The American Wild Horse Campaign’s Investigations Team uncovered a grim reality about the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) summer 2022 roundup in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA).
The Twin Peaks HMA, located on the California/Nevada border, covers 800,000 acres. The HMA was home to over 3,000 wild horses and burros prior to a brutal round up of 2,450 of them, which included many young, vulnerable foals who were born only a few months before.
The BLM had reported 31 deaths during the roundup, but results from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request told a different reality – 69 additional animals died at the government holding facilities during and immediately after the roundup.
Fourteen of the deaths were very young foals, chased by helicopters in high summer temperatures, and for long distances over rocky terrain. The records revealed the brutality and pain they endured. One note in the death records stated: “This foal was unfortunately found dead in one of our isolation pens…foals are foundering due to being run too far during the gather.”
Another related: “…suspect this foal’s death was from the stress of being run long distances in rough terrain and in high temperatures.” There were many more notes just like those.
During the roundup, there were several very concerning animal welfare violations. Observers on the ground documented BLM-contracted helicopters chasing far too many wild horses into a small pen, causing the pen to collapse. Two horses died and several were injured.
The roundup was conducted in extreme heat and the horses were chased long distances. AWHC brought these concerns to the onsite BLM Incident Commander and sent a formal complaint to BLM leadership. Despite this, no changes were implemented during the roundup.