Here we go again… just because Abbey and his PRO-SLAUGHTER BLM say it is so…
AWHPC response posted first.
Interior Department Criticized for Biased, Whitewash Report on Treatment of Wild Horses During Government Roundups
Government Agency Issues Report to Mislead Congress as FY2011 Budget Process Moves Forward
December 3, 2010 – Washington, DC – Today, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) – a coalition of 40 leading public interest, environmental, and humane organizations – criticized and labeled as “biased and politically motivated” the issuance of an Interior Department-Bureau of Land Management (BLM) report on the treatment of wild horses in government roundups. Its release coincides with Congress finalizing of 2011 fiscal legislation in which BLM’s wild horse budget will be allocated.
The report (“Independent Designated Observer Pilot Program, October 2010”) glosses over the humane issues that have triggered Congressional concern. It was created by a hand-picked organization, the American Horse Preservation Association which is led by BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board’s chair Robyn Lohnes. The four individuals employed to write the report have backgrounds in agriculture and domestic horses, but lack hands on wild horse experience. The majority have been vocal advocates of horse slaughter.
“This biased report is an attempt to deflect increased scrutiny on and public opposition to the BLM’s inhumane wild horse roundups,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC Campaign Director. “The report’s authors do not have any wild horse handling experience and its conclusions are not credible and lack scientific validity.”
She noted that in July, more than 54 members of Congresses wrote to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar expressing their concerns and calling for a halt to the round ups. Department spokespersons have admitted (video available here) that they have a difficult time explaining the agency’s treatment of wild horses to the public, and as a result, the BLM has severely restricted public observation at most roundups this year.
“The Interior Department’s decision to work with one organization rather than with the diverse and numerous organizations that have hands-on experience with wild horses, outlines the intention behind and problems with the report,” Roy continued. “We find it highly objectionable and offensive that the agency is using one organization as a voice for ‘humane observation’ when there are other organizations and individuals better qualified to address this issue.”
Many findings in the report defy credibility, including:
The helicopters used to stampede horses into BLM trap pens are “reasonably quiet, no louder than a riding mower.”
BLM and contractors “showed ability to review, assess and adapt procedures to ensure the care and well being of animals to the best of their ability” with regard to the water intoxication deaths of 13 wild horses, who had been stampeded in summer desert heat in Nevada. By contrast, an equine veterinarian with 24 years experience reviewed the circumstances of that situation and concluded that the BLM’s actions constituted, “negligent management” and a “lapse of professional judgment.”
Experts with wild horse experience have reached a different conclusion regarding BLM wild horse roundups. One of them, Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, director of science and conservation biology at ZooMontana, in Billings, Montana told National Geographic in 2009:
“I’m not a bunny hugger, but I’ll never attend another gather as long as I live. They’re flat-out inhumane.”
Kirkpatrick has spent more than 30 years studying wild horses and developing successful fertility control programs for the animals.
In addition, the Internet is populated with video, photographs and eyewitness accounts of the trauma, injury and suffering wild horses are subjected to during the course of roundups and capture. A few such incidents include:
- Owyhee roundup: the government contractor shot a mare and foal on the range without reporting these deaths until after public member found the dead bodies
- Silver King roundup: contractor actions caused stallion death. After the contractor tied a saddle horse to the pen where a stallion and his mare were held; the stallion broke his neck when charging the pen where the saddle horse was tied
- Calico roundup: foals were chased by helicopters for so long, their hooves were destroyed (hoof slough) and the foals were killed
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. Supported by a coalition of over 40 organizations, its grassroots campaign seeks: * A suspension of roundups in all but verifiable emergency situations while the entire BLM wild horse program undergoes objective and scientific review; * Higher Appropriate Management Levels (AML) for wild horses on those rangelands designated for them; * Implementation of in-the-wild management, which would keep wild horses on the range and save taxpayers millions annually by avoiding the mass removal and stockpiling wild horses in government holding facilities.
In response to this:
Bureau of Land Management
For release: Friday, December 3, 2010
Contact: Tom Gorey (202-912-7420)
BLM Releases Report by Independent Observers on Handling of Animals at
Three Wild Horse Gathers
The Bureau of Land Management today released a report prepared by four
independent, credentialed equine professionals concerning the care and
handling of wild horses and burros at three major gathers or round-ups held
over the summer. The full report, accessible at the BLM’s national Website
(www.blm.gov), made several observations and findings, including the
observation that, in general, “horses did not exhibit undue stress or show
signs of extreme sweating or duress due to the helicopter portion of the
gather, maintaining a trot or canter gait only as they entered the wings of
the trap. Rather[,] horses showed more anxiety once they were closed in
the pens in close quarters; however, given time to settle, most of the
horses engaged in normal behavior….” The report also favorably noted the
helicopter’s “precision” in gathering horses and burros, comparing it to “a
dog working sheep.”
The four professionals who prepared the report, each of whom is an
academia-based equine veterinarian or equine specialist, are Camie Heleski,
Ph.D., from Michigan State University; Betsy Greene, Ph.D., from the
University of Vermont; Sarah Ralston, VMD, Ph.D., from Rutgers University;
and Carolyn Stull, Ph.D., from the University of California at Davis.
These four observers were selected by the Washington, D.C.-based American
Horse Protection Association, whose mission is to protect and preserve wild
horses and burros on U.S. public rangelands.
Other findings by the equine professionals, who observed gathers at the
Owyhee Herd Management Area (Nevada), Stinking Waters Herd Management Area
(Oregon), and Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (California), include:
· contractor and BLM personnel appeared to be gentle and knowledgeable,
using acceptable methods for moving horses forward at the trap sites and
the temporary holding facilities;
· chutes and pens were set up in a manner that reflected recommended
handling practices for reducing animal stress in traps;
· horses were sorted appropriately at temporary holding facilities;
· horses were assessed by Federal veterinarians (from the Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS) to be capable of travel before
transport to BLM holding facilities;
· APHIS veterinarians were open and candid regarding protocols for
treating injured or ill horses. In the case of euthanasia or injuries,
there was no attempt to minimize or hide any information or details related
to the injuries or euthanasia procedures; and
· when faced with unexpected and extraordinary circumstances (such as
water toxemia at the Owyhee gather), BLM, APHIS, and contractor personnel
demonstrated the ability to review, assess, and adapt procedures to ensure
the care and well being of the animals to the best of their ability.
The independent observers also made a number of recommendations to the BLM,
which can be found in the full report posted on the BLM’s Website. The
Bureau will review and respond to each recommendation. The BLM will use
the observations and findings of this report as it considers development of
an independent observer program as part of the agency’s ongoing effort to
put the Wild Horse and Burro Program on a sustainable track.
The BLM manages more land – more than 245 million acres – than any other
Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands,
is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau,
with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of
sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use
mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for
the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau
accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation,
livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by
conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public