Our field teams have returned from post-roundup runs and headed back out to cover ongoing roundups. Before heading back out, we worked hard on new documents to move the fight against hidden activities in the Wild Horse and Burro program back into the courts.
Our litigation opened roundups to daily access (changing policy) and began to open closed door facilities. Both have slid backwards as the BLM has pushed removals and stockpiling of wild horses and burros in hidden facilities to historically high levels.
The fight is going back into the courts as the agency repeatedly refuses to address the public’s basic “right-to-know.”
Organizations Double Down In Fight Against BLM
(Las Vegas) Last week, CANA Foundation and Wild Horse Education expanded litigation against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ongoing acceleration of removals of wild horses and burros, failures to update analysis to address on-range management practices and egregious violations of the First Amendment. The organizations amended the complaint to expand the legal challenges against First Amendment violations.
Last month, BLM captured 804 burros and 218 wild horses at the Blue Wing Complex located about 65 miles northeast of Reno. During capture, 14 animals died. The public has no information on injuries or deaths post-capture.
During capture not one single burro could be seen clearly. After capture, observers were not permitted to see the burros before they were shipped to a short-term processing facility in Utah that is off-limits to public viewing. After capture of wild horses the Axtel facility has been opened in the past to view wild horses. BLM has refused to open the facility to allow for a tour to view the condition of captured burros. During the entire process access to view burros has been entirely obstructed.
“BLM has restricted access to view and assess the Blue Wing Wing burros entirely,” stated Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education. “These restrictions are not ‘narrowly-tailored’ for health and safety of burros. These restrictions are to hide the activities involved in capturing and processing wild burros. If there is nothing to hide, everything was ‘humane,’ then why was everything hidden?”
In July, 2022, the BLM published their own assessment of the Axtell corrals where they sent the Blue Wing Burros. Multiple violations of the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP) were noted including laxity in testing for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) and booster vaccines for respiratory illness being given as long as 18-months late. Earlier this year, BLM had to close multiple facilities due to equine influenza virus, a respiratory illness.
“The BLM has failed to allow new science (and new scientific methods) to be brought to the table to address the changing environment and pressing issues such as climate change,” stated Manda Kalimian, founder of CANA. “New research has shown how not only wild horses, but wild burros, can help repair our landscapes. It is outrageous that BLM will continue the outdated removal plan without any new analysis and continue of this environmentally devastating path.”
The Blue Wing Gather Environmental Assessment (EA) was approved in 2017 for the 2,283,300 acre complex. The Gather-EA encompasses five Herd Management Areas (HMAs), four Herd Areas (HAs), and non-HMA areas where wild horses and burros (WH&Bs) migrate back and forth (BLM failed to recognize these areas where horses and burros were “presently found” as the 1971 Act decreed and simply denotes the movement to justify low population numbers without inbreeding). The HMAs consist of: Kamma Mountains, Seven Troughs Range, Lava Beds, Blue Wing Mountains, and Shawave. Antelope Range, Selenite Range, Trinity Range, and Truckee Range (not managed or “zeroed out” primarily due to checkerboard and other industry conflicts). BLM says the 2 million acre area can sustain a range of 333-553 wild horses and 55-90 wild burros.
The organizations remain committed to exposing the hidden consequences caused by a continual failure of the BLM to manage wild horses and burros according to the best available science. The path the agency is on is outdated and guts the ability of the public to have any say in how a public resource is managed.
The agency continues to manage wild horses and burros according to myth and assertions driven by politics. In the process, they even hide the consequences of capture, handling and warehousing our wild horses and burros.
The organizations continue to have grave concerns for the welfare of wild horses and burros that have been removed from the range under the outdated BLM planning document.
Help keep us in the fight.
Categories: Wild Horse Education