Friday, September 23, 2011

Complaint Filed Against BLM Oregon for Lack of Transparency at Wild Horse Roundup

American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

Public Observation of Capture Operation at Barren Valley Blocked as 7 Horses Die To Date

Washington, DC – September 23, 2011 – The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), a national coalition of environmental, public interest, and humane organizations, today filed an official complaint with the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over the shutdown of public observation and refusal to provide basic information during the Barren Valley Complex wild horse roundup currently underway in southeastern Oregon.

AWHPC and its coalition partner the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), sent Deniz Bolbol to witness and document the roundup. However, BLM failed to provide meaningful observation of the capture operation between September 14-18 and shutdown all observation beginning September 19. The BLM Oregon also continues to withhold information from the public about captures and releases that is routinely provided by BLM offices in other states. 

Public observation area placed behind hill, blocking view of mouth of trap. BLM personnel observed from hill, but public prohibited.

“The BLM Oregon’s actions in the Barren Valley roundup are unacceptable and make a mockery of the agency’s promises of transparency in capture operations,” said AWHPC director Suzanne Roy, in a letter to Ed Roberson, Assistant Director of the BLM and Joan Guillfoyle, BLM wild horse and burro division chief. “The lack of public observation is particularly egregious in light of the high number of horses who have died so far in the roundup, including two mustangs who broke their necks at the trapsite. We urge the BLM Washington to act to correct this unacceptable situation without delay.”

Helicopter flies dangerously close to horses before they disappear behind the hill and out of view of public observers.

Other deaths include four horses “euthanized” due to vision problems, club foot, “Grade 2” body condition, and one who was killed for being a “dangerous aggressive horse.” This two percent fatality rate is higher than the death rates generally reported by BLM for roundup operations.

The letter requests the BLM Washington office to take steps to correct transparency problems and immediately disclose all information regarding the horses captured at the roundup – including the release of photographs of the horses who have died.

For more information about the roundup, including photographs and videos, please click here. The AWHPC would like to acknowledge the grant from the ASPCA that funded this public observation project.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), supported by a coalition of over 40 organizations, is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. For more information visit


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