The BLM told us that they would be doing a selective removal, but they have changed to removing whole bands in order to eliminate all the horses living outside the designated range. If this was their desire from the get-go then the draft EA and final EA should have clearly stated this. This herd is just barely genetically viable at 188 horses. The BLM is reducing them to 120, far below the minimum genetic viability levels recommended by Dr. Gus Cothran of Texas A&M University. In all our meetings the BLM told us that this would be a carefully executed SELECTIVE removal. They have since changed this to be a semi-selective removal. If the BLM does remove 70 horses, we want them to use the recommendations provided by experts as they said they would in their draft and final Environmental Assesments as well as their Herd Management Area Plan.
20+ year old horses are being taken off the range at great expense to the taxpayers and more importantly these older horses now have what Congressman Grijalva calls “a death sentence” when they are torn out of their range at such an old age. It costs over $2000 to remove a horse, and no one wants to adopt an older wild horse except to save them from slaughter and an uncertain future. Let these horses live out their lives on the range. The BLM is putting horses on welfare who don’t want or require it.
**CORRECTED** The only independent observer is not being allowed full access to observe the processing and an APHIS vet is the new independent humane observer. We want the independent humane observer to be allowed in to watch the horses being processed. This observer was initially granted access to the processing for the first two days (when the media was there). Now the BLM is not allowing for transparency in their handling of our wild horses.
*I initially wrote that the BLM is denying the independent observer access, this is not true and I apologize for the error. We appreciate the access and time that the BLM is taking to allow the observer to go through and observe horses in the corrals but we would like to have an independent set of eyes and ears in the processing area. -MS
The BLM has forgotten that they manage our horses on our public lands. These aren’t anonymous horses- they are well known and beloved around the world from the popular PBS Nature programs about Cloud, one of the stallions likely to be rounded up tomorrow. The third program about this herd will on PBS stations nationwide in less than two months. Many of the horses that people watch — disbelieving that such a beautiful wild horse heaven exists — will already be gone. Kids who dream of going up to see these horses one day might never have the chance as the BLM sweeps them off into genetic non-viability. A little girl once asked us “are they still real?” We’d like to be able to tell her yes next year, too.
We are all intelligent reasonable people, here for the horses, but this is beginning to feel like a nightmare as we are being treated as powerless when it comes to protecting this herd. Media coverage, legal efforts, floods of calls to the white house and to DOI and BLM and all they do is send out national BLM people to preside over this controversial roundup. This reflects the greater destruction of our western lands and its inhabitants. People are asking me what they can do. “is there nothing we can do, this is devastating” and I truly don’t know what to tell them to do outside of spreading the story to friends and media. Ideas anyone?
This is beginning to feel like a war zone with the horses stuck out in no-man’s-land and their peaceful home invaded by people who just don’t care to be truthful or transparent or caring. The young foal below will probably be run 10 miles down the mountain tomorrow and both she and her young mother are slated for removal.
It was 90 degrees today and this roundup should have occurred after Oct. 15th when the horses were in the lower country and the foals older and stronger. Hopefully tomorrow is cooler.
Don’t give up on these horses and this herd.