Death Toll Rises In Nevada Wild Horse Roundup
Winnemucca, Nevada – An older mare “euthanized” by rifle, orphaning her young foal, and a six-month old foal who collapsed and died after a helicopter chase are among the first week’s victims of the controversial Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) wild horse roundup in the Calico Mountains Complex in northwestern Nevada , In Defense of Animals (IDA) announced today.
In addition to the fatalities, a stallion was injured Saturday as he fought capture by charging, and finally jumping, a six-foot fence and crashing through barbed wire to make an escape to freedom, forced to leave his ten-member family behind. An eyewitness report with photographs is available here: http://www.idablog.org/featured/calico-roundup-week-1-freedom-escapes/.
Since December 28, in just five days of the scheduled 50 – 60 day operation, the BLM has reportedly captured 160 horses and transferred them to privately-operated holding pens in Fallon , Nevada . The BLM reports that these horses will eventually be transferred to long-term holding facilities in the Midwest . The Calico roundup, the largest removal of wild horses in recent years, aims to permanently remove up to 2,500 horses, as much as 90 percent of the population, living in the half-million acre public lands complex.
“It’s wrong to move America ‘s wild horses off their rightful western ranges to put in BLM warehouses in the Midwest ,” said Elliot M. Katz, DVM, president of In Defense of Animals (IDA). IDA filed suit last month to stop the Calico roundup, alleging that the BLM’s plans to remove so many of the Calico horses violated federal law.
U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman, while declining to halt the roundup, did conclude that the BLM’s stockpiling of horses in Midwestern holding facilities was likely illegal. IDA has appealed to the Obama Administration to halt the roundup while the case continues in federal court in Washington , DC .
“The President should order a halt to this roundup until the legality of the long-term holding facilities is determined. The BLM itself says this is not an emergency roundup, so there would be no harm in waiting for adjudication of this enormously important issue,” said William J. Spriggs, of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, which filed the case on behalf of IDA, ecologist Craig Downer and noted children’s author Terri Farley.
“We are on strong ground in charging that the BLM’s policy of stockpiling tens of thousands of horses in the Midwest , off their rightful Western ranges, is contrary to law, the intent of Congress and the will of the American people,” Mr. Spriggs concluded.
Under the Bush administration the numbers of wild horses removed by the BLM from their Western ranges tripled. Despite promising change, the Obama administration has accelerated the removals, with plans to capture 12,000 wild horses in 2010. The majority of those horses will be sent to long-term holding facilities in the Midwest , where they will join 35,000 wild horses and burros already stockpiled by the BLM. Under the Salazar/Obama plan the government will warehouse in the Midwest nearly double the number of horses allowed to live freely on public lands in the West.
Wild horses comprise a minute fraction (0.5 percent) of grazing animals on public lands, where they are outnumbered by cattle at least 200 to 1. The BLM has been repeatedly found in government audits to set artificially low horse population targets while authorizing livestock grazing increases at the same time. Currently the BLM manages more than 256 million acres of public lands of which cattle grazing is allowed on 160 million acres; wild horses are only allowed on 26.6 million acres this land, which must be shared with cattle.
Contact: Suzanne Roy, Program Director, In Defense of Animals, 919-697-9389, email@example.com
IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS • 3010 KERNER BLVD. • SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901 • 415-448-0048
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