Wild Horses and Barbed Wire Fences Do Not Mix – Checkerboard Roundup Day 8
by Carol J. Walker
This morning we headed to the Bar X Road in Great Divide Basin for another day of watching helicopters chase wild horses into traps, then force them into trailers, then separating each horse from his or her family.
Yes, it is a very grim process. And the BLM has made it harder and harder for members of the public to observe this process. So placing members of the public who wish to observe this process as far away from the trap that the horses run into as possible is the logical solution for them. In this location, we were told to go on public land which was behind a barbed wire fence that separated us from the area the horses were being driven into. Even using the longest lens Canon makes, the horses looked like ants. The helicopter took the horses around a ridge so that we could not see them at all then just before the trap wings, drove the horses into the trap with a lot of dust. We had pretty much given up on being able to get usable images let alone be able to identify any horses. I was especially curious to see if any of the wild horses I had seen at the end of the day yesterday who were still free.
Suddenly a group a black horses with markings similar enough on their faces to mark them as family came trotting down the two track toward us, but behind the barbed wire fence. I asked the BLM staff with us to stand quiet so they would not frighten the horses away and we watched them get closer and closer. The horses were not particularly concerned about us, but really wanted to get away from the helicopter. Suddenly, a grulla stallion, mare and foal come running by, helicopter in persuit overhead. They finally run up the hill, while the black horses kept coming down the hill, getting closer to us. As the helicopter flies overhead they turn away from the fence.
But then two black horses come down the hill and the first one jumps the fence and the one behind tries to clear the fence as well but hits it hard and breaks the top barbed wire. It happens so suddenly that I am shocked, stop shooting as I normally do when there is a wreck – I am stunned and horrified. The horses pick themselves up and run off as fast as they can, and I really hope they are both all right and not injured. Suddenly another group of horses in a line are coming down the two track close to the fence, the helicopter in pursuit, and they are eyeing the fence. Oh no!!!!! This would be bad. The black stallion the lead starts to jump over, his chest hits the tight barbed wire and he stops, pulls his leg out and the other horses pull back as well, because the helicopter has finally moved away, releasing the pressure.
This is an incredibly upsetting thing to watch. I would much rather have had the horses stay further away and have not had this happen. Horses and barbed wire do not mix, especially wild horses running in terror from a helicopter. Driving horses using a helicopter is NEVER humane, but running them into barbed wire fences is especially brutal and inhumane.
There is no excuse for this. The barbed wire should have flags on it so the horses can see it and be discouraged from trying to jump or run into it. We were told there were flags – do you see any? I don’t. I shudder to think about what would have happened had the whole group tried to go over. No doubt a horrendous wreck.
Immediately after this happened, I hear the radio our public information people who were escorting us were wearing saying we needed to get down, then saying we needed to move way back from where we had been standing. We were already 1 1/2 miles from the trap, now we would be two miles from the trap, and we were told it was “for our safety.” No, it was because they were very upset that this happened right in front of us.
The horses now appear as grains of sand approaching the trap. The only horses we really catch a glimpse of are those we glimpse in the trailers driving to the temporary corrals. Finally they are finished for the day, and we are told we can wait to go see the horses in temporary holding. Just as several days before we wait for over 2 hours, and I wonder if they have euthanized more horses, which was the reason for the two and a half hour wait before.
When we came up to the pens, we saw a dark colored young stallion on the wrong side of the fence, eating hay. He had wandered in and was enjoying the company of the horses in pens and the hay as well. He moved around while were were there and seemed to pose for us, giving us some much needed comic relief! I was told the mares had been sent to the Rock Springs corrals already so they could wait for their coggins results and could be sent to the Bruno facility in Idaho, a facility that allows no public viewing and no adoptions, like a black hole for these horses to fall into, just like the Axtell facility in Utah which 700 wild horses will be sent to. All of the roundups I have observed in these areas since 2005 have sent half the horses to Rock Springs and half to Canon City. Both their facilities allow public access and adoption. This is just wrong, and it is tragic for these horses.
I asked about the horse with all the blood on its head in the trailer. Apparently it was a stallion, and it had a head wound that the vet examined and sprayed with antibacterial spray, and had said was minor. However, 3 horses had indeed been euthanized, and we were told they had “preexisting conditions.” that brings the death total so far to 7.
We walked and saw the stallions, the foals and again our shadow the young stallion, then headed out. 95 horses lost their freedom and families, 76 adults and 19 foals.
