Wild Horse Education

Triple B: Halftime report

Above: The roundup began with a lot of observers: a filmmaker, a woman doing a project with BLM on sociological impacts, a couple of orgs and, even, the BLM CAWP (welfare) team was there for 2 days near the beginning. The operation started at a slower pace than normal in this area. It is worth noting that the BLM CAWP team assessed this operation for two days at the beginning and has published an assessment of this operation before the roundup has even ended. (Basically, data on capture and handling from the agency is as lax and incomplete as data in the on-range program.)

The ongoing Triple B roundup has overtaken the halfway mark to reaching the goal to capture 1900 wild horses today. If the goal is reached, BLM will release 100 wild horses; 50 mares treated with fertility control. This time BLM will treat mares with GonaCon in a “two dose in 30 days” regimen. This regimen can cause permanent infertility and not the 2-5 years of a single dose. This area has had 4 roundups in 5 years; at those operations BLM used PZP.

As of this morning: 967 (338 Stallions, 474 Mares, and 155 Foals) wild horses have been captured and 18 have died. 

The target: 1900 captured, 1800 removed. 

Below: Reflections from the WHE team. 

The underlying ten-year Gather Environmental Assessment (EA) BLM approved in 2017 (the paperwork they say justifies this operation) approves a mish-mash of fertility control substances and techniques (including sterilization). The ten-year Gather EA is not built on any management plan that outlines goals and objectives that would create triggers for changes in BLM actions based on monitoring data, beyond the number set by political wrangling in the 80s that set the number of wild horses on the range. Not one single Herd Management Area in this complex has a Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP)-EA that would outline monitoring, management goals, set triggers for removals and adjustment of the number of wild horses that could live on these ranges, etc.

The above paragraphs represent the framework. The videos are representative of the documentation of the 2022 execution of the 5 year old plan (the 4th roundup under that plan) that has no additional data analysis requirement for another 5 years.

Above: As will all roundups in July the occurrence of newborns on the range is high. Many mares are heavily pregnant or have just given birth. BLM uses an anecdotal observation paper from the 1970s to define foaling season west wide, not specific data for each herd (that should be in the HMAP-EAs the agency skips over to get to the Gather-EA and on to removals to keep the peace with industry stakeholders). 

Above: Unmarked barbed wire continues to be an issue at all BLM roundups. Public lands are, in truth, a series of fenced grazing allotments that contain fenced grazing “pastures.” When you see a roundup, chances are good that the pilot had to thread them through at least one gate. Currently, BLM often fails to flag barbed wire by the traps (unless observers point it out) and will often state that it is the only wire they have to flag and do not flag or drop wire near the gates pilots may have to use to get horses to a trap. 

Once the CAWP team departed we observed a bit of an acceleration in operations and a lack of attention to details (like trailer height in the loading zone at trap). We also began to note issues with horses falling in trailers. We do not know if this is due to a failure to clean manure and urine before loading the next groups, slippery surfaces from the constant rainy days that create mud, or choice of roads for trailering.

Above: There have been multiple instances where horses are down in the trailer at the this operation. An adult is down and visible before the trailer takes off… and the trailer takes off to holding anyway.

Our team is able to keep an ongoing assessment log at most traps and daily at holding. WHE keeps a data base that we use to craft recommendations for changes to the CAWP policy. We have tried every avenue open to us to be able to present that data set and series of recommendations; the door is closed at every single process as BLM, apparently, sees any real wild horse stakeholder involvement in process as unwelcome (beyond finding “preferred partnerships” to help them maintain the status quo).

You can access our daily log HERE that includes links to in-depth reporting for the public. We take our job as your “eyes and ears” very seriously.

Above: Sometimes what we are able to document is very dynamic; beyond the statistical reports we log internally. We try to show you as much of the event as our bandwidth will allow. The capture of wild horses and burros, and their removal from our American public lands, is a subject of intense public interest all over the world. 

At an August roundup in 2011 and advocate spent nearly a month at a roundup in Triple B. The conduct (she was able to see) was gut-wrenching. This conduct even included a refusal to refill water tubs in the overstocked pens as temperatures soared. Babies hot shot (electric prod), a horse pulled by the neck with a rope, runs in temperatures that climbed near 100 degrees… and then the pilot, apparently, hit a horse with the skids.

She was told it was impossible to anything about it. We are glad she did not listen. The first case in history against abuse at roundups went into a courtroom. The roundup stopped. Although that one case could not solve all them issues, it laid the first foundation in law to file the next, the next, the next.

Today, we have a flawed policy, inadequate enforcement and review. To get the changes we seek today, we all must remember that impossible is just a word. It takes the grit and the resources you need to survive and get it moving again. But change is possible… (Reflections on the first case HERE as we sat on the same ranges last year during the Antelope roundup covered under the same Gather-EA)

Today, we are a team of advocates banded together under WHE. We are forming partnerships with other orgs to strengthen our impact to the way wild horses and burros are managed and to reach deeper into protecting the range they call home.

We have teams covering multiple roundups, working on appeals against public lands management decisions, working with partners to litigate against a lack of transparency and more.  We remain at the Triple B roundup to continue what we started over a decade ago.

We hope you stay with us as we continue to push back… the word impossible is just a word.

You can access our reports from the first half of Triple B (7/15-8/9) by clicking HERE.

Tomorrow we will begin coverage of the second half of Triple B in a new log. We are working hard to show you “start to finish.” You have the right to know and make up your own minds.

Help keep us in the fight.



Categories: Wild Horse Education