Mustangs fenced out of water- NV roundup death toll rises to 12

Independent Investigation requested to uncover cause of mustang deaths and inability to access water

ELKO, Nevada (Jul. 15, 2010) — Mustangs of the Tuscarora/Owyhee Complex in NE Nevada are now the focus of a BLM “emergency” as the agency claims that they don’t have enough water. The issue is not one of lack of water but prevention of access to water as the Tuscarora mustangs must navigate a maze of livestock fences and closed gates. Miles of fencing prevent their free-roaming behavior and ability to access water sites they’ve used for decades if not centuries.

12 Tuscarora wild horses have died after BLM contractors used a helicopter to roundup 228 of them in less than 150 minutes on July 10. Prior to the roundup BLM told advocates that they were confident this was a reasonable window to remove horses in and maintain their good condition despite the presence of very young foals and the heat. However when the first day proved to be fatal and the roundup placed on hold, BLM began referring to the horses’ situation as an emergency. BLM now states that “an escalating drought” necessitates an emergency “gather.” However this is a typical weather pattern for the area in the hottest month of the year and the Cloud Foundation points to the fencing off of water sources and division between herd management areas in the complex as the root cause of their “emergency.”

Why didn’t BLM know the water situation before going in and running 228 horses, at least 5% of them to subsequent death? The public deserves answers, not excuses,” explains Cloud Foundation Director Ginger Kathrens who has 16 years experience with wild horses across the ten western states. “The idea that wild horses are not capable of finding their way ten miles to a river to drink is absolute myth—mustangs regularly travel distances farther than that if allowed their free-roaming behavior. Distance or standard drought levels are not the issue, the real question is what is preventing these mustangs from using traditional perennial water sources.

BLM has ‘pasturized’ the Tuscarora horses into cattle allotments to facilitate the grazing of 4,000 head of cattle in an area they say can support only 400 horses. The public has no way of knowing which gates are open and which are closed, and nor do the horses. For individual gain, BLM allows private interest to prevent the wild horses from accessing the water – rivers, creeks, reservoirs and water holes- that are present in this herd complex. Carving up herd management areas with fences is typical and prevents wild horse movement within their ranges set forth by the Free-Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

BLM has reduced our wild horses to a labyrinth of cattle pastures and has no regard for their needs,” explains Kathrens.

The Cloud Foundation’s Herd-Watch Program Coordinator Laura Leigh filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to halt the Tuscarora Roundup on July 12 and United States District Judge Larry R. Hicks yesterday granted the injunction. Until further order of the court BLM is prevented from continuing their removal operation. The hearing for Laura Leigh v. Ken Salazar (3:10-cv-00417-LRH-VPC) will be held Thursday, July 15 at the US District Court, 400 S. Virginia Street in Reno, beginning at 2:30 p.m. Leigh’s legal efforts are being funded by, a collection of independent grassroots wild horse advocates.

The Cloud Foundation calls for an immediate independent investigation into the current situation in the Owyhee Complex. Bringing in BLM to analyze how their agency has failed yet more wild horses is not the answer; there needs to be an advocate for the wild horses participating in the current review of the Tuscarora disaster. It is essential that this person understand the needs and nature of wild horses.

Has the BLM allowed pre-roundup hazing of the horses to position them closer to trap sites and farther away from where they would typically be?” questions author/advocate R.T. Fitch.

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Source: The Cloud Foundation Press Release

Photos, video and interviews available from:
The Cloud Foundation

The Cloud Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana. 107 S. 7th St. – Colorado Springs, CO 80905 – 719-633-3842

5 thoughts on “Mustangs fenced out of water- NV roundup death toll rises to 12”

  1. Funny how the BLM says the area cannot support 400 horses, yet they continue to lease out the grazing rights on this same area for 4000 cattle. Doubt the money from said grazing rights leases even cover half the cost of removing the mustangs. Yet this is how the BLM “manages” our PUBLIC lands. How much longer will we, the PUBLIC remain ignorant of how OUR Government functions and to whose benefit are they working towards?


  2. I fully agree with you Paula, The BLM has cruelty themselves right out of caring for anything that Breathes ………….. Hopefully they will be shut down………………Their Should then be an An Agency that is committed to The Wild Mustangs welfare………..not their demise, there are thousands of people qualified to be able to accomplish this with no further suffering for Our Mustangs………………Keeping their welfare in mind…..


  3. This shows you that the BLM could care less about the horses. They, especially Salazar, need to be charged with animal cruelty. Horrible, jut horrible. It is time to shut down the BLM.


  4. The BLM has not a brain in their heads………………………….. They are dispicable and totally disgusting , how can we allow them to even get near a Wild Mustang, These people need a wake up call, Oh wait a minute I give Bob Abbey one everyday I sure he is sick of me , to bad isnt it ???? He will hear from me everyday whether he likes it or not… I will tell him and remind of his horrors that he does everyday until he realizes these Wild Mustangs are her to stay !!!! and he learns how to protect and preserve them under penalty of the Law…………………………


  5. This whole agenda and the fact the government allows it to continue is criminal. Oil and animal consumption will be (and is) the end of the world…as we know it. The contribution to greenhouse gases and our current climate change is frightening…and next they want to rape the Arctic….


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