The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is once again under fire from animal and wild horse advocates for defying its own policies by using helicopters to roundup an estimated 630 of the 930 horses in the Jackson Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA) in Nevada during foaling season.
The roundup, which began on June 8, is being called one of the worst in years. Pregnant mares and foals estimated to be no more than a week or two old are being run for miles on rough terrain in peak summer heat.
The BLM is justifying its actions by declaring a drought “emergency.” By the BLM’s logic, the obvious solution to dealing with animals who are suffering the effects of drought conditions, including already jeopardized pregnant and lactating mares and foals, is to terrorize them and make them expend even more energy by running them for miles in the desert when it’s really hot out.
“In reality, the BLM had months warning of oncoming drought and failed to take pro-active measures, such as removing cattle from the area to prevent an emergency situation. It’s certainly difficult to believe BLM’s claims about a drought emergency when cattle grazing continues in most of the HMA! In fact, cows were present in the drought-stricken southern portion of the HMA until last week. A few straggler cows even wandered into the roundup trap site during the first week of the roundup!” according to the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC).
A number of equine advocacy groups urged the BLM to utilize a humane alternative to a helicopter roundup, such as bait trapping, with support from Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, but their pleas went unheard.
“The BLM’s decision to subject tiny foals, pregnant mares, and already compromised horses to the trauma of a helicopter stampede without even attempting a safer and more humane (method) clearly demonstrates the BLM’s callous disregard for the well-being of these federally-protected animals,” said AWHPC Communications Director Deniz Bolbol.
Today, U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben granted part of a temporary restraining order to ban the use of helicopters in roundups as a result of a petition filed by Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education, to stop the roundup entirely. Leigh argues that wild horses have more of a right to be on public land than privately owned livestock, who were allowed to remain despite the concern surrounding drought.
However, it will continue to in the southern half of the Jackson Mountains because the BLM has proven drought, but will not be allowed in the northern half of the target area until July 1, the end of foaling season.
Please sign and share the petition telling the BLM you oppose this roundup.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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