Why the Checkerboard Wild Horse Roundup in Wyoming is PersonalOctober 16, 2017
Does the End of the Checkerboard Roundup Mean the End of the Lives of Wyoming’s Wild Horses?October 20, 2017
Wild Horses in Wyoming’s Checkerboard will not be Forgotten
by Carol J. Walker
The last few days of the roundup I was living in nervous anticipation of whether or not Judge Frudenthal would grant our Preliminary Injunction and stop the roundup at 1560 total wild horses removed until our case would be heard, or if the roundup would continue with another roughly 400 wild horses being illegally removed.
We set out to “the heart of Adobe Town” as the wild horse and burro expert described it. We went the very long way, and that morning it was a 4 hour drive made longer by a flat on one of the public’s vehicles. We finally arrived to an area a bit further into Adobe Town than I usually go. There were gas pads and the occasional gas vehicle but other than that we were alone. We passed the stunning Willow Creek Rim, and the unique and strange rock formations that are so much a part of this area. We set up at a gas pad then were told we had to move because the helicopter would be driving horses that way. We finally arrived at a small rise above a creek, and were told we needed to crouch down.
We were fairly close to the horses as they came into the trap for a change. The varied and beautiful colors of these horses were absolutely stunning, palomino, roan, dun, appaloosa and the many greys. The horses running in front of the gas pad I found rather ironic. We had come to this remote area to get wild mares for the radio collar study – they wanted to have a sampling of horses from different areas.We saw one family run by very close, the small foal running full out to keep up.
As we left that day we saw a lone bachelor stallion who looked like he wanted the company – he stayed close until we drove away.
There were 94 wild horses captured that day. They were close to their target of 1560 that they would be held to until the judge decided Friday on the fate of the horses. The next day we went to Cow Camp, a remote are of Adobe Town only 12 miles from the Colorado border, and only 15 miles below Eversole Ranch. We were not allowed to be anywhere close to the trap or even to where the horses were brought in – we were across a county road, behind two fences, and up a hill. I noticed a group of people not far from the trap and asked who they were – they included people from the University of Wyoming who were doing the radio collar study with the wild mares. Somehow they were not too close even when the horses ran right by them.
Forgive my blurry photos – even with my 800 mm lens the horses are just too far away. One very good thing that has come out of my being here – notice the pink flags all along the barbed wire fence that runs into the trap. The Cattoors are correct – they are not required to do this – but just because you are not required to do the right thing, shouldn’t you still do it? I see this as a direct result of Steve and I getting the word out when the horses went through the barbed wire fence in front of us much earlier in the roundup.
It was extremely depressing to see all of these beautiful horses come in and not even be able to get a good look at them. We were able to see some of the loading process from the small horse trailers to the large semis – these horses are terrified and their hearts are pumping from the run to the trap and yet they are not expected to go from one strange trailer to another. I saw one stallion leap up and try to escape, then thwarted.
We went to temporary holding to wait for several hours to see the horses that were rounded up. I was hoping against hope that we would hear good news while we were there and was checking my phone every few minutes. We got into the temporary holding area and were able to see the mares with radio collars that would be returned to Adobe Town to be in the study that seeks to prove that wild horses cannot be prevented from moving into the Checkerboard, giving the BLM ammunition to move to get rid of all the wild horses in these Herd Management Areas.
I was barely able to see eyes above the pens, but took photos as this may be the last time anyone sees these horses.
When I got back to my hotel, I learned the sad news that the judge had not granted our Preliminary Injunction. We had failed to meet the very high standard of “irreparable harm” – unfortunately the harm that is happening and will be happening to these wild horses does not count. The harm that being separated forever from their families, the harm of mares losing their foals forever even if they are too young to be separated, the harm of having to live out their lives in these dirty pens, or worse, if the Senate does not act to save our wild horses, being killed or sent to slaughter. I would call that irreparable harm. Of far more concern to the judge is the money the BLM has paid for this roundup – a $650,000 contract with the Cattoors. They cannot wait until the judge will hear our case, about illegally removing 400 or so more wild horses from the range than they had actually declared excess and analyzed using NEPA. What I can hope is that we will ultimately prevail with our case, and that the BLM will not be allowed to remove untold hundreds more wild horses illegally this way again.
My heart was very heavy as we drove out to the very same location the next morning and I did ask to be allowed to be in a closer location, as it was just me this morning, and was told no. I did my best to see every single one of these horses being driven in by the helicopter. I was there for them, and I will always remember each one of them.
What can you do to help? Keep calling your Senators and tell them we do not want our wild horses killed or sent to slaughter. Here is more information:
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
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