On November 30th BLM was documented at the holding area loading horses to go to PVC. We reported about the overly aggressive, excessive use of cattle prods. We did not arrive to see the first semi completely loaded. But we were there for the entire loading process of the second trailer. It was accomplished (the entire process) in well under half an hour, including the time it took to dock the truck. (All photos are meta-tagged with time).
We find it extremely disheartening that instead of admitting that there are issues that need to be addressed the BLM simply creates a fiction to condone conduct and protect individuals. BLM claims to be constructively working on handling issues and has formed countless committees, spent countless man hours in report preparations, presentations and public relations dollars to address these long standing problems… but it appears that the problem is not the conduct but the public knowledge of the conduct.
Attached is a single image. WHE asks that you look at where the wrangler is standing (in the alley) and the height and hoof size of the animal within the alley (BLM will not provide access that allows observation of handling at temporary). The animal in that chute is very young.
Below is BLM’s explanation of the event. WHE is working on another edit of this roundup so far, more extensive, to demonstrate what has been observed.
From BLM website:
Electric prod use at Owyhee Gather on November 30, 2012
On Friday November 30, 2012 electric prods were used on adult horses during loading operations at Temporary Holding. These prods were used as a last resort to coax the wild horses into the travel trailers transporting them to Palomino Valley Center. The use of electric prods in this case was within pre-established guidelines of the gather.
The contractor had made many attempts to load the wild horses that day using voice commands, body position, sounds and flags, to no avail. Per procedures and to avoid human injury, electric prods were used as a last resort once other handling aids did not work. However, no members of the BLM gather team saw any colts being prodded with Hotshots and the entire event was overseen by BLM staff.
Loading was a prolonged process, taking over two hours before the Hotshots were administered. The Hotshots were used in a manner consistent with domestic livestock handling procedures. Animals were not whipped or beaten. The electric prods were only used to shock the animals, not to tap or hit the animals, and were not applied to sensitive areas.
The wild horses which recieved the prodding by Hotshots were not harmed or injured, were recieved in good condition at the Palomino Valley Center and immediately went to food and water.
You can view posts on the roundup on Wild Horse Education’s website under the tab “current roundup” and on the home page. http://wildhorseeducation.org
BLM has also created a youtube after WHE released images of animals getting caught in, falling down over a three strand fence. The fence is in the ground on t-posts that are not capped. BLM could have removed a section of the fence prior to operations and replaced it. They claim that private property trap site was the only area to drive horses into. If that was the area safest for humans they should have done what they could to make it safer for horses. It is fortunate that no animal was impaled. Simply stating that there were “no injuries” does not make the action “ok.”
However there was a horse observed in holding on Nov. 30th that BLM said had a pre-existing condition (blind in one eye and an old leg injury) that they euthanized that was the same color as one of the animals documented getting caught in the fence. As ability to document animals in holding is so restricted we can not confirm the identity of the horse.
The gates BLM had been using days prior is a considerable distance from observation and we can not report as to what happened at those gates.
BLM explanation on website:
The route to the Little Mud Springs gather site includes a barb wire fence and a 16-foot-wide gate about one mile from the gather site. Wild horses being herded toward the gather site must be brought through the gate. Nine wild horses were being moved toward the gate at the pace of a trot, five walked willingly through the open gate, but four hesitated and instead trotted down the fence line. The wild horses that trotted down the fence line jumped the fence to join the horses that had gone through the gate and were on the other side.
One red and white pinto stud caught himself in the fence as he jumped over and flipped onto his back. He immediately stood up and continued with the rest of the group which was brought into the trap. All nine of the wild horses in the group were inspected by the APHIS veterinarian and the BLM wild horse and burro specialist at the gather site and when they arrived at temporary holding. None of horses showed any signs of injury and were moving around the temporary holding corrals without any problem. This group of wild horses was transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Center the following day where they received a subsequent inspection which showed they had no injuries.
The Little Mud Springs area has a population of about 500 wild horses. The BLM has been hauling water to this area all summer. It is critical to gather the wild horses in this area. The gather site/route was chosen because it is the only access usable by a horse trailer to this area. Since the start of the Owyhee gather, the BLM has safely brought about 250 wild horses through the gate and into the gather site.
Another serious issue at this operation is that observers that are on the ground are not being informed of animals euthanized. Observers are present the days the “mercy killings” occur and are not being informed that they are happening. So far the public has found out before we do.
Below is the video released by WHE. A longer edit is in progress.
The horse in the picture above BLM said slipped on “grease wood” and had an injury to her nose accounting for the blood. BLM posted a picture on their Flicker site to show an “ok” animal. Their photo shows that the animal clearly has an injury to her chest.
WHE opinion: BLM states that roundups are safe. Yet they fail to create or enforce any standard of care. BLM uses a “drop dead at the trap” death rate statistic to forward that notion. Animals that survived on the range, regardless of BLM’s assessment of “quality of life” and then die or are euthanized are roundup related. Any animal that later dies of respiratory distress from being run in sub-freezing weather, is roundup related. Any animal that dies from broken necks or limbs during handling at the trap or during processing at the facility is roundup related. The statistic BLM uses to justify the notion of “safe,” as they fail to create an enforceable standard of care, is skewed to justify a failure to recognize that the first order of business under the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act was to protect these animals from the brutal practice of “Mustanging.” To protect from “capture, branding, harassment and death.”
If management practices require removals all efforts must be made to meet that mandate.
WHE is beginning this blog to archive and send out fast information. Please be patient as the blog takes form.