We received the following “release” today and decided to share it with you. There are so many people that care about wild horses and burros… on the range, in holding and as adopters. We all need to do what we can…
RENO – (June 22, 2013) Public outrage is mounting in response to treatment of horses and burros at BLM’s largest holding facility, Palomino Valley National Adoption Center. Dayton resident Patty Bumgarner has been frequenting the facility because of her concern for the horses, especially during a recent heat wave. Bumgarner was shocked to discover that the horses and burros had no shade or shelter from extreme weather. A grass roots campaign quickly sprouted leading individuals and groups to offer materials and labor to assist in providing shelter to the animals. BLM representative Debbie Collins spoke for the Bureau when she declined the offers of help, saying, “We have revisited the issue again and feel our current policy is still valid.”
Robin Warren, 12 year old wild hose advocate recalls, “the horses were hugging the fences for slivers of shade,” from her visit to the facility last summer when temperatures exceeded 100°F. “They didn’t seem to have enough water either and were drinking from a pool of water that had collected in the largest corral – I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Warren continued.
Aside from the lack of shelter, Bumgarner documented workers using a truck to separate horse(s) from the herd. In the instance that Bumgarner documents, the driver was maneuvering so quickly the vehicle lost traction and began fish-tailing wildly within feet of horses. Most recently, and perhaps even more disturbing than lack of shelter and endangerment by motorized vehicles, Bumgarner documented moldy hay being stored at the facility and fed to the horses. Studies have shown moldy hay can cause horses to develop disease. Could any of these factors be contributing to the unusually high number of deaths at the facility? The public workers seem to treat Bumgarner with distaste, responding with statements like, “Did you get some good pictures?” However, a growing online community highly values the work of concerned citizens and advocates in exposing government programs’ lack of transparency and breech of public trust.
When Reno Gazette Journal’s Mark Robinson wrote about the discrepancy between the BLMand the local rendering plant’s records in “Horse Deaths at BLM’s Palomino Valley Facility,” BLM’s Heather Jasinski responded , “The National Wild Horse &Burro Program is currently reviewing its reporting procedures for all aspects of the program and will modify them to correct any identified discrepancies.” For years advocates have known that BLM does not count foal deaths and has repeatedly questioned the practice.
Over 130,000 people have asked the BLM to immediately suspend all roundups on Warren’s petition on Change.org. A stack of these signatures was featured in a special report by NBC News, “Horses Are Wild – But Not Free,” after they had been presented to BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board during a public comment session. Also featured on the segment was President and Founder of Wild Horse Education (WHE), Laura Leigh.
Leigh has long been advocating for humane care standards for wild horses and burros during roundup and at holding. Recently she issued a “Plea for Treatment of Wild Horses in Holding” citing multiple contagious diseases that have taken hold at facilities across the nation. “WhenBLM has populations in holding that have proven to be fragile in the past, taking extra precautions should be priority,” said Leigh.
After viewing Bumgarner’s photos of the moldy hay, Leigh added, “Right now BLM has animals from ranges that have proven to particularly susceptible to salmonella outbreak. Pull the mold off. Any horse owner knows that.”
Warren adopted a mustang and recommends mustang adoption anyone who is able. “I love Rocky and I would never feed him moldy hay.” If American’s adopted the nearly 50,000 horses that are currently in holding it would not only reduce government spending by 44 million annually but it would also boost local economies through agriculture and horse industry demand. Most importantly, mustang adoption rescues them from holding facilities like Palomino Valley. “They really need your help…so get a mustang and save a life!”
The Youth’s Equine Alliance (YEA!) was introduced in 2012 by Robin Warren at the International Equine Conference. Our youth advocates raise awareness about horses and burros, both wild and domestic in order to inspire other people to also speak up for equines. Through education, activities and joining together as teams, the youth hope to encourage children’s admiration of horses and burros and motivate people of all ages to be a voice for equines.
WildHorseEducation.org is devoted to gaining protections for our wild horses and burros from abuse, slaughter and extinction.