Emaciated Colt Dies in BLM Holding Facility

Emaciated Wild Horse Colt Latest Victim Under BLM Care

Humane Observers Need Daily Access to Monitor Horses’ Well-Being

Fallon, NV (May 21, 2010)—On Sunday, May 16th, visitors and humane observers to the government holding pens in Fallon, Nevada found injured wild horses and photographed a starving, emaciated colt among the 2,100 mustangs. The young colt had clearly been struggling for multiple days and was not placed in a hospital pen with his mother. Advocates alerted Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff to the colt’s poor condition. After the facility closed the only veterinarian, responsible for the care of over 3,000 horses at two BLM facilities, was called in and euthanized the colt. The Churchill County Sheriff is currently investigating multiple incidences of animal abuse at the Fallon Facility.

“We have been saying for months that one veterinarian is not adequate to monitor thousands of wild horses and now more than 300 foals,” states Ginger Kathrens, Director of the Cloud Foundation. “If volunteers were allowed on a regular basis to view these horses the death of this little colt might have been prevented.”

Foals are not counted in BLM records and the deaths are not listed in the BLM daily reports. The emaciated colt’s death is in addition to at least 90 fatalities to date as a result of wintertime Calico roundup in Northwestern Nevada.

The BLM allows only ten people to visit Fallon one time per week, on Sunday, for a couple of hours despite repeated requests for increased access. Tours are currently postponed and may be cancelled permanently despite a clear need to observe recently castrated males, pregnant mares and young foals.

“These horses were taken off the range because BLM claimed they were at risk of dehydration and starvation, the reasons given for destroying this captive foal.

These deaths are avoidable. Northern Nevada’s precipitation is 128% of normal,” explains Terri Farley, author of the famed Phantom Stallion Series. “Born in the wild, instead of suffering in a fenced sand box, the foal might have lived.”

Photo by Elyse Gardner

Read more on the humane observer’s blog: http://humaneobserver.blogspot.com/


15 Responses to “Emaciated Colt Dies in BLM Holding Facility”

  1. sandra longley Says:

    Precipitation 128% above means wildfire danger will be 128% above normal come august and september.”You picked a fine time to remove the wild horses Lucille”.A natural resource that protects the natural resources-wild horses

  2. Jan Eaker Says:

    This and ALL the unnecessary deaths @ Fallon are a tragedy ; rounded up to “protect” them, these horses have suffered and are continuing to suffer unrelenting inhumane treatment in these pens. Just keeping them there, with no way to avoid the blowing sand, the desert sun, is cruelty. Forcing wild mares to give birth in overcrowded, dirty pens is cruelty; keeping families apart is cruelty; this whole thing was mismanaged and ill-conceived and the horses are paying the ultimate price.

    • Lisa LeBlanc Says:

      Yep; I keep wondering, Jan – if this is the effect of a roundup on a healthy Horse population, what kind of Hell would have rained down on them if they truly HAD been ill or starving??

  3. Susan Says:

    The loss of the foal is tragic and unnecessary. These magnificent creatures know how to survive on the land with little human intervention, in a fairer world.

    It’s encouraging to hear that law enforcement is investigating animal cruelty at Fallon. The Federal government has no right to mistreat animals or set a poor example; there is enough animal cruelty without the US taxpayers subsidizing it. Heartfelt thanks to the humane observers for continuing to stand up for the wild ones with that agency.

    New – Interior Sec Ken Salazar – the architect of the wild horse roundups and “Salazoos” – is being sued for alleged offshore drilling mismanagement. Something about not following federal laws enacted to protect endangered animals of the sea.


    One man, two bad ideas – wild horse roundups, reckless offshore drilling. Please, Mr. President, fire this man.

  4. Marilyn Wargo Says:

    I saw this foal and it was a sad reminder of what can happen when things go wrong… if it was physical reasons for the foal or mother… if people had been more observant and had a better medical network there. I think he had a chance and he would not have been so weakened over days of need if someone had seen and responded sooner. mar

  5. Honor Hannon Says:

    Focus! Focus! Focus on this problem! We are all intelligent human beings and there HAS to be an answer to this problem. A just, fair humane and compassionate answer to the misery and suffering we are allowing these horses to experience.
    There must be a way to sit down with the BLM and wild horse advocates and an acceptible to both parties negoiater, who will see the situation as intolerable. If it could be done in Ireland and in South Africia it can be done here. We need to be prepared if the court case goes against the wild ones.
    Putting egos aside this may be the last week to lay some groundwork for whatever the final decision is and to start dealing on a one to one bases with the people who work for BLM.
    After the oil spill they don’t want any more bad press for DOI. Is anyone involved with or know people who do peacekeeping professionally? Could we collect some money to ask them to come in and look at the situation from a different angle, because what we are doing and trying to do is NOT working. We all have good intentions but its just NOT working.

    • sandra longley Says:


      This is the US Institute for Environmental Conflicts..the closest compramise negotiated in terms of wildlife-would be the case of the herd of Buffalo managed by the US gov. in Flathead Montana..read this case..It is very encouraging…the drawback..it took them a year to complete their assesment-6 months to reach a compramise-and a couple of years to implement..its on a 2 year trial..by the time they could finish their assesment roundups would be completed and horses dispersed across the country..There is talk of using this process..The horses are a more complicated issue than the buffalo..There is back channel discussions going on.

