Pancake, deaths (the fight lives on, part 1)

WARNING: Video disturbing for most viewers

Exactly 1 year ago today, WHE released a gut-wrenching exclusive video on the first day of the Pancake roundup:  a young colt shattered a leg running on the slippery ground, was roped, loaded onto a trailer and euthanized. 

In honor of the loss of that young life, WHE will present a series of articles (over the coming weeks) on the evolution of the Pancake Complex, the battle to save the Herd Management Areas (HMA) and how the loss of one young life catapulted the legal battle into one of the most important court cases alive today.  

Part 1, discusses the deaths at roundups and how it appears BLM even manipulates that data to suit an agenda. Part 2, covers habitat loss and fragmentation due to the livestock industry. Part 3, will discuss mining.

Our team had been tracking and fighting rapid habitat loss in this complex prior to BLM approving the removal. We were actively appealing the decision before BLM rushed to start this roundup. When the colt died, the fight went to a whole new level and continues today. This month, a lot of work is being done on this case and we will update as this series moves ahead. 

However, the most appropriate beginning to this week-long series is simply reporting on the two young lives lost due to injuries sustained on the first day of capture. 3 lives were lost the first day; two babies and a 7 year old mare. The colt that snapped a leg was admitted to by BLM (as it was going viral in news media around the country). The second colt death, the foal trampled, BLM never reported to the public. The second death was not even included in the daily update.

Our WHE team has been tracking the true cost in lives due to wild horse and burro roundups. Preliminary results show the toll comes in at between 10-15% using BLM data.

These two young lives demonstrate that BLM appears to even go so far as to withhold data when it suits them. So how can anything BLM says (from range-data, through roundups, or slaughter) be trusted? 

Join us in remembering these two lives… one we knew died, one we suspected had died and only found out through Freedom of Information FOIA. 

WARNING: video disturbing.

Below is the veterinary report (please note the date stated as “exam date” is incorrect. This colt died January 11th, not the 12th):

Location/Event: Pancake Gather 22

Animal ID: Bay foal History:

Report Date: 01/24/2022 >

Exam Date:01/12/2022 >

Late in the day as I headed from the trap to follow the trailers to holding, I was radioed to turn into the flat about three hundred yards off road to where they were loading a foal that was roped. It had a lower leg break. I quickly observed this, and it was loaded into the trailer and taken to holding. It was later euthanized.


I was accompanied by two wranglers who loaded the foal into the trailer.

Examining the foal, I found it had a lower leg fracture. I advised that due to the type of the fracture the colt had a poor prognosis for recovery. It was carefully loaded on a trailer and taken to holding for euthanasia.

Diagnosis/Differentials Acute injury

The vet report doesn’t give his age, it just says “colt.” On the BLM daily report they publish on the website, they note this colt’s death from acute injury.

But the one below, they do not mention.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another colt died that night from injuries sustained during capture. A colt was found dead in the morning from an acute coronary event that BLM attributes to an underlying infection but surmises it may have been “kicked.” It may be the one above that is trampled. 

BLM NEVER includes the death of this second baby in any “daily update” from January 12-14. This death is not included at all in the cumulative death count. Or did BLM decide that the death noted as a “bay colt” in the veterinary report would be reported as a “3-year old with pneumonia?” (WHE has started downloading BLM daily reports as we have found that BLM will go back and change them if an advocate uncovers additional information, click HERE)

Did BLM withhold this death from public knowledge because of the heavy scrutiny brought about after the video of the first death hit the news nationwide? Out of the 26 deaths BLM did report, BLM only did 3 veterinary reports (with minimal data)  to support their assertions of cause of death; 23 deaths had no supporting documentation. 

Vet report obtained during FOIA

Report Date: <01/12/2022 > USDA APHIS Veterinary Services

Location/Event: Pancake 2022 Exam Date: < 01/12/22>

Animal ID: Bay colt No recorded markings
History: Found dead in am. There was no relevant history the day before.

Examination: No exterior signs of lethal injury. I started with the thoracic cavity and immediately observed severe lung consolidation with about only five percent of the lung appearing to have capacity. The lungs were heavy and discolored. SEE ATTACHED PHOTO.
The chambers and valves of the heart were normal. The liver was only slightly swollen with relatively sharp lobe edges.. The abdominal cavity displayed no pooled blood and all gastric and intestinal systems appeared normal. No anomalies were found in the abdominal cavity.

Differential diagnoses. Acute cardiac event, Acute pulmonary hemorrhage Blunt trauma (kick from another horse)

Final diagnosis: Chronic bacterial infection with subsequent lung consolidation.

Today, we remember those we have lost to the callous disregard of BLM personnel time and again. We vow to never stop speaking for our wild ones. 

This article begins a series to take you on a journey to learn about the Pancake Complex, how industry is rapidly destroying their homes, and the fight to save them.

What is happening at Pancake is happening everywhere. If you can understand the twisted story, you will understand the program. If this case can win, it can change the program.

An educated advocacy is needed more than ever.

Help keep us in the fight.


Categories: Lead, Wild Horse Education