The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has signed contracts for helicopter removals of wild horses and burros. In October of 2014 BLM extended current contracts in lieu of new contracts. This occurred as they “worked out details” with contractors on how to include a Comprehensive Animal Welfare Plan (CAWP) and Appendices to provide access to wild horse and burro captures and temporary corrals.
BLM published response to our email request: Yes, the BLM, after careful consideration, has issued three new helicopter contracts for wild horse and burro gathers. The contracts have gone to Cattoor Livestock Roundup, Inc., Nephi, Utah; Sampson Livestock, Meadow, Utah; and Sun J Livestock, Inc., Vernal, Utah. For the first time, Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program (CAWP) standards are incorporated into the agency’s helicopter gather contracts. The CAWP standards, among other things, specify capture techniques; design standards for trap and corral facilities; requirements for vehicles used to transport animals; handling techniques; stipulations for the care of young, weak, or debilitated animals; and requirements for feeding and watering. The advantages of three contractors (rather than two, as has been the practice) are: increased bidding competition (and thus lower costs) for each gather job; greater capability for removals and population-growth suppression work; and meeting contingencies that may arise.
Our request for BLM to provide a copy of the version of CAWP and access appendix that was finalized in the contract has gone unanswered. (Edited: since we published this piece we received an email that we will get the version incorporated shortly)
The building blocks created through our work on both humane handling and access have been laid out in successful federal court actions. Wild Horse Education, and our founder Laura Leigh, are well prepared to address any and all deficiencies.
We eagerly await a response from BLM.
Wild Horse Education (WHE) maintains the largest photographic and video library in the world of government roundups since 2010. WHE President Laura Leigh has attended more days of roundup operations during that time than any public or government observer.
WHE maintains the first court order in history against inappropriate conduct (additional orders since that time). WHE successfully litigated, and won, in the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals a landmark decision on access cited in civil rights cases across the country, based on Leigh’s experience, over the course of a 4 1/2 year struggle.