The areas we travel in can be remote. It can present challenges, particularly when more than one team is in field. You can access previous day at the italicized text: ongoing roundup update page HERE.
On day 4 there were 49 (12 stallions, 23 mares, 14 foals) captured. This brings the total captured to 163, of the 500 targeted, removed from the range.
There are now 3 deaths.
In our report yesterday we posted images, and a video, showing the configuration of the unusual trap that leads directly into the temporary on range corral. The trap pens demonstrate angular construction and are small. In addition several of the panels are “set” to not “give.” The size and shape of a pen should not only be specified by a number expected to be captured, but also by the distance a horse needs to feel safe and not panic. A distance, and configuration, must be created that takes into account that horses have less depth perception than humans and will use any route to flee as a prey species.
In this instance, the trap is a squished angle with a set post on the end. Wild horses will, and are, repeatedly trying to flee at that exact spot. That set post needs to be removed and the area rounded out. Or the trap simply needs to be moved.
It’s not rocket science, you just have to put the horse before convenience or stubborn adherence to archaic thinking.
“Stubborn and archaic” is one of the biggest obstacles to creating change in on range management, that leads to death during roundups run by “stubborn and archaic.” (take action here)
The type of construction seen at this trap statistically points to a greater risk of injury. Our trained CAWP observer did point that out to BLM. They repeated the observation to BLM staff today after tragedy, expectedly, struck.
BLM, in their daily report for day 4, states that: One mare died from a fractured neck and one mare was humanely euthanized due to poor body condition.
We expect a lot of controversy over our report today. “Wild horse advocacy” is not filled with sensible conversation or negotiation; it has become a free for all of loud bullying and rumor mongering, like a high school locker room.
But you deserve to see what we see, regardless of the blowback. We have questions and can not update on condition of all the horses that collided with panels. We are sure you have questions as well.
It is more than disturbing to watch a wild horse in full flight mode, fearing death, crash into a panel and break a neck. Death is not always fast (some domestic horse owners will take on the expense of treatment). Humans have broken their necks and lived.
Before scrolling down to the video, be warned, it is disturbing.
Did 2 or 3 actually die? A mare with poor body score was put down on range. Our video clearly shows two serious neck fractures. Was only one fatal and will the second be reported in the morning?
We asked BLM to clarify update. We asked that the configuration be changed.
BLM said they will (maybe) put snow fence on the side panels and then challenged the credibility of observers, instead of hearing the concerns of seasoned and trained WHE staff. We have been observing roundups for 12 years, have the largest bank of documentation in the world, one of our staff members has been admitted into court as an expert witness, are the only org to ever take BLM to court over abuse and we won every case. Yet we are dismissed time and again in favor of stubborn and archaic tactics (and we will often get bullied onsite if we tell the public).
We have it all on video. We have decided to publish the video.
You can decide if there is a valid discrepancy. Were we correct in pointing out the faulty trap and asking for clarification on deaths and injuries?
UPDATE: The mare listed as “euthanized due to poor body condition” was one that died in field and brought in with a trailer. The second mare to go down in the video did not die immediately. The third collision did die and was taken out on a board.
The video is GRAPHIC AND DISTURBING. DO NOT CLICK IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE.
“The video kept me up half the night, after doing the edit, and I am an experienced observer. Use caution watching the video. It is NOT suitable for younger viewers or, perhaps, even anyone that loves horses.” LLeigh.
Our team is back in field.
We will update you on our legal action for the Confusion herd as soon as we have news.
We take our job at roundups seriously. We are not paid through taxpayer funds. We do not have a big benefits package. We are not agency personnel or a contract holder. We are advocates.
Our observers are committed and go through training. We document to engage abuses, oversee the CAWP policy (our litigation drove the creation of the first policy to protect wild horses and burros from abuse), prepare additional litigation if needed, and report directly to the public.
We are not “playing politics” at roundups. We are there to build protections for wild horses and to be the eyes and ears of the public.
What you can do
Please take action to demand Congress defund any roundups where the BLM has failed to create open and transparent management planning. Click HERE.
Call the Senate switchboard and ask for your rep. Demand that all actions against wild horses and burros halt until William Perry Pendley leaves the BLM. His tenure was ruled illegal and BLM is still moving an agenda forward for Pendley’s former law clients. Switchboard (202) 224-3121
Observation at roundups has been a fight. One we had to take to court for over 5 years up and down the court system. We had to litigate access at the same time as we litigated abuse. In 2016 things had started to get better on both fronts. Since 2017 we have slid backwards as access to, not only roundups, but gaining information and even contact with agency staff has become an absurd challenge.
It gets complicated and hard to express. We will do an extended piece soon that delves into the struggle for information simply so we can engage the act of advocacy for a public interest on public lands.
Trying to find the truth, report the truth, and engage to make reality better, is not easy.
Categories: Wild Horse Education