Wild Horse Education

Transparency? (Roundup Update 7/29)

Extremely agitated wild horses arrive at holding corrals indicating a rough capture, rough handling and a very long drive (1.5 hours) from trap. This the same holding facility used at the beginning. This area is so large that travel to that same corral takes about 1.5 hours. BLM did not move holding to minimize the drive.

Daily stats at the bottom

Does access to view disappear due to safety concerns or because the BLM is under public pressure to change?

Since 2009, Wild Horse Education members have taken our responsibility to report to the public very seriously. When we began reporting from roundups there was no “daily update” from organizations or even from BLM. Our founder was the first to create the “daily report” and was often the only one out each day for several years. In many districts we were told “no one ever wanted to come out here before” (when BLM tried to limit access to things like 1 or 2 very orchestrated days during a month long operation; we had to go to court, won and access was still being denied).

We took that responsibility so seriously we spent 6 years in court to get a daily access policy for all, not just for us. We were offered access just for us during a roundup in Nevada in 2010 and turned it down. The First Amendment was not just written for us… it was written for you, too.

The First Amendment guaranteed the public right to know the actions of its government. Of course there are restrictions, they are supposed to be “narrowly tailored.” Seeing how horses are captured or sorted does not jeopardize national security, does it? If a child can play at the corral and kids can take cell phone video standing at the back of a trailer during release, how come there are only safety concerns when it involves an advocate and a camera?

Both access and welfare issues have taken a backseat shortly after both policies were adopted in 2015 (the beginning of the fiscal 2016 year).

The agency continues to make a mockery of both.

In advocacy for anything: if you can’t see it, you cannot fix it. BLM has shown time and again that they won’t change anything without intense public pressure.

Below: After news coverage that went international, viral video on social media and gathering a lawsuit along with horses, BLM is now restricting access to view one single moment of actual sorting at holding: blocking the chute. You can see the water truck, that moved into this position after the second trailer of the day arrived at holding, adjust a bit as agitated horses head for sorting. BLM killed a 12-year old bay for blindness in one eye. We will never know if this is that horse or not.

If the video will not play for you, this is the horse we are talking about that was heading for the chute as the truck “adjusts.”

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The Incident Commander (IC) in charge of the operation is notorious for denying access and allowing hot shot (electric prods) to be used to speed up loading. We saw him doing exactly that at Triple B last year.

We can see horses responding exactly the same way as they did at Triple B when excessive hot shot use was permitted by BLM. The exact same people are loading and sorting here as at Triple B. (video on that daly report, here)

Maybe this is a good place to remind everyone that the BLM “CAWP” team was out at Triple B for 3 days near the beginning of a 42 day operation and published an excellent rating a month before the roundup completed. That is NOT oversight. (more HERE). BLM CAWP team did the same thing here at Antelope right after we made a request that they suspend during a heat index rise.

People keep asking “who is responsible?” We see a flurry of social media misdirection on the responsible party. The responsible party is BLM. The party directly responsible for this roundup is the NV WHB lead. The responsible party on-site is the same person acting as the state lead, Garret Swisher, the Wild Horse and Burro Specialist out of Winnemucca NV. It is not the contractor… it is the BLM lead in charge. (So sending us or the contractor angry mail is kinda missing the mark, ok? We found time to do a web interview when all of this began and said that.. but then others, never at these big roundups, stirred that pot. It does NOT help change things and it hurts access.)

Some of you will remember events more than “who allowed it.” This same IC was the one at Buffalo Hills when the colt was thrown down and tied to the back of an ATV. He is now serving as the NV WHB State lead. (BTW: that was a different contractor, but same guy in charge.) If you ever want to find out who is in charge of a roundup you can just file a FOIA for the info… it is public knowledge and not a secret.

Video below: We do have indication that the exact rough tactics this BLM employee allowed at Triple B are happening at Antelope. We can’t see much. But check out how the paddle is used after failing to move a horse that has just been rounded up, travelled an hour and a half on the trailer and they do not just want to give her more time.

BLM is continuing to race to the finish line. They are running 2 traps. 1 trap they will not allow the public to view or even know the exact location of. At the other trap our observer is 1.5 miles away.

This operation is approved to last until August 22. Why have they been rushing during heat warnings with tiny babies on the range?

This is the Path Forward. Remove everything as fast as you can to get to a “number” and then increase the use of fertility control in conjunction with partners, hide as much of the “data” you claim to have to justify any removal… and continue removals without transparency or actual enforceable welfare standards.

CAWP was the beginning of a conversation BLM began in 2015. The conversation was never continued and buried under corporate public relations. CAWP never became enforceable rules, never allowed public input, ignored testimony at Motorized Vehicle Hearings, never has been updated to current veterinary standards. That is why we have had to file litigation… again. (We are trying to find time to do a “talking head” video webinar on CAWP)

Since July 9, 25 wild horses have now died at the Antelope Complex. 

 On July 29:

92 (52 Stallions, 31 Mares, and 9 Foals) were captured.

BLM reportedly killed 3:

Bay, 12-year old Stud (Male); BLM said because of blindness in the left eye

Bay, 2-year old Mare (Female); Death; BLM said Sarcoid tumor on the head

Bay Filly (foal) (Female); Death BLM said she was deformed in  both front legs

Our team is still out here. Even with the little we are permitted to see… not one horse, not one single horse, should be captured without someone from the public at least trying to provide the oversight that the agency fails to provide. 

Thank you for keeping us in the fight!

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Categories: Wild Horse Education