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Laura Leigh loves horses. They have held a special place in her heart since childhood. Laura has been involved in anti-slaughter issues for more than two decades. Leigh has attended more roundups than any other observer including government personnel in the last four years. Her videography has been seen on CNN, NBC, BBC, PBS and her photography in many print venues, she holds press credentials through Horseback Magazine. Wild Horse Education was created to gain protections from abuse, slaughter and extinction for our beloved wild horses and burros.

Take Action: Raise your voice!

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On November 26, 2012 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began removing wild horses from the Little Owyhee Herd Management Area (HMA) north of Winnemucca NV. On Thursday December 20 operations suspended for the holiday and will begin again on January 4, 2012 North of Elko, NV. This roundup operation is occurring in what BLM references as the “Owyhee Complex.”

BLM map of the Owyhee Complex

From BLM website:  
The Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather includes five Herd Management Areas (HMAs), Little Humboldt, Little Owyhee, Owyhee, Rock Creek and Snowstorm. The gather area is located within Elko and Humboldt Counties. The Owyhee, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt HMAs are administered by the Elko District (Tuscarora Field Office). The Little Owyhee and the Snowstorm HMAs are administered by the Winnemucca District, (Humboldt River Field Office).

The Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the area is available at this link: https://www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/33902/40771/42881/DOI-BLM-NV-W010-2012-0055-EA_FINAL.pdf

The next phase of the operation will begin on January 4, 2013 in the Elko district’s Owyhee HMA. BLM states it will remove 47 animals and return about 150 after PZP-22 (birth control) is administered. (BLM may remove the additional animals if it determines “conditions” warrant as they did at the Wassuk HMA earlier this year).

The EA and Record of Decision (ROD) cite that the chosen alternatives for the Complex (all HMA’s) covers a ten year plan to reach low AML for the entire Complex.

Limp foal carried into trap after being separated from family during drive and roped

During the “first phase” of the operation so many issues arose as to the “humane” treatment of animals that BLM devoted the entire “home page” of the update section to attempt to deny that anything wrong was occurring. There was no admission that any issue needed to be addressed, only that “all is just fine.”

One of the most interesting examples is the “barbed wire” incidents.

Paint falls over barbed wire, Owyhee. 4 other horses were witnessed getting caught at this same gate.

At this link you can view BLM’s video and WHE’s. At this link you can read BLM’s response to concerns.http://wheblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/back-to-business/

BLM issued a press release stating that the second phase would begin but failed to address public concern.

“Phase 1 of the gather has been completed on the Little Owyhee HMA,” said Gene Seidlitz, district manager of BLM’s Winnemucca District. “The weather and mechanical issues on the helicopter caused several days without gather operations occurring but overall wild horses were removed safely and humanely.” 

Intensive hot shot use during loading

As public concern is swept aside and a “business as usual” denial that any improvements can be made, we have every expectation that operations will continue with a disregard for the need to create clear standards of care. We KNOW that there is only one trap location in Owyhee. That trap requires that horses be moved as much as twenty-five miles to reach the same location where horses died last time.

Side note question for thought: Th single trap location is on private property that was owned by the IL ranch. That IL sold to Newmont mining and the vast ex-anse that was the IL is now Newmont property. Is Newmont running livestock using the AUM’s that were associated with the IL? Is Newmont running cattle to keep the AG water rights active on the property to use for industrial extractrion? 

Grey with branded horses continually slipped in wet trailer

We ask that you take a moment and write yet again to BLM on behalf of the wild horses that will be removed in this ten year plan.

Sample letter and recipients below:

AMY LUEDERS, NV Director, email: alueders@blm.gov, FAX: 775-861-6601

GENE SEIDLITZ, Winnemucca district, email: gseidlit@blm.gov,  FAX 775-623-1503

KEN MILLER, Elko district manager, email: kmiller@blm.gov, FAX: 775-753-0255

MIKE POOL, BLM Acting Director DC: email: mpool@blm.gov

BLM Washington Office
1849 C Street NW, Rm. 5665
Washington DC 20240
Phone: 202-208-3801
Fax: 202-208-5242

Dear BLM,

As an interested party to wild horses at the Owyhee I implore you to address the issue of a lack of clearly defined, enforceable, humane treatment during the next phases of the Owyhee Complex roundup.

The first phase that was completed operated without any recognition if the Intention Statement toward humane care put forth from the BLM state director, Amy Lueders, office last year in response to the very real need to begin to implement better treatment guidelines for wild horses and burros. Triple B gained not only two judgements to conduct in Federal Court, but BLM’s own internal review found the conduct alleged in court actually occurred. Yet operations on the ground show no changes in treatment to our wild horses.

I am appalled at the conduct that is allowed to continue. All precautions should be taken to minimize risk.

It has been clearly demonstrated time and again that the “discretion” of the COR leaves too much room for “opinion.”

At a minimum of effort an Intention statement was created by the state office of Nevada and presented in the courtroom as if it were a policy. That Intention statement is ignored by BLM employees during roundup operations.

As an interested party I ask that the state take measures to ensure that the districts under their management abide by that Intention. It is the very least effort that could be made to address this critical issue. As an interested party to wild horses in the Owyhee Complex I find the lack of authority, communication, conduct inadequate to protect my interest on public land.

Please rectify.

(contact info here)

*****

Help keep us in the field and the courtroom!
Help keep us in the field and the courtroom!

Links of interest:

History of the legal battle for humane care: http://wildhorseeducation.org/the-humane-care-suit/short-history-of-the-humane-care-suit/

EDITED to add: Addressing BLM Owyhee Roundup propaganda, What a shame the agency continues to deny issues instead of fixing them. click link: http://wheblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/addressing-the-blm-owyhee-propoganda/

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