Wild Horse Education

Storms Brewing (Antelope Roundup Update 7/19)

In the muggy heat, this sweaty wild horse escaped trap. 071923

Both onsite and online, storms are hitting. 

UPFRONT: The spending bill that passed out of the House Committee being lauded today as “change” by many organizations but is actually word-smithing representing exactly what you have now. Since 2020, many have created these “victory” messages when the language they are lauding creates no change, it just rewords what already exists. BLM already is supposed to “triage” funding for roundups based on need (escalating issues reports). BLM is already supposed to be handling horses humanely (in existing law and why we were able to stop roundups in court in the past; CAWP is a policy gained after that litigation AND budget language last year already says they need to adhere to it). BLM already has grants for “monitoring and fertility control” that anyone, including veterans, can apply for (where feds are required to prioritize Veterans, like when they hire employees). BLM has been required to set aside “$11 million for fertility control” for years now and consider alternatives to choppers (bait trap, fertility control, etc.)

You can laud this bill for not sliding back things like the prohibition against opens sales for slaughter and killing healthy wild horses outright (the sales program and Adoption Incentive Program, AIP, stay in place). You can laud it (if you want) for keeping the same grants and funding for fertility control. But do NOT laud this as change. 

It is great that Congress feels the need to wordsmith a bit due to public attention and guidance from paid lobby groups… but this language will not change what you see in practice. All it might actually accomplish is that a few words will need to be changed in the paperwork and create a few committees to decide which ones. 

This bill will need to go for a full floor vote and then match the bill in the Senate. Ideas on how to continue addressing this bill with your reps are in the section at the bottom of this article. 

We did an extended article at this exact juncture last year and, if the budget debate is something that interests you, we urge you to read it. Read the language last year and see if you agree with our opinion. HERE. 

It is a crying shame those big corporate powers were not more involved in the new rule change… where progress for wild horses on public lands could actually have been made. The cycle continues….

July is no time to roundup wild horses. No matter how you feel about wild horses being on the range, what needs to be done to the program, or how you feel about the failing sales and adoption program landing wild horses in danger of kill-auctions, roundups in July always spell abuse. Do you condone abuse or not?

July is actual foaling season if BLM would do their jobs and gather data, instead of perpetuating old anecdotal observation. July is also breeding season.

In addition to blistering heat being compounded by climate change, July is also monsoon season. 

Totals from both traps (North and South) that target a total of 3,107 wild horses to date: 1,173 captured.

So far 12 wild horses have died.

BLM will act like this is acceptable numbers while they trot out a welfare policy they adopted in 2015; acting like they have made improvements.

If you are trying to improve the goal should be ZERO deaths (even if it is not attainable) and not repeating the same things that create the same statistics. 

Creating death statistics that are the same as a decade ago, is not “ok.”  (It should be noted that BLM death statistics only reflect those that drop-dead in trap and not those that die from roundup related illness or catastrophic fractures in holding facilities. That statistic has not improved either.)

The policy (and oversight of the policy) needs serious revision.

Above: Our independent WHE CAWP team member at temporary corrals around noon.

Above: Our second CAWP team member arrived just a few hours later. We have to admit, the lightening in the video is both scary and kinda cool.

July is NOT the time of year to do a roundup no matter how you feel about wild horses and burros living on public lands. 

There were two observers from a university in another state at the North trap. After just a few hours of sitting in the heat and seeing nothing but wild horses so far away they looked like ants, wanted to leave and go to temporary holding. On the drive, a monsoon hit. The students have left the roundup and said they won’t be back.

Another round of extended heat and storms are headed this way; a repeat weather pattern. 

Below: It is not uncommon for BLM to say there are “safety limitations” to observe trap after egregious video is captured and released. We do understand that sometimes topography can limit viewing. But there are times when that limit is overly extensive (broad) and coincides with outrage over what the public has just witnessed.

Our team is always in this for the long haul.

North trap captured 58 (14 Stallions, 34 Mares, and 10 Foals) wild horses.

North trap reported 1 death saying they put down a 15-year old bay mare because she was blind in one eye (they provided no other information).

So far 5 have died at North trap.


South trap captured: 28 (8 Stallions, 14 Mares, and 6 Foals).

So far 7 have died at south trap.

Many of you have asked us to push to get these images, videos and reports into the media. 

Yesterday, the Associated Press (AP) published a story. This is different than the page where they list press releases submitted to them through paid services.

When the AP does a story, it gets picked up by news media around the world.

Many outlets (including ABC) have already republished the story. Many more outlets are republishing or writing their own stories today. Unfortunately, several outlets are running the story with an interview done by a Reno News station (the problem with that is outlined in the next section of this article).

We wanted you to know we are working VERY hard to keep the story focused on the issue of abuse and how BLM is dragging their heels on changing practices and creating real consequences for violations.

Many of you see the chaos and co-opting that happens on social media, we live that chaos in real life. It is VERY hard to try to keep reporters focused on this issue while people far from the events are bombarding the media with “their take on this” and some that are trying to use the issue of abuse to push other agendas.

Media can help bring pressure. We are encouraged to see pressure directly on the issues surrounding conduct at roundups that we have not seen since media covered our lawsuits that drove the creation of policy (that lasted 6 years).  Media coverage can help rase awareness, but to date… has never changed policy. That has always required pressure from the courts.

We really wish it was different. It should be different. We wish the hearings and meetings and comment periods were actually utilized by BLM as they were intended and none of this was necessary.

We are trying to get this issue back into a courtroom. Our attorney has already engaged channels with the agency and we are waiting to hear back about what the next steps look like.

Why mixing the event with agenda has been extremely dangerous (and an unfortunate story many are mixing up with the events out at the Antelope roundup). Above are screen grabs of a news story aired by a Reno station about the BLM showing state managed horses. 

In another story out of Reno, a county commissioner challenged an advocates perspective. That debate about BLM wild horse roundups had video and images of the Virginia Range (state horses facing very different circumstances than those on BLM land) in screengrabs from Reno News.

Over the last few years media has been “trained” to go from a BLM roundup over to state land. It is like comparing apples to zucchini; the horses, the range, the issues and the laws governing practices are very different.

This is another story generated today talking about BLM, but showing Virginia Range. The visual does not match the story. HERE.

Be careful out there. Storms are brewing onsite and online.

Those attacking us online claiming we want roundups are simply off their medication. The vast majority of roundups of wild horses and burros are simply not justified by actual data. Nor are they backed up by a science-based management plan. We are fighting roundups pending for numerous herds in the planning stages and in the land use courts (and even a few in federal civil court). So while we work really hard to create actual management plans that protect herd and habitat… we are also working to stop abuse at roundups.

If you want to engage your lawmakers please recognize what is within their power first: they can fund or defund something or they can pass a bill. Only the agency (or the President or a Federal Judge) has the power to stop an active roundup.

4-Step Action plan you can take to address the budget debate. 

You can also contact your house reps to co-sponsor the Bill introduced by Dina Titus (D-NV). The bill calls for helicopter roundups to cease, other means of capture and fertility control as an interim until an investigation is completed and the safest methods for population control determined. (That is what the Titus bill does). The most critical long-term piece of her bill is that an investigation will be done on capture methods and the public will have access to the report.

HR 3656 can be found here if that is a bill you want to support. 

Roundups begin long before a chopper flies. 

Thank you for keeping us in the fight!

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Categories: Wild Horse Education