Several weeks ago, reports were made public regarding a deadly infectious disease outbreak at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Cañon City, Colorado facility.
It is estimated that the recently identified Equine Influenza Virus (EIV) has killed over 140 horses at the BLM holding facility since April 23.
EIV is a virus that horses are routinely vaccinated against. In fact, the vaccine is part of the BLM’s vaccine protocol for captured equines. So it begs the question as to why all of the deceased wild horses were either unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated against Equine Influenza Virus especially when they were rounded up late last summer and have been in the BLM’s care ever since.
Along with the outcry from wild horse advocates, Colorado’s Governor Jared Polis has also released a statement calling for a halt to the roundup of Colorado’s Piceance herd planned for this summer while an investigation into the BLM’s Cañon City facility and the welfare of its warehoused horses is conducted.
Governor Polis stated that “ We have long advocated for the health, safety, and wellbeing of Colorado’s wild horses, and will continue to do so as we seek a humane future for our mustangs.”
This tragic situation highlights the fact that America’s wild horses are safest when managed on the public lands allocated to them by law. Cruel roundups and confinement in overcrowded pens lead to injury and even death. And these holding facilities are where the stressed horses are highly susceptible to deadly diseases like EIV. It is well known that there is humane, scientifically-proven birth control available as an option instead of costly, unnecessary roundups.