    • Karen L. Says:

      Interesting site–this Institute for Environmental Conflicts actually has classes for parties needing/wanting assistance in learning how to manage environmental conflict issues. Apparently some of the classes are open to anyone who may be interested. You can even be placed on a waiting list of available topics.

      Honor—I totally agree that the DOI must be feeling the pressure from the oil spill mess, and that we need to be preparing for what may happen when the final Calico lawsuit decision is announced; as you noted, that should be within the coming week.

  6. Jan Eaker Says:

    This is the latest update from BLM on Fallon:

    The Indian Lakes Facility tour on May 30th is cancelled and rescheduled for Thursday, May 27th (11 AM to 1 PM) due to the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Advance sign-up for tours is required; call (775) 475-2222.
    As of this date the daily update for the Indian Lakes Facility will change to a weekly update that will be posted on Friday of each week. The next update will occur on May 28th.

    Indian Lakes Update

    Most poor condition horses have gained weight and regained their health. Nursing mares and yearlings are on a high nutrition diet while all other horses in adequate body condition are on a maintenance diet. No miscarriages occurred. No deaths. Mares are still foaling, but births are fewer and intermittent. Eighty-two Calico horses have been shipped to the Palomino Valley Facility east of Sparks, Nevada for photographing and presentation in a July 2010 Internet Adoption.
    Facility Death: 0, Cumulative Death total: 90

    BLM Statement Concerning a Foal That Was Euthanized at Indian Lakes on May 16, 2010

    On Sunday, May 16, the BLM authorized the euthanasia of a 3-day-old foal that was born on May 13. The foal had been weak from birth and declined in condition over the weekend. The authorization followed the advice of an examining veterinarian who had determined that although the foal was being mothered and nursed by his dam, it was weak, severely dehydrated and unable to rise without assistance. The condition was attributed to a limited amount of milk available from the mare and a general failure to thrive. At the time the foal was euthanized it was suffering and had a hopeless prognosis for survival.

    yes, Lisa, can you imagine the death toll if these horses had TRULY been in bad condition?



    CBS News Airs Wild Horse Footage – Please Ask Them To Tell The Full Story
    Last week the CBS Sunday Morning News aired breathtaking video of wild horses of Nevada. Filmmaker and wild horse advocate Carl Mrozek recently filmed the beautiful, healthy wild mustangs. Click here to watch the video.
    Please post a comment urging CBS News to do a news segment on the wild horse issue. If CBS gets a huge response it may trigger broader coverage of the mustang and burro story. The response over the next several days will be key. This is a great opportunity to make our case directly to CBS producers so please take full advantage of it.

  8. elizabeth slagsvol Says:

    It’s not enough to say, “I’m heartsick when I see this”, it’s not enough to read the reports and go on with our day. Ignorance is not bliss and apathy is not an option. My sincere hope, and I use the word hope quite literally, is that Herd Watch will coordinate our collective goal to stop the BLM and restore sanity. Awareness must be followed by action.

  9. Nora Morbeck Says:

    Hi folks — I stepped back for awhile — been dealing with some family issues, including a death in our pet family. I’ve checked in to read up on events, but have refrained from commenting, as it’s just felt so painful and overwhelming.
    Having cared for unhealthy and/or malnurished baby animals for years, I know that they don’t all live, even with the greatest effort on the part of the caretaker. But it seems to me that the BLM isn’t even making an effort. Why does it take the public on a short facility tour to point out that a foal is malnourished? Where are the employees who are feeding every day? How come THEY didn’t notice? That kind of body condition doesn’t happen overnight.
    It’s about time that law enforcement stepped in to investigate abuses. This is actually what I’ve been hoping for. The documentation exists to charge the BLM with animal cruelty. The law may not care about things like keeping horse families together and the importance of living free. But it does care about starving, mishandling and providing insufficient shelter to these animals. With the number of horses at Fallon, I think this is felony material. Keep your fingers crossed.

  10. equus5 Says:

    The BLM are trying to cover themselves by stating the foal was 3 days old. It takes longer than 3 days to become this emaciated. The BLM didn’t even notice him until the humane observers pointed him out to them. They don’t even acknowledge these babies – unless a tragedy like this makes them look bad.

    The CBS footage described “vanishing wild horses” but neglected to mention why they are vanishing. I left a comment to explain.

  11. isopod Says:

    how miserable. & he had such a cute face for his photo. If this is America….there was someone who would have nutured him back to health! I thought it was illegal to deny animals adoption rights!

  12. chris murphy Says:

    The CBS show about the vanishing mustangs should have been a lot more investigative than it was. Because they needed to find out what was causing the vanishing bands of Mustangs. What was their attacker? By showing the answer being the humans of the BLM & their mechinized method of round up, then the harsh conditions of the holding facillities & their human captors. Also the fact our tax dollars are financing this insanity. We have horibble financial issues in our housing, schools, small business and yet our government continues to dole out millions to round up & hold mustangs indefinitely.Nature has a way with natuaral selection & maintaining balance. We need to go back to that method.

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