At Wild Horse Education (WHE) we have seen a lot of things in our work to gain a humane handling policy, the long hard fight to gain meaningful access to capture and handling, countless hours addressing policy and protocol from the ground up to try to gain a fair and equitable conversation on range management.
We try to point out, and praise, progress when we see it.
Yet sometimes we see what may seem like a minor post or image but the story it tells is extremely complex and filled with so many “wrongs” it becomes difficult to explain why. The difficulty arises from the history we have with the HMA the horses come from, the legal actions we had to bring because of BLM’s failure to create a humane handling policy and years and years of attempts to address basic care in holding facilities. Essentially there is only so much “stupid” that one can tolerate from government employees that are paid well, have benefits the vast majority of Americans could only dream of and essentially find the laziest/cheapest way to do that job.
This article began with a social media message asking us if they were breeding horses at the BLM facility in Fallon. When questioned, the individual responded that “BLM has pregnant mares on the list.” HUH? So we went and looked. Link to the “gallery” of horses available for adoption (about 35 more hours at the time of writing), on the internet adoption.
The two photos above demonstrate a common “look” the horses have at this facility, they are not pregnant. It is not a new issue. The horses at this facility have literally been there years, many born there and never seen until 4-6 years old on this “internet event.” The last few tours given of the facility the feed seen was not grass but a three way, or five way, grain feed. It is cheap “put weight on” food. Couple that with the fact that these horses get their feet done about twice a year and you have set these horses up for a tragic future. Not only are they “heavy” but the thick necks indicate these horses may already be on the metabolic route to tragedy.
From here the vast majority of horses will go to “long term pasture.” The photos we see are of lush pastures. Any horse person out there want to explain this to our well paid “government experts?” (An “analysis” of BLM adoption program in an older article here)
Issues of on the range management are complex and caught in politics, but basic care of wild horses in holding? C’mon BLM, this should be “no brainer” stuff. Do we really need to revisit these issues as a mainline item?
Issues with the manner in which BLM complains about adoption numbers and then runs adoption events, like the internet adoption, with less care than a preschooler finger painting, are too numerous to list. Simple things like noting a foals dam so that the HMA a foal is connected with can be noted in the record? Way too much work. “Born in a holding facility” makes a wild horse nothing but an inventory number with no history. If that horse happens to also be “just a bay” in color? Good luck getting it adopted.
In this event it literally looks like Broken Arrow, or Fallon as BLM now calls it presumably because of all the bad press, listed the next “truckload” to head off into the black hole of long term. Horses that have literally lived their lives in holding, 98 of them, are 0n the menu. 98 is an abnormally large number for an internet event from this facility. It really feels like “the next load out.” The issue is not the number of animals listed, we feel that the facility should have a constant inventory online for adoption, it is that after being featured in an event horses receive a “strike” in a three strike system. After three strikes they are considered sale authority or “unadoptable.” (three strikes article here )
It also looks like Palomino Valley Center (PVC) did the same thing listing 91.
Many of the horses listed are “trigger points” for us at WHE.
The Silver King horses, now at PVC, were held for years off limits to public view at Broken Arrow and then transferred into the inner pens at PVC, also virtually invisible. If you look at the ages of the horses they were captured as yearlings or two year olds. Now they are in an “adoption event on the internet as full grown adults. (Sliver King was the roundup that started our 4.5 year First Amendment fight in the courts, we won. In some areas we see progress, we are wondering if we need to revisit a few items).
Broken Arrow contains multiple horses captured as babies in Triple B that have lived the last 5 years in an essential “black hole.” Triple B was the roundup where any patience to address issues of humane care went out the window. We filed in court and won. We won the first Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction in history against conduct (BLM did a review of the operation because of the Judges ruling and admitted the conduct occurred but was “undecided” on the “appropriateness” of the conduct, including hitting a horse with a helicopter). After Triple B we went on a litigation tirade due to the obstinance of the agency to admit that there was “anything they could do better” and won multiple rulings against conduct. In 2015 BLM included the beginning of the first humane handling policy to actually be implemented under the Act.
We have contacted BLM and they are planning a tour of the facility. There are multiple issues at that facility that need to be addressed. Tracking, record keeping, mortality rates have historically been abysmal at that facility.
We are also getting multiple inquiries that address concern that PVC is almost empty.
Over the last 3 years we have had deceleration in removal due to an overflow of horses in long term holding. BLM has never addressed on the range management as they should. Removing large numbers of horses increases reproduction rates. BLM management is akin to “shooting themselves in the head.”
The BLM Fallon facility was approved to take more horses and BLM has some space in holding. PVC historically “cleared out and cleaned up” every spring. PVC was intended to be an intake facility, not hold horses for years. It is clearing out to make space to take in horses that will come off the range beginning in July. BLM has not announced the roundup schedule for the remainder of fiscal 2016.
We are reviewing facility reports and will have more for you soon.
To read about the BLM Fallon facility (Broken Arrow) from a previous tour click here.
We have articles coming on the new land use planning process and NAS soon, but this was a very fast “vent.” If we can not solve the small things, how are we ever going to deal with the core problem, on the range management?
Categories: Wild Horse Education