2 Necks Break (Roundup Update)

This beautiful mare leads her small family (last year’s foal, her new baby and her stallion in tow) up a hill to try to find safety in trees (an evasive action she has probably taken several times today as the helicopter pulled bands from her home range). This time the pressure was on. She went down the hill and followed the Judas into a trap.

When the final death tally came in from today, the Antelope Complex has hit eleven deaths in seven days.

The video below is exported in low resolution to load with low bandwidth. Her death is not instant (as BLM claims a broken neck is). There are times when a broken neck does not even paralyze the inflicted. This is a horrible way to die. (WARNING: Graphic even at low resolution.

The video is NOT jumping at the beginning. We start with stills of her running up a hill. She was beautiful. Before the video of the incident, we give a warning so you can stop it if you desire.)

You can see the heat lines in the video. The title was done by VERY tired advocates. The title should be “Third horse breaks neck.”

No crew flew in the North due to helicopter maintenance and the North trap holding corrals shipped wild horses out (as far as we can tell, all of them).

But the South trap has been pushing hard. Approved to operate through the end of August, the South trap targets 1,107 for removal (North trap targets 2,000). In one week, the south trap has captured about two-thirds of the wild horses needed to hit the goal. Why push so hard in the summer heat and during record breaking heat index when you are approved to operate for another six weeks? (We know the rodeo is coming to town in mid-August and the person running the south trap organized it and participated last year. That can’t be the reason, can it? You can see that we can’t understand why a couple days off to prevent suffering is so hard to do. A “drop-dead” is not the only suffering that could happen in this heat. You can see we are trying to find any explanation for why BLM is pushing through this heat.)

Yesterday, BLM captured: 36 (13 Stallions, 16 Mares, and 7 Foals). 

Another foal was orphaned, bringing the total to 4 at the south trap.

BLM reported 2 deaths: 

3 year old Roan stallion died unexpectedly: fractured neck.

10 year old Palomino mare died unexpectedly: fractured neck.

WHE adds: mare at trap and stallion during loading to go to off-range processing facility (what BLM calls “short-term holding.”) 

Orphaned. Total orphaned at this operation: 4. Going to adopters BLM has apparently prearranged.

This mare’s death occurred just after BLM hit the 86 mark (nearing the extreme caution zone) on the heat index, after operating in the caution zone of the index for nearly three hours. On July 15, this area experienced a heat index in/over the caution mark from 9 a.m. until approximately 2 a.m., for over 12 hours. On July 16, the south trap entered the caution zone at around 7:30 am, rose into the extreme caution zone, and remains in the caution area at the writing of this article at 11 pm. They are scheduled to go back and trap tomorrow while the heat index warnings stay active into Tuesday.

Over the last few years we have tried to get BLM to recognize things like the Air Quality Index, Heat Index and not only basing safety on how heat and air quality impact a wild horse, but how it impacts human judgment. BLM simply will not listen. We have tried hearings, advisory board meetings, commenting on EAs and even including issues concerning the failure to analyze the activities involved in the actions of “gather” in a “gather-EA” in court cases (our cases are still active).

At this roundup, it felt like the program was going to operate as it had over a decade ago as indicated by the actions we saw the very first day. So we even tried getting “snarky” on our website (a style that worked a decade ago and worth a try). We did an action item, but did not release a personal email belonging to the State Director (we did a click and send that over 2000 of you signed in the first day). After sending a simple letter noting the heat index and asking for a 2-day suspension, the only response was from a public affairs person  saying we were only to address her. So, we got our lawyer to write a letter. BLM did not respond.

Why is BLM so hesitant to do any actual (and transparent) revision process of the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP)? Pushing to the maximum temperatures during a dangerous heatwave? Where is the idea that to prevent abuse you must take appropriate action? If CAWP is a success, why have death rates at roundups (even though BLM skews statistics by not including all deaths) remained the same? Shouldn’t they go down?

After the second broken neck in a week at the south trap….  the only real question is “why?”

BLM, your policy is proving to be inadequate to comply with the law. Shouldn’t you revise it?

In only seven days, what was witnessed out here is a pure atrocity for the amount of  time and taxpayer money spent on all of your hearings, board meetings, CAWP teams, rewriting the same policy without revision and solicitations for comments you never read… while wild horses break legs, necks and foals die.

I wonder how many parents of really bad children feel like we feel right now? Just stop.

When the final death tally came in from today, the Antelope Complex has hit eleven deaths in seven days.

NOTE TO ADVOCATES: Fertility control in this area is (and will be) applied through capture by helicopter and release. The area under this plan is larger than Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. Increasing fertility control in this area would increase the number captured (to hit stocking level or AML, because BLM won’t release until near that number). BLM has been doing catch, treat and release for over a decade. Fertility control does not stop roundups. After a decade (or a little more) it would reduce the number captured, it does not stop roundups. 

The fight to stop abuse (change policy) is a fight against abuse. 

You can follow our team in the field through the following links:

History of the fight against abuse, click HERE

2023 Summer Roundups

Antelope North Daily Public Reports

Antelope South Daily Public Reports 

Reveille Daily Public Reports 

Thank you for keeping us in the fight.

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Categories: Lead