Somewhat interesting, if not conclusive, talk with BLM employee today. They are not even acknowledging the helicopter made contact with the horse. Something about telephoto lenses, et. al. making objects appear closer together than they actually are. I mentioned that the horse goes into violent motion right when it seems the skids make contact so how do you account for that. Response was that they simply are trying to avoid the appearance of the helicopter being too close in future roundups.
They just won't (or can't) admit it made contact and they sure don't seem to be asking the pilot why he got so close when clearly it wasn't needed. They are simply trying to avoid allowing advocates that "gotcha" moment.
He did say they were talking with all their contractors about humane issues and trying to improve the treatment of horses and, yes, even talking to their pilots and telling them to remain safe distances from the horses. I hope what Abbey says about humane treatment is getting filtered down the chain but it doesn't seem like it. I'm dismayed this pilot keeps flying even though his tactics have been the subject of several "committees". I am then told that pilot has brought many horses in safely. Well, yes but the same issues keep occurring with this pilot and have for well over a year. If he is so tired at the end of the day that he just wants to go home, maybe they should find another pilot?
Asked him about foal count and why some roundups are not giving out the daily breakdown on studs, mares and foals. I mentioned that when we can get data, it seems to confirm population growth in the 20% range... but without that data its hard for anyone that doesn't have boots on the ground to know if that is true.
Also asked him why, if the population growth is 20% how, after removing 12,000 horses in FY2010, the BLM numbers of horses on the range barely budged from 2010 to 2011? He admits he doesn't know, his area is Nevada but that he also would wonder why and that it certainly would be helpful to have an explanation that would account for no reduction in population, year over year. despite so many removals. I told him I emailed DC several times and called Gorey as well on this issue but no one has bothered to respond or explain. We both agreed better information and access to information would reduce tensions. Gorey should explain this. There are no telephoto excuses to hide behind on this one. It needs an explanation.
Why barbed wire so close to the trap site that one foal got caught in it and had to be euthanized? He didn't know anything about it so I will send him the gather and vet report for that day. I'd like to know just how close that barbed wire was to the trap site. Anyone remember Freedom? He had to break through barbed wire as well right after vaulting over the panels at the Calico gather. Seems the barbed wire is continuous hazard that needs to be better addressed by the BLM pre roundup. He says they do take down barbed wire, just that's there's lots of it. The Disappointment Valley roundup video comes to mind and the folded arms, defensive posture of the BLM employees in it while being told there were barbed wire hazards on the route.
Many questions, no answers. That pilot is still flying and gathers are being closed.
It was interesting to read the account of one woman last week who, on her blog about the CO roundup, said the BLM employees felt they were targets. How ironic that some feel they are being persecuted. Human nature, I guess. How much of human psychology are we taking into affect when we constantly criticize them? Does it really matter all that much since giving the BLM a group hug sure won't stop the roundups?