Monday, February 8, 2010

Tuesday's Horse News: BLM do as we say not as we do in sheltering wild horses/Roundups the obvious bullet to wild horses?

Tuesday's Horse

2010 February 8

Captured Calico colt out in the freezing cold.
For those who plan to adopt a wild horse or burro, you must provide adequate shelter from bad weather, not something the BLM bothered to hold themselves accountable for in their massive helicopter round in the Calico Complex area of northern Nevada conducted in harsh, wintry conditions.
Adopted wild horses and burros must be provided shelter from bad weather. A run-in shed attached to a corral, or a box stall in a barn & attached to a corral are fine – so long as the animal may move freely between the corral and shelter without needing to be handled, and without risk of escape.
Shelter or stall space should be at least 12 X 12 feet per animal. The BLM requirement is that the house have a roof and at least two walls, to protect from strong winds and driving rain or snow. If you are not adopting through BLM, you should still, for humane reasons, provide a shelter that is appropriate for your climate.
Following the cancellation of the Calico roundup, the public are forbidden to view the wild horses now in captivity, who knows under what conditions, we will receive no notice of the deaths, or their cause.

Roundups the obvious bullet to wild horses?

Jay Kirkpatrick darts wild mares with PZP at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakota. Does it wear off in one year, or make them barren? Photograph by Anne Kilpatrick-NYT
Think roundups are the obvious bullet to wild horses? Think again. Armies of barren mares may be coming to a range near you.
“Activitists claim the BLM is also using birth control drugs to make the remaining herds genetically bankrupt and unable to propogate. They claim there will be no wild horses roaming free unless the BLM roundups and activities are stopped.” (Horseback Magazine)
U.S. Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, says lands acquired by the BLM and/or its partners “would provide excellent opportunities to celebrate the historic significance of wild horses, showcase these animals to the American public, and serve as natural assets that support local tourism and economic activity.”
Further, that “the wild horse herds placed in these preserves would be NON-reproducing. This effort would involve slowing population growth rates of wild horses on Western public rangelands through the AGGRESSIVE use of fertility control, the active management of sex ratios on the range, and perhaps even the introduction of non-reproducing herds in some of the BLM’s existing Herd Management Areas in 10 Western states.” (10/7/09, Sec of Interior’s Plan Letter to Congress)
It remains unclear who BLM “partners” in showcasing “these animals to the American public” are. It is clear, however, who its partner is in making these mares barren, namely HSUS with its contraceptive porcine zona pellucida or PZP. (10/23/06, Memorandum of Understanding)
From what we understood, mares from roundups would be given PZP and returned to the herd areas where they were taken from. Alarming, in that the BLM are notorious for not returning wild horses and burros it gathers to their herd management areas. Darting in sanctuary settings? That would make them non-producing alright.
Records of this and what impact it is having or would have on herd numbers is not readily available. Or is it? If so, sorry, but where is it?
Was it or was it not the original intention of the HSUS PZP birth control plan implemented in partnership with the BLM would negate the need for roundups, thereby bringing an end to them?
Anyway, Wayne Pacelle of HSUS is now crying “foul” of the BLM and its continued massive roundups of wild horses, citing his group’s PZP plan is THE answer.
Alright then, how about the HSUS using its data demonstrating PZP is working on reducing herd numbers to persuade the BLM to stop the roundups? Oh, we see, this is being done in private meetings with the BLM in Washington. Is that right? Just asking.
Looks like that argument would fall on deaf ears anyway.
In a New York Times article from April, 2009:
The Bureau of Land Management has another view. It does use the contraceptive on some 2,200 horses, but says the technique has limits.
This does not sound like it meets the aggressive standard set by Salazar above. Keep reading.
“In its fluid form, it’s only good for a year,” said Tom Gorey, a spokesman for the bureau’s Wild Horse and Burro Program in Washington (speaking about PZP to Jim Robbins). “We only gather the herds every four years, so that’s a problem.”
Wild horses, [Gorey] said, are scattered all over the West, and tracking them down for annual treatment is impossible. “We’re not Assateague Island,” he continued, referring to the small, contained wild horse refuge in Maryland.
What? Given BLM’s dismal track record in documenting anything to do with wild horses and burros, how do they know “it’s only good for a year?”
The “breaking news” the past fews days has been the early termination of the Calico Complex roundup in northern Nevada before it reached the maxed out number of 2,500 and the sidelined roundup of another 500 from the Eagle Mountain Herd Management Area, also in Nevada.
Roundups are an obvious bullet to decimating our wild horses herds. Armies of barren mares a not so obvious one.
Sources:, Horseback Magazine, HSUS website, HSUS website
As Wild Horses Breed, a Voice for Contraception, The New York Times


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