Animals’ Angels FOIA Request Uncovers Grave Discrepancy in BLM Mortality Rates

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19What is happening at the Bureau of Land Management’s Nevada Palomino Valley Holding Facility?

There have been many reports lately about questionable actions of the Bureau of Land Management and its contractors, such as selling horses out of long term holding to known kill buyers Joe Simon and Musick Livestock (“Wild Horses Sold to Killbuyer”) or allowing individuals such as Tom Davis to purchase 1700 horses without questioning where all these horses would end up. (“Wild Horses to Slaughter”).  
  

Animals’ Angels latest Freedom of Information Act request only increased our concerns over the BLM’s treatment of wild horses and burros. Among other things, the BLM’s Palomino Valley Facility in Nevada seems to be drastically under-reporting the actual number of horses and burros that have died under its “care.”

The National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley is the largest BLM holding facility in the country. The facility, located near Reno, serves as the primary holding area for wild horses and burros rounded up from the public lands in Nevada as well as neighboring states. The facility has 160 acres and according to the BLM website, can hold a maximum of 2,000horses and burros at any given time.

355In order to deal with the eventuality of equine deaths, the NV Bureau of Land Management has an ongoing contract with a rendering plant, Nevada By-Products (d/b/a Reno Rendering), to process the horses and burros from the Palomino Valley Holding Facility.
 
According to the contract paperwork, Nevada By-Products was chosen over landfill disposal due to cost effectiveness and the fact that “Due to the sensitive nature of the public to the wild horse and burro program, it is necessary to dispose of these large animals as quickly and discretely (sic) as possible and Reno Rendering fulfills these requirements.”

 

It should also be noted that in the contract specifications, the NV BLM estimated approximately 200 adults and 100 foals would need to be sent for rendering each year.

In addition to the contract itself, our FOIA request obtained all records of deceased horses and burros sent from the BLM holding facility to the rendering plant from January 1, 2010 through May 31, 2012.  

During that timeframe the BLM itself reported in the officialPalomino Valley Mortality Detail Report that only 241 horses and burros died at the Palomino Valley and 50 at the Fallon facility. However, the records from the rendering plant tell quite a different story.  

According to the Nevada By-Product invoices for that same time period, a startling 577 dead horses were received from the Palomino Valley Facility. This is a shocking difference of 336 animals (286 animals if the Nevada By-Product invoices do  include the Fallon horses), a number simply too large to ignore.

Click here to review the FOIA records… 

Compounding our concerns, an inordinate number of foals and colts were among the deceased. “Newborns” or “babies” were also specifically noted on several of the rendering plant receipts. A total of 332 foals and colts were included in the rendering plant invoices. In March 2011 alone, 10 horses and 64 colts died and were shipped to Nevada By-Products.

It begs the questions: Why the discrepancy?  Why are so many young horses dying? What would the BLM holding facility gain by under-reporting these figures?

The BLM’s stance all along is that its roundups are humane. On the face of it, we already know this is blatantly untrue. Roundups are done via helicopter, panicking the wild horses and burros and, as a result, causing undue injury. Wild horses and burros will, as a matter of instinct, startle when put under stress, yet the BLM continues to ignore the voices who are advocating for helicopter-free and humane roundups, or better still, to end the roundups altogether. The disparity in the death rates reported by the BLM would seem to indicate many more horses and burros are dying at their facilities than they would have us believe.    

This newly uncovered mortality discrepancy casts yet another dark shadow on the BLM and is another sign that more seems to be going on than meets the eye. With the number of stories regarding questionable sales to kill buyers, cruelty and  unexplained record keeping piling up from various outlets, a question we should all ask is: What doesn’t the BLM want the public to know?    

Animals’ Angels would like to thank Debbie Coffey for her assistance with this investigation!  

About Animals’ Angels: 

Animals’ Angels works to improve conditions for farm animals. We closely cooperate with law enforcement and government agencies to fight animal cruelty. Our investigators are out in the field nationwide, visiting auctions, feedlots and slaughter plants.

Contact: Animals’ Angels Inc. PO Box 1056, Westminster, MD 21158, 410-848-3153, www.animalsangels.org  info@animalsangels.org




AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
19 Comments
  • Margaret

    This is so typical BLM.they tell so many lies they wouldn’t know the truth if it rose up in front of them and tapped them on the nose!

    WE THE PEOPLE are sensitive. You ask why. Because BLM lies. They say how humane helicopter roundups are. You ask Floyd the horse that one of the contractors hotshotted 4 times in Sept of 2009. You ask Cloud how he liked being all over the mountain for the better part of 40 mins. And how he didn’t want to leave the pens BECAUSE MAN STOLE HIS MARES.

    Now MAN is lying again. BLM needs to tell the truth. No matter how ugly it is, it works better than telling a lie. You ran those horses then own it. You work for BLM then own it. And if you can’t or won’t get help to horses injured in your roundups then you need to own that too.

