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September 26, 2017

The BLM is gearing up for a busy fall/winter roundup season. These traumatic helicopter roundups will be even more concerning than usual this year since every single wild horse captured is in danger of being killed or sold for slaughter. That’s because the Trump Administration’s Interior Department is lobbying hard for permission to destroy healthy wild horses and burros and sell these federally-protected animals for slaughter. If Congress agrees, as many as 92,000 wild horses and burros could die.

Here’s where the roundups are taking place and what’s going on.


Colorado

On September 14, the BLM began capturing 100 horses outside the Piceance/East Douglas Herd Management Area (HMA) in an area called “Cathedral Creek.” The roundup contractor is Cattoor Livestock.

Day 1 (Sept. 14): The BLM captured and removed 46 wild horses and a 4-month-old foal was euthanized due to a “pre-existing” knee injury.

Day 2 (Sept. 15): The BLM captured and removed 15 wild horses. No injuries were reported.

Day 3 (Sept. 16): The BLM captured and removed 10 wild horses. During this helicopter run, a foal was separated from his family and the contractors were “unable” to capture him.  According to the BLM report: “Contactors used the helicopter and roping from domestic horses to try and catch the foal, but was unable to do so. After considerable effort by the contractor, the decision was made to quit pursuing the foal,” according to the gather report. “[Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] vet concurred and that the foal was old enough to wean.”

AWHC Note: The BLM often deems very young foals “of weaning age.” It is tragic to think of this little one lost and alone in the wild without his family, another victim of the BLM’s heartless roundup program.

Day 4 (Sept. 17): The BLM captured and removed 10 additional horses. No injuries or incidents reported.

Day 5 (Sept. 18) The BLM captured 5 horses today. No public was present to observe and no deaths or injuries reported.

Cumulative total: 86 wild horses captured, 1 foal died, 1 foal separated from band; left behind on the range.

Read BLM’s roundup reports here.


Wyoming

The BLM is is planning two massive roundups that will remove nearly 3,000 wild horses from our public lands in Wyoming.  In each case, the BLM’s policy of removing horses to maximize private livestock grazing on public lands comes at a high price to American taxpayers, who fund the cruel federal mustang roundup program, and to the wild horses, who pay with their families and freedom, and now face mass killing or slaughter as well.


Wyoming Checkerboard Roundup 

Officially began September 25, 2017. 49 wild horses were captured on the first day. View a report and photos here.

What HMAs are involved? Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, and Great Divide Basin

How many horses will be rounded up and removed? 1,560

What will happen to these horses? BLM has requested permission from Congress to destroy “excess” horses and to sell them for slaughter. If Congress says yes, most of these horses will be killed.

How big is this area? 2.4 million acres of land (3,470 square miles), 70% of which is public.

How many horses does BLM allow to live in this area?  1,276-1,765

How many acres is that per horse? 1,400 acres per horse at the high end of the population limit.

How much livestock does BLM authorize to graze in this area? The equivalent of 12,600 year-round cow/calf pairs or 63,000 sheep.  Based on rancher self-reporting, the BLM states that actual use in this area last year was 55,535 AUMs, or the annual equivalent of 4,600 cow/calf pairs or over 23,000 sheep.

What else does the BLM plan to do: Release 20 mares and 20 stallions back to the Adobe Town HMA. Only horses with “readily recognized phenotypic traits of New World Iberian horses” would be returned to the HMA.

BLM EA and related documents found here.


Red Desert Complex in Wyoming

What Herd Management Areas (HMAs) are involved?

Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek, and Stewart Creek

How many horses will be rounded up and removed?

The BLM wants to remove the wild horses 2,096 horses, or 80% of the 2,620 horses residing in and around the Complex to just slightly above the low Appropriate Management Level (AML) at 524 wild horses.

What will happen to these horses? BLM has requested permission from Congress to destroy “excess” horses and to sell them for slaughter. If Congress says yes, most of these horses will be killed.

