The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) wild horse roundup in Colorado’s Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area (HMA) is over. Due to public outcry, advocacy efforts, and the support from Governor Jared Polis, First Gentleman Marlon Reis, and Congressman Joe Neguse, the roundup ended early, leaving 150 other targeted wild horses keeping their freedom. Now there are more than 300 wild horses who remain in this HMA (the BLM intended to leave just 163 post roundup).
It is estimated that at least 10,000 calls and countless emails over one day provided the public pressure desperately needed to show strong support for Governor Polis’ efforts to implement more humane wild horse management practices in Colorado.
Governor Polis stated that the “public outpouring” showed “how much people care for the well-being of these iconic Colorado animals.”
But the fact remains that tragically over 470 wild horses lost their freedom, and some their lives, in this brutal helicopter roundup.
The captured horses have been sent to Canyon City’s state prison where the BLM has holding corrals. As with other government short- and long-term pens, there are numerous concerns about conditions at this facility.
The horses’ future is uncertain. They are likely to end up warehoused for years in BLM feedlots or placed into their “Adoption Incentive Program”, a faulty program where it’s been found that truckloads of horses have ended up in the slaughter pipeline.
Like roundups before, the Sand Wash Basin operation left devastated wild horse families and numerous animal welfare violations to include tiny foals left terrified and defenseless on the range without their mothers. Public outcry and the number of political leaders speaking up must increase to protect the horses!
The Wild Horse and Burro Program has plans to increase helicopter roundups to capture and remove tens of thousands of federally protected wild horses and burros from taxpayer funded public lands over the next few years.
Brutal and unnecessary roundups mean that wild horses (including foals) are literally running for their lives, chased by the helicopters until utterly exhausted. Foals are often left abandoned and hungry without their mothers, scared and alone out on the range. Panicked horses break their limbs, neck or backs during the chase or inside the trap pens as they frantically try to escape.
This nightmare reality on our public lands has gone on for decades. It’s reasons are unscientific, fiscally reckless, and grossly inhumane. And all too often America’s iconic wild horses are sent by truckloads into the slaughter pipeline as their legal protections have been gutted for years.
Blaming wild horses and burros for range degradation is shameful and a lie. The real cause of environmental degradation is largely due to the massive numbers of livestock (at least one million cattle with tens of thousands of sheep) which the BLM permits to graze on nearly all of the public land it manages out West.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Email your Congressional representative immediately. Ask him/her to urge the House Natural Resources Committee to hold an oversight hearing as an initial step to reform the BLM’s long-time mismanagement of its Wild Horse and Burro Program.
Locate your elected official here: www.house.gov