This is a long read. You might call it a “need to vent.” I broke this down into two sections; the first is the steam vent, the second is a republish that is posted in honor of a horse, that has no bids, “My name is Jack.” You can scroll to section two, “My Name Could Be Jack,” if you want to avoid the “steam vent.”
Most of my articles, especially recently, focus on public lands management and the deep quagmire our wild, wild horses are caught in. Wild Horse Education is a highly specialized organization with a focus on federally managed wild horses, legally defined as “wild.” Many of you hear me say, over and over, that the wild horse is the only animal defined by where it stands, not what it is biologically. The legal definition of wild extends from birth on public lands until title is transferred through adoption or sale (the distinction between the two can be found HERE).
As I was researching something (for an author doing another book) I needed to visit the BLM internet adoption portal. I did not have the url handy. So I, like most people, hit “Google” and clicked the link. The top link in Google took me to the BLM’s old internet portal that told me the “adoption event had ended” (there is one active, right now). It offered me an option to click to go to the new site. I clicked the highlighted text and landed right back on the old site, different segment. Typical BLM, move onto something else before you clean up your old mess. (The old portal url simply needs to be set on “redirect,” a move most high school kids could set up for you BLM.)
I went back and clicked another search result and finally landed on the new portal. The new portal was more than enough to spur me to write this editorial;more than just an amateur mess! How much do people make to create this garbage, over and over, that if handed in as a freshmen class project might get a “C” if the professor felt generous.
NOTE: Any amateur knows if you are loading dozens of pictures drop the file size on the internet! Your site is loaded like my grandma loads Christmas pictures! You might have government internet but ask someone that actually lives in horse country to access your site and check it for you to see if it even loads?
This is what people are getting a nice salary and benefits off the tax payer to make? Those are the questions I started asking myself after seeing horses listed without an HMA and in the “area search” seeing that Herd Management Areas (HMAs) are referenced only as “HAs” (an HA is an area not managed for wild horses, but had wild horses at one time. An “HMA” would be the appropriate acronym for all of the areas I saw listed as “HA.” ) It makes you wonder if some BLM higher up has his kid or girlfriend running the page? (I’ve watched BLM long enough to know that is something within a realm of possibility.)
So you can see why I felt the need to write something about facilities and the “adoption” “end of the line” for wild horses.
These pages are serving as the “fast track” to “sale authority” that the BLM Advisory Board voted unanimously, two years ago, as a recommendation to BLM. Proslaughter has has been trying to push a “fast track” for years. The number of wild horses in holding has dropped by nearly 25,000 since winter 2017 and “adoption” does not create a reason for the decline. They changed the sales policy (that had only been tightened after it was discovered nearly 1800 wild horses were sold to one kill-buyer in 2012) to, once again, up the number of horses you can buy for $5. each to a number that would fill a semi truck. Then, at tax payer expense, began shipping horses all over the country and advertising on social media (that someone else in the “high end’s” girlfriend probably runs) and the number of horses drops in holding. This is what BLM calls “success.”
BLM found money to redo this site, calls it a “success,” but still can’t find it for personnel to gather actual data in the field?!
At this juncture you can probably see the foundation of my desire to poke the web portal with a bit of attention. But what pushed it from thought to keyboard were the horses…. and just how little thought, care and respect they are given. (note: BLM National funds and directs the holding facilities and adoptions that holds the largest overhead in the “desk job salaries” of the entire program.)
The photos are horrible. The descriptions not much but a number. Some with no mention of where they were captured or if they were born in holding. Many featured that have been kept out of public view since they were babies and now listed only as “7 year old brown gelding,” or “2 year old female.” This, almost perfect black with an amazing diamond on his forehead (that got not one bid, is listed at a bit over 13 hands. How tall is he folks? He’s 14 hands. Captured as a newborn and spent his whole life out of site. A nice big black (14 hands) listed as a 13 hand brown gelding.
Nothing can create a sensation of disgust, outrage, despair in me like the BLM holding system and what they call “adoption” events. These are absolutely pathetic. A last ditch effort to empty pens to satisfy the need of livestock interests to remove horses or… they (livestock) will set up more protest camps and “threat letter chains.” There is not a “pair of ____” in all of BLM (paper pushers and time clock punchers that have all learned to use the system for personal comfort).
Our wild horses deserve so much more.