How big is the area? 753,000 acres

How many horses does BLM allow to live in this area? 480-724

How many acres is that per horse? 1,568-1,040 acres per horse.

How much livestock does BLM authorize to graze in this area?  There are 7 grazing allotments within the Complex. The total AUMs permitted for these allotments is 69,889 or the equivalent of 5,824 cow/calf pairs.

What else does the BLM plan to do? Treat mares with PZP to increase the time interval before another roundup would need to be completed. The BLM intends to return to the Complex within 3 years to round up and remove excess horses and/or gather and re-treat mares to maintain AML and the effectiveness of the fertility control measure.

BLM EA and other related documents can be found here.


Nevada

Not only is the BLM planning massive roundups in this state – including the largest in recent history in the Antelope and Triple B Complexes in Eastern Nevada – but also the agency is planning to implement a controversial new management practice of castrating stallions and returning them to the range. Although this strategy has been rejected by the BLM in other states due to lack of research and negative consequences of castrating stallions, the BLM is proposing to manage portions of wild horse populations in three complexes in Nevada as non-reproducing. Releasing large numbers of geldings to the range will not only destroy the natural behaviors of these wild stallions, it will also disrupt the social dynamics of the entire population. AWHC is committed to stopping this practice, and is currently in litigation in Idaho over this very issue.


Antelope and Triple B Complexes in Nevada

What Herd Management Areas (HMAs) are involved?

Antelope Complex:  Antelope, Antelope Valley, Goshute, and Spruce Pequop

Triple B Complex: Triple B, Medicine Maverick, Antelope Valley and Cherry Springs

How many horses will be rounded up and removed? 6,737 – the largest roundup of wild horses in recent history – perhaps ever.

What will happen to these horses? BLM has requested permission from Congress to destroy “excess” horses and to sell them for slaughter. If Congress says yes, most of these horses will be killed.

How big is this area? 3.9 million acres (over 6,000 square miles – the size of Hawaii)

How many horses does BLM allow to live in this area?  899 -1,678

How many acres is that per horse? 2,324 acres per horse at the high end of the population limit.

How much livestock does BLM authorize to graze in this area? 17,638 cow/calf pairs or 88,190 sheep (annual equivalent). BLM reports lower actual usage. Based on self-reporting permittees, the ten-year average grazing levels are the annual equivalent of 6,800 cow/calf pairs or 34,000 sheep.  Reduced grazing is to be expected following multiple years of severe drought.

What else does the BLM plan to do:

•      Geld up to 50 percent of the stallions who remain on the range.

•      Skew the sex ratio of these wild horse populations to 60% male, 40% female.

•      Reduce the population to near extinction level by maintaining “a core breeding population of 227 wild horses which is approximately 53% of the low end of AML” in Antelope and a core breeding population of 272 which is 63% of the low end of AML” in Triple B.”

BLM EA and related info here.


Smoke Creek Complex in Nevada

What HMAs are involved?  Fox, Lake Range, and Buffalo Hills

How many horses will be rounded up and removed? 

The BLM wants to remove the wild horses to reach mid Appropriate Management Level (AML) at 415 wild horses and eliminate the wild burro population.

What will happen to these horses? BLM has requested permission from Congress to destroy “excess” horses and to sell them for slaughter. If Congress says yes, most of these horses will be killed.

How big is this area? 310,000 acres – 96% of which is public land. 

How many horses does BLM allow to live in this area?  310-518 and no wild burros.

How many acres is that per horse? 598 acres per horse at the high end of the population limit.

How much livestock does BLM authorize to graze in this area? 851 for cow/calf pairs but only 518 for wild horses (annual equivalent). Despite drought conditions for several years, the BLM has not reduced AUMs for livestock, claiming instead that permittees have voluntarily reduced usage.  Records, however, indicate a steady increase in AUMs in past years.

What else does the BLM plan to do:  

•      Geld 105 of the stallions left on the range.

