http://www.examiner .com/x-37163- Equine-Advocacy- Examiner~ y2010m3d5- Stress-of- captivity- still-taking- a-toll-on- the-Calico- mustangs
Stress of captivity still taking a toll on the Calico mustangs
March 5, 9:22 PMEquine Advocacy ExaminerMaureen Harmonay
The residual stress of the helicopter chase, coupled with the inability of some horses to adapt to a diet of grass hay, continues to claim lives among the wild horses forced from their homes in Nevada's Calico Mountain Complex by the BLM's henchmen. In the last 48 hours, three more mares lost their late-term foals, and one was euthanized after she colicked. At least 68 of the original 1922 horses brought to the Indian Lakes Road feedlot pens near Fallon Nevada have died, and almost four dozen in-utero foals have perished, too.
The emotional toll on these horses cannot be measured. Add fear to the mix of stressors, now that horses are being pushed through squeeze chutes to be vaccinated, wormed, and freeze branded. Their frenzied squeals must sound like alarms to the ones in the waiting line, innoculating them with panic before they even enter the chute.
In the absence of outside observers, we can only surmise how the horses are really faring. It is only by reading between the lines of the Gather Daily Updates that we can piece together a sketchy picture of what is happening to the horses' hides and hearts. So many of the details are out of focus. You have to wonder, for example, whether the countless fetal losses reported as "miscarriages" are actually full-term foals who were stillborn. In either case, the promise of a new generation-- perhaps the last generation-- of Calico mustangs may never be fulfilled. What has been done to them is not right, it's not fair, and it's not legal.
The gelding of the Calico stallions--includin g Lightning--is due to start next month. Before these procedures start, it seems reasonable to insist that the BLM conduct a census to determine whether its gather operations have extinguished the herds which rightfully occupied the five Herd Management Areas (HMAs) of the Calico Complex. If a sustainable number of horses cannot be found by aerial reconnaissance, then at least 500 of the currently captive mustangs--stallions , mares, yearling, and foals--should be promptly returned to their range, to ensure that their genetic heritage will be preserved.