United States Bureau of Land Management-contracted “gatherers” use one or more helicopters to herd wild horses and burros into large metal traps. The animals are terrified as they run for miles to an uncertain fate. It is very common for a number of horses or burros including foals and pregnant mares to be badly injured or even killed during these operations.
For the most part, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials prevent the media and wild horse advocates from having any real access to these roundups, even closing off the air space during these “events.” If the roundups are conducted humanely, as the BLM claims, then why do they prevent the public from more closely witnessing and recording them? The answer is obvious: because the roundups are in fact horrific for the animals. People in the horse community who have attended such roundups attest to their cruelty and severity. People in the horse community in addition decry the grossly unfair numbers that both the BLM and United States Forest Service are setting as so-called Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) as the population levels that are allowed within the wild horse and burro legal Herd Areas or Territories.
A number of BLM wild horse and burro holding facilities are dispersed throughout the United States. These glorified concentration camps are very terrible places for wild equids. Previously running wild and naturally adapting to their ecosystems, the victimized horses and burros are often forced to stand in such tight quarters that they can barely run, especially in the short-term holding facilities, such as the one in Palomino Valley in Nevada.
While the short-term holding facilities are generally open to public viewing during working hours, BLM officials very rarely allow anyone outside of their own staff and contracted workers to visit the long-term holding facilities. The media is generally prohibited from documenting these facilities except on rare, carefully prearranged public visitation days. From many sources, we know that these places are, in fact, terrible ones for wild horses and burros where they find themselves conveniently disregarded and in decline or even shipped off to a slaughterhouse in Mexico or Canada. No living creature should be treated this way, much less members of two of the Earth’s most highly evolved and sensitive, beautiful, powerful and intelligent species.
The solution is to stop the roundups and restore the herds throughout the West according to the sound provisions of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. A Reserve Design plan should be immediately implemented in order to achieve genetically viable and naturally adapted and self-stabilizing populations.