We are working on addressing these issues through other channels as letters, calls and outright pleas have done nothing to address a potentially fatal policy of “no policy” for humane handling by BLM of our protected wild horses and burros.
On December 15, 2012 Wild Horse Education released this photograph of a foal stumbling and going down during operations at Owyhee. The area where the foal “stumbled” had horses “stumbling,” some going down, for two days prior to this incident.
Here is BLM’s published response to the incident:
“Foal that tripped – December 15, 2012
On Saturday Dec 15, 2012, a foal tripped and fell while entering the wings of the gather area during gather operations for the Owner Complex. The foal immediately got to its feet and rejoined the rest of the herd of wild horses that it was with. Upon entering the gather area, the foal was checked by an APHIS vet and the BLM’s Contracting Officer Representative (COR) for any signs of injury. There were none noted. After transport to the temporary holding corrals, the foal was once again checked out by an APHIS vet and the COR; no injuries were noted. The foal was eating and drinking normally. Our two public visitors were given the opportunity to see the foal up close and to photograph it at temporary holding. View a photo of the foal entering the gather site here.”
So what I can reasonably infer from this statement is that BLM feels the incident was acceptable. That BLM was aware, in the moment of the fall, that it occurred. That they were aware that a real potential existed for serious injury. By the justification published, that lists no remedy to ensure it does not occur again, we can also infer that BLM feels this is acceptable practice as both the COR and APHIS vet that have all discretion and authority to determine what is humane, feel this type of incident is “ok.”
The “two observers” at the trap were not aware that this foal had gone down until video was processed and viewed the evening after the event. The foal the observers were looking for was one they saw separated from family and roped.
Throughout this roundup BLM has responded to public concern by simply stating “all is ok” in a justification process that admits no room for improvement. BLM continues to assert that their COR and APHIS vet feel that what occurs is “ok.”
Simple analogy: If you drink and drive and crash with a passenger in your car that “survives” the accident, but remains overly traumatized and has underlying physical issues for the rest of their lives, is it “ok?” It is not “ok” to continue the behavior. It is not “ok” to act as if the passenger is “inaccurate” when he says “don’t do this again.” It is not ok. It is not a stretch to use an analogy that illustrates a potentially fatal situation where the behavior that causes that situation is easily avoidable.
It’s not “ok.”
As talking, begging, pleading, writing, faxing, calling has no effect on how BLM treats wild horses we have no alternative but to seek other measures.