercian Equine

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Be Heard by BLM: Urge an End to Wild Horse Roundups

by Wayne Pacelle ~ President of the Humane Society (HSUS)

Yesterday I asked you to contact Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in response to the reported plans to kill more than 150,000 geese in New York state (please do call 202-720-3631 if you haven’t done so already). Today, I need your action on another urgent concern—urging the Bureau of Land Management to stop the cruel and senseless roundups of wild horses and instead to develop humane, sustainable programs for managing the herds, such as fertility control through immunocontraception.

Over the past 10 years, the BLM has removed some 74,000 wild horses and burros from the range, and it intends to remove a total of 12,000 horses this year. The current program is costly, illogical, and has also had tragic consequences—you may have heard about the rising death toll associated with the BLM’s current Tuscarora wild horse gather in Elko County, Nev., where at least a dozen mustangs have died from dehydration, water intoxication and related complications.

The federal government has submitted a new policy proposal for wild horse management and is now accepting public comments. Please take a few minutes to make your voice heard—the deadline for comments is next Tuesday, Aug. 3, and we’ve provided instructions and guidance on our website.

I’ve asked Stephanie Boyles, a wildlife scientist with The HSUS, to elaborate on why the BLM must seriously reconsider its current policies and procedures given the program’s track record and the recent tragedy in Elko County.

So far this year, 18 wild horses rounded up by the BLM in Nevada have died. The BLM claims on its website that 16 of these horses died due to preexisting dehydration-related complications, congenital deformities or physical injuries, and that only two died as a result of “gather-related operations” (one horse was euthanized after sustaining a leg fracture in a temporary holding corral and another died from a neck injury).

Based on several factors, however, we can’t help but question the BLM’s assertion that all but two deaths were unavoidable, and that the agency was blameless and practiced due diligence prior to the gather.

First, the BLM has failed to answer the most basic, pertinent question posted in a Questions and Answers section on its informational site: “Why is the BLM using a helicopter to chase and capture wild horses in the summer’s extreme heat?”

Instead of answering the question, the agency simply describes the procedures used to conduct gathers during summer months—with no explanation for why they’re held in the hottest month of the year as opposed to the fall or winter, when the mares are not foaling and the new foals of the year are older and stronger.

For years, The HSUS has urged the BLM to use passive gather techniques, such as nutrient baits and/or water trapping (placing nutrients or water in an area where they are scarce to gradually lure horses, then building a large corral around the animals), to alleviate, to the greatest extent possible, the suffering, stress and trauma inherently associated with roundups.

In its Environmental Assessment for the Elko County gather, the BLM acknowledges that “water trapping can be very effective when water resources are scarce…”, but dismissed water trapping from detailed study for this gather because it claimed, among other factors, that the area has an abundance of public and private water sources.

Of course, we know now that at the time of the gather, water sources on the range were, in fact, scarce. So not only was water trapping a feasible option, it would have been preferable and should have been used once the BLM realized the targeted horses were suffering from dehydration due to inadequate water. The agency also knew that animals already suffering from dehydration are susceptible to toxic hydration if they drink too much water too quickly once it is made available.

Having contingency plans in place in the event of a crisis of this nature is one of the many critical changes that must be made to the BLM’s broken wild horse and burro management program. Instead of constantly defending its policies and procedures when things go wrong (and they clearly did in Tuscarora), the BLM needs to conduct a fair and objective evaluation of its procedures and make changes that will alleviate unnecessary suffering and save lives in the future.

You can help the BLM better serve the treasure it has been mandated to protect—our wild horses—by submitting comments on the agency’s recently released proposal.

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How Do You Make 2000 Horses Disappear? Let BLM Manage Them

Press Release from The Equine Welfare Alliance ~ Update: Documentation Included

Even an Elementary School Dunce knows math better than the BLM

CHICAGO, (EWA) – As controversy swirls over the aggressive removal of horses from the range by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a more fundamental question has arisen over what is happening to the horses it already has in holding. Over the past several years, equine advocates have been scrutinizing the BLM’s horse population counts. Once again, the numbers don’t add up to their claims.

