Bulletin from CRWE Newswire
Caliente, NV, CRWE Newswire (October 6, 2010) — Today’s death of a mustang stallion at a U.S. Interior Department wildhorse roundup is re-igniting controversy over the federal wild horse program, which has been harshly criticized, most recently by 54 members of Congress. Despite severe restrictions on the public’s ability to observe all aspects of the roundups, the death of the wild stallion was captured on video by wild horse advocates at the Silver King Herd Management Area in southeastern Nevada.
The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is engaged in one of the largest removals of wild horses from Western public lands in recent history – with 12,000 being removed in Fiscal Year 2010. The Silver King roundup aims to capture – via helicopter stampede – over 500 mustangs from the vast 606,000 acre herd management area, leaving just 60-120 horses behind.
The sorrel stallion who died was stampeded early this morning at a full run by a helicopter into BLM’s trap pens. Observers videotaped as the stallion struggled valiantly for his family and freedom before collapsing and dying, with his mare and young foal looking on. His striking white mare was then loaded onto a trailer, leaving the small sorrel foal behind, alone in the trap, as the stallion’s body was covered by a tarp and dragged into the trailer.
“The BLM has gone to great lengths to prevent observers from documenting the trauma and suffering of the horses during the helicopter chase. We only captured this tragedy on film by chance,” said Suzanne Roy, Campaign Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, who attended the roundup today. “The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is calling on the Interior Department to institute full transparency in all BLM wild horse and burro operations. We are also renewing the call to suspend the roundups, which are unnecessary and egregiously inhumane.”
Insight into the motivation behind the tight restrictions on public observation was provided by Lily Thomas, BLM wild horse and burro specialist, who stated on June 14, 2010:
“That’s been one of the problems we’ve had; there has been a lot of video out there and . . . working with wild horses is not a pretty sight. It’s caused us a really hard time in trying to explain what’s happening.”