We visit facilities as a regular course. Palomino Valley Center in Nevada has been intake for may of the wild horses and burros removed over the last several years. We went to do a fast story on the Internet Adoption. We will post a story similar to the one we did for “Round One” of the Internet Adoption (this is now round three).
But while we were asking questions at the facility about movement of horses we got a surprise (the older mares in foal from the Kamma removal last summer were shipped out to the closed door of Broken Arrow in Fallon and a load shipped to adoption “events” across the country. This has emptied the three pens to toward the back for intake for upcoming removals).
We were told the last of the Silver King horses that were in Fallon (only the mares as stallions had all gone to Gunnison Prison in Utah) had been brought to PVC. I was told that the younger horses (the ones captured and those born at Broken Arrow were gone. Although when you look at the horses listed on the Adoption pages for the Fallon facility they simply say “born in holding” as they don’t bother to mark babies when they wean them.
These horses have not been seen since the roundup in September of 2010. Although it is hard yo believe that Fallon tracks tag numbers and bothered to separate out Silver King mares from their general population. I asked “why?” and there was no answer…. but maybe we know.
On September 24, 2010 Laura Leigh filed the first leg of the First Amendment case. She cited that she wanted to see the Silver King horses behind the closed doors of the Fallon facility (one of many things the suit asks for). That case was Appealed to the Ninth Circuit after the district court ruled in BLM’s favor. The Ninth circuit ruled in Leigh’s favor. The case went back to allow full testimony at the district court that again ruled against Leigh. Leigh took it back to the Ninth Circuit where the court has now ordered Mediation. To read what the suit asks for go here (scroll to bottom): http://wildhorseeducation.org/legal-action/what-the-silver-king-suit-asks-for/ To read about the filing of the First Appeal written by both Leigh’s attorney and herself go here: http://wildhorseeducation.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/whenewsletterv1.pdf To read an article written by our attorney on the First Appeal victory go here: http://wildhorseeducation.org/legal-action/what-the-silver-king-suit-asks-for/ The case has been in Mediation since the beginning of the year.
The horses are held in a pen that there is not clear access to. However we got a few shots through a gate.
During the roundup there were continuos inconsistent posting of numbers of wild horses shipped from the range and received at the facilities. To this date no totals are posted on the “gather” portion of the BLM page on the removal operation. http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/ely_field_office/blm_programs/wild_horses_and_burros/silver_king_herd_management/gather_reports.html
Leigh became so concerned about where horses were going that she followed a truck one morning. That truck went to Gunnison prison where they searched Leigh and her vehicle confiscating everything they considered contraband including Leigh’s medication (she has epilepsy) and her cameras including her cell phone. Several other advocates have visited the prison facility and none of them ever had a vehicle search that included removing every bag from her vehicle. Later when Leigh inquired on picking up a sale authority horse she was sent a reply that told her she had to give advance warning that she was coming so that SWAT could be notified. No other visitor to the facility has ever reported receiving such an email.
The end of this video is the entrance to Gunnison
So if these are the last of the Silver King horses in short term, where did the other 407 go? And why were we never able to see them? And WHY would BLM ship mares from Kamma over to a closed facility right before they give birth if BLMs goal is to increase adoptions? Those foals will never be seen again except a handful of them with a notation on the Fallon adoption page that says “born in a holding facility, no information on HMA.” Why ship 80 Silver King mares to Palomino Valley now?
Shipping 80 mares almost four years after capture of nearly 500 wild horses removed from the range (and who knows how many births) is not “observation.”
We have such mixed feeling over seeing these horses again. All the memories of 4 years ago come flooding back. We are intensely grateful to have been told that they were there (many in the BLM understand we are devoted to the horses).
Yet as we sit in Mediation now, on a case that has been up and down and back in the courts, we see faces unseen in years.
Eagle wild horses, Calico, Antelope, the pregnant mares from Kamma and so many more sit outside of public view in a facility where what the public viewed was so objectionable BLM feared their reputation was in jeopardy. Wild horses that no member of the public has been permitted to see at all since 2012.
We remain committed to doing the best we can to bring you “the story of our American wild horses.” And as Ninth Circuit Judge Milan Smith wrote, “Leigh can’t ask the horse. Unless of course he’s Mr.Ed.”
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Categories: Wild Horse Education