From Straight from the Horse's Heart
by “Mustang Jack”
I have been saying it all along! The BLM,US Forest Service,US Fish Game and Wildlife,and the United States Geographical Science service, donot have a specific formula to determine accurate AUM’s (Animal Unit Month).For those of you who do not know what an AUM is, I will sum it up in a nut shell for you. It’s how much a foraging species eats on a month to month basis. The BLM and ecologists blame the degradation of the rangelands on wild horse overgrazing.They claim that the wild horse infringes on other native species foraging rights. They also claim the wild horses eat rare and protected vegetation that grows on the rangelands. Nothing, and I mean nothing is further from the truth than those fabricated analysis’s.
As you have read,the BLM has gone beyond their usual scope of tyranny and hired a known convicted horse killer to do their dirty work.
How apropos is that for the BLM to hire an outlaw?
WOW! Talk about irony,conflict and controversy all in the same breath.. What a movie this would make huh?
Little did Cloud’s herd know when they awoke on that September morning that their lives would change forever..
Just what do horses endure during a day of being chased miles upon miles by a machine with whirling,chopping blades?
Our National Icons being run into the desert dirt by the BLM - photo by Terry Fitch
Allow me to give to you a small graphic example.
First the Bell 206 type helicopter swoops down and tries to get the alpha mare to head in the direction where the shift chutes are waiting. The chopper pilot insistently swoops and makes passes over the herd until they change their direction..Once the direction has been change the horses are pursued from the rear by what they feel is something equivalent to a giant buzz saw. Needless to say it scares the hell of them.
I will try to explain to you from my experience of working with domestic horses just what happens physically to a wild horse when it’s natural instinct to flee from fear is actuated.
Within the first mile of the chase;
Their resting heartbeats race from about 45 beats per minute to an overwhelming 200 bpm in just a matter of seconds. There blood pressure soars to an astounding 200/110
and higher..Their respiratory rate increases from 15 breaths per minute to a mind blowing 50-75 breaths per minute.
The second mile;
At this point of the horrific chase, their vascular system
are so overtasked and surging with blood they are about to explode.. Their lungs are screaming for more oxygen as they continue to try and escape the glass faced,steel predator.
The third mile;
Their vascular walls begin to weaken from the pressure exerted from within.Major blood vessels and capillaries rupture and begin to fill the spongy lung tissue. Some horses have already succumbed to the seemingly endless journey. Any foals in the herd will have long been separated and probably have died from exhaustion by now.The weakest of the herd will eventually succumb to exposure.
The last and final mile;
The chutes leading to the makeshift traps finally come into view of the helicopter pilot about as he skims over the dusty terrain kicking up prairie dust in the wake of the predators steely rotors. The end of this pilots days journey is near. The beginning of the horses nightmarish journey has just begun.
There are men spread out all around the traps.Some here and some there,stalking and crouching to not spook the incoming herd as they approach the chutes.
The scene is like something out of a movie that I have seen over and over again. Dust flying from the stampeding herd and the swirling vortex of dust kicked up from the chopper rotor makes it almost impossible to see or breathe. This time its not a movie!
The horses file down the chute and into a penned arena. The men shut the chutes makeshift gate and the horses are now corralled. The round up team begins its processing.
I could literally feel the horses subdued sorrow and anguish among their exhausted appearance. They run frantically around and around looking for a breech in the walls of their prison. Perhaps a last ditch effort for them to regain the freedom that they will probably never see again.
The men on the other side of the walls slap their hats at them and poke and prods them to keep them back from trampling the soft sides of the pen.
I could empathically feel their pain.My chest was heaving as theirs heaved,my head pounded as theirs pounded,and I wept as they wept.
The sun begins to set and some of the mares are still nervously pacing looking for their foals. The colts and stallions are separated as the mares are left to be inoculated with contraceptives.
For some? Adoptions await! As for the most of them they are subjected to life in captivity or destined for slaughter.