Barren Valley Complex, (Sheepshead, Alvord, Sandsprings) OR 2011
Moved to new trap location.
Studs shipped to Burns.
Observation is a bit under half mile away. I am still not able to assess pilot conduct with absolute documentation. However there is every indication that conduct is continuing. That documentation is being compiled.
This beautiful horse broke at the trap and escaped free, but alone.
39 removed today.
I will be editing video and compiling full reports in the next 48 hours.
Thank you for understanding.
BLM has finally begun updating the Barren Valley page: http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/whb/barrenvalleycomplex.php
This update will begin with a repost of 9/11 from RT Fitch’s blog for 9/11. 9/12 to follow:
Report: Wild Horse Education’s founder Laura Leigh was on-site the first day of the contested Barren Valley, Oregon wild horse roundup on 9/11/2011. Ms. Leigh is a plaintiff in several suits filed against the BLM and the most recent case riled Federal Judge H. McKibben enough for him to admonish the BLM for “inhumane” treatment of the horses and issued a rare emergency order which clearly warns the BLM and their contract helicopter stampede pilot to conduct their controversial wild horse roundups in a humane and controlled fashion. According to Leigh’s report it appears that both the BLM and their contractor may be paying attention.
“There were some improvements in areas I was explicit about in the documentation of the Court case.” reported Leigh, “But this is just one day with no way to hold that expectation that this will carry through to other roundups or if the public is not present.”
When asked how the actual operation was conducted Leigh said,
“I could not see the actual trap mouth (around hill… in a draw). But the small pieces I could see were not so “frantic.” But this was day one. When I can really see it … I’ll comment.”
Leigh went on to comment on improvements over what she observed at the Triple B stampede with the same contractor, Sun J.
“They did do dust control and by golly there was water. The horses water tubs were being monitored.” Leigh continued, “Yet they did try to overload the trailers and rushed too many through at a time at holding. There were heads caught and horses crushed … one time a horse’s head was stuck and it was pinned. Whatever is accomplished in dialogue on the ground has no meaning without a written protocol that follows through program wide. There needs to be a commitment to follow the principles of humane care, with accountability, as outlined in the Act.”
Ms. Leigh indicated that she will issue an in-depth report on September 12th after documenting day two.
I still cannot observe much of pilot conduct. But today I saw indications that there may be the same issues. I could here the back and forth of the chopper behind the hill indicating that the horses were not making clear forward motion. I could see that horses were trying to break up a hill as the chopper blades and the occasional top of a horses head would appear.
I saw a band receive conflicting signals and be driven back and forth and one run through the jute.
I cannot tell you what occurs at the trap mouth nor can I tell you what a drive looks like.
BLM COR and observers are about 35 feet up the hill from me. They have a much greater view and their view is not obstructed by the same rock outcropping I am. I am not allowed to move up to their vantage.
I observed the same crowding during processing at temporary holding as yesterday.
Full video report and more details as time permits. Days are beginning at 5 am pst and not returning until after 7 pm pst.
Today in DC the new head of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, Joan Guilfoyle, will speak at the International Conference for Equine Welfare.
She has committed to speak for ten minutes to introduce herself. She will answer no questions from the public, nor participate in any dialogue. She has agreed to speak to address her willingness to “dialogue” with the public.
Sounds like the same old contradictions.
As Guilfoyle prepares to speak the last horses of the roundup were removed from Barren Valley in Oregon. Only two runs of the pilot were documented. Almost a week allowed no documentation at all.
This video is of the last two groups taken.
note from Leigh~
Barren Valley over. Release tomorrow and final counts.
Some access to view pilot. Either the pilot had three days to adjust to the trap or it wasn’t same pilot. But I could only observe two runs of the whole roundup.
Continued to overload alleys. One sweet girl had her face beat up.
Too tired to type. Went through a tank plus of gas… lots of driving.