Contractor cleared in Nevada wild horse incident

WRITTEN BY MARTIN GRIFFITHS
© Associated Press

    RENO, Nev. — A contractor has been cleared of allegations of wrongdoing in connection with a videotaped Jan. 27 incident involving a wild horse that fell during a government roundup of mustangs from the range in eastern Nevada.

    U.S. Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey said an internal review found that Sun J Livestock did not violate existing agency policy during the ongoing gather of mustangs about 60 miles south of Wells.

    The review team found the mare was not over-driven by the contractor’s helicopter and did not collapse from exhaustion as horse advocates claimed, Abbey said. The team concluded the mare stumbled or tripped, then fell when it lost its footing in a small snow drift.

    The horse ran free following attempts by the helicopter to herd it into a trap.

    While the team found no evidence of wrongdoing, the agency must continue to look for ways to minimize risk to the animals, Abbey said.

    “Since 1976, when Congress first authorized the use of helicopters in the gathering of wild horses, capture techniques have steadily improved,” he said in a statement. “But we must advance as far as possible in ensuring the humane treatment of wild horses and burros, both on and off the range. We need to create a `new normal’ for doing business.”

    Activists say their video shows the older mare collapsed after stampeding for miles followed by a helicopter; was forced to its feet by wranglers; and chased again by the helicopter. The video shows the horse visibly exhausted, breathing hard with its sides heaving, they added.

    The video has been widely disseminated on the Internet, including on YouTube.

    “It’s no surprise the BLM Antelope roundup report is a whitewash,” said Ginger Kathrens, director of the horse advocacy group Cloud Foundation based in Colorado. “This is nothing more than taxpayer-funded animal abuse. Congress must de-fund these costly and cruel roundups immediately.”

    Abbey’s acknowledgement that current procedures are not sufficient followed public outrage over the video of the mustang, said Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.

    “(He) has acknowledged what we’ve known for some time, that an improved standard is needed for the handling and treatment of mustangs in government roundup operations,” she said.

    The BLM has said it planned to remove about 2,000 mustangs in the Antelope Complex to protect the range, wildlife and mustang herds. The agency has gathered about 670 horses to date.

    The BLM offers horses gathered from the range for adoption to the public. Those too old or considered unadoptable are sent to long-term holding facilities in the Midwest.

    Some 33,700 wild horses roam freely in 10 Western states, about half in Nevada. The BLM set a target level of 26,600 horses and burros in the wild, and removed 10,637 of the animals from the range in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

Source: The Associated Press

3 thoughts on “Contractor cleared in Nevada wild horse incident”

  1. Oh Please these two are not only insane they should be put in straight jackets and hauled away and put where they both belong , away from anything that breathes !!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. Was there ever any doubt of him not being cleared? It’s another slap in the face to American taxpayers to have insult added to injury by spending even more of our money on an “internal review”. What an absolute farce allowing the BLM to conduct its own review in this matter. If a private citizen did such a thing, they would be arrested for cruelty to animals and rightly so. There is obviously a double standard that makes it alright for the government to abuse animals and get off scot free.

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  3. Obviously once again Salazar and Abby are covering up thier misdeeds and cruel treatment of the wild horses. There is no need for these roundups and Congress needs to be sat down and made to view all the videos of these roundups and the reports of horse advocate as well as George Knapp from Channel 8 news in Las Vegas. They are not protecting the land, the environment or the horses – all they are doing is making it easier for cattle and sheep ranchers to graze more animals on Public Land. We don’t need more beef or lamb. We need to leave our (the Publics) national treasures (The Wild Mustangs) on the land they were promised by the Law in 1971. We must prevail or we will lose our national heritage and our History to the Greedy Cattle Ranchers. I watched with tears in my eyes the entire video of the helicopter chasing the one poor old mare. She was exhausted, but she found the strength to keep going until the pilot of the Helicopter gave up. She was chased at very close range for miles and miles over that valley and you cannot tell me that this was not cruel and inhumane treatment. Again, we need to stop all these unnecessary and expensive roundups. This money (Approximately $85 million/yr.) could be much better used to fund education and health care. There would be no need to have adoptions of wild horses or stock pile these beautiful horses in holding pens until they die. Think of the savings if we didn’t have to feed and water and transport all these captured wild horses in addtion to the savings by not doing roundups. We could be talking $100 million or more a year. And this is Taxpayer money – Your Money and My Money. I call this government Waste and Fraud on the Amercian People.

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