Antelope Wrap (Just Numbers)

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Just Numbers

Editorial Notes: LLeigh

On August 30th the massive roundup of 2203 wild horses from the Antelope Complex concluded. During the operation 11 wild horses lost their lives on-site. The number that have died from this roundup (to date) in holding is still unknown and will remain unknown.

A few years ago the BLM stopped including facility reports in the “gather update.” We need facility reports included in the “gather report” again.

Just numbers.

A youngster looking for something to do, sticks his head through the panels to try to interact with horses, possibly family, in the next pen.

A target number on the range for removal was set at 2200. An (absurd) “Appropriate Management Level” of 435-789 wild horses (on 1,608,350 acres in 4 Herd Management Areas) sits in the Land Use Plan carried forward decade-after-decade as the range resources diminish acre-after-acre from expanding industry.

Just numbers.

We saw so much pressure on these wild horses again and again with no release mile-after-mile. The agency claimed this area was in “emergency” and animals weak. Shouldn’t care standards have been higher than normal from an agency that says time and again “we care?”

The operation was approved to last 54 days, but concluded (rushed) in 30.

We saw wild horses fall, collide with barbed wire, be trampled, babies left behind…

Just numbers.

30 days: 87,000 images, 56 hours of video, 30 updates, 3 meetings with the agency regarding handling of wild horses, 2 legal briefs filed, 2 conferences.

Just numbers.

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Which one of these dark colts died? 1 dark colt was 1 of 3 babies that died in 24 hours. From Update: 4-month-old Bay Colt was euthanized in “due to chronic injury (Physical Defect/Deformity),” 3-month-old Buckskin Filly was “euthanized due to chronic injury (Fracture),” 4-month-old Buckskin Colt was put down due to chronic injury (Lameness).”

BLM says not 1 of these deaths is related to the operation and all “pre-existing.”

Just numbers.

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The black stallion with 4 white feet was always on high alert as his band was chased and chased back and forth through the valley. As they approached trap he saw his chance and led 4 of his family members over the jute as the rest of his family was pushed into the trap (including the 2 babies from this year).

The fight was on again to catch 5 wild horses and they were chased again and again with 2 more failed attempts at getting them into the trap.

Just numbers.

As we went live on social media the chopper was finally pulled off the 5 remaining remnants of this band.

Only 13 wild horses were caught that day with 3 youngsters being put down the following morning.

We do not know what that day cost the taxpayer. We do know the roundup, itself, cost over $525,000 (without including staff salaries, overtime and facility costs).

Just numbers.

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Babies that ran countless miles (a few carried in their mothers’ bellies to be born behind bars) are now just a tag number, a number in inventory, a statistic on a page. All are now eligible for the notorious Adoption Incentive Program (AIP) that has already landed an unknown number of young wild horses on the kill floor in a slaughterhouse.

Many of their parents already wear a brand on their hip, a 4-digit number, that deems them “un-adoptable” and they will ship into the black hole of long-term holding and “sale authority” in the coming weeks.

For over 12 years I have watched this play out. I have witnessed tens of thousands of wild horses removed from the range with my own eyes. I have brought many legal actions and had many wins. I have traveled over 1 million road miles. We gain small progress and it erodes under the profit-driven machine that drives everything having to do with
public lands… mile-after-mile, acre-after-acre.

A system that claims to include preservation of wild things and wild places in some absurd calculation they label “Thriving Natural Ecological Balance,” does no such thing.

Year-after-year we see acre-after-acre decimated by profit-driven greed. This greed displaces sage grouse, wolves, desert tortoise, wild horses and countless other species.

To the system it is all just numbers.

To the advocate it is all about each beating heart of every mustang. That beating mustang heart matters from the one that someone gave a name to the one that lives life as “just a number” in the system.

Together we fight on for each and every beating heart. They all matter.Our wild places and wild horses need your voice. An educated advocacy is needed now more than ever.

Our wild places and wild horses need your voice. An educated advocacy is needed more than ever. 


Simple Action Items HERE.

Barren Valley Roundup

Last Days of Antelope

Policy Change (Guidance For Euthanasia)

A new off-limits to public view facility proposed (comments open through Sept 17)

Help keep us in the field and in the courts.

Thank you. 

Categories: Lead