BLM roundup abuse continues as wild burros hotshotted at Calico


Nevada BLM Roundup Abuse Continues

Wild burros hotshotted during Calico Complex roundup

RENO, Nev. (Dec. 13, 2011) – During the helicopter roundup of wild horses and burros in the Calico Complex of northwestern Nevada last Thursday, Ginger Kathrens, director of the Cloud Foundation, filmed the hotshotting of a group of 10 burros that had been captured and were being loaded into a stock trailer by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contractors, Sun J Livestock.

“At least one crewmember repeatedly hotshotted the burros while they were in the alleyway and while they were in the trailer,” states Kathrens. “It is ironic that this inhumane treatment occurred on the very day that BLM Director Bob Abbey announced procedures to improve what he referred to as ‘aggressive and rough handling of wild horses.’ I guess someone in BLM forgot to tell the Sun J crew.”

“It is obvious that there is a disconnect between the national BLM office and BLM field personnel,” states Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist who attended two days of the roundup with Kathrens and her assistant, Lauryn Wachs. “Electric cattle prods are barbaric and should not be used on already traumatized wild horses and burros. It can cause a lifelong fear of humans.”

The roundup of both mustangs and burros is currently in progress in the nearly 600,000-acre Calico Complex where BLM is allowing only 572 wild horses and 39 burros.

Kathrens explained the events that led up to the use of the cattle prods on the band of nine adult burros and one foal: “In the afternoon, the helicopter pilot drove 10 burros into the trap site with the help of four mounted riders. A short time later, we heard the pilot radio the ground crew, ‘Can you handle more horses?’ A male voice responded ‘Yeah. Bring them on.’ At that point, everything seemed to go into overdrive. If they could load the burros, the capture corral would be clear for the horses. There was money to be made,” Kathrens adds. “The contractor is paid by the head, so the 5 horses they got in after the burro incident netted them around $1,750.”

Sun J is typically paid $350 for each animal they catch. Advocates have long complained that this payment per head system encourages crews to move too fast and to use any means available to catch more animals.

“The ground crew began to rush, trying to get the burros into the back compartment of a stock trailer that already contained two mustang in the front section.” Kathrens explains.

“That was their first mistake,” states Marjorie Farabee, equine manager of Todd Mission Ranch and TMR Rescue in Plantersville, Texas, and an expert on the handling of burros. “You don’t do things quickly with burros and you have to have enough trailer space for them. They are not flight animals and they push into pressure which is just the opposite response you get with horses.”

Roger Oyler, BLM State Program Lead for Wild Burros and Horses in Arizona agreed, “You have to make it their idea, not yours. You have to have patience.”

“When the burros resisted getting into the trailer, the hotshot came out,” says Kathrens. The HD footage shows a man hanging over the fence near the back of the trailer. He is plunging the prod down into the burros in the alleyway. A few minutes later, he begins jabbing the prod into the back of the trailer where four burros stood facing out.

“If repeated shocks to the faces and bodies of these animals is not inhumane, then what is?” observes Wachs, who attended both the Sun J roundup in northeastern Nevada in January and the Calico roundup last week with Kathrens “BLM has the authority and the responsibility to step in, yet they did not. In this instance they just stood by and watched the torture.”

“Our on-going legal battle with the BLM over this very same issue of ‘humane care’ and handling in the Triple B roundup last summer is about to be ruled on by the U.S. District Court of Nevada,” states R.T. Fitch, president of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF). “The agency now has the opportunity to do the right thing and implement appropriate humane procedures, today, or risk waiting until the ruling comes down from the court and such implementation will be mandated by a Federal Judge. Either way, these acts of cruelty need to stop, and stop quickly.”

Advocate, Laura Leigh, VP of WHFF and the Founder of Wild Horse Education (WHE), who videotaped numerous abuses during the Triple B roundup including excessive use of an electric cattle prod, filed charges against the BLM on behalf of WHFF.

