BLM Warehousing Wild Horses in Rock Springs Holding Without Adequate Windbreaks or Shelter

Fears build for foals and adults in subzero temperatures and wind

ROCK SPRINGS, WY. (Dec. 10, 2013) – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) helicopter roundup of Wyoming’s Salt Wells wild horses in the snow and cold is over, but the inhumane treatment of the over 668 captive mustangs is continuing according to eyewitnesses to both the roundup and the corralling of the horses.

After being driven into traps with two helicopters, most stallions were shipped 300 miles to the Gunnison Prison Wild Horse Program in central Utah, while the mares and foals were sent to the BLM’s Rock Springs corrals, according to Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, Jay D’Ewart. Neither facility has adequate wind breaks or shelter for the captive animals, and eyewitnesses in Rock Springs reported bitter cold and battering winds.

Noted wild horse photographer Carol Walker described the conditions: “Mares and foals seemed frozen in place, resigned, unmoving. There is no shelter for these horses in Short Term Holding Facilities and although they have heavy winter coats, these horses have nowhere to get out of the biting, stinging wind. In their natural setting, they would be out of sight in low areas, gullies, next to cliffs, sheltered from the wind.”

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) questioned the BLM in Rock Springs about whether there were windbreaks for the horses warehoused there. BLM responded by email that the horses do have windbreaks.

“Look at my pictures and see if you see adequate windbreaks,” says Carol Walker. “The temperature was below zero with the snow blasting through the pens where the horses were huddled together for warmth.”

TCF also requested an accounting of how many wild horses are currently being held in the Rock Springs corrals. The BLM public information officer told Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of TCF in an email to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for this information.

“Responses to FOIA requests typically take months and then the government may simply deny the information requested,” stated Kathrens. “Why is this information being kept secret? Have horses already died in these frigid conditions?”

Unless TCF gets a count immediately, there may be no way to determine foal survival rates since BLM, shockingly, does not count young horses less than six months of age. At the BLM National Adoption Center in Palomino Valley (PVC) foals that die that are less than six months of age are not counted and their bodies are shipped to local renderers with no paper trail documenting that they ever existed.

BLM was criticized for its lack of transparency in the recent National Academies of Science (NAS) review of the troubled Wild Horse and Burro Program but no recommended changes have been announced or implemented. The NAS also concluded that massive roundups, like the one just completed in Wyoming, are counterproductive and stimulate increased breeding among the remaining bands.

The Cloud Foundation is calling on Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to weigh in on the situation. “First the horses are rounded up in the bitter cold, and now they are trapped in small corrals that do not offer the horses any protection from the elements,” states Rachel Reeves who attended and photographed the roundup. “It is heartbreaking to see these wild horses being held captive in such inhumane conditions. I especially worry for the small foals, some of whom were less than two months old when they were rounded up and removed.”

Many advocates are disappointed with the continued lack of attention by Jewell, despite continued criticism from Americans all over the country. “As adopters, we must have adequate shelter for our BLM mustangs,” states Lisa Friday, a Virginia wild horse adopter and advocate. ”Why is the government not held to the same standard? It is long past time for a change!”

 

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I don’t understand how they are getting away with this!??? People go to jail for harming just one animal, how can they do this! Please tell me how to help?

  2. I feel for these poor animals. The first time i saw this post i emailed my Representative and told him what was going on. I will keep seding emails til i get an anwer.

  3. It does continue to amaze what people and organizations get away with when they have connections in Washington and when no one is looking. The best thing we can do is shine light on this darkness. The more people who are outraged and voice their concerns to the government, the more likely we have a chance to make a difference. Government needs to understand that the American People will not stand for this and that there are consequences. We support Ginger and the Cloud Foundation for their efforts and suggest, if you want to help, to contact her at thecloudfoundation.org or email them at info@thecloudfoundation.org. I’m sure they could use your help. :)

    Thank you for caring. Together we will make a difference for these horses and burros.

  4. I THink that what these peopleare doing to thw wild horses is going to be in my generation the wild horses are so endangered and so dangerouse im afraid that in my lifetime they will be in zoos as extencit’

  5. This is outrageous! The BLM ‘s representatives should be charged with animal cruelty! We the people do not authorize them to make deals with cattle ranchers and destroy wild horses so they can have virtually no cost grazing land. Land stolen from the wild horses . Absolutely disgusting . What has happened to this country???

  6. I am an adopter of a mustang and am very proud of him and also own several head of mules. I make my living training people’s horses and mules. I am a student of Buck Brannaman as well. This is my passion and with that said I believe it affords me the right to voice this opinion. I have a property that has open prairie, timber and creek bottom along with barns for protection from the elements at their discretion. I provide all the hay they can eat 24/7 and during last weeks severe winter snow and ice storm with wind chills at 0 degrees not once did I see any one of these equine taking advantage of shelter. They would eat hay for a while then go dig in the snow and eat grass for a while. That lasted for a week and not a single animal showed any signs of sickness. Quit believing everything the media says and quit your griping and if you are so concerned about the mustangs then get off your rearend and go adopt some of them.

  7. I may be over looking the whole thing about this but will try to word it as best as I can so please bear with me….it just seems the human race is driving everything out, we are so over resourced and want more and more all the time. Driving the mustangs out for more cattle to feed our cravings for meat, whatever happened to co existence? Mustangs and all the other creatures are being driven into what we call our domain but we are moving into theirs. What do you expect when they have no where else to turn, then mustangs are considered a nuisance for being on our territory? I do agree with the other comment of going into extinction. The next generation won’t even know what a wild horse or any other wild animal will look like in their natural surroundings. The human race has the need to feel in control of EVERYTHING. In the very end we are the ones that are going to pay the price. But yet we want to suddenly save everything and find ways to help etc, it seems like a double edged sword. That’s just my input. Tried my best to state on this.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing our article and helping to spread the word. Everyone’s voice is needed in this! Its all for the horses.

  9. Wild horses have their own sanctuaries that they live on, set aside for them and they pretty much know their territories and do not stray off even though there are no fences that hold them in, and I can drive out at any time and see them at any time and photograph them and there awesome beauty all the time , the purpose of the roundups is to manage the herds and prevent over grazing of their range, so that they do not starve,i too own one of these magnificent animals, and he will stand out in the storms most of the time even though he has a shelter to get out of the weather, as the gentleman stated earlier the best way to help these horses is to get out and adopt them not just as pets, because they are not, they can be and should be useful contributors to the equine world! There I said my piece, take it or leave it:)

  10. “As adopters, we must have adequate shelter for our BLM mustangs,” states Lisa Friday, a Virginia wild horse adopter and advocate. ”Why is the government not held to the same standard? It is long past time for a change!”

    LISA! WHAT A IMPORTANT POINT TO MAKE! Over a year ago I adopted both a mustang mare and a little male burro – and I had to describe the pens they would be moved to – definitely meeting the REQUIRED (by the BLM!) size, height, and shelter available!! If the BLM can “legally” require me to meet those standards when I adopt, then “we the people” should be able to demand the same for those in holding! This situation would be viewed as “animal cruelty” or “inhumane treatment/conditions” if an adopter was being checked on any time during the “one year” we all have to go through before being checked by a local inspector who signs off (with comments!) and then we send it to the BLM for final ownership papers of the animal we adopted a year ago (as is stated could happen in the contract you sign
    when you are at the BLM adoption site!)

    Ms Jewell – please tell all of us why your employees are not held to the same conditions as we adopters are!!


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