The BLM doesn’t make it easy to track horses being removed from the range or residing in short and long term holding. The taxpayers who pay for the removals and the subsequent care are not allowed to view the horses under the well worn excuse that they are being held on “private property“. Consequently, there are no checks and balances to verify information being reported.

It also raises a salient question. With 262 million mostly vacant acres under its control, why on earth is a federal agency such as the BLM wasting taxpayer’s money to lease private property?

Increasingly, the BLM is using the “private property” wild card whenever they don’t want the public to see what they are doing – whether it’s the actual removals or subsequent holding. A recent article by George Knapp, They execute horses, don’t they?, spoke to this devious maneuver.

Somewhere on “private property” there are 2,282 horses missing from the BLM’s wild horse holding facilities or the numbers the BLM is reporting are not accurate.

As of July 9, 2010, BLM has removed 5,334 horses from public lands and yet, an increase of only 625 horses is reflected on their most recent population facility chart for fiscal-year (FY) 2010.

A first grade child could do the math by taking the number of horses reported on holding facility charts, adding the number of horses rounded-up and subtracting the number reported as adopted and sold and quickly discover the totals are not accurate.

-33,166 horses in holding (starting point for FY 2010 from October 2009 BLM report)
-5,334 horses removed through July 9 (prior to the Tuscarora round-up)
-2,427 adopted, sold & deaths during removals (Although the BLM reported only 2 deaths, we have added a total 170 deaths to compensate for the deaths known to have occurred during the Calico removals)

The BLM numbers don’t even reflect the 300 – 500 adopted horses BLM claims are returned by adopters each year, or the number of foals born in captivity. According to the 2008 GAO BLM report, 303 foals were born in long term holding during FY 2007. In either case, adding those numbers to the counts only increases the number of missing horses.

After allowing for the deaths, the BLM should still have 36,073 horses in holding facilities but they are reporting only 33,791 on the June 2010 holding facility chart. “Where are the 2,282 horses that are missing from BLM’s accounting of the horses in holding facilities?” asked EWA vice president, Valerie James-Patton.

The GAO report states that BLM is not required to report the number of deaths in long term holding facilities, but if 2,282 horses have died there in just a nine month period, there’s a much larger problem taking place in BLM’s wild horse facilities than just what paper work reveals, certainly much more than what BLM is willing to tell.

“How can we have any confidence in BLM’s estimates of the wild horse population when they can’t even count the number of horses in their pens?” asked EWA’s president, John Holland.

The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues free, umbrella organization with over 115 member organizations. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.

BLM documents utilized for the above article are listed below and located on the EWA website.  Please refer individuals to these documents for reference or when the BLM changes their numbers, which they do often.

Facility Report – October 2009

Facility Report – June 2010

Adoption and Sale – FY 2010

Gather Report 2010

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BLM and Infamous Contractor Kill a Minimum of 7 Wild Horses on the FIRST Day of Tuscarora Roundup

The News as WE See It ~ by R.T. Fitch

Salazar's Death on Wheels

The BLM's way of protecting our Wild Horses

They would not listen during the Calico Roundup where 150 horses are dead and now the warnings were issued to postpone the ill conceived and misguided roundup at Tuscarora and in the very first day the BLM and their infamous helicopter stampede specialists, the Cattoors, have killed 7 horses, that they admit to, with undisclosed multiple injuries.  All of this behind a Gestapo style, closed gate, paranoid process where the American public is not allowed to witness the violation of law and bloodshed.

This is YOUR federal government working at its best to wipe out the last of our native wild horses while they allow private cattle to graze on the same land at a ration of 50 to 1…where is the CHANGE?

