Monday, December 14, 2009

BLM Continues to Lie, Wild Horses Gathered in Snow and Ice Storm

BLM’s Don Glenn Openly Lies to Press and Advocates While Wild Horses are Rounded Up

Once free, their beautiful lives ruined - Palomino Valley 12/11/09 - Photo by K. McCovey
Following the yet-unsolved shooting death of 6 federally-protected mustangs, more of America’s mustangs are removed; at least one mare has died to date.
The discovery of shooting deaths of six wild horses on the California-Nevada border has led to the exposure of an apparently clandestine BLM roundup of over 200 horses. The roundup of the Buckhorn Wild Horses was scheduled to begin in August 2010. However, in a surprise move by the Surprise BLM field office in Cedarville, CA, the roundup took place November 30-December 10th. The horses were run into traps in freezing conditions with rain and snow and overnight lows dipping below 0ºF. BLM spokesman Jeff Fontana reported that 217 were removed, leaving 59 on the range. This roundup was originally planned for a removal of 536 horses to get down to a BLM-approved level of just 85 horses or less.
No one was there observe because no one was told this roundup had been moved up 9 months until after the fact. How many horses were injured, how many were killed? How exactly was the roundup conducted? The truth is, any member of the public is seriously remiss in trusting this agency. Only the most dedicated members of the public would even be able and willing to drive in this weather to observe such a roundup.

Mare and Foal pen at Palomino Vally holdy facility - 12/11/09 - Photo by K. McCovey
One mare has died after being crushed by a metal panel, according to BLM and foals appear to be in poor condition in the BLM Palomino Valley holding pens following the ordeal and another winter storm. The horses have no shelter and the windbreaks are not up. BLM has zeroed out wild horses for just that reason in the past. The change to conduct this roundup in winter was made without notification to the BLM’s own press agents, the media or the public. The requisite 30-day comment period was conducted in August of 2009 on a suspect recycled 2007 Environmental Assessment (EA) that was reused in August 2009 to allow for a roundup in this area. When advocates learned that this roundup was taking place nine months ahead of schedule, the Surprise Field Office had no record of decision (ROD) or final EA posted on their website to authorize this roundup. On Friday, following inquiries from the public, an unsigned August ROD was posted on the BLM site.
While BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program Chief, Don Glenn, was telling the advocates in attendance at a National BLM Advisory Board meeting that they were welcome to observe any BLM roundup (which came as news to the many people there who had repeatedly been denied access to view roundups this year and in the past) roundup crews were in process of “gathering” horses. Mr. Glenn’s invitation is clearly hampered by not knowing when and where roundups will take place. To date an updated roundup schedule has still not been posted on the National BLM website.

Another herd destroyed by the BLM - Merry Christmas - Photo by K. McCovey
Pressure is growing on the BLM as a unified moratorium letter signed by over 190 organizations, including the Cloud Foundation, the Equine Welfare Alliance and In Defense of Animals as well as noted scientists, and celebrities such as Sheryl Crow, Lily Tomlin, Viggo Mortenson, Ed Harris, Bill Maher and more. This call is supported by signatures of over 7,000 individuals. (add your name here!)
Ginger Kathrens of the Cloud Foundation, spoke with the Surprise field office in early December and learned that the Massacre Lakes roundup (scheduled to being December 7th) had been delayed until February. The BLM failed to inform Ms. Kathrens at that time that another roundup had been substituted in its place.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is moving forward with roundups of America’s wild horses and burros and carrying on with operations through the dead of winter in California, Oregon and Nevada. According to the most recent Roundup Schedule (12/4/09) the BLM plans to remove 7,163 wild horses and burros this winter, and another 4,395 in the summer of 2010. This roundup schedule was given to Advisory Board members on 12/7 but not to the Cloud Foundation until 12/10/09 upon request.
The notorious KD Livestock crews moves next to southeast Oregon where they are scheduled to remove over 200 horses in what could be equally dangerous winter conditions. BLM Chief Don Glenn invites the world to watch.
The BLM is the bull in the china shop of America’s public western wildlands. Their mismanagement is nearly as legendary as the mustangs themselves. Keep up the call for a moratorium on roundups!
Sign the petition and send your comments to President Obama and your representatives here.

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