Statement in Response to BLM “Emergency” Roundup of Up to 200 Wild Horses in Cold Creek, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada (August 29, 2015) . . . Arlene Gawne, President of America's Wild Horse Advocates (AWHA) - the Spring Mountain Alliance provided the following statement regarding the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) announcement of its intent to conduct an "emergency" removal of up to 200 wild horses from the Cold Creek area of southern Nevada – about 30 miles west of Las Vegas. The BLM stated that the horses are suffering from extreme drought conditions and lack of forage and that an unidentified number of horses are in poor body condition.

"This is a BLM-created crisis on the range due to the agency's inexcusable failure to implement the humane birth control program that we proposed over two years ago. We vehemently disagree with the BLM as to the cause of the current ‘emergency’ situation. The lack of forage may never have occurred had the BLM and U.S. Forest Service not delayed for two years the program we proposed to allow trained volunteers to apply humane and reversible birth control to the wild horses in the Spring Mountain range. Instead of implementing this humane and cost-effective program, the agency has done nothing and allowed this crisis on the range to develop.

The cost of the government’s inaction is steep, both to the taxpayers who will fund the removal and warehousing of these wild horses, and to the horses themselves, some of whom have suffered from lack of forage and now will lose their freedom forever.”

Regarding the BLM’s statement about wild horses in poor body condition due to lack of forage, Gawne stated:

“Local wild horse observers agree that some wild horses - perhaps up to 70, but not 200 that the BLM intends to remove, have stopped migrating up to summer range where forage is available higher in the mountains and the mares with foals, particularly the older mares, are either in poor condition or starving. Had the government allowed us to implement the birth control program when we proposed it, these older mares would not have foals and therefore would likely not be suffering today.”

Background information:

In 2013, AWHA proposed to BLM a management plan for wild horses near Cold Creek where nearly all mares would be darted painlessly with a proven contraceptive vaccine, PZP, that has significantly reduced birth rates in various wild horse populations across the US. At no cost to the taxpayer, AWHA would have provided certified darters to deliver the vaccine and carefully document the results of the PZP plan.

AWHA also proposed to assist with creating dispersed water sources across the range so horses would not concentrate near Cold Creek. Dispersed water sources would benefit other wildlife in the area including deer and elk.