Beyond outrage, beyond comprehension this flagrant use of misguided power has gone too far.  Driven from the top by the impotent and natural resource destroyer Ken Salazar this has to stop and has to stop now.

Call the horse killer Salazar and give him a piece of your mind, I am sick and tired of attempting to be professional in what we report; tell him what you think of his ties to the cattle industry, his cloudy past and how he bumbled the BP spill and forever destroyed one of our national treasures.  Tell him exactly how you feel about his sell out of our national icon, the wild horse and how he has raised the Obama administration to the pinnacle of being the most damming environmental administration in years.

Tell him…call at 202-208-3100

Fax him at 202-208-6956 and email the destroyer of our wildlife at

And while you are at it, tell him you want a resignation and we want it yesterday.

This is insane!

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BLM Temporarily Suspends Tuscarora Wild Horse Gather

The Bureau of Land Management in the United St...

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Heather Emmons:  775-861-6594

Reno, Nev.–The Bureau of Land Management announced today that it is temporarily suspending the Tuscarora wild horse gather operations in Elko County, Nev., after BLM staff determined that gathered horses were dehydrated after seven gathered wild horses died from dehydration-related complications because of insufficient water in the area. The BLM also announced that the Tuscarora gather operations, aimed at removing horses from overpopulated herds, will remain on hold until an assessment has been completed to determine how to best proceed in light of the current condition of these horses.

“Our agency is committed to the humane treatment of wild horses and burros, both on and off the range,” BLM Director Bob Abbey said. “Toward that end, I am suspending further Tuscarora gather operations until the situation concerning the initial stage of the Tuscarora gather is analyzed and thoroughly understood, and the options for minimizing mortality of horses weakened by dehydration can be assessed.”

The Tuscarora wild horse gather encompasses the Owyhee, Rock Creek, and Little Humboldt Herd Management Areas (HMAs) located in northern Elko County. The BLM initiated gather operations in the northern portion of the Owyhee HMA at 6:30 a.m., Saturday, July 10. By 9 a.m., the BLM contractor had gathered 228 wild horses, consisting of one group of approximately 32 horses located within a mile of the on-site temporary holding corrals, and a second group of approximately 196 horses located about eight miles from the corrals.

On arrival it was noted the horses were “drawn up,” or lacking fill from water. They were, however, generally in good body condition with most scoring 4 to 5 on what is known as the Henneke body condition scale. The horses were provided with hay and water through the afternoon and evening. One horse was euthanized shortly after being gathered due to a fractured leg that occurred in the temporary holding corrals.

The morning of July 11, four horses were found dead in the pens and several horses were exhibiting signs of colic and brain swelling which was subsequently attributed to water starvation/dehydration and subsequent water intoxication. Gather operations were stopped at that point, and BLM staff, specialists, the gather contractor and the on-site U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian began treating the horses. So far, seven horses have died from complications related to water starvation/dehydration or subsequent water intoxication. It was determined this was a direct result of a lack of water in the immediate areas occupied by the horses. The BLM brought in extra water, tank trucks and troughs to the temporary holding site to ensure that all gathered animals have ample water available. Electrolytes were provided in each pen and affected animals were examined and treated as indicated by the veterinarian on site.

The private contractor conducted an aerial flyover of the immediate area Sunday morning, July 11, and located two large bands of wild horses. One band, approximately 100 to 150 horses, is staying close to a nearly dried-up water hole. The second band, approximately 150 to 200 horses, is located approximately eight to 10 miles from the nearest water source. Both of these bands are presently at risk of mortality from dehydration if they do not reach other water sources. The BLM is unable to bring water into this area because the area where these bands are located is not readily accessible by road. The BLM will carefully monitor the two bands of horses during the next few days to determine whether they are independently moving to other water sources or can be encouraged to reach such waters on their own. The BLM will also continue to provide food, water and veterinary care for the animals in the on-site temporary holding corrals.

As more information becomes available it will be posted at the website: For further comments and questions, the public may call 1-866-468-7826.

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