Story by Maureen Harmonay ~ Equine Advocacy Examiner
The Bulk of BLM Wild Horse Deaths Occur AFTER the Stampede
Editor’s Note: “This story bears enough timely importance that we reprinted it in it’s entirity in an effort to futher Maureen’s reach and spread of this grim news. Please stop by Maureen’s Examiner site (HERE) to render further comment on this reoccurring, unnecessary and inhumane tragedy.”Behind the closed doors of the BLM’s Indian Lakes Road holding facility near Fallon, Nevada, pneumonia is suddenly claiming an alarming number of wild horses. During the week ending February 4th, 12 horses perished in the short-term holding pens known as “Broken Arrow”; eight of them were yearling victims of “secondary pneumonia.” Upper respiratory disease has been rampant among the young horses confined at Broken Arrow since last June, and now it’s attacking the latest arrivals, whose immune systems are at their most vulnerable.These were otherwise healthy horses who were recently stampeded off their expansive ranges and captured in the dead of winter, as part of the just-concluded Eagle and Callaghan Complex roundups in Nevada. A total of 850 wild horses from these roundups were shipped directly to the Indian Lakes Road feedlot. According to the BLM’s own reports, at least 37 of them are now dead, with 32 of these fatalities having occurred in the six weeks since the beginning of the year.
In a repeat of the pattern that emerged at the same facility after last year’s Calico Complex roundup, other horses are starting to die or be “euthanized” as a result of what the BLM’s veterinarian characterizes as “hyperlipemia,” a condition of metabolic and liver failure caused by the extreme stress of the helicopter chase, entrapment, and ongoing captivity. Four of the horses who died at Indian Lakes Road in recent weeks were deemed to have perished from this roundup-related condition.
The BLM and its contractors like to pat themselves on the back by citing artificially deflated “gather mortality rates” in the vicinity of 1%. Indeed, in its press release announcing the conclusion of the Callaghan Complex roundup earlier this week, the BLM boasted that the gather-related mortality rate was .8%. But that’s deceptive. The true cost in equine lives is much, much higher than that. It’s dishonest to count only the horses whose lives were cut short at a trap site. The ones who fall in their wake are victims, too.
Video and Photos by Laura Leigh of Grass Roots Horse