Wild Horse Education

Demand Accountability (Holding Facilities)

There is a real lack of accountability happening in BLM holding facilities, much of it off limits to public view.

Our readers have asked for a direct action item referencing treatment in holding facilities. The following should help you as you take action. 

We contacted BLM before publishing and got no response.


BLM is responding to the public letters that they are not adopting/prepping for adoption Surprise horses. But they are not denying that they are adopting out horses from the facility while it should be in quarantine. Pigeon Fever is highly contagious with a long incubation period. 

They are claiming only a few horses showed any signs of Pigeon Fever and they were “isolated” and not part of the general population.

We have documentation from every pen we could observe where each pen had horses showing signs of Pigeon Fever, even the weanling pen that shared a fence with the Surprise horses, since Oct 12 through today.

We have video of people (the public) bringing trailers in and leaving with horses. Before the Surprise horses came in, most of the Antelope and Jackson had already shipped out. The Surprise Complex wild horses populate almost every pen that has horses in them and every pen had at least two individuals showing Pigeon Fever outward symptoms.

BLM says “if no new cases” appear, they are going to start prepping in 11/18. This is NOT 30 days after the last case resolved.

Not all horses develop the external abscesses, but still can have the disease. The disease has a 1-4 week incubation period. Standard “barn protocol” is quarantine until 30 days has elapsed after the last case resolves.

Can you imagine if a cowboy brought in a horse to a reining competition that was living in a barn where Pigeon Fever was active? No, it would not be permitted.

Why is BLM gelding, branding, adopting out wild horses from PVC? 

Keep calling, this is all so very wrong.

This “gelding” appears beyond infected.Wild horses shipping in and out, infectious disease, gelding with no pain management, is not unique to Palomino Valley Center. (BLM gelding IM Gelding of Wild Horses and Burros _ Bureau of Land Management)

It should be noted: any stallion or jack with cryptorchidism (undescended testicle) that can not be fully castrated, is considered to have a “serious physical defect and will be euthanized” immediately.

You can see the ongoing monitoring of wild horses from the Surprise Complex HERE. 

You can see that the agency is branding, gelding and “cleaning” by scraping the pen with a bulldozer, adopting out wild horses… all at the same time. These wild horses are all exposed to Pigeon Fever; many having abscesses that had not even burst 2 weeks ago.

The agency needs to stop, now.

Any facility or adopter that has received a horse from PVC should be advised into quarantine for 30 days (the incubation period for Pigeon Fever).

PVC is (obviously) clearing out fast to be used as intake for more wild horses.

This is beyond irresponsible.

Sample script:

The facility (PVC) should be placed in stasis; no horses in or out. The agency should do an immediate audit of PVC (and all facilities). All shipping manifests and vet reports, death reports, should be made public immediately. 

The wild ones at PVC that have been gelded should be given antibiotics and pain medication. CAWP must be revised immediately. Included in that revision BLM must include ongoing pain management/antibiotics for wild horses and burros after gelding. 

You can call the National Office and leave a message for Director Stone-Manning at the National Office: 202-208-3801

Paul McGuire is the off-range branch chief and directly responsible for facilities: (405) 579-7190 pmcguire@blm.gov (note: Paul is “unavailable” until the 29th. Taking his place is former PVC facility manager John Neill. jneill@blm.gov )

Holle Waddel is the acting BLM WHB Chief: (202) 603-3740 hwaddell@blm.gov

We will be getting to the additional direct action items you have requested soon. 

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Categories: Wild Horse Education