June 12, 2012 by admin
Agency Opens Door to Abusive Roundup Practices in Jackson Mountains, NV As Tiny Newborns and Heavily Pregnant Mares Are Stampeded By Helicopters for Unlimited MilesWinnemucca, Nevada (June 11, 2012). .. .Today the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), a national coalition of more than 50 organizations, blasted the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for significantly weakening “humane” guidelines, previously established by the agency, for the care and handling of wild horses in the roundup currently underway in the Jackson Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA) in northwestern Nevada.
According to AWHPC, the BLM’s “Agency Expectations To Ensure Safe and Humane Handling of All Gathered Wild Horses” issued for the controversial Jackson Mountains roundup, represent a significant weakening of humane standards recommended less than six months ago by BLM Nevada State Director Amy Lueders in her memo entitled “Wild Horse and Burro Gather Leaders Intent.”
Ms. Lueders’ memo was released earlier this year, after the BLM issued an internal review that upheld allegations of inhumane treatment of wild horses captured in the Triple B roundup. AWHPC had captured on video instances of inhumane treatment during the Triple B roundup including, the BLM allowing helicopters to come in close proximity of wild horses during the roundup, chasing horses with the helicopter relentlessly and repeatedly chasing horses who evaded capture, using electric prods on the animals and slamming gates and panel doors on horses while loading them onto trailers.
While Ms. Lueders’ memo specifically stated that “helicopters will not contact or operate too closely to wild horses and burros,” forbade helicopters from repeatedly chasing horses at the trap,” and prohibited electric shocking of horses except in emergency situations, the new guidelines are significantly weaker, as evidenced in the table found here.
The BLM has also removed specific distance restrictions for helicopter stampedes that were included previously included in Standard Operating Procedures for BLM roundups, and has included no temperature restrictions, meaning that the agency could stampede horses in 100 degree weather for 10 miles or farther.
“It’s significant and disturbing that the BLM is backtracking on these minimal standards outlined in the Nevada State Director’s memo issued just six months ago,” said Deniz Bolbol, AWHPC Communications Director.
“The new guidelines are far more ambiguous and substantially weaker,” Bolbol continued. “This is especially troubling because the Jackson Mountains roundup is being conducted in the heart of foaling in the dead of summer in the desert. Tiny newborn foals, nursing and pregnant mares, and horses already compromised by low forage and water resources are being stampeded by helicopters under ambiguous guidelines that open the door to the same inhumane treatment of horses previously documented at other BLM roundups to occur again.”
Bolbol noted that observers at the Jackson Mountains roundup have informed AWHPC that helicopters are repeatedly chasing horses, forcing them to run in circles around and around in order to get them into the trap. This practice would have been disallowed under the guidelines set forth by the Nevada State Director.
The BLM is using helicopters to roundup 630 horses from an estimated population of 930 horses (including 738 adults and 96 foals who were counted in April 2012) in the Jackson Mountains area. While the agency is claiming an emergency due to drought, it has known about drought conditions in this area for months yet took no pro-active steps to avoid rounding up horses by helicopter during the height of foaling season. The agency declined to implement less traumatic capture method through bait/water trapping, and has allowed cows to remain grazing in the HMA. In fact, cows were grazing in the drought-stricken southern portion of the HMA until last week.
Last week, AWHPC and The Cloud Foundation wrote a letter to the BLM recommending and urging the agency to consult with a bait/water trapping expert before beginning the helicopter roundup, but the BLM declined to do so.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 50 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come.
Additional information on the Jackson Mountains situation:
- BLM Refuses Expert Offer for Humane Alternative to Dangerous Helicopter Roundup In Jackson Mountains, Nevada
- Congressman criticizes Nevada wild horse roundup
- Mustang Advocates: Gather Jeopardizes Pregnant Mares, Foals
- Headline News’ Jane Velez Mitchell Expose’ on BLM Jackson Mountains Roundup
- BLM announces emergency wild horse roundup in northwest Nevada