Addressing the BLM Owyhee propaganda

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.

November 30th, loading at Owyhee

November 30th, loading at Owyhee

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.

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.

O2_28_025BLM’s explanation addresses one animal only, the one in this picture. There were four in that one run alone.

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.

Mare BLM has said slipped on grease wood and had an injury to her nose. She was run through a gate too far away to document.

Mare BLM has said slipped on grease wood and had an injury to her nose. She was run through a gate too far away to document.

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.


21 thoughts on “Addressing the BLM Owyhee propaganda

  1. Pingback: BLM electric shocks baby horses « Wild Horse Education

  2. Pingback: WHE Owyhee Press Release « Wild Horse Education

  3. Laura – keep up the work you are doing out there! No matter what others are saying, writing, printing, YOUR work is the only one that is hands on with photos and/videos to support what you are writing about! Know that you have many people who depend on your reports for the REAL TRUTH, and KNOW the sacrifices you have made to get that truth out. Blessed Be!

    • Thank you. Yes, there are many that attempt to detract from this work with fabrication and distortion to bring attention to themselves. They make accusations that actually reflect to their own actions (someday people will look at them with scrutiny). I think I was told once by my grandma that those that denigrate others to make themselves look good, instead of actually creating accomplishments of their own, need a real close look.

      We have a job to do. It aint easy and there are very few tools…. so we must become tool makers. Keep focused on the wild ones… if we don’t we will lose them.

  4. Again lies and propaganda from the BLM ! They continue to break the laws already laid down for round ups of the mustangs, yet nothing is done . All the government do is cover up the gross misconduct committed by the BLM and governing D.O.I. Lives are being broken and murdered and they say this is ok. It never is. Thankfully Laura Leigh is out there , when the BLM are not lying and starting round ups earlier than on the schedule, documenting, video, photos, the truth and will take the evidence back to court ! It’s about time the BLM was governed by correct , honest people , then right down the line, to the mustangs side !

    • I wish all of this info were gathered and sent to the Whitehouse. And say, “This is what is inhuman and barbaric. Are we going to solve all our problems by killing? Demand that congress finally vote and support the S.1176!”

  5. Now this is showing the truth, not the edited version that the BLM spin doctors have released. Thank you Laura Leigh for your dedicated unwavering focus, this is the only way that we will see results, it is a long hard struggle with baby steps of progress, but you are making progress, one step at a time!! There are more and more people who are seeing the truth for themselves, the truth ALWAYS prevails. The rest will fall by the wayside and you will still be standing strong. The troops are rallying!

  6. “If management practices require removals all efforts must be made to meet that mandate.”

    Without a doubt, even with the most ideal set of people in management postition, there will be a need to occasionally round up wild horses. WHE and many others have put on the table a host of viable options to keep the population of the native wild horses in balance with the ecosystem that they live in. The work of Laura Leigh and WHE is of the utmost importance, because with out it we – the public that owns this land and the wild animals that live there – would not be aware of the mistreatment and private profitering going on. ALL government activities should always have an independent eye on them. Keep up the good work Laura, and never, ever, ever for a minute think that we aren’t doing our best to support your efforts and your goals. As MLK said “Keep your eye on the prize”, and that prize being the welfare and well being our the wild horses and burros.

  7. Ok, since these images have been ‘justified’ by the Bureau, perhaps coming at it from another angle might give us some insight on ‘inhumane’:

    What – EXACTLY – would a wrangler have to commit on the body of a wild equine for the Bureau to ‘consider’ the wrangler’s behavior inhumane? What would make the officer in charge STOP a wrangler or pilot from performing a particular act? What would the on-site vet have to witness to pull authority and enforce even the notion of ‘humane’ treatment for a wild equine?

    in·hu·mane (nhy-mn)
    Lacking pity or compassion.unkind or cruel

    adjective: cruel, savage, brutal, severe, harsh, grim, unkind, heartless, atrocious, unsympathetic, hellish, depraved, barbarous, pitiless, unfeeling, uncompassionate.

    Except when handling wild equines.

  8. More and more cruelty and now some think the bait-trapping with NO transparency is a good thing . All removals need to stop IMO as there is NO excess of wild horses. I doubt if there are 15,000 still free.

  9. Laura next to Ginger your my second heroine! I “saw” Ginger first and fell madly head over heels for Cloud. But the work you do is so darn important. Without you we wouldn’t have eyes and ears out there to tell us what is going on.

    I fear some have forgotten the adage of “Its about the Horse”.

    Tell Elvis I say hi. And you stay warm and comfy. Thank you for all you do each and every day.

  10. How dare these people! ! This is disgusting and shameful. The ignorant workers that participate in these roundups amazes me. It’s time to be held accountable for for the cruelty. Pictures and videos don’t lie!!

  11. Pingback: A closer look at the controversy at Owyhee | WHE Blog

  12. The BLM roundups or gathers need to stop. Leave them alone and let them live and die on the open range where they were born.
    This is federal protection? If we treated our pets this way we would be jailed! These practices have been going on too long and at the taxpayers expense. Stop the roundups and stop the cruelty! NOW!
    Keep educating the public. Doing a good job of exposing this corruption. Just sorry it needs to be done.

  13. Laura…thank you for the graphics. The video tells all. Photos can be doctored. Fiction can be written on both sides. I have emailed both parties at the .gov level and hopefully have opened their eyes a little, along with the rest of you. This kind of behavior is not necessary under any circumstance. As a USDA licensed facility, we rescue zebras and Przewalski’s horses in this country…yes, believe it or not, they too sometimes need rescued, or moved from one place to another. They also will do ANYTHING to stay in their herds or kinship groups, including killing themselves to be with their family members. We have been moving them and loading them for decades and have NEVER used cattle prods on them or whipped them. I could not believe what I was seeing in your video. What an introduction to humans!!! And what terrible losses are occurring. An occasional accident if everything is in place to assure maximum safety for the animals is one thing, but a three strand wire! Why are they not using solid visual fencing???? And they say they are not using the prods on sensitive areas? The current goes through the entire body, no matter where you use it. I know, I tested one on myself! A cattle prod is just a tazer gun with a long handle. If these horses were worth a lot of money each, and were owned by the people who are loading them, they would handle them much differently wouldn’t they? Exotic animal owners and horse owners have a large investment in each of their animals. Most of them care about the cash value of the animal, if not the animal itself, to insure that they do not injure or kill the animal when bringing them in from pasture and loading them. It is not difficult to do it properly for the animals well being. It can take a little longer, but so what!!! This is American history they are loading onto the trailers. They are also loading live, breathing, intelligent, emotional, family members. If we can’t stop them from doing it, which we are not going to anytime soon, at least let’s give them a better solution to make it happen with the least amount of emotional and physical injury to these beautiful horses and get that enforced! I am available for consultation anytime! edited to remove personal info

  14. Laura – I have so much respect for someone who works so hard & diligently for our horses. Hope you know that there are lots of us out there who may not be able to physically DO anything – but keep on emailing & donating & cheering you – our heros on.

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