Friday, February 11, 2011

Pneumonia strikes young horses at BLM facility

As you read this article by M. Harmony, remember that the Indian Lakes facility is a privately operated facility and is closed to most public viewing except for invited professionals. This facility is being paid for by our tax dollars, though the public has no access and there is no verification of the treatment and conditions of the facility.

-- Lisa Griffith

Pneumonia is claiming the lives of young wild horses in BLM custody

February 10th, 2011 12:22 am ET

Behind the closed doors of the BLM's Indian Lakes Road holding facility near Fallon, Nevada, pneumonia is suddenly claiming an alarming number of wild horses. During the week ending February 4th, 12 horses perished in the short-term holding pens known as "Broken Arrow"; eight of them were yearling victims of "secondary pneumonia." Upper respiratory disease has been rampant among the young horses confined at Broken Arrow since last June, and now it's attacking the latest arrivals, whose immune systems are at their most vulnerable.

These were otherwise healthy horses who were recently stampeded off their expansive ranges and captured in the dead of winter, as part of the just-concluded Eagle and Callaghan Complex roundups in Nevada. A total of 850 wild horses from these roundups were shipped directly to the Indian Lakes Road feedlot. According to the BLM's own reports, at least 37 of them are now dead, with 32 of these fatalities having occurred in the six weeks since the beginning of the year.

In a repeat of the pattern that emerged at the same facility after last year's Calico Complex roundup, other horses are starting to die or be "euthanized" as a result of what the BLM's veterinarian characterizes as "hyperlipemia," a condition of metabolic and liver failure caused by the extreme stress of the helicopter chase, entrapment, and ongoing captivity. Four of the horses who died at Indian Lakes Road in recent weeks were deemed to have perished from this roundup-related condition.

The BLM and its contractors like to pat themselves on the back by citing artificially deflated "gather mortality rates" in the vicinity of 1%. Indeed, in its press release announcing the conclusion of the Callaghan Complex roundup earlier this week, the BLM boasted that the gather-related mortality rate was .8%. But that's deceptive. The true cost in equine lives is much, much higher than that. It's dishonest to count only the horses whose lives were cut short at a trap site. The ones who fall in their wake are victims, too.



  • Craig Downer 1 day ago

    Yes, terrible suffering and death from pneumonia, and this started with the brutal helicopter roundup during frigid weather conditions, such as I observed at the Eagle wild horse HMA helicopter roundup on Jan 5, 2011, out of Pioche. I said this was too cold and it should be called off. When I awoke at 4:30 AM that day it was 12 degrees F. below zero, and when the roundup occurred it was only several degrees above zero. The horses were brought in in very sweaty condition and such massive vapor arose from their bodies that I thought the Cattoors had a smudge pot going to obscure our public viewing of this brutal and heartless repression and displacement of the horses natural freedom.

  • Wambli Okiye 1 day ago

    This information is not surprising but that does not make it any less sickening and uselessly tragic for these horses that were cruelly ripped from their home ranges only to have their lives cut short by the uncaring ignorance of man. There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON FOR THIS TO BE HAPPENING, plenty of excuses from the BLM but no valid reasons! Why won’t they listen to their own veterinary and modify their operations accordingly? If they were as concerned about the horses as they publicly proclaim themselves to be this kind of circumstance could have been avoided. Every one of these sub-humans involved all the way up to the top must be held accountable, in one way or another, and made to stop what they are doing.

    Thank you Maureen for putting this out to help combat the cold-hearted lies the BLM spoon feeds to an unknowing public.

  • Anonymous 1 day ago

    Can we sue the BLM?

  • Barbara Warner 1 day ago

    This is nothing more than more cruelty. I wonder if any medical help was even given to these sick horses?

  • John 1 day ago

    These horse are the last Sentry's of public lands and SOMEONE wants them gone. These animals go ?! ....the lands are opened up. There is a lot more going on here than the obvious....we the people are being sold-out.
    All this acreage will no longer be public.someone has plans for it would be my guess. And that SOMEONE is so far REMOVED from us that emhasis for the HUMANE TREATMENT of these animals is sorely missing. It's not even in their radar. These people don't care about anything but all that much so that they have authorized payment of $250. PER HORSE for its removal. These Horses are supposed to be protected...By Laws enacted by Congress. These Lands have been declared to be Public Lands Congress with laws to protect them.
    I'm not really looking forward to the next phase of this operation....
    SOMEONE knows, and he isn't talking.....yet.

  • Jennifer 23 hours ago

    You are absolutely 100% right..It is about the land and some plan they have going on...It is so FAR removed from these round ups, that the horses will have to suffer!!:( And again, we the people, get ignored, and they continue with their big plan that we know nothing about! What is sad is the horses are supposed to be protected by law, and it isnt working, and doesnt matter in the big picture!! The price they are paying per horse captured is a huge indication, there is something very big at work here!!! I feel helpless, and it sucks!

  • Morgan Griffith 1 day ago

    Status reports that I broke down show that the next 30 days after the roundups are a particularly delicate time for the horses and deaths continue 90 days after roundups. This is gather related, there is no other way to peg it.

  • Yes, Morgan, that is my point. The BLM cannot claim a marginal gather-related mortality rate with a straight face. The true toll is much greater.

    Dr. Bruce Nock underscores this point with his important analysis of last year's Calico roundup, Wild Horses: The Stress of Captivity. It's deja vu all over again for the Callaghan and Eagle horses, unfortunately.

  • Anonymous 1 day ago

    we have to do something to stop this......but what. I don't think our congressman even look at the letters we have constantly sent. the BLM knows zip about animals, be it horses, bisons, wolves, etc. except how to make them run and die.

  • maxiemom 21 hours ago

    Somehow this has to be exposed to the public at large. They don't watch CNN and FAUX won't cover it, nor will the major networks, which are actually owned by big business. Someone, or groups of someones, need to take on an extensive public relations program somehow to get this before the public. There are a lot of evil b===ds out there who won't give a tinker's damn, but there are also a lot of people who don't want to see those horses removed from their homes and still believe that this isn't happening. What it would take if public awareness, and for someone to get this in front of them. People have a romantic image of the West, and that includes those horses.

  • Maureen 21 hours ago

    Grass Roots Horse IS DOING SOMETHING to stop this. This is what our lawsuit is about ! Getting these doors open ! We will be entering into discovery phase and we are fighting for this very thing ! Opening all the doors and accountability and regular and consistent visiting of all wild horse holding areas. THIS is our Silver King lawsuit ! Please help support our lawsuit and you can read the filings and press releases on this very thing. Also, pictures of the Eagle and Callaghan wild horses being rounded up are on our blog, Laura Leigh was there and we can see the steam and sweating horses, just as we are seeing in Antelope now.

  • Louie Cocroft 8 hours ago

    Maureen, thank you for this article. It is being circulated as far as possible

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