Calico report (11/19/2011)
PLEASE read: http://artandhorseslauraleigh.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/calico-then-and-now/ for background information on what is happening in the area.
Calico Complex Roundup, November 19, 2011
Operations in this Complex began in the Granite range. Granite shares a border with the now “complete” (release to low AML in that area still to occur, update soon).
This trap site is but a few miles from the last trap used at High Rock.
Present at the “public briefing” were Gene Seidlitz (district manager for Winnemuca), Lisa Ross (public relations Winnemucca), Leslie Coakley (public relations, Elko district), the Wild Horse and burro specialist, several BLM rangers, five members of the public and one from the media.
Four loads were brought in on the first day of operation. The public briefing began late and did not allow observation of the first load of six. Three more loads were brought in that were observed.
Temperatures of observation began at 23 degrees. Light snow was present in the area but the day was relatively clear and cold with little wind.
Observation report is limited to the very last part of the drive with trap mouth hidden from view behind “gravel” mound. Observation of horses in the trap pen limited to the very first portion of the trap pens as view was obstructed by saddle horses tied to the pens and tarps draped over the loading area. Handling during loading could not be observed, although the vantage would have allowed some observation were tarps not present.
Note on tarps: tarps are a new addition to the traps used by Sun J. The appearance of tarps came after the filing of legal action at Triple B. The documentation released to the public and filed in the Courts included the use of hotshots during loading as well as other disturbing images of handling during loading. Since the documents were filed no loading practices have been documented.
The “excuse” given for the tarp is that it helps animals “settle.”
This statement is disputed through observation as animals are most often given no time to settle and are loaded within minutes of capture. Most “settle time,” if any, is in the larger pens at the other end of the trap. Observation of movement of staff indicates the same practices and issues are occurring, but blocked from view.
Requests to place a camera at the alley end to capture the handling have been refused.
Each group brought into the trap (observed) took considerable time to reach vicinity of the trap.
First group observed entered the trap without incident that can be reported from the limited vantage. This group was immediately added to the first six and loaded for transport to temporary holding.
Note: District manager Gene Seidlitz was quick to say “isn’t it better” to me in reference to the pilot conduct. This comment was made in reference to the current litigation efforts that have final reply due Monday. Allegations in that case include inappropriate conduct by the pilot. Among the most egregious actions documented was contact between the helicopter skid and an exhausted animal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObXB0Wq3nRE
Current reply documents filed with the Court from the BLM do not address the conduct or any steps taken to address conduct. The attorneys for the BLM continue to ignore that issue in favor of bringing other arguments before the Court.
Yet repetitive statements that are made to “assure” that conduct is being addressed are constantly made by personnel on the ground. Yet those statements only address those actions taken that are witnessed with no written assurance that policy or protocol affords animals any differing treatment when public is not present.