“Sun J has a history of abuse, yet BLM continues to award contracts to them,” says Kathrens, who filmed the Antelope Complex roundup in eastern Nevada last January and asked the District Attorney of White Pine County to file charges against the BLM and the Sun J crew for running animals to exhaustion. The District Attorney refused to act on the complaint.

“The communication and law enforcement teams during our three days of observation of the Calico roundup were very knowledgeable and helpful,” adds Kathrens. “It’s really too bad that this contractor and those in charge on site make everyone in BLM look bad.”



Burros Hotshotted in Calico – Foundation video:
WHE Analysis of BLM Triple B Report:
AP Article on BLM internal review findings:
Exhausted mare collapses at Antelope Complex roundup – Foundation video:
BLM Press Release on internal review:
Congressional Appeal to Stop the Roundups – Foundation video:

11 thoughts on “BLM roundup abuse continues as wild burros hotshotted at Calico”

  1. This is our tax dollars at work!!! The government has no business in being in the animal abuse business and on our dime. What a pack of monsters… Who needs to worry about our enemy’s when we have this kind of mentality in our government leading this country believing this is humane treatment.


  2. Glad I wasn’t there, I would taken that prod away from that a-hole and shocked the hell of him as well as the “so-called” vet that was there to stop it from happening!

    GOING TO BE HELL TO PAY when i can get back out west again!


    1. Dear Todd , what they need is about 10 thousand hells to pay, all with cattle prods to use on them !!!!!!!!! I know what area i would be cattle prodding…………………


  3. Dear Jane, this sadly has been going on behind the scenes for years, your answer is PURE GREED and total corruption………………. The BLM needs to be dissolved…………….Bob Abbey and his henchmen need to be put in jail where they belong, we will probably need a cattle prod to get them in our trucks to take them to jail, the only way to do this is a united stand………………Also sad but true our courts and all who can legally can stop them choose to look away……..your right damn the BLM and everyone that chooses to look away……………..>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.


    1. Thanks Arlene.

      I guess it’s just the incomprehensible injustice of it all, the why and the inherent sadness in what the US government deems acceptable.

      And I am not attacking the US government in particular (although in this case how can’t one condemn them) but rather government in general.

      Doesn’t matter where you live, the government depicts its people in the most unfavourable way. A way in which no one is in agreement with. There really is no such thing as democracy in the true sense of the word, it is all relative.


      1. Dear Jane, with 70% of American people apposed to all this , one would think that would be enough to stop the insanity,,, !!!! What ever happen to we the People????


  4. I just don’t get it all. There is more than sufficient room as far as square acreage to accommodate ALL of the wild horses and burros without interference even with all the cattle and energy efforts????

    Seems like a Nazi undertaking….I simply can not reconcile the logic in it????

    What is so offensive about these beautiful creatures and who is upholding this so-called democracy? Clearly not the American people!

    It is the saddest day when no one cares……….evil against it all in the worst form. Damn you BLM and all the corrupt and truly rotten people you employ


  5. B*st*rds!!! Lets jam them into a trailer and take an electric cattle prod to each one of them–see how they like it!!!!!!!


  6. This sickens me, I am at the point where I can no longer bear to view the videos. I download them to archive on my web site for historical reference. This nightmare will not end until we get an Administration that does not yield to paid Lobbyists. Vivian, you had a PAC, can we revive that? You are a forward thinking person and we definitely need our own PAC. I floated the idea with some folks at different venues and some say they would love to donate up to $200.00 and others say that taxes on horse feed should be funneled into supporting a PAC! It takes all kinds. Please reconsider reviving your PAC… Thanks much, Elle


  7. Unnecessary Cruelty is the rule of thumb at the BLM, one would think that they get off on it !!!!! This ugly Leopard will never change it spots, Tried , convicted and dissolve, is the only answer for this corrupt horror Agency….. I would just love to hotshot Bob Abbey,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


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