By Katia Louise
There are news stories published nearly every day now about the Federal BLM Round Up of Wild Horses. Due to the efforts of those looking out for the best interest of the horses, more information has been surfacing and both local news stations and mainstream news outlets have been covering the topic more and more. As of Jan 30, the BLM admits to 27 horses killed during the current Calico round up in NV and this ever rising death toll has gotten worldwide attention.
Despite of the publicity and exposure, pro horse advocates are disappointed in the way media is presenting this issue to the public. Advocates worry that important information and facts are being left out, and that this paves the way for those that profit from these cruel and controversial activities. The BLM has made this issue appear as though it's between the BLM and the advocates, but in truth, it's all about what the BLM is doing to the horses.
The horse advocates are looking out for the horses. The BLM is looking out for themselves.
One of the most widely contended aspects of the BLM roundup/ removal of wild horses is the BLM's claim that the horses are starving due to an absence of forage on their assigned range lands. What has proven to be a clear pattern is the governments' creative & selective production of imagery. For example, a couple of pictures have recently surfaced in media reports where nursing mares are depicted. The problem arises when these images depict isolated and rare instances of thin nursing mares. These same mares are then touted by DOI Secretary Salazar and other BLM officials as an accurate example of what they claim to be the poor health and condition of the entire wild horse population.
In speaking from my own firsthand experience as an observer of the Calico round up, what I find concerning is that the number of horses that appear less fat and healthy is actually a mere small fraction of the overall population. Further, these thinner horses are predominantly mares with foals still nursing. When looking at the entire population of horses, it's important to note that their body condition at the time of roundup, as the BLM admittedly reports; is good. And when you look specifically at the remaining population of horses (the stallions, yearlings and mares without foals) from the same HMA's they do not show the so called signs of malnourishment. Further, it should also be pointed out the that it’s a common natural occurrence for most any species living on the land in their natural environment during the dead of winter, while nursing to lose more body weight than other members of their herd. Based on the same, this type of natural weight loss is more appropriately attributed to the foal’s need for nourishment from the mare, rather than the claim that these mares are starving from insufficient forage.
The exposure of the truth has caused the DOI and BLM to step up their misinformation campaigns. If wild horses were truly starving out on the range, the so called excess populations wouldn't be a problem, and the round ups would NOT be necessary. On the other hand if there were such a thing as an excess wild horse problem, then the wild horses would be in fact thriving and doing quite nicely on their own.. Again no need for the BLM to step in and place them on feed lots at taxpayer's expense. And if the BLM truly cared about our wild American horses and they wanted to do the best thing for them, they would leave them out on the open ranges and allow they to transverse their assigned HMA's on their own, rather than stampede them across lava fields with helicopters and removal them permanently.
The BLM is clever to call the round up a gather. They shoot these nursing mares leaving behind orphaned foals and then call that euthanasia. They then spin the death tolls and statistics to bolster their misinformation campaign. What other indiscriminate tactics are being used by the BLM in effort mislead the public?