Death Tolls Mounts from BLM’s Wyoming Wild Horse Roundup
Newly-Obtained Records Reveal At Least 75 Mustangs Died in Holding Pens After Capture from Wyoming Checkerboard
Rock Springs, Wyoming… (April 14, 2015) . . .Over 75 wild horses captured in Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) fall 2014 “Wyoming Checkerboard roundup” died in the days and months after capture, adding significantly to the official death toll from this capture operation in the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Divide Basin Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in southwestern Wyoming.
Previously, the BLM had reported the deaths of 14 horses as a direct result of the helicopter roundup, but records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) show a significantly higher death toll.
“BLM often touts a death rate of one percent for helicopter roundups, but these records shed light on the very significant number of deaths that occur in the holding facilities in the days and months after the horses are rounded up,” said Suzanne Roy, Campaign Director of the AWHPC. “The leading cause of death is traumatic injury – primarily broken necks from terrified horses crashing into the bars of their holding pens in desperate escape attempts.”
“These records are further evidence of the trauma, terror and suffering that the BLM inflicts on America’s wild horses and burros with its roundup program,” Roy continued. “This cruel treatment is far below the standard Americans expect for treatment of our national icons. We have a choice to continue to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to brutally roundup and remove wild horses from their homes on the range, or we can humanely manage them in the wild using the effective and cheaper PZP birth control vaccine, where necessary, to control population numbers.”
This controversial roundup resulted in the capture and removal of 1,263 wild horses between September 15 and October 9, 2014.
The records obtained show:
· 22 horses died due to traumatic injury in the holding pens, including broken necks, spinal and pelvis injuries, fatal leg damage sustained in the helicopter stampede; another 7 horses died due to lameness.
· 12 horses die from complications due to gelding, including hemorrhaging to death.
· 11 horses died from strangles, a highly contagious respiratory infected which can become rampant in holding facilities.
The actual death toll is even higher, AWHPC noted, because the numbers do not include deaths of foals who perish before they are old enough to be branded and entered into the BLM’s tracking system.
Previously, AWHPC analyzed post-capture deaths from the 2010 Calico Mountains wild horse roundup in Nevada and found that the majority of deaths were related to the trauma and stress of the roundup and capture, the trauma associated with social loss sustained in the destruction of horse family bands, and the ongoing stress of captivity in an unnatural environment
“The bad news for wild horses only begins with the gather,” wrote Dr. Bruce Nock, Associate Professor at the Washington University School of Medicine and expert on the physiological effects of stress on animals, in a 2010 report prepared for the AWHPC. “To these wild horses, the sources of stress must seem endless. Everything is foreign … truly disturbing for a species that depends on familiarity for safety and comfort . . . It is extremely detrimental to their long-term health and soundness.”
Last month, AWHPC, The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom and photographers Carol Walker on the board of directors of Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Kimerlee Curyl, represented by Meyer, Glitzenstein & Crystal, won a partial victory in their lawsuit against the BLM for the checkerboard roundup, when a U.S. District Court judge in Wyoming ruled that the BLM had violated the National Environmental Policy Act in proceeding with the roundup in the absence of proper analysis and public input.
FOIA on the Deaths of Checkerboar Roundup Captured Horses:
They should be ashamed to let this happen. SHAME SHAME SHAME!
So tragic! And an ongoing tragedy that seems like a run-away locomotive bend on disaster. this treatment of America’s relatively few remaining wild horses and burros in the wild is everything that is wrong. However, I do not advocate for intensive PZP usage as these populations are already subviable and should not have their reproductive systems messed with. There are many adverse effects both on individuals and on the long-term survival of the horses in future generations. We must stand up and get the ranchers to back off and reduce their livestock and other interestes such as big game hunting and miners, frackers and energy extrac tors to do the same. The must not get away scot free for these horrendous crimes against the wild ones!
This is horrific and unacceptable. We owe these majestic creatures so much more than what they have been given, and they deserve so much more. And to believe that PZP will be the answer to ending roundups and stop them ending up in holding pens, has been proven to be a falsehood. We must stand up to the ranchers and the BLM. Holding the BLM accountable for these tragedies is just the beginning. Please continue speaking up to the atrocities being served upon the voiceless. Don’t be fooled by those groups who are compromising our national treasures. There is no overpopulation, there is no need to reduce the numbers. There are only more lies, death and extinction planned.
What right does the BLM have to move wild horses owned by the American taxpayer? The Government is over stepping its bounds.Where is our country heading? The Federal Government, as well as the State Governments want to remove everything that is not indigenous to their area.Remember the only indigenous people in this country are the American Indian. What will you do when the Government wants to get rid of Irish, Italian, French, etc., Americans. You will feel afraid and scared, being constrained in a small area not knowing where your family and friends have gone. The wild horses are part of our history. Their ancestors arrived with the Spanish,and survived to this day.Now, we are out to destroy them.
