“This past weekend the public was not allowed to witness nor audit the controversial BLM helicopter wild horse stampede and roundup in the Red Desert of Wyoming. This subversive action on the part of the federal agency so infuriated the Board and Officers of Wild Horse Freedom Federation that Advisory Board Member and noted photographer Carol Walker put our cares and concerns for the weather aside and traveled to the area in question to be the eyes and ears for WHFF and the wild horse and burro advocacy. Below is her report along with her photographs which will be added to her stunning collection of wild equine photography at www.wildhoofbeats.com upon her return home. Carol will cover the release of the PZPed mares and final operations before heading back, stay tuned.
Please note that the roundup was concluded, as I had predicted in my OpEd “Obama’s BLM Continues Assault on American Wild Horses over Holiday Weekend“, over the Thanksgiving weekend without any public observers allowed to witness the activity. Either the BLM is becoming so set in their cruel ways that they have become predictable or I have been following this issue far too long…probably a mixture of both. Keep the Faith and thank you Carol” ~ R.T.
“There was no playing, and the mares and foals seemed frozen in place, resigned, unmoving..."
photography by Carol Walker, soundtrack from Opus Moon’s Wild Horse Anthology “Let Them Be Wild And Free” available on iTunes, produced by R.T. Fitch
In Carol’s own words:
I headed to Rock Springs the day after they completed rounding up and removing over 580 wild horses from Salt Wells Creek and Adobe Town in the Red Desert of Wyoming.
The last day of the roundup was done without any public observation. Today, Tuesday, they treated 43 wild mares with PZP and I came up to watch them be released.
I went to the Rock Springs Short Term Holding Facility where all of the wild horses who were removed were taken. I find it a very depressing place to visit. The contrast between these horses running wild and free with their families to the horses standing or milling around in pens separated by sex, with other horses they do not know, is painful to see. I always hope that I do not recognize horses there, because then there is a chance that the ones I know are still free.
There is an overlook area that allows visitors to see most of the horses in pens. Stallions and mares are separated, and mares and older foals are separated, and there are some mares who were allowed to keep their younger foals at their sides. The horses are immediately run through squeeze chutes, tagged and freeze branded with a number and blood is drawn for their Coggins tests, which needs to show negative results before the horses can be moved to another location. The stallions will be gelded here, but today they were still stallions, and they had only been there a couple of days, not long enough for the new reality of their situation to sink in. The light had not completely died in their eyes yet. The stallion pen was nearest the overlook, and with a storm coming in, the horses were frisky. Several of the stallions were playing together, running and biting each other, not in a serious way but the way that bachelor stallions in the wild play, running, bucking, kicking and biting.
The next day after a winter storm moved in, the view of the corrals was completely different. Blowing snow painted the whole scene a painful white. The backs of the horses were coated with snow. The more dominant horses were eating hay, while the more timid waited their turns. There was no playing, and the mares and foals seemed frozen in place, resigned, unmoving. There is no shelter for these wild horses in Short Term Holding Facilities, and although they have heavy winter coats, these horses have nowhere to get out of the biting, stinging wind. This will become more difficult for them as the temperature drops to zero or below in the next couple of days. If I were in their herd area right now, and they were still there, I doubt I would be able to see a single horse. They would be out of sight in low areas, gullies, next to cliffs, sheltered from the wind. But they cannot seek shelter here.
IN THE HANDS OF KILL BUYERS! When horses are purchased at auction by buyers intending to kill them, they're hauled away in double- decker tractor trailers where they are beaten and often blinded with baseball bats to mollify them. After crossing the border into Mexico, the animals are stabbed on each side-an act to tenderize their meat-and immobilized. Workers, then saw the horses legs off, at the knee and hang them to bleed out-all while the horses are ALIVE! (This is an excerpt, from an article written by Missy Diaz, crediting Victoria Mc Cullough and Sen. Joe Abruzzo for bringing awareness of horse slaughter, to Florida. In 2010 Florida Legislation unanimously passed the Horse Protection Bill, making it a felony to slaughter horses for personal or commercial use.)