Do you know how many have no bids? How many have been captured as babies and never seen again until they are old enough for the slaughter truck? Do you know how many I have seen in holding, as orphans, that BLM wont adopt out and then I see them again as 8 year olds that no one will ever adopt, but someone will buy.
The Owyhee roundup had many orphans. Did BLM do an orphan page and feature them for adoption? The Owyhee horses were shuffled out of sight as fast as possible.
BLM, stop saying you care. You only care about meeting the demands of the memos sent by those facilitating politics and then making yourself feel better by hiring your kid, wife and/or girlfriend. So just say “I’m doing what I’m told.” I don’t want to hear the lies you repeat to make yourself feel better anymore.
Until you respect the horse, you don’t deserve mine… or that of the American public who pays your nice salary package.
BLM current internet adoption through Feb 26.
Scroll through and look at how bad the pics are, how the info is presented (HERE)
Bid on a horse if you are looking for one.
See if you think this is more than a fast track to the kill buyer because of a memo to clear facilities? Or an actual attempt to get a horse adopted, safely? (HERE)
Could your 16 year old son do better than that interface?
My name could be “Jack”
The colt in this story was adopted. But the one featured on the internet is likely a sibling from the same band. You can find him HERE.
This boy was rounded up in June of 2012 and has spent most of his life out of sight in either Broken Arrow (Indian Lakes) or at the Carson prison. He was captured as a new born. He has spent his life in holding, out of site. He is now a prime candidate to get shipped to the next “adoption” event in Texas or Oklahoma and find himself sold for $5 in a “BLM success” as he ships across the border to get stabbed to death. (Sorry for the dramatic language, but it is the truth.)
Yes, WHE did file litigation and stopped the roundup in June. We stopped BLM from using a small area of concern to justify stampeding the entire HMA during the most fragile moment, the height of foaling season. (BLM needs to extend the start time. July 1 is still too early. We are working on that now.)
It is not rescue when a horse is bid up to 8K, 10K or 15K (more than is raised to file litigation to save entire herds). That is winning a prize bid.
It is rescue when you find a place for the unseen, the unsung, the forgotten.
Republish of a piece written in 2012.
My name is Jack. I was born during the first week of June in an area you humans call the Jackson Mountains. In the shadow of a 7000 ft mountain I took my first steps while the smell of sage filled my nostrils. My mom nudged me close and I took my first fill of the warmth her body made for me. It made me feel strong and my legs began to carry me with surer strides.
As I took several steps I could see that my mom and I were not alone. My aunties came and took my scent as I belonged to them too. A chestnut youngster bounced over and told me in a couple of weeks we would be able to play because my legs would be strong like his. A large dark horse moved close and the others moved away. A large face covered in scars came and took my scent…. he was my father. This was my family!
We would travel down the northern slope of the mountain each morning and back up to the trees to spend the heat of the afternoon. Momma and the others liked the cool spring water at the bottom of the canyon. My favorite time of day was nap time under the trees. Each time I woke I felt a little stronger. My feet and legs were changing rapidly now and each time I woke from my nap I felt different. When I was born my fetlocks touched the ground, they no longer did. My feet were very soft when I was born with little feathers to protect my mom from tearing, the feathers had dried and fallen off and my feet were a little harder… but not as hard as moms. I could make the walk to the canyon stream and taste the water without needing to lay down. But I was still very tired when we made it back to the trees for nap time.
On the morning after my 12th night on this earth I woke up to hear a dreadful noise in the sky and my mother screaming for me to wake up as our family was running full gallop down the mountain side. I stood and ran as fast as my legs would carry me. I lost sight of my father and aunts as they entered the tree line! I could still see my mom… but this huge loud predator kept trying to catch her! “MOM!” I screamed and she ran under the loud monster back to my side. Mom galloped next to me and I ran as fast as I could into the trees with her.
I could see our family moving through the trees and my heart raced, my lungs burned, my feet hurt as we raced to catch up. The loud predator moving just above us. We ran and we ran and we ran…. further and faster than I had ever run before. It seemed like we would never stop.
Our family entered a valley I had never seen before with the predator right behind us! I had never heard my father scream before as he moved behind my mother and I and tried to get the predator to follow him. He ran left and right and even lagged behind but the loud monster did not follow him… it wanted the family!
