BLM NV Ignores Public Concerns and Plows Ahead With Massive Roundup
(RENO, NV) On Monday the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will begin a massive roundup of 1,600 wild horses and 200 burros in the Shawave Mountains in Nevada.
On June 25 the Battle Mountain district office held the statewide hearing referencing the use of motorized vehicles in the wild horse and burro program in the state. The hearing was mandatory, required by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, with the intention to solicit public comment on the use of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft for survey work and the use of helicopters for roundups.
The week prior to the statewide hearing, the Nye County Commission in Nevada adopted, unanimously, a resolution in opposition to the manner in which the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) captures wild horses by helicopter;
“NOW, THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the present Nye County Board of Commissioners declares that it does not support the BLM’s present Helicopter method of rounding-up our Wild Horses and Burros any longer within the borders of Nye County, Nevada.”
The county submitted their concerns during the hearing “comment period.”
Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education said about the resolution, “This resolution passed through a Nevada Commission without one dissenting voice. This resolution clearly speaks loudly; we have all had enough of BLM just kicking the same can down the road.”
In comments for Wild Horse Education, Leigh discussed her relentless litigation, and what she has witnessed, during helicopter roundups in Nevada. She went on to discuss the creation of the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP), put into practice only after relentless litigation and the failure of BLM to appropriately train personnel and review the policy. Her testimony included events witnessed at recent roundups in Nevada and the failure of BLM to operate with transparency. One of these events involved a mare relentlessly chased as she aborted a foal; another involved foals pushed to run until they collapsed.
Wild Horse Education reached out to BLM to inquire if the hearing resulted in any changes to procedure or if any public statement would be made referencing the comments received.
“These large scale roundups, particularly in Nevada, are notorious for BLM hiding handling and tragic events,” Leigh said “At a roundup half the size of the pending one at Shawave last year, BLM repeatedly ran foals to collapse during aggressive pursuits and did their best to hide it.”
Nevada BLM Wild Horse and Burro lead Ruth Thompson responded, “We have reviewed the comments that were submitted for the helicopter and motorized hearing for wild horse and burro management. Upcoming gathers will be consistent with the national standard operations procedures, agency policy and guidance.”
It should be noted that the June 25 hearing was announced with only 72 hours notice. If the short notice was not an indication that the BLM simply does not care about public input, the statement that no changes to training or review of operations in the state would occur, certainly sounds dismissive.
“Every hearing has a verdict. Apparently the verdict here is BLM NV simply does not care about public concerns for the welfare and safety of wild horses. In correspondence it was essentially admitted they just stuck the comments in a drawer, checked a box that they did a hearing, and the status quo is expected next week on the ground.” Leigh stated.
“Our wild horses, and the public, deserve more than that.”
Next time BLM NV does a hearing on the use of motorized vehicles, it would be better if they just said “We are doing a meaningless thing we labelled a hearing to sound official. You can site all the law and valid outstanding problems that you like. We will ignore you and then just make it really hard for you to see anything.”
Our observer was the only one onsite most days of the brutal winter Eagle roundup, the last roundup in the state of Nevada before the summer season kicks off with Shawave. Most of what she documented was only because a few wild horses ran in her direction or because of the actual length of her lens. (see an overview here)
We care. We wont give up.
Summer roundups 2020
Our teams meed your help to stay in the field. Wild Horse Education has attended more days of capture than any group, government or public, for more than a decade. We are the only organization to ever take these issues into federal court. Help our roundup team keep running!
Categories: Wild Horse Education