Foundation calls for halt to all roundups while National Academy of Sciences investigates BLM wild horse and burro mismanagement
Reno, NV (February 25, 2011)—The Cloud Foundation learned today that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has halted the roundup and removal of wild horses from the vast Antelope Complex in Northeastern Nevada, which began on January 23. Few family bands remain following the agency’s scorched earth removal of nearly 1,400 wild horses of all ages, leaving much of their Rhode Island sized range completely devoid. The Cloud Foundation is calling for a stop to all roundups and for the BLM to return wild horses to the areas of the Antelope complex from which they have been eliminated.
“The reason for this sudden halt appears to be that many of the mares are on the verge of foaling and additional deaths were imminent,” explains Cloud Foundation Director, Ginger Kathrens. “Observers present might have seen and documented the deaths. Another reason may be the BLM’s current attempts to appease Congress and the public as they make a bid for more than $30 million to fund more roundups.”
1,368 wild horses from the Antelope Complex were captured before the sudden stop to operations was announced, more than 600 individuals short of the BLM’s ultimate goal. To date, only nine have been released. Fatalities are reported to total an additional nine horses with 20 mares slated for infertility control treatment and subsequent release.
Taxpayers are outraged as BLM continues to expend precious tax dollars to harass and remove wild horses from their designated herd areas across the West. BLM Director, Bob Abbey, recently announced that the agency will reduce the number of wild horses rounded up next year from 10,000 to 7,600 and increase use of experimental birth control drugs. These changes will not preserve America’s diminishing wild horse herds. The minimal reduction of removals along with the use of birth control does not take into account that 75% of America’s mustang herds are currently under populated, according to independent reviews.
“BLM has proven they have no desire to manage wild horses on their legally designated ranges. Why would we believe they would use fertility control in a responsible and sustainable manner?” questions Kathrens. “And what constitutes fertility control? We know BLM wants to create gelding herds and that they are experimenting on ways to surgically remove the ovaries of wild horse mares.”
BLM has no idea how many wild horses remain in the Antelope herd areas or the total left on our wild public lands. An independent statistical review, using BLM’s own numbers, reveals a population of less than 18,000 wild horses on western ranges.
The Cloud Foundation demands that the BLM call off all scheduled roundups immediately. Currently the agency’s wild horse and burro program is under an investigative review by the National Academy of Sciences, as called for by 54 members of Congress and several Senators in 2010.
“Stopping the Antelope roundup is a good start, but it is high time for BLM to explain to the public their reasons for managing America’s wild horse and burro herds to extinction” states Kathrens.