Stats show live trapping of wild horses deadlier than helicopter roundups

Bait-trapped wild horses in Oregon. Photo by Vince Patton.
Three wild horses pace nervously in a passive bait trap in the mountains outside John Day, Oregon. They took the bait, hay on the forest floor, but tripped a wire which closed a gate behind them.

The article that follows this introduction is a most relevant report.

First of all, the Fund for Horses are strongly opposed to the removal of wild horses from the range by any means or device.

However, we have often been told by wild horse roundup experts that bait trapping is more humane than helicopter roundups. Perhaps it is, if such a thing is really possible. To me it is like saying there are better ways to slaughter horses than others. How can that be? It can’t. It is all diabolical.

However, is bait trapping wild horses less deadly than helicopter roundups. One reporter found that in Oregon bait trapping — percentage wise — is deadlier.

* * * * * * *

OPB Oregon Public Radio REPORT
Source Link

In the mountains outside John Day, Ore., a wild horse made a tasty find. Hay was strewn about on the forest floor. As she went to eat, the mare took one step too far, tripping a line that slammed a gate closed behind her. She had trapped herself.

On August 4, 2012, a government contractor backed his rig up to the passive trap, preparing to haul the wild horse to the Bureau of Land Management corral in Burns, Oregon.

The mare wanted nothing to do with it. As the contractor tried to load her into the trailer, the mare fled in fright, slammed into the metal bars of the trap and broke her neck.

Faced with a horse crippled and in pain, the horse trapper had just one option. He euthanized her.

Fatal injuries like this are more often associated in the public eye with helicopter roundups, which have led to substantial protests over the last few years. However, data shows passive traps have been even more lethal in Oregon.

And once they’ve made it to the corrals, records show that wild horses aren’t out of danger.

Records obtained from the BLM show that passive traps in Oregon have been more deadly than helicopter roundups were in the state.

Long time critics of BLM roundups have praised bait traps for being the most humane way to capture mustangs.

Once horses make it to the BLM’s short-term corrals or long-term holding pastures, it’s generally accepted that the horses will live longer than they likely would in the wild. They get hay and fresh water and face none of the competition they would on the range.

However, corral life is deadlier than many people realize.

BLM’s “Dead and Destroyed” reports, obtained by OPB through the Freedom of Information Act, show that 199 horses died in the Burns corral between 2010 and 2013.

Comparisons to survival of free roaming horses are nearly impossible. The BLM does not track how many horses die while living on the range.


Captivity Deadly for Some Wild Horses

10 thoughts on “Stats show live trapping of wild horses deadlier than helicopter roundups”

  1. I realised this is an older video. I came across it as I was searching for some information. I can see why the captured horses panicked. The handling of the baited horses in the corral was appalling. Does no-one have training in horse handling proper? Not just that, but animal behaviour? You don’t just wave hats at them, at the same time as a “flag”. You have to really, really read the animals.


  2. Your dealing with a corrupt government organization. They have been sued numerous times but the left wing judges all way’s take the BLM’s side. I’m sure all of the politicians in DC are on the side of the BLM, in the farm bill as far as I know the BLM was handed 12 million to finance the wild horse roundups. That’s a lot of taxpayer money to hand to their friends and cronies to finish the roundups to extinction. The BLM pack will never consider any scientific studies or any thing else that would prove the horses are disappearing from the range because of their actions. There is speculation that there may be only about 18,000 horses left in all of the western states but I think its much lower.


  3. If the BLM made use of there time tending to other issues, and allowed the horses to run free as they were intended to do these problems would not exist. I share the same sentiment as Ann haven’t you all got better things to do than play Rambo, and fly choppers to terrify animals that are trying to live a peaceful life, and not harming anything .Nature will take care of itself why doesn’t the BLM allow that to happen!…..Get a life and leave the horses alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. I am no expert for sure and have not witnessed a helicopter round-up, except in video. I’m not so sure it is fair to compare the two methods by comparing horses who are driven by a menacing helicopter over miles of rugged terrain, to those who are fooled into walking into a corral. There must be other factors at play in Oregon to have 199 deaths over a 3 year term.


  5. I live in Oregon and we here are all very aware of the horrific things the BLM does that simply don’t make the news outside of a few local papers. Or are shared among wild horse advocates.

    Such as the “mysterious” shootings of range horses and the BLM’s crocodile-teary “we just don’t know who is doing this” (odds are that they are doing it themselves).

    Such as the things my own veterinarian told me of the terrible conditions and treatment of horses in the BLM corrals – he formerly lived in that area, so eyewitness.

    The BLM is not being transparent regarding a lot of things and their self-reported numbers are highly highly suspect. Ann Breeden, you have it right in your comment: the goal IS to keep intact the welfare ranching “program” and treat the wild horses like a “pogrom.”

    Excuse the play on words but as pogrom referred to a particularly violent massive removal of certain populations, I think the term is appropriate here.

    Currently the BLM has set up a bogus “we have to save the sage grouse” plan to “remove all livestock” from vast territory immediately adjacent to the Sheldon (mustang) range to “save the sage grouse” which actually is not an endangered bird even on this particular range.

    Further, much formal, scientific (Oregon State University based) field studies have proven that livestock of whatever description can co-exist quite well with sage grouse (and besides Fish & Wildlife issues hunting permits for sage grouse every year so OBVIOUSLY this is a completely bogus excuse!).

    I’m quite sure that the Sheldon range horses don’t know the imaginary and ever-shifting BLM-drawn borders between their range and the “save the sage grouse” range and am quite sure that just as soon as the Mustangs are forcibly removed under the “save the sage grouse” plan, well, BLM will go right back to its welfare ranching program.


  6. What’s the purpose of this? To keep the land open for ranchers to graze their cows and get subsidies in the process? PATHETIC! HAVEN’T YOU COWBOYS GOT ANYTHING BETTER TO DO? AND TO THE BLM, Leave the wild horses where they were born.


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