Is This the End of the Line for These Formerly Free Wild Mares from Wyoming? by Carol J. Walker
Last week I was finally allowed to visit the over 500 mares rounded up during the Checkerboard Roundup last fall. Although I requested of everyone I could many many times, it was not until 10 days before that I found out about the opportunity for members of the public to take a two hour tour of the private facility. It was not that the BLM could not allow visitors before that, it was that they chose not to. R.T. Fitch the President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation was with me.
There were 1056 wild horses at the facility and roughly 569 were mares from the Checkerboard Roundup. There had been 250 foals born this spring, and foals were still being born.
This is not one of those “off range pastures” that the BLM brags about having the horses knee deep in grass. No, this is a horse feed lot. No shade, no shelter, dry as a bone, in the dryest, hottest part of Idaho, and it was only the beginning of June. There is just sandy dirt and fences as far as the eye could see. They put the hay outside the pens to minimize waste and the horses stick their heads through the bars to reach it. The mares with foals were in the interior pens and they put the hay on the ground inside in those pens. The impact of seeing these mares that I had last seen in Wyoming with their families was devastating and sickening to me.
We were driven around the facility while sitting on hay bales on a flatbed pulled by a truck. They went slowly up and down the aisles, and even drove twice past the mare foal pens and did stop twice for us. We were not allowed to get off the flatbed or walk outside the pens or enter the pens. Do you know how hard it is to find specific horses that way? I contrasted this with the help I received at Canon City finding horses in 2014 after the first Checkerboard Roundup – I was escorted on foot, showed inside pens and helped to find tag numbers. At Canon City, they wanted to get the horses adopted, they were willing to help us reunite families. Now, this tour was designed to pacify people “we have nothing to hide” and nothing more. They do not care about the horses, do not care what happens to them ultimately. They have no motivation to have people adopt these horses and help them find good homes.
Yes I was looking for specific horses – the mares in the Palomino stallion rounded up in Salt Wells Creek on the last day of the Checkerboard Roundup last October. Champ is now at Skydog Sanctuary in Oregon, and Clare Staples was there looking for his mares and Goliath’s grey mare. We did not find them.
The foals don’t know anything more than this – they were born here, they do not miss their family members, miss the wide open spaces, the cool canyons, the runs across the prairie. They are not the ones that break my heart. The older mares do. The BLM representative carelessly said “as soon as the foals are weaned at 6 months old, they and the mares will be sent out for adoption.” I said what about the mares over 10 years old? Surely they will not be sent out to be adopted. They can be sold without limitation. There was no answer of course. These mares will be the first on the truck to be shipped to slaughter if that is what Congress decides.
All of these mares have a story. They all had lives with their families – their stallion, their sisters, their offspring, and they had a wonderful home, on our public lands, wild and free. What do they have now? Only food and water, and no shelter, no hope. I have still not been able to visit the over 1200 wild horses that were sent directly to the private Feed Lot at Axtell Utah – mostly stallions and some mares. A handful were offered at online adoption. What will happen to the rest? I will not forget them.
Video Courtesy of Skydog Ranch Sanctuary, http://www.skydogranch.org/
What you can do to help:
Right now the Senate is considering the BLM’s cruel, devastating and ruinous plan to sterilize wild horse herds, kill wild horses in holding and ship wild horses overseas. You can call the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and let them know that you want our wild horses managed wild and free on our public lands and you absolutely are opposed to any sterilization of wild horses, killing of wild horses, or shipping them overseas.
Please call the Appropriations Committee Members and your State Senators today.
Senate Appropriations Committee 2018
Richard Shelby, Alabama R – Chair( 202) 224-5744
Patrick Leahy, VT D – Ranking Member (202) 224-4242
Lamar Alexander, Tennessee R (202) 224-4944
Roy Blunt, Missouri R (202) 224-5721
John Boozman, Arkansas R (202) 224-4843
Shelley Capito, West Virginia R 202-224-6472
Susan Collins, Maine R (202)224-2523
Steve Daines, Montana R (202) 224-2651
Lindsey Graham, South Carolina R (202) 224-5972
John Hoeven, North Dakota R 202-224-2551
James Lankford, Oklahoma R (202) 224-5754
Jerry Moran, Kansas R (202) 224-6521
Lisa Murkowski, Alaska R (202)-224-6665
Chris Coons, Delaware D (202) 224-5042
Richard Durbin, Illinois D 202.224.2152
Dianne Feinstein, California, D (202) 224-3841
Jeff Merkley, Oregon D (202) 224-3753
Christopher Murphy, Connecticut D (202) 224-4041
Patty Murray, Washington State D (202) 224-2621
Jack Reed, Rhode Island D (202) 224-4642
Brian Schatz, Hawaii D (202) 224-3934
Chris Van Hollen, Jr., Maryland D (202)224-4654
Tom Udall, New Mexico D (202)224-6621
Mitch McConnell, Kentucky R (202) 224-3041
Marco Rubio, Florida R (202)224-3041
Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi R (202)224-5054
Jon Tester, Montana D (202)224-2644
Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire D (202)224-2841
Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin D (202) 224-5653
John Kennedy, Louisiana R (202) 224-4623
Joe Manchin III, West Virginia D (202) 224-3954
Send a free fax to Senators, up to 4 per email address per day:
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.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org
Previous Related Posts:
BLM Lays Out Plan for Managing Wild Horses and Burros to Extinction
The Bureau of Land Management Blocks Public Observation and Adoption of Wild Horses Rounded Up in Wyoming’s Checkerboard
This is heartbreaking. All done in greed by the cattle owners, one being the Drummond family (as in Dee Drummond). The cruel and inhumane acts being done, round up by helicopter, babies dying, sterilization procedures, it makes me sick. Shame on this nation for allowing this to happen. The BLM is a terrible agency.
