The Snowstorm portion of the 2021 roundup has completed with a release of wild horses back to the HMA.
55 (32 Stallions, 20 Mares, and 3 Foals) were released after mares were treated with PZP-22.
The capture operation moves north. Trap will be placed onto private property in the south of Little Owyhee for ease. This complex is a maze of barbed wire fencing to accommodate livestock grazing. In addition to all the livestock fencing on public lands and low grazing fees, BLM will move quickly to remove wild horses (there have been 5 removals in the last decade). The permittee will only “allow” the public to trap 2 times a week at the next trap and temporary holding. BLM will then ship wild horses to an off limits to the public facility.
One of the only opportunities to see wild horses clearly, the release, is also (now) highly controlled. We used to be able to stand near the back of a trailer to see the wild ones step back home (with no incident, ever). Now observers must not be in view of the back of a trailer or the “cameras and people” will scare the horses.
In the video below those are cell phone cameras in the hands of the wranglers that actually step in front of our observer who is standing in the one spot she was told she must remain, on one of the only days she could see wild horses clearly.
For over 4 minutes wranglers moved around the trailer and stood there. Our observer thought maybe a horse was down. Only after reviewing video (because you can not see with the naked eye due to distance) did she see they were simply taking photos with a cell phone. We cut that 4 minutes from this clip below.
Can we FOIA that footage? Or at least know what social media platform they posted on? Everyone standing there received a paycheck originating with the tax-payer. We know the wild ones from Owyhee are spectacular and understand why they would want to photograph the release. So do our volunteers who are there, day-after-day representing the public interest, because they care.
Even though the roads are public near temporary holding corrals, BLM chooses to place on private property, the permittee will only “allow” public observation of the corrals 2 days a week. These same “2 days a week” are what the “permittee will allow” for public observation of trapping operations of public horses, on public lands, paid with public dollars. After capture, the BLM is sending wild horses from Owyhee on a 7 hour ride on a semi-truck into an off-limits to public view facility in Sutherland Utah.
The agency is astoundingly incensed at the lack of trust in the public sphere.
Why would BLM not find a spot on a public road (the same roads the stock trailers have to use to get to trap) where observers can sit? Why wouldn’t BLM make sure trap is set on the public land side of a line? Why would BLM set temporary holding where the permittee wont let the public in? Why would BLM slip unseen wild horses off to a facility the public still can not see them? Why would the rancher care if one or two members of the public watch? Why would the rancher impose the rules? (On top of: Herd Management Area Plans still not done, horses landing in kill-pens after BLM touts the Adoption Incentive Program a success, etc.)
Why does the public mistrust the BLM and make accusations that BLM works for ranchers, not the public? Why does that lack of trust in the agency make BLM act so offended?
Below: When the mares were released our observer was also placed on the opposite side of the fence far from the trailer. One black mare is obviously trying to get back to where she lost her family. Showing all the physiological and psychological “roundup trauma,” the older black mare heads first to the fence, then the group, and then goes off on her quest alone.
3 mare/foal pairs were released. We could see 2.
Stallions had already been released at that location and this one trailer is what our observer recorded. The two trailers of mares is all she observed.
Our observer is the only member of the public on-site to date.
She is back out today trying to observe some aspect of how BLM is spending your tax dollars at Owyhee.
New action items coming later this week. Ongoing action items HERE.
Categories: Wild Horse Education