Editorial: Laura Leigh
I recently received an email asking why I was not writing about the deaths of horses at Palomino Valley. Why was I not writing about the discrepancy?
I have been since 2010. It is absolutely shocking that this statistic is an unknown. I have been documenting foal deaths that do NOT show in any statistic. We also have a legal action that addresses access to each horse, including foals that die. I have made multiple comments to the Advisory Board about what that statistic represents, and why it is important, since 2010. HERE is an article written in May of 2010. This article mentions foal deaths being vacant from statistics in 2011 and goes on to write about the Advisory Board (and we note the same in our written comments to the Board). We gave all the info to NBC and we hope it is in the final cut when it airs.
Here is BLM’s 2012 schedule: http://www.blm.gov/live/pdf/05_Gather_2012_schedule.pdf And then the updated portion for fall/winter here: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/herd_management/tentative_gather_schedule.html
Please also note that Jackson Mountain was added to, the schedule and began removals in June… “foaling season.” Our legal action stopped the removal in all but the “emergency” area (the case is ongoing and in Discovery). Many new babies went into that facility and many Jackson horses are still there.
Currently at PVC we see Jackson, Wassuk, Antelope, Owyhee (another court action that has won a TRO and is heading for hearing to gain an Injunction), Diamonds…. and a few other familiar faces. We track from range through holding as best we can. It has always been BLMs practice to NOT count foal deaths.
Also note that on BLM “gather update” pages the public is ONLY given information until the end of the removal portion… the reports end there. HERE is a link to Jackson Mountain. Jackson Mountain horses are still at the facility with gelding of youngsters being performed over the months of April and May… but no current statistics are online.
The “37” deaths reported so far this year are horses from Jackson, Owyhee, Antelope, Wassuk, etc. But they are adults, not foals… and not any of the foals born that do not survive from mares recently stampeded on the range.
BUT THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN BLMS POLICY, THEY DON’T HIDE IT.
Enter Sally Jewell
A Denver Post article is also making rounds and showing up in our inbox about new Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.
The article starts with “New Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Tuesday that she is still undecided about how to handle a burgeoning wild horse and burro population that is eating more than half the horse budget at the BLM and sparking outrage among wild horse advocates.”
Then Ms. Jewell goes on to day that she is waiting for the National Academy of Sciences study due out in June, “It’s going to help identify what’s the sustained capacity of our public lands to handle our wild horses, what is the effectiveness of things like birth control methodology to try and deal with the issue.”
This is extremely disheartening. Instead of looking at the cost to tax-payers of allowing private interests to continue to reap a profit off of public land through activities subsidized with their money we are going to look to see “what’s the sustained capacity” to “handle wild horses.”
Please remember the BLM set the NAS itinerary and provided the bulk of the data. (Of course the public could submit reports but no official incorporation protocol is guaranteed).
So statistics that say “roundups are safe,” that do not include complete data like foal deaths or facility deaths over time due to respiratory illness like pneumonia after being run in sub-freezing weather, and “carrying capacity to handle horses” because of an out of control budget will be part of Jewell’s program I do not hold much hope that she will be the avenue for sane change.
These are many of the horses that went to PVC this past year.
I hope that answers some of the questions people have. It’s late and it has been a long day. We have a serious month of deadlines on issues surrounding our cases, field work. etc. If there are questions on the program, or information you need, please email firstname.lastname@example.org The work load is huge right now so be patient and we will try to get to your questions as fast as possible. ~ Thank you