This facility is owned by JR Simplot, google him to find out how he used to feed his hogs – it is very disturbing.
Please explain about the Drummond family’s connection to the wild horses. This sickens me; wondering if none of these so called law makers have brains or hearts. Cruelest of all, human animals.
The Drummonds have “off range pastures” for the BLM – the BLM pays them millions of dollars to have the wild horses at their ranch, then the Pioneer Woman tv show capitalizes on the wild horses on their Ranch.
There is no way to adopt a mare and foal?
They are not allowing the foals to be adopted until they are weaned and branded at 6 months so they are not adopting them out together.
These horses are so beautiful – those Apps? Gorgeous. Knowing that this agency cant look and see the beauty of these WILD animals. Honestly, I think thats what scares them & others like them – seeing creatures wild & free that dont have any need for humans! They cant stand to see any wild creature that is perfectly capable of existing & having a life with no human “management”!
Really wonderful pictures – what a shameful way to “manage” them!
This makes me physically sick! I live in Idaho and am very familiar with JR Simplot and all the things he did to our state – some good but a lot of devastation – from dredging up our mountains for gold to this – aiding BLM in ridding our public lands of these magnificent wild horses. I just sent multiple emails to people at Simplot – I don’t know any of them, but will soon – if they respond. I’m so tired of the greedy money hungry people and politicians that have no interest in saving our mustangs.
There are other ways to handle the over abundance of wild horses than rounding them up and putting them in unprotected pens with no shade. Schools such as High Schools and Colleges need to implement wild horse training programs to save and make many more adoptable. Also huge land owners could very well offer their lands for herds to roam and live. they could build viewing stands, charge a dollar and imagine the thrill of so many humans to actually learn and observe our wild horses. Get the huge numbers of cows off our public lands which are supported by our tax monies. The public lands belong to the wild horses and other wildlife, not to the cattle industry. All is being done incorrectly without sensitivity, without clear thought. Some sterilization of mares using only PZP, no surgical sterilizations, could be injected to lower birth rates. Wild horses are our idols, they are magnificent creatures and deserve our respect. Stop the greediness of humans, educate, educate.
There is no over abundance of wild horses. Thats what the BLM wants us to believe. The acerage occupied by cattle is unstated and the number of horses is overstated. I’ve been emailing requesting that the BLM be done away with or at the most made to work in close proximity with private organizations to manage the herds and not rounding them up which would save the taxpayers some serious money while all the wilds can run free as they are supposed to do. Supply these organizations with government funds by means of writing grants to have the ability to do the job that the BLM can’t and won’t do. I’m really tired of this carp that the BLM is pulling and they must and will be stopped. BLM YOUR END IS COMING!!!
This is typical Govt muscle. Remember the way they handled the situation with Mexican children by seizing children and babies? BLM could come up with ideas to give away horses free. Why not bring them East? I’m sure there are people who would take a free horse.
Sorry, but a free horse is not a good way to go. You will have people who have no idea what they are getting into take them, and possibly have them end up in neglect or abuse. Making someone pay something, makes them think first.
[…] Visiting the Checkerboard Mares and Foals at BLM’s Bleak Private Feedlot in Bruneau, Idaho […]
I like many find the treatment of these beautiful animals nothing short of appalling…our government has no business in the animal abuse business and are setting a horrible example of the way to treat any animal..BLM is corrupt to the core and I resent using my tax dollars to enable the continued abuse of these beautiful animals by the BLM. The only thing over populated is of BLM employees that don’t even have the sense to be ashamed of what their doing. Our Congress needs to start doing what their so very well paid for and that doesn’t entail turning a blind eye to animal abuse in it’s ugliness form. Their job is to be the voice of the people and the people have made it more than clear they’re against the abuse these wild horses and burro’s are forced to suffer and endure. Congress needs some heavy duty cleaning out of Representatives that have forgotten what their job is and who pays their over paid salaries and benefits.