•      Treat all returned mares with PZP or GonaCon, the latter of which research has not yet determined the effects on wild horse natural behavior.

•      Reduce the population to dangerously low numbers by maintaining acore breeding population of just 310 horses –the low end of the AML.”

BLM EA and related info here.


Silver King in Nevada

What HMAs are involved?  Silver King

How many horses will be rounded up and removed?  918 – or 90% of current population.

What will happen to these horses? BLM has requested permission from Congress to destroy “excess” horses and to sell them for slaughter. If Congress says yes, most of these horses will be killed.

How big is this area? 1.7 million acres, of which the BLM manages 606,000 acres

How many horses does BLM allow to live in this area?  60-128

How many acres is that per horse?  13,281 acres per horse at the high end of the population limit.

How much livestock does BLM authorize to graze in this area?

6,180 cow/calf pairs or 30,900 sheep (annual equivalent). BLM reports lower actual usage. Based on self-reporting permittees, the ten-year average grazing levels are the annual equivalent of 2,858 cow/calf pairs or 14,292 sheep. 

What else does the BLM plan to do:  

•         Treat all the returned mares with fertility control – PZP or GonaCon.

•         Retain core breeding population of 60 horses – low Appropriate Management Level (AML), endangering the health and genetic viability of the herd.

The BLM plans to conduct successive roundups and removals to maintain AML.

BLM EA and related info here.


Oregon

The BLM is preparing to conduct two roundups that would remove over 300 wild horses from our public rangelands in Oregon. In both cases, the BLM’s management plan threatens the health and genetic viability of the herds by adhering to low Appropriate Management Levels while maintaining small core breeding populations by treating most returned mares with fertility control. In the meantime, ranchers continue to receive a disproportionate share of water and forage resources for their livestock – all at great expense to American taxpayers and our wild herds.


Stinkingwater in Oregon

What HMAs are involved?  Stinkingwater

How many horses will be rounded up and removed?  267

What will happen to these horses? BLM has requested permission from Congress to destroy “excess” horses and to sell them for slaughter. If Congress says yes, most of these horses will be killed.

How big is this area?  85,407 acres, 84% of which is public land.

How many horses does BLM allow to live in this area?  40-80

How many acres is that per horse?  2,135-1,068 per acre.

How much livestock does BLM authorize to graze in this area?  The HMA encompasses the three allotments for cattle grazing.  The total AUMs permitted for these allotments is 8,455 – or the equivalent of 705 cow/calf pairs.

What else does the BLM plan to do:  

•         Re-establish remaining population of 40 horses – low Appropriate Management Level (AML) – with a 50/50 sex ratio.

•         Treat returned mares with PZP fertility control vaccine.

•         Reduce the wild horse population to dangerously low, genetically non-viable levels.

The BLM will conduct successive roundups and removals until low AML is achieved.

BLM EA and related info here.


Hog Creek in Oregon

What HMAs are involved?  Hog Creek

How many horses will be rounded up and removed? 35

What will happen to these horses? BLM has requested permission from Congress to destroy “excess” horses and to sell them for slaughter. If Congress says yes, most of these horses will be killed.

How big is this area? 21,814 acres

How many horses does BLM allow to live in this area?  30-50

How many acres is that per horse?  436 acres per horse at the high end of the population limit.

How much livestock does BLM authorize to graze in this area?  Only 600 AUMs are allotted to wild horses while livestock are authorized to use 6,002 AUMs – the annual equivalent of 50 wild horses compared to 190 cow/calf pairs.

What else does the BLM plan to do?

•         Return 15 stallions and 15 mares to re-establish low Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 30 wild horse.

•         Apply PZP to most of the returned mares.

•         Threaten herd and genetic diversity in the HMA by maintaining low AML and treating all mares treated with fertility control. 

The BLM intends to return to the HMA every 4-5 years to round up and remove excess horses to maintain AML.

BLM EA and related info here.