45 (16 Stallions, 21 Mares, and 8 Foals) wild horses were captured on 8/16 and 2 escaped at north trap at the Antelope Complex. This represents 17% foals. We are tracking the percentage of foals throughout the roundup that began in July for a number of reasons. A low percentage (as low as 8% with an average of 14%) can only be logically explained 3 ways: July is still foaling season in this complex, the helicopter operated in a manner that left foals on the range, or BLM is wrong in the underlying NEPA that reproductive rate is 20-23%.
Yesterday, BLM killed 2 wild horses: a 15-year old mare they said was of poor body condition and a 4 year old for club foot. This brings the deaths to 26 at north trap, 10 at south trap that ended on July 26: total deaths, 36.
Of the 3,107 targeted in this complex, 124 remain in the target zone. Will this operation end before they reach the target? It is not impossible, but unlikely in these big complexes where numbers seem to be the only impetus and not anything else. The number remaining to be captured at Antelope is larger than most of the entire targets on the remaining fiscal year 2023 schedule.
Palomino Butte Oregon lasted 3 days and has ended with 192 captured, shy of goal (about 17% shy of the 225 target), with 0 deaths. Operations move to Stinkingwater where the capture goal is 85.
Above: Little one on the trailer with a small fragment of his last blade of grass from home in his lips.
Looking at the ages of the foals coming in now, how old were they 6 weeks ago? BLM needs to define site-specific foaling season (and rate) as part of a management plan and as part of compliance with a welfare standard. If helicopters are prohibited during foaling season, you need a data-set and not anecdotal info from a herd thousands of miles away.
Throughout this operation observers have come and gone. This is usually the case for these massive roundups. Since we took legal action, that remains active, things have slowed down.
Our team remains onsite to see the largest roundup of the 2023 fiscal schedule to a close. Our last truly large herds tend to get the worst times of year on the schedule year-after-year. Antelope 2023 was hit while it was still foaling/breeding season in record breaking heat with catastrophic consequences and national headlines.
The first heat index rise: On July 11 the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a heat index/health warning that would begin the extended rise on July 13 and extend through Sunday July 16. On top of it being actual foaling/breeding season on this range, wild horses woulds be run in record breaking heat. On July 13, as the extended heat index was beginning: A sorrel foal died of dehydration. A foal died of colic. A foal was lame and euthanized. Stallion suffered a catastrophic compound fracture and then was run for over 30 minutes to the far side of the valley and shot (4). On July 14, as the heat index hit the extreme caution zone, a mare fractured her neck and died. BLM also said they put down a mare for being blind in one eye (2). On July 15, BLM said a foal died (not euthanized) of a hernia (generally a hernia does not simply kill you unless it interferes with breathing under stress or other complication) (1) On July 16, BLM operated only 1 trap and there were 2 catastrophic neck fractures; 1 during loading and 1 at trap (2).
Would BLM simply suspend a few days to protect wild horse and human health? Absolutely not. Did they suspend during the second wave? Absolutely not with the same disastrous outcome.
Antelope is a clear example of why BLM must create management plans that define everything from critical habitat protection (for one of America’s last large herds) to defining a data-based foaling season.
Antelope is also a very clear example of why BLM MUST create enforceable welfare rules.
Our lawsuit to gain an enforceable welfare rule and push BLM to comply with NEPA, remains active. We could not stand by and not try to stop the madness happening for this particular roundup, could you? Although the judge found Constitutional Rights were likely violated on rights of access, he saw no need to restrain BLM further on access or handling. But that does not mean that the case has ended and we do not have the time to fully inform the courts before the next roundup out here, next year (BLM hits this complex every year) and a welfare standard review and rule-making is essential. It also does not mean that we were not successful in, at the very least, getting them to slow the heck down. These big complexes always get rushed and slammed the hardest at the worst times of year.
The paperwork BLM has completed (Gather-Environmental Assessment or EA) approved roundups in this complex through 2026. The fight to stop the madness continues.
We are continuing the frontline fight and YOU can help.
We are preparing a packet for policy makers and lawmakers to show why BLM must create enforceable welfare rules for wild horses and burros through capture and into holding.
If you want to help address abuse DIRECTLY that you see at roundups like Antelope, you can CALL your reps and add to your requests fir the 2024 fiscal year Department of Interior, BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program:
“I would like you to propose an amendment to add a budget line item solely devoted to make the BLM wild horse and burro welfare policy (currently referenced as “CAWP”) into an enforceable rule.
The internal program is not creating an environment where wild horses and burros are treated according to safe, sane, current animal husbandry practices to ensure steps are taken to prevent injury and. death. Death is not the only measure of abuse.”
You can find your reps: http://govtrack.us
Wild Horse Education will be sending a packet to members of Congress and policy makers showing why we need an enforceable welfare rule.
You can show your support and help us keep our team in the field through the purchase of a “Stop Abuse” t-shirt. We have brought these shirts back for the next 2 weeks by request. Click HERE or on the image below.
Our wild ones should live free on the range with the families they hold dear. Our wild ones should also live without abuse.
Thank you for keeping us in the fight!
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Categories: Wild Horse Education