This tragedy happens over and over—year after year—BLM rounds up wild horses, and a significant number die. I thought “management” was smarter than that–if it doesn’t work, change it. Or else the public perception is Right—and BLM is out to kill-off the wild horses…. and they don’t care, because no one can bring them to justice. So next week at their Meeting—will they reveal new humane methods? or will it just continue in the same way—-and there will be death in the death camps?
Just So Wrong in soooo many ways___ Animal Cruelty!!
Why don’t these lawsuits ever demand a return of the horses. Why do we always end up here? If these groups are oing to get everybody all worked up with their lawsuits – why don’t you help us get off the damned ferris wheel. These deaths must end, okay?
The current lawsuit that we are pursuing about the Checkerboard Roundup DOES persue a return of the horses currently in the Rock Springs corrals to their herd areas, outside the Checkerboard. We are waiting on an appeal. You may donate to AWHPC’s legal fund to help.
This ought to be on the news on all the main stations, NBC, CBS, ABC.
I agree with you, this is shameful, the people of the U.S.A. need to know what the blm is doing to the wild horse population. this govt. agency is out of control and needs to be abolished. and shame on the greedy cattle ranchers who are also behind this. they are using the land that these animals have the right to live on, because they have exhausted their own land resourses.
I’m another non-believer in the good of PZP – there are just too few wild horses & burros left – thanks to the BLM’s “management”. The BLM has accomplished more in eradicating OUR wild horses & burros than even the mustangers years ago. The mustangers probably killed more horses at that time – but considering the small numbers that are left – the BLM certainly should be proud(!) – they have destroyed the entire structure of herds that at one time were genetically viable! And not just through the roundups – NOW they get to use PZP and roundups.
Yes, Barbara – this SHOULD be on the main news stations! Can barely wait to hear all about the meeting next week.
The world looks on in disbelief…as I do, at the horrific abuse the American Government has allowed BLM to do to the wild horse & burro population.I am embarrassed & deeply ashamed.This Great Nation should be an example to the world on how to be good care takers of its Wild Horse & Burro population.The round~ups,transport & slaughter have been carried on the shoulders of American Tax payers too long.The secret is out!I am telling everyone I know & people are listening.The deaths and tragic loss of these Icons are not the Tax payers to bare. It is time for a change ,BLM needs to Stop all PZP programs & start working with the horse advocates on ways to manage our Wild Horse & Burro population.Together we can change the murder & slaughter of The American Wild Horse & Burros.This country does not belong to just welfare ranchers. It is time for a change.
Why do individuals who inflict intencional pain on animals held accountable…but not the BLM??? This is dispicable…And nothing short of murder and animal cruelty at best…or should I say at its worst. These roundups are inhumane and cruel And WE THE PEOPLE need to bannish this cruelty! Leave them in the wild. Let their lives be lived as God intended…FREE! It is pure greed that is motivating these roundups! And sending them to slaughter is beyond comprehension. WE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NEED TO TAKE A STAND…ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! Leave our wild horses alone.
I just can’t stand seeing these beautiful animals treated this way.The money greedy people need to be held accountable.Just because they think they can run everything.Well there is one much smarter and stronger and wiser. Dear God help the helpless horses,lpray!Amen
This is so sad and cruel. Please turn them loose back on their home range.
This is horrible but not surprising they continue to do the things that are easiest for them and the management of the wild horses is left in the dust. Folks they just don’t care! If any agency of the United States Government needs revamped It’s the BLM and the Department of the Interior needs a house cleaning too! I don’t see how any Department head can be so out of reach with the animals that they have no clue what is going on in their own department. These horses deserve better than what they are getting the indignities they suffer every time there is a roundup is barbaric and must be stopped!! Long live our WILD MUSTANGS and God save them from the BLM!!
Animated video of the BLM’s wild horses management program: https://youtu.be/uwERVyZOeKY
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You people from the BLM have overstepped your bounds! This government land was first introduced to stop the land wars over cattle grazing rites between ranchers. The wild horses that roam our lands, and I say that because we American citizens own this land , you work for us remember?, are a great part of our history, and one of the greatest western icons, along with the Buffalo, we have. What you do is not management nor is it any form of conservation. You slaughter these animals using a government agency paid for by We the people who object to your cruel and vicious ways. You are not preserving anything by killing off our indigenous wildlife! Its time for you to stop this and go back to what you’re supposed to do by limiting the cattle ranchers grazing rites! That’s all!
This has got to stop. BLM is out of control. Leave these beautiful wild horses to live in peace.