As death toll rises to 119, national mustang advocates are demanding an investigation into the horses’ lack of vaccination. More than one-quarter of West Douglas herd has died.
THE COLORADO SUN | 3rd May 2022
In little more than a week, the outbreak of equine flu has killed more than one-quarter of the 450 West Douglas horses captured last summer, enraging wild horse advocates who already were frustrated by the federal government’s helicopter roundups and holding pens. The horses’ bodies are lifted out of the pasture by a tractor and will end up in a landfill, though the BLM declined to say which one for security and safety reasons.
“It’s definitely exacting a toll on us and exacting a toll on all of the people who care about wild horses,” said Steven Hall, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management. The focus now is on “how did we get here” and how to prevent anything like this from ever happening again, he said.
The southern Colorado holding pens, on the grounds of a state prison in Cañon City, also contain hundreds of mustangs from the Sand Wash Basin in northwestern Colorado. That beloved herd, known for its coloring and a famous pinto stallion named Picasso, includes hundreds of horses named by wild horse advocates who traced Picasso’s bloodline and traveled to desolate country near the Wyoming state line to watch the horses herded by a low-flying helicopter last September.
Now, veterinarians are wondering whether the horses’ exposure to the Oil Springs fire, which burned more than 12,000 acres south of Rangely last June and July, made them more likely to die from equine flu.
• Featured Image: Picasso
Official Blog of The Fund for Horses