Laura Leigh Groups Calls for BLM Humane Treatment of Horses
America’s wild horses and burros need humane treatment
RENO, (Wild Horse Education) – As the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalizes the 2013 roundup schedule (fiscal 2013 begins October 1) please join us in calling for BLM to adopt a significant Humane handling policy with ramifications for violations.
In 1971 Congress declared our wild horses and burros “fast disappearing from the landscape” and mandated their protection on public land. In over forty years of this mandate the BLM has never adopted a policy of humane handling practices.
“In the year 2012 in the United States of America,” stated Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education (WHE), “this conduct left unaddressed by a government agency is an obscenity.”
It has been more than a year since the agency engaged in the Triple B roundup review. This conduct at that roundup earned BLM a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) after a helicopter apparently hit a horse with the chopper skids in the Federal Court of Judge Howard McKibben.
The review done by BLM included the following: “Horses were observed being struck in the face, and often confused due to aggressive loading procedures and excessive pressure by multiple handlers. Several videos reveal that a few horses were repeatedly shocked with an electrical animal prod, sometimes in the face, and in one case, the use of this electrical prod led to a horse becoming stuck in a panel at the loading site. Some videos reveal horses being struck in more than one instance with the trailer gate to induce loading, and in one instance a horse appears to have been kicked in the head by a Sun J employee. In one video it appears that a horse was dragged into a trailer by a rope around its neck.”
“It’s difficult to understand – why, during the majority of removal operations, wild equines are denied even the most basic humane handling.” said WHE volunteer Lisa LeBlanc, “Nevada statutes consider over-driving and excessive striking of an animal – any animal – illegal and punishable by law. The BLM had stated, months ago, it is setting forth policy for humane standards during removals and after care, but the policy remains elusive, and loosely interpreted.”
Wild Horse Educations Federal Court Litigation for Humane Care remains active.
Below is a sample letter (short and simple) and suggested recipients.
Mike Pool, acting National Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Lueders, Nevada State Director at: email@example.com
Gus Warr, Utah lead wh&b program: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Dumas, California wh&b lead: email@example.com
Fran Ackley, Colorado state wh&b lead: Fran_Ackley@blm.gov
Donald Simpson, Wyoming state director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Mottice, Oregon assistant director: email@example.com
Steven Ellis, Idaho state director: BLM_ID_StateOffice@blm.gov
Ray Suazo, Arizona state director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie Connell, Montana state director: email@example.com
Dean Bolstad: National wild horse and burro management specialist: firstname.lastname@example.org
As the 2013 fiscal year “gather” schedule is finalized to remove wild horses and burros from public land I implore you to adopt a standard of humane care for operations and processing facilities.
In spite of public outrage, litigation and BLM’s own admission of inappropriate conduct documented in the Triple B team review the agency has failed to create humane handling policy for America’s Heritage species. Supposedly protected by an Act of Congress these animals are removed without an enforceable policy to ensure that all practices follow a humane guideline.
At the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting that took place in April of this year, Dean Bolstad gave a report stating that such a policy would be in place by July 2012.
It is unfathomable that an agency tasked with the protection of wild horses and burros on public land fails to operate without any standard for humane handling in place. No matter how you feel about wild horses and burros being on our rangelands one thing most people seem to be in agreement about is that they need to be handled in a humane fashion.
As a new schedule is announced I strongly urge you to adopt a humane care standard.
(your name and contact info here)
Wild Horse Education supports an active Federal lawsuit to the issue of Humane care. In addition they carry a case that won a landmark Ninth Circuit decision on the “public’s right to know” that is pending hearing later next month. In June of 2012 WHE won a case to hold the agency accountable to it’s own policy at Jackson Mountain during foaling season. Public support is needed to keep litigation efforts active and provide the documentation to support the cases.