Roundups: Review 2021

Wild Horse Education (WHE) is most often known to the public by our work at roundups and our fight against abuses. The work of WHE goes much deeper, before and after the roundup. A roundup represents one moment in time; that critical moment when freedom is lost and the wild horse or burros leaves the range where resources are being given to industrial interests and steps into the treacherous system of holding where the danger of landing in a kill-pen increases daily.

WHE is still the only org to have our team members walk BLM into a courtroom over abuse, again and again. When we began there was no policy. Relentless litigation drove the creation of the policy. The annual reviews (like most things that would actually benefit the horse and burros) have not been done since 2017. With your help, in 2021 WHE has initiated a review. If the review is not done, after jumping every possible avenue for remedy, WHE goes back to court in 2022. (more on CAWP HERE)

Writing the annual year-in-review of roundups is always one of the most challenging reviews WHE does. We do a review on paper filled with statistics. However, the numbers on the page can never match the visceral experience of each photographer, each moment, each set of eyes, burned into your soul.

This fight against abuse begins with a camera. That camera is carried by a human being whose voice carries the responsibility to speak, to speak as well as it can.

Of course we fight to stop the destruction of the wild places our wild ones call home. Of course we continue to track into holding to fight abuses there and into the slaughter pipeline that is fueled by “sale-authority” and the Adoption Incentive Program. The fight to gain, review, revise, improve, stop abuse, is at the core of WHE since we began. This one moment in time is so very important to our work and each beating heart of every wild horse or burro that faces capture.

Thank you for keeping us running for the wild in 2021. In 2022, we face critical battles on so many fronts. The fight against abuse during capture will heat up in 2022 as BLM accelerates further up the “Path Forward” and the “2020 plan.”

It is always so hard to pick the pieces we feature in the roundup review. Thank you for helping us be there. The fight against abuse begins with the camera…

Centennial: BLM claims there is no “foaling season” for burros and does not omit them from a helicopter chase from March-June like they do with wild horses. In May, burros and their babies were chased in temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees each day. WHE was the only org onsite. Ironically. May is National Burro month. (more HERE)

Eagle, Silver King, Chokecherry: As BLM was busy hitting this complex with a massive winter roundup of over 1000 wild horses, the fifth roundup in that area in 6 years, they approved a massive livestock grazing scheme on over 1 million acres. WHE teamed up with WildLands Defense and went after the monumental mess BLM approved. This case is still active, and such a conglomerate of gifts to livestock, the court has separated the case into 9 distinct categories. (more HERE)

Four Mile: We have included Four Mile as an example of the absurdly low “Appropriate Management Level” (AML) BLM sets. We put the words in quotation marks because there is nothing appropriate about it. On over 18,800 acres the number is set at 37-60 wild horses for this very isolated HMA. That is not even enough horses to maintain a genetically viable range breeding program. WHE was the only org onsite. (more HERE)

Antelope Complex: Probably one of the most recognizable roundup photos of 2021 came from the Antelope roundup. This roundup was also probably the most brutal of 2021. Day after day, after day, this roundup pushed to get to an absurd “Appropriate Management Level” of 435-789 wild horses on 1,608,350 acres in 4 Herd Management Areas. The pilot flew like he was in a war zone with no care for the damage caused: repeated crashes into barbed wire, babies trampled, adults falling and more. This roundup was the crux for the initiation of the review of CAWP. In 2022 we will find out if the review was taken seriously. We will have more info very soon that will tell us how to proceed in 2022. (more HERE)

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Our team covered roundups in 17 Herd Management Areas (HMA) and spent over 100 days documenting, editing, reporting, interacting with agency staff, preparing to, unfortunately, litigate abuse again.

A few of the other roundups WHE covered in 2021 for those of you looking for more:

Surprise: 21 wild horses died.

Jackson Mountain: 31 wild horses died.

Barren Valley: 27 wild horses died.

Owyhee: 27 wild horses died.

You can help us continue our innovative work.

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