Press Release: BLM Helicopter stampede during drought

BLM chases newborn foals during emergency roundup

Foal that escaped trap being roped by BLM on the third day of emergency roundup

On June 8, 2012 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began an emergency roundup of wild horses in the Jackson Mountain area of the Winnemucca District in Nevada. June is peak foaling season in the area and BLM failed to take proactive measures to address the situation requiring the extremely dangerous operation.

The impending situation was not a surprise. BLM noted these issues in March. The area is compromised due to years of over grazing and a lack of precipitation last winter. The wild horses on the range demonstrate body condition that could lead to the same disaster we saw in the region in 2007. Animals died off in high numbers due to similar conditions.

“This operation is an outrage no matter how you look at it” said Leslie Peeples, co Director of Wild Horse Education “BLM failed to address the issues creating a horrible situation and the chosen cure is a horrible one.”

After negotiations with BLM failed to address the situation and stop the helicopter stampede a standard for humane treatment was placed in the Record of Decision issued by the agency.

“We asked for specific parameters and they were not granted,” said Laura Leigh, Founder of Wild Horse Education and photojournalist, “However for the first time BLM felt the concept was important enough to put it in writing.”

Leigh has been observing the removal operation since it began and continuing to attempt to work with the BLM to try to attain a compromise.

“I have seen some minor improvements,” said Leigh “but there are some major issues that need to be addressed. Running these tiny babies is an outrage. It is a situation that requires the utmost care and not simply improvements to normal operation. These animals are compromised. These babies are facing permanent damage from being stampeded by helicopter. This agency is tasked with protecting these animals and it has failed in it’s duty on so many levels.”

An active case sits in Reno Federal Court that shut down roundup because of inhumane care last summer. This issue is ongoing in the Courts and can be carried forward if conduct warrants such action.


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