Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Death Tolls Rises as Calico Assault Continues; Another Foal Lost as BLM Rejects Offer to Adopt

Second Foal Loses Hooves Then Put Down Nevada BLM Action

BLM Report

Nationwide Protests Continue

By Steven Long

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The federal Bureau of Land Management confirmed today that a second foal has died at their hands after losing its hooves possibly from being driven down a Nevada mountainside by a roaring helicopter.

“Apparently there has been one more foal that was euthanized because of hoof Sloughs,” BLM spokeswoman JoLynn Worley of the agency’s Winnemucca office told Horseback Online.

The agency classifies the 1669 horses it has rounded up at the current Calico Mountain gather as “excess.”

Horseback has asked for the report of the BLM veterinarian who treated the foal. The foal died Saturday after two weeks of treatment. Worley has said she will post the report on the website when it becomes available.

Activist and videographer Laura Leigh noticed the foal laying down last week during a visit to the BLM hospital site. She had found the animal a caregiver outside of BLM control, however, it was too late.

According to a website set up for the current Calico roundup citing day to day progress on the capture of wild horses, the bureau acknowledges 27 deaths since the “gather” began on December 28th.

The BLM also admits that 20 to 30 mares have miscarried since late December.

Helicopter induced roundups have consistently resulted in wild horse deaths according to BLM statistics released late last year to Horseback Magazine.

In 2008, 45 percent of the roundups resulted in at least one fatality, and on one in Nevada, 27 horses died. The total number of deaths through injury or for other reasons totaled 126 animals that year.

The 2009 percentage of dead horses on BLM roundups is slightly worse at 46 percent resulting in at least one horse death. In July, a Wyoming gather proved fatal to 11 horses

Over the two years prior to the 2010 roundup season a total of 205 horses died at the agency’s hands

In BLM roundups, horses are often driven down miles of rocky slopes by a roaring helicopter. Such was the case in Wyoming this year when 11 horses died at Coconut Creek when 349 horses were caught.

Hope Springs Eternal

(A Eulogy)

By Laura Leigh

HOUSTON, (Horseback) - On January 22, 2010 I was given a tour of the Fallon holding facility after my observation days (Calico gather) had been cancelled by weather twice.

I had witnessed the gather on January 16, and met Gene Seidlitz (Winnemucca district manager) and Heather Emmons, both of the Bureau of Land Management. Both appeared to be very willing to accommodate and provide access in as transparent a manner as possible Gene spoke to me many times about the concept of finding areas for dialogue and co-operation. I had hoped to write an article based on that concept.

On January 22, Seidlitz and Lisa Ross, BLM public relations coordinator for Calico gather met me at the agency’s Fallon facility. John Neill is acting BLM manager at Fallon. I was given free access to photograph and ask questions. I was also allowed to videotape the “hospital” facility at Fallon. I soon saw a row of small pens near the entrance to the facility next to the area being built to process horses. The plywood for windbreaks was stacked but not installed.

The pens held mostly foals and a few mares. Each horse I saw demonstrated some form of lameness. Many had bandages on their legs. Of particular concern was a foal that would not rise when approached.. His eyes were glassy.

Over the next few days I made several attempts to gain information about that foal. I sent e-mails to Gene, Lisa, and John. I was told the foal was up the very next day and doing well. Information I found hard to believe because I did not think he would even make it through the night. I requested a vet report and was told I would have it as soon as one was available. I requested that the foal be released to me and I would facilitate his placement into a facility that could properly care for him. The request was denied, the BLM saying it was not needed.

I named him “Hope Springs Eternal.” I began to make inquiries to find a facility to bring him to. He would have a home.

Several more conversations with John Neill continued to assure me the foal was fine. John said he was busy and if I did not get the vet report to please call him again.

I called today. I was told the vet report is online. It’s not. He was euthanized Saturday because his hooves had begun to slough.

My emotions are many:

So much for a timely exchange of information. So much for the concept that the “guys on the ground” are any different than the guys in DC, something they want you to believe. So much for the idea that co-operation toward problem solving with the best interests of the horses at its heart will ever be a reality. So much for “ Hope Springs Eternal.”

The baby I saw on January 22 was in incredible pain to the point that, as a wild animal, he could hardly lift his head as a strange human, a potential predator, approached. All the others rose and limped away. This baby languished in that facility with no windbreak in agony. A baby that had a chance if the humans involved could have attempted to create an opportunity to work together. Releasing that foal would have cost the BLM nothing… and maybe created the sensation that somewhere in this madness a spirit of humanity could overcome this battle of obstinate adherence to outdated bureaucratic protocol. I had “Hope.”

Little spirit you are now free of this administration’s unwillingness to recognize your worth. “Hope Springs Eternal,” rest in peace. You are loved.

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