Listen to our Wild Horse and Burro Radio Show Sunday October 1 when I talk to our host Debbie Coffey about the Checkerboard Roundup – information here:
Carol Walker (Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation) with updates on BLM’s roundups of wild horses & foals in the Checkerboard area of Wyoming (Sunday, 10/1/17 on Wild Horse & Burro Radio)
[…] Source: wildhoofbeats.com […]
I am heartbroken that our legislators have chosen to ignore the will of the American voters and slaughter our beautiful horses and burros. A very few powerful ranchers control the fate of American wildlife and public lands! I have signed many petitions, written emails and letters to my Congressmen and Senators and called their offices on my feelings about how we treat wildlife in America. Most people I know never even heard of the round ups, penning and shipping horses and burros to slaughter until I told them about it! How can we let the American people know what is happening? Why won’t the media broadcast this story? I want to do more but I don’t know what to do!
This whole unnecessary mess makes me SICK. Like most who read your blog, have written commented, and signed petitions, donated when I can. This is just so wrong…so wrong. Sorry for all the “emotion” – but its so hard to see these wonderful animals – well, happy & free with their families and watch this brutal CRAP!
This is totally unnecessary and extremely cruel. Ripping whole families apart. These people should be jailed for cruelty to animals. Barbed wire should never make up any type of fencing. Injuries caused by barbed wire can be fatal. The BLM and the Government know this but they just don’t care. They like to see suffering otherwise they wouldn’t do these roundups. The world is watching,but there is now a callous and brutal regime in place in the U.S. And it is so heartbreaking. I live in Scotland in the UK and feel frustrated that I can only sign petitions and make donation when I would love to be more proactive on the ground. Cand people over there get together and march through the streets in protest? I wish with all my heart that the horses were set free to live as nature intended. There are millions o cattle out on the range and only a few thousand horses and burrows on millions of acres. The ranchers and the moneymakers have a lot to answer for!
I am in tears watching this going on ,i live in the UK but i have been following what is going on with all these beautiful horses it is so wrong that the BLM has really given a death sentence on all these innocent intelligent animals it breaks my heart ,they should be free and wild ,there is a lot of land there ,they arnt hurting anyone ,stop this cruel helicopter roundups which are terrifying them and then probably all be murdered at the end babies and mums separated have a heart and stop all this now ,you have no right to do this to Gods Creatures ,
this make me so freaking upset at the BLM and the pencil-mouse pushers in Washington DC. just wrong
Why are there any BLM corrals that don’t allow adoption? That makes no sense. I thought all captured BLM horses were made available for adoption. How can the BLM complain not enough adoptions when they don’t even offer all the horses. Asshats!
These corrals, in Axtell, Utah and Bruneau, Idaho are privately owned long term holding facilities.
My heart is crying for your wonderful majestic wild horses. HOW IS THIS BARBARIC CRUEL practice allowed to happen???? This cannot be right. To treat these horses in such a horrific way cannot be right. Where are the AMERICAN PEOPLE TO ALLOW THIS SHAMEFUL PRACTICE TO TAKE PLACE.????????This would NEVER EVER BE ALLOWED IN THE UK, that’s where I am from, the public would NEVER ALLOW IT. CRUELTY BEYOND WORDS.?????????????????????????????????????????????????????
How can we co-exist in a country whose leaders use barbaric methods on sentient beings?
Driving horses into barbed wire fences and then shipping them off, ripped away from their families? This is a horse holocaust! I am so ashamed of our government. What is terribly frightening is there are people who are willing to carry out the evil wishes of the government.
A horrific thing to watch. I cannot believe that our own government has allowed this
thing to happen. What has this government turned out to be.
This is so heartbreaking. Why can this not be stopped?? Where is HSUS? Where is Greenpeace? Where is the ASPCA and all of the other animal advocate groups, even PETA? Where is the media? How is this legal? This has to stop. Carol – please keep documenting and spreading the word. Maybe someone with the right power will stop this. Thank you for documenting this getting the word. I don’t know how you can bare it and I am grateful that you are there.
You are trapping them anyway, can’t you just put all the stallions and colts in one wild area and all the mares and fillies in another area far away from each other so eventually the herd sizes would decrease?
Putting Mares and colts in one HMA and Stallions in another HMA is an idea; I am for “Gelding a percentage then Returning them”;
There is no need to geld the stallions nor spay the mares. There is no overpopulation problem. Reversible, humane birth control works.