Does the End of the Checkerboard Roundup Mean the End of the Lives of Wyoming’s Wild Horses? by Carol J. Walker
As we drove down County Road 430 toward the Colorado border, I had a sinking feeling that we were headed toward Bitter Creek Road, where 167 wild horses have already been rounded up and removed. I was initially told that no more than 200 horses would be removed from this area, that there would still be horses there. But now, since the helicopters could fly into Adobe Town at the every southern border with Colorado as well as in Salt Wells Creek from this location, that this was why we were going here.
In fact, 236 wild horses were rounded up this day, 54 for Adobe Town and 182 from Salt Wells Creek. This stunningly beautiful area is in the shadow of Kinney Rim, one of the stunning and immense formations of hills in Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek. Just up over the rim and about 12 miles over was Eversole Ranch.
I did not hear any helicopters for a long time – they had headed south toward the border, and I think they were bringing wild horses from quite a long way away.
I have never seen so many wild horses being brought in by helicopters at one time before, and I hope to never see it again. The BLM will often tell people that the horses come in at a walk or a trot. No, these horses were galloping in, and I could see the sweat gleaming on their sides. The first groups coming in slowed at the end, they did look tired – I do not know how far they had been driven.
I watched group after group come in and the Cattoors did not even have enough vehicles ready to transport them all, so the horses waited in the pens outside the trap.
The last big group brought in caused the most excitement. It was a huge group, and as they started in between the wings of jute leading on either side of the trap, I saw the grey horse in the lead balk, refusing to move forward. Suddenly, I see wild horses bursting out of the jute, both on the side furthest from me, and also closest to me. I see a foal and stallion trying to get over it, then the sorrel foal takes a tumble over.
The sorrel foal gets up almost immediately and runs with the other horses. I am thrilled by the horses’ spirit in running away, escaping from the cruel trap, but I know that the victory is short lived. Both helicopters are circling around the horses as the crew is setting the jute wings back up. I know that their freedom is illusory and short lived but I am still cheering them on under my breath. I did not dare cheer out loud as earlier a member of the public also attending got angry about my commenting that seeing the beautiful horses being driven in was sad, and she confronted me aggressively. I did not need any additional stress this last day.
The horses ran for a while, but the helicopters soon had them back into groups headed back into the trap. The helicopter cam quite close behind them as they headed into the trap just to make sure they made it this time.
I left as they were still counting horses. I knew that they must be very close to their goal. Indeed, the final count for the Roundup was achieved with bringing in just 10 more adult horses and 5 more foals. 1560 adult horses and 408 foals have lost their freedom in this roundup despite our lawsuit that contends that removing more than 1560 wild horses total was illegal. Removing 1968 wild horses from Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin will leave all three of these Herd Management Areas with less wild horses than the low end of Appropriate Management Level. This is also illegal.
Instead of being sent to Canon City, Colorado and Rock Springs as they have been since I have been observing roundups in Wyoming since 2005, these horses are being shipped to a private facility in Axtell, Utah and another private facility in Bruneau, Idaho that do not allow public observation or adoption. How bitterly ironic – when these horses are in the most danger of being killed, when they urgently need people to save them, they are inaccessible. I have been told that members of the public can contact Lisa Reid of the BLM to request the ability to visit and adopt these horses. Some will also be left at the Rock Springs corrals which are scheduled to open to the public again in January after the horses are processed.
These wild horses are in dire jeopardy right now, as are the rest of the 46,000 wild horses currently housed in short term holding corrals as well as in “off range pastures” which are often feedlots. The Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board recommended using “the lethal option” to manage the wild horses and burros under the Bureau of Land Management’s care. That means killing and or sending to slaughter 46,000 healthy wild horses and burros.
What can you do to help?
Please call your Senators this week. Our wild horses are depending upon you to be their voice and save them from senseless slaughter and killing.
Call Your Senators and the Senate Appropriations Committee now -this week is it! Keep calling and faxing all members of the Senate Appropriations Committee –and particularly the members of the Subcommittee on the Interior- asking them to oppose any language allowing BLM to sell without restrictions wild horses in holding or authorizing the killing of healthy wild horses in holding or on the range as “management option”.
Senators on Appropriations Committee:
(CHAIR) Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) 202-224-5054 202-224-5321
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) 202-224-5744 202-224-3416
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) 202-224-6665 202-224-5301
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) 202-224-4843 202-228-1371
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 202-224-3841 202-228-3954
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) 202-224-4041 202-224-9750
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) 202-224-5042 202-228-3075
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 202-224-3041 202-228-0285
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HW) 202-224-3934 202-228-1153
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) 202-224-2152 202-228-0400
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) 202-224-6521 202-228-6966
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 202-224-2541 202-224-2499
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) 202-224-4623 202-228-0447
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) 202-224-2523 202-224-2693
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) 202-224-4654 202-228-0629
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) 202-224-5721 202-224-8149 (Pro-slaughter shill, Don’t bother with him)
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) 202-224-2644 202-224-8594 (Don’t bother with him)
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) 202-224-2651 202-228-1236 (Don’t bother with him)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) 202-224-2841 202-228-3194
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) 202-224-6621 202-228-3261 (He is our sponsor, no need to contact)
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) 202-224-2551 202-224-7999
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) 202-224-5754 202-228-1015
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) 202-224-3753 202-228-3997
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) 202-224-4642 202-224-4680
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 202-224-5972 202-224-3808 (He is also our sponsor, no need to contact)
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) 202-224-4944 202-228-3398 (Pro-slaughter shill, Don’t bother with him)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 202-224-0238 202-224-3479
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) 202-224-2621 202-224-0238
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) 202-224-5653 202-224-9787
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) 202-224-6472 202-224-7665
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) 202-224-3954 202-228-0002
To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit www.
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