Written by BONNIE KOHLERITER
Most States in July to August experience extreme weather conditions with heat often above 85°F. The Bureau of Land Management Handbook of standard operating procedures says horses are not to be run above 85°F. Most foals are born between March 1 and June 30 said to be “foaling season.” So in July to August they are 4 weeks, 8 weeks, or 12 with fragile bodies and spindly, weak legs.
In the Vale District in Oregon, a gather commenced on August 2nd in Jackie’s Butte. The well-known Cattoors are the helicopter contractors. It has been reported by the BLM that horses are being driven into the trap site, but the gathers have stopped when temperatures hit 85°F. The foals, as they come in, are being given water in a bucket sufficient to suit their size. Afterwards they are being matched through tagging with their wet mares. They are not being given fertility control treatment as it is not appropriate this time of year. Few deaths are reported.
In contrast, in the Ely-Elko Districts in Nevada, a gather was initiated on July 20th in Triple B. Sun-J with Josh Hellyer is the helicopter contractor. It has been reported by independent observers that horses are being driven as much as 15 to 20 miles in a zigzag fashion into the trap site, but the gathers are not stopped when the temperature reaches 85°F. Rather, roundups continue as high as 94°F.
The foals, as they come in — if they come in — are not given water. Jody, who works for the company says, “It’s not in our contract.” The foals are left to stand in the pens after their grueling run for as long as 6 hours without water before they are transported to temporary facilities. Foals are not matched with the mares, so the horses are stressed with foals kicked as they try to find and match up with their moms.
It is suspected that some of the foals are left on the range to die, while others who limp are roped to be brought in where possible. Under these fraught conditions, their soundness will highly likely be compromised for the rest of their lives, and some die from what the BLM terms as “pre-existing conditions”.
The horses are poked with sticks to load them into gooseneck trailers and transport vehicles, forcing them into twisted body positions that threatens their bones with breakage. Then they are driven at 60 mph over dirt pocketed roads to temporary holding facilities.
Triple B in contrast to Jackie’s Butte is clearly “animal abuse,” but nobody in the BLM documents and corrects the “abuse” of Sun-J, saying in the words of Donald Trump, “You’re fired.”
The wild horse advocate community documents the handling of the horses in the Triple B as much as possible, but they are put in a position where they are at a distance from the trap site, where they can’t easily see the horses moving or coming into the trap. Mostly all they can see is the helicopter zigzagging in the sky. Earbuds are provided to the BLM employees so they can listen to the radio reports on the range, however, the public are not allowed access. This is a new “Nevada protocol.” The advocates must rely on their own modern equipment and technology.
Violence toward harp seals by seamen in Canada is well-documented. Violence toward chimpanzee by poachers in Africa is also well-documented. It is a sad time in America when its own government allows federal contractors to commit acts of cruelty against the country’s iconic Mustangs and takes no measures to stop it.