Eagle/Caliente Update (slideshow)

Not one wild horse hit the trap "wet."

Not one wild horse hit the trap “wet.”

Today the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) removed 22 horses from the Eagle Complex in the first day of an operation with a target of 100 wild horses. Details of the operation can be viewed here:

This removal operation is intended to clear groups of wild horses that have been crossing the highway. In the last two months nine wild horses were struck and killed, one this morning. Nevada has been in varied status of drought conditions for the last four years. Snow in the uplands is bringing horses into lowland areas in search of forage under the snow they can paw through. At the link above you can see the maps in the documents to view capture areas and other details.

Wild horses down near highway evening before operation began

Wild horses down near highway evening before operation began

Please note that this is the third year of a deceleration in removals. Removals are approved only under certain criteria at this time, with the classification of “emergency” including issues of public safety as well as herd health. This operation was approved under that classification. You can access BLM program data here that includes year end removal numbers.

Late last year a Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP) was included in roundup contracts and is intended to be a guide to addressing this deficit. Protocol to assess operations is now in place and under review.

Over the last 6 years Wild Horse Education (WHE) has documented more wild horses removed from the range than any observer, public or government. WHE has documented nearly 10,000 horses removed each of those years through 2012, lower numbers from 2013 to the present.

Through this work legal actions were brought against conduct issues present at roundups. WHE won the first court order in the history of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act against inappropriate conduct. We continued to win multiple rulings. You can read about some of the battle here:

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Largest group of the day. This was not like what we have seen in the past. Not one horse was wet or breathing hard.

Today we witnessed the contractor (Sampson) operate a controlled environment. The pilot moved horses at a pace where not a single horse came into the trap wet (we have witnessed severe lathering in freezing temperatures). During loading there was no frantic whipping and in fact, hardly any use of the “baggy whip” except to push horses from the jute through the final step into the panel trap.

Access to view the condition of horses during capture was another “WHE fight.” For four and a half years we went up and down the legal system to gain meaningful access to the moment of capture. Today we could identify individual animals with the naked eye and through the camera lens, assess condition. To read about the fight for access read here

One day at a time.

We will let you know how things go tomorrow.

The fastest way to destroy progress is to fail to recognize where it exists.

We continue our work addressing site specific issues to address range management practices. We are being told that is impossible too.

Slideshow from day one, Eagle/Caliente

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