BLM Admits Horses Were Whipped And Shocked In Roundup, But Not Treated Inhumanely

Thanks to advocates who filmed wild mustangs being whipped in the face, kicked in the head, dragged by a rope and repeatedly shocked during the Nevada roundup this summer, BLM officials were forced to review their procedures.

Sadly the agency concluded that some horses were mistreated during the Triple B roundup, but not to the level of calling it inhumane.

BLM Director Bob Abbey determined that he could fix the “poor practices” exhibited by agency workers and contractors from Sun J Livestock by giving them additional training.

Abbey admitted there were some instances of helicopters following horses too closely or chasing them too long. And he acknowledged that there was “excessive and inappropriate use of electrical prods, as well as wranglers kicking horses, slamming gates against them and twisting their tails to persuade them to load onto trailers.” He told the media this type of treatment would not be tolerated in the future.

“Aggressive and rough handling of wild horses is not acceptable, and we are actively taking steps to ensure that such behavior is not repeated,” said Abbey.

The BLM team that reviewed the videos recommended the agency start tracking incidents of mistreatment; a concept that seems like it should have already been part of the roundup process. They also suggested showing the videos to the workers to help them understand what is considered acceptable behavior toward an animal.

Altogether the team made 11 recommendations to change BLM wild horse roundup procedures.

Abbey said he is “instituting a proactive process for conducting internal reviews of many aspects of the program to ensure that we are moving toward the ‘new normal’ of wild horse and burro management.”

Wild horse protection organizations had mixed responses to the BLM review.

“This review is a first step in addressing the cruelty that is pervasive in the BLM’s wild horse and burro program, and we commend the BLM review team for its honesty,” said Suzanne Roy, director of the Americas Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, a coalition of more than 40 groups that includes the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Anne Novak, founder of the California-based advocacy group Protect Mustangs questioned BLM’s definition of inhumane?”

Laura Leigh, from the Wild Horse Freedom Federation said, “This is just words, not action. They say, ‘We found this wrong, but we did nothing wrong,’ which is typical BLM contradictory speech.”

The government’s wild horse program began in 1971 as a way to “protect wild horse herds and the rangelands that support them.” Animal rights advocates have long complained that the roundups are cruel because they traumatize the horses and many are injured or killed.

About 33,000 wild horses live in 10 Western states and half of those are located in Nevada. Another 40,000 have been rounded up and live in government owned facilities.

Related Stories:

Wild Horses Fighting Crime

Horse Slaughter Legalized In U.S.

How Many Times Should A Jockey Whip A Horse?

Photo from 29604926@NO8EdThomes via flickr.

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Gianna Macias
Gianna Macias3 years ago

If that is not inhumane treatment then what is, cutting off their legs,

carol k.
carol k.3 years ago

BLM round -ups are cruel and inhumane they should get the exact dose of treatment they give to the horses ! BLM and Ken Salazar are all LIARS!

Wild Mustangs N.
Wild Mustangs N.3 years ago

Maybe we should WHIP KICK DRAG & SHOCK THEM & ask then ask them if they feel like they were treated "INHUMANELY" I would also like the BLM to tell my and ALL of us WHY this is has to be done? What are these Wild Horses doing that is harming the land or people? NOTHING, that is the problem so, they should NOT be doing this! They are doing it for MONEY & GREED, bottom line. All the same BS our Government runs on... This country has gone to hell and I will never ever vote again or vote just to make sure the underdog get it. I'm ashamed to be a part of this country because of this. Go Feed Japan you Greedy S.O.B.S.

Susan T.
Susan T.3 years ago

Ken Salazar not only shames his Latino brothers and sisters, he makes James Watt (Reagan's looney Dept. of the Interior Secretary) look like John Muir in comparison. He MUST go! He doesn't "care" about anmals. He's a rancher so what the fig does he care about wild horses or burrows? Our tax dollars are used, everyday, to abuse, exploit and kill animals in the name of "management." WHY do they need to be managed at all? Why do we feel we must slaughter wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, and prairie dogs? Why? And we call ourselves civilized? Ugh!

Berny P.
Berny p.3 years ago

“We are talking about two simple premises here: handle our horses with care and demonstrate accountability to the public.

Why is this so difficult to accomplish within the agency tasked, and paid, to do exactly that?”

Kathy T.
Kathy Terrell3 years ago

I will help lead the treatment of Bob Abbey like they treated the horses. Then lets see how much he thinks it was not inhumane. I like the saying 'What goes areound, comes around'.

Teresa Cowley
Teresa Cowley3 years ago

They say the horses were both whipped and shocked yet were not treated INHUMANELY?! Well, just what in the hell would THEY consider "inhumane"? I wish I could whip and shock them--but I wouldn't do anything INHUMANE, you understand! B......S!!

paula eaton
paula eaton3 years ago

The BLM is out of control and answers to none. Whipped, kicked, cattle prodded is cruel and inhumane. Not allowing horse advocates in to see the horses in holding pens means there is something horrible to hide. Sneaking horses to slaughter is another problem. The BLM needs to be closed. Horrible people and horrible policies.

Ana P Martinez
Ana Martinez3 years ago

Salazar shames the Latino race....

Ana P Martinez
Ana Martinez3 years ago

Wish I could WHIP, SHOCK, KICK and PUNCH some of them in the face, then we'll see if it's not INHUMANE!