Wild horse and burro roundups are brutal and unnecessary in the best of conditions, let alone with summertime heat and dust filled terrain.
Recently, a 5-year-old wild mustang mare broke her neck after crashing into the panels of a too small trap pen at a Utah helicopter roundup. Observers warned the BLM that the trap’s design would result in horse injuries or breaking their necks trying to escape. The BLM ignored these concerns. More horses crashed into the panels after the young mare died and had been dragged off by BLM workers.
The helicopter contractors (Sampson Livestock) stampeded and captured close to 800 wild horses to leave a gutted population of about 60 horses. After capture, the horses were forced onto semi-truck trailers and driven to a privately-operated and closed to the public facility as well as to the BLM’s Delta Wild Horse facility. The facility will be closed to the public until August 1 when the horses become available through the BLM’s adoption and sale program.
In addition to gutting the herd through this unnecessary roundup, the BLM is considering using surgical sterilization — to include the dangerous and highly disputed ovariectomy via colpotomy procedure — as a management tool in this HMA.
Further cruelties were documented at this roundup funded by taxpayer dollars:
- A 5-year old mare crashed into a pen panel trying to escape; she fell and began thrashing her legs around as her neck had been broken.
- The contractors quickly retrieved a white sheet which two young girls held up the sheet to block observers’ view. Even though the horse was still alive, no euthanasia was provided. Onlookers were told the mare died instantly (see comment in bold below).*
- An ATV drove up and chains were attached to the horse’s legs, then the ATV dragged the mare behind it.
- Viewers watched as the mare was dragged off as no sled to carry her had been available for such an occurrence.
- A foal, either separated from his mother or orphaned due to the helicopter chase, eventually entered the trap. Two wranglers then wrestled him to the ground while waiting for a lasso.
*While we were told that the mare died instantly, photos taken clearly show that the horse is still moving her head/has her head up before the sheet is put over her, which was confirmed by the advocate’s field rep. Photos and videos raise questions about whether the mare was actually deceased at the time of the dragging.
Recently, The U.S. House of Representatives took a stand to ensure that the BLM will no longer be allowed to spend zero percent of its budget on humane fertility control, while two-thirds is used to conduct brutal roundups and warehouse them for life at taxpayer expense.