My father ran to my mother and I. He bit my mom and told her to run! “We must survive,” he choked and sped off to my cousin and aunts. My mother increased her speed and I tried so hard to keep up. The sun began to burn and my mouth was filled with dust. As my legs could no loner run I watched as my mom disappeared with the predator right behind her.
I was lost. I had never been in this valley before. My mom told me that if I ever got lost to hide in the trees… but what trees? Where? I wandered around as my heart felt like it would burst through my chest and my legs and feet throbbed. I saw some trees and began to walk toward them up the slope of the valley.
Just then I hear hoofbeats! Was it my mom! I saw three horses coming in my direction… but it was not my family. These horses were like the predator. They had humans on their backs and the sound of leather and metal and smelled like fouled water. I mustered all I had left and I ran!
I ran and I ran and I ran! The predator horses were slower than mom and my family but they caught up to me. I hear a human voice yell and a rope hit the back of my neck. I turned and the rope slide off and I ran. I heard another human voice yell and a rope hit my ears, it slide forward, it tightened around my neck. “NO!” I screamed as I fought the predator and tried to run. The predator horse ran with me and the rope slipped under my legs to my belly and my legs could not move as I was lifted off the ground and fell. I just laid there.
The three predator horses moved to my sides and they pulled the rope making me get back onto my aching legs and feet. They wanted me to walk. I tried. I stumbled. I tried to run and could not get far as the rope was tight on my neck. All I could do was follow the predator horses.
I could hear my mom! That was my mom screaming for me! I could hear my family! I tried to walk faster. I saw my family caught in a cage of metal! There were humans all around. The predator horses walked me past my mom… “Mom!” I called…then someone grabbed my tail and lifted my back end off the ground and pushed me into another metal cage. My cousin was there. He was covered in sweat and his mouth was filled with dust.
A large metal box came loudly to the end of the cages and men with sticks moved toward my family. They screamed at my family and shook the sticks and whipped them at my family to move them into the box. As my mother moved by me she stopped. “MOM!” I cried… she tried to touch me through the bars and instead screamed in searing pain as a yellow stick that burned hit her in the face. She tried to touch me again and again the biting, burning stick hit her in the neck. She was pushed into the metal box…
My cousin and I stood in our cage all day and watched family after family come into the trap like ours. Two other youngsters, little girls, were put into our box with us. There was an empty blue bucket that once had water in it that got knocked over by my cousin before I got there. We were very thirsty. We heard the last family screaming that their new baby was still on the range. I thought the predator horses that went out might bring him in, but they never did.
The cage was opened and we were pushed into the alley to get into a metal box. Our tails were grabbed and my face got smacked when I tried to get the scent of the predator! My legs ached and I could not get into the box. So they lifted me by my neck and I was tossed in. One of the little girls kept trying to get out of the box so they picked up the biting burning stick. I tried to scream but it was too late and they hit her in the face to stop her from trying to get out! The door slammed shut.
My legs burned when the door opened on the metal box. We had been bounced and turned and I could not smell home anymore. I could hear families calling to each other. I could hear others whiney in fear or pain. But I called out…. and my mom answered! We were pushed, prodded and put into another cage but mom was there! I ran to her and took a huge drink! The first drink I had all day.
I laid down and closed my eyes as my body gave out. The smell of the urine of a hundred horses filled my nostrils as I passed out.
From there Jack and his family were transported to holding at Palomino Valley Center (PVC) north of Reno Nevada. He and his cousin spent about the next eight-ten weeks with their moms in a pen at the facility. Babies from the Jackson mares were born at the facility and added to the pen. Mares that aborted after the roundup stayed in the “general population.”
After that they were sorted out and branded. Older mares were branded for long term holding (Jacks mom was one of them). About ten weeks later the colts were gelded and sent into the back pens at PVC. Many of them, including Jack, were infected with ringworm and papiloma virus. Both of these viruses are common in over crowded areas where water sources are shared.
Jack and his cousin are still there to this day. Did his mother get sold to Tom Davis? Many were and the shipping inventory show it was highly likely. (HERE)
(Jack was adopted. His cousin went into the black hole of holding. The colt in this story was adopted. But the one featured on the internet “adoption” is likely a sibling from the same band, or a neighboring band. He has no bids and has spent his life in holding) You can find him HERE.
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Categories: Wild Horse Education