BLM Roundup Update

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Three Fingers Roundup: July 26, 2016

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Vale District has announced a plan to round up 100 wild horses in the Three Fingers Herd Management Area (HMA) beginning as early as July 26, 2016. 

The BLM's current "appropriate" management level is just 75 to 150 wild horses on 61,000 acres of public land and the estimated current population is just 202 mustangs. The BLM's plan would be to remove 100 wild horses, permanently remove 50 of them from the range, and return 50 horses (25 stallions, 25 mares) to the HMA. 

The Three Fingers HMA is approximately 25 miles south of Vale, Oregon. The HMA is bordered on the west by the Owyhee Reservoir, on the south by the Leslie Gulch Road, and on the north by the Owyhee Dam.

The BLM is claiming that the roundup is necessary because wild horses are grazing outside of the HMA in areas affected by the 2015 Soda wildfire, which burned close to 280,000 acres in Oregon and Idaho. The agency claims that the horses are interfering with restoration plans in the fire area. However, the agency’s own decision record  states that only 15 wild horses from the Three Fingers HMA have roamed outside the HMA.

The agency also claims it wants to “prevent further deterioration” of rangeland resources by removing 50 wild horses while continuing to authorize the grazing of over 1,600 cattle in the two allotments that overlap and surround the HMA. Of interest: the permittees for these grazing areas provide beef, via the Country Natural Beef coop, to Whole Foods, a company that claims to source its meat products from humane and environmentally responsible sources.

The Three Fingers wild horses will be rounded up by helicopters and transported to Oregon’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, where some of the mares will likely be used in BLM’s gruesome sterilization experiments. Part of this “research” is to determine the effect of surgically removing the ovaries of pregnant mares. Since the mares currently at the Beatys Butte Corrals have already foaled, the agency needs a fresh supply of pregnant mares from the range. A total of 75 pregnant mares are scheduled to undergo the archaic “Ovariectomy via Colpotomy” procedure, in which livestock veterinarian Leon Pielstick will insert his hand and arm into the mares’ abdominal cavities through their vaginas and manually sever the ovaries using a rod-and-chain-like tool called an ecraseur. There likely will not be enough Three Fingers pregnant mares to complete the experiment, so the agency will need additional wild mares rounded up from other areas to complete this egregious “research” project.

Frisco Roundup Continues

Meanwhile, helicopters are continuing to stampede wild horse families across our public lands in western Utah.

According to the BLM, as of yesterday, 95 wild horses had been captured and permanently removed from the Frisco HMA. You can read daily reports here.

 This operation is a continuation of the Conger HMA roundup where 257 wild horses were rounded up and 4 died from traumatic injuries:

  • A 2-year old colt rammed into a trap panel, broke his neck and died.
  • A 3-year old pinto mare died slammed into a trap panel, broke her neck and died.
  • A little sorrel foal was kicked in the mouth at the trap site, sustaining a severe fracture. He was euthanized via gunshot by the BLM.
  • A 10-year old dun mare slammed into a trap panel, broke her neck and died. A Return to Freedom observer captured photos of this beautiful mare moments before she died, being stampeded into the trap with her offspring – a lovely yearling and a tiny foal, who is now an orphan.