    So BLM we have questions. Just how many horses have died as a result of any part of your roundup since Cloud in 2009? And any part of a roundup consists of from the moment the helicopter picked them up to where EACH AND EVERYONE OF THOSE HORSES ARE TODAY. Did you sell them for slaughter? Did you run more horses into the ground? We know of many horses you shoot because of “preexistencing” injuries which is bunk–because those horses were doing just fine out in the wild on their own.

    April 17, 2013
  • Debbie Tracy

    OH my god, I mean REALLY??? Is there nothing we can do?? There killing them looks like to me other wise why would the records be so hugely different in the totals!?!? AND BABY”S, oh my god I am sick at heart OH will this corruption ever end?? WHAT CAN WE DO???

    April 17, 2013
  • Kathleen Conely

    My biggest question is … WHY are these horses still breeding ??? do they not separate the mares from the stallions ??? they say they need to round them up due to over population and over gracing and then they allow them to reproduce while in their care … are they really that damn stupid ? or do they simple don’t care … it seems that most of the horses sent too rendering plants are colts and stallions … not counting the hundreds of horses shipped to slaughter, there are no records kept on those road trips … But you must let the holding pens look well kept in case there are people visiting … why don’t they just blind fold them and then tell them all their lies on how well the horses are taken care of … the BLM needs to be held accountable for their terrible treatment the way they maintain the holding pens of Americans wild horses and burros …

    April 17, 2013
    • Arla

      They do not reproducee – that is, do not breed – in captivity. These mares come in pregnant.

      Studs are gelded immediately.

      April 18, 2013
      • Mustang man

        In correct. I have seen many stallions in captivity, long after their round up, you can even ask to buy a stallion from the BLM. A friend in AL bought a mustang 2 years ago this month from an unlisted BLM holding facility located on the back of a high school in MS. He was listed on his BLM paperwork as a “gelded Mare”, her vet removed 2 testicles so unless this mare had more then 2 to start I would say they were full of bullshit. When she was picking him up they had him in with a mare that he was breeding with at the time they arrived at the pen.

        April 18, 2013
        • Arla

          WOW!!

          I bought two “sale authority” geldings from PVC … it was my understanding they – and all studs – were cut as soon as they were deemed unadoptable. My guys were old.

          April 18, 2013
  • Lynn

    Here’s another interesting statement that is being overlooked… “The facility has 160 acres and according to the BLM website, can hold a maximum of 2,000 horses and burros at any given time.” 160:2000… How can they hold 2000 horses in 160 acres, then turn around and state that the land and horse ratio out in open lands is too crowded?

    April 17, 2013
    • Robynne Catheron

      This is my question as well. They must not realize that most of us know basic arithmetic. It’s a moot point, however, because nothing or no one will stop them from doing exactly what they want. BLM = Big Lying Monsters.

      April 18, 2013
    • Daryl

      Because they are the BLM. Lies and more lies are told over and over again for years.

      April 18, 2013
    • Judy Lane

      Agree with you Lynn. GAWD….it never ends. BLM is a bunch of lying bastards.

      April 20, 2013
  • There must be a contract between SRC and BLM or a third party agent behind BLM to keep SRC in product for pet and livestock feed:

    http://srccompanies.com/history.html

    Follow the money.

    April 18, 2013
  • Marcia

    Animals’ Angels is a great group that is doing a very difficult and sad job. They have gathered information on the terrible conditions of horses (and other animals) in transport and in auction lots. Unfortunately, even when they prove the terrible abuses they encounter and those guilty get fined, they may get by without paying those fines. So typical of how animal abusers walk away from their responsibilities and punishments.

    April 18, 2013
  • Arlene

    The Lies and corruption continue , we must stop the BLM !!!!!! If for no other reason then the Mustangs are integral part of Natures Balance, pure and simple, our Balance !!!!!! I cannot stress this Point to strongly enough !!!!!!

    April 18, 2013
  • Mustang man

    Palomino Valley, BLM speak for Death camp. Outbreaks of Salmonella that killed a hundred + horses, Mysterious deaths at night, Babies lost between buildings for days? The horse population has never once been close to what their reports are live or dead. The BLM is nothing more then a corrupt AG supported and outfitted organization. Many of the employees have both an AG background by family and a lot of times in the area they work, coincidence my rear end! The ones that don’t are either brainwashed or let go as not suitable for employment. If you want a voice with the BLM you better work for Monsanto or a Cattle group. Amazing what the 28 Senators form our 14 western states control in this country isn’t it. People like to quote the 545 number of government, my butt, it’s the 28 that control the horse lands and everything else it seems to me.

    April 18, 2013
    • Judy Lane

      Mustangman : How can we get this information to Washington? Please voice your opinion.

      April 20, 2013
  • What can be done??? Who will listen??? I am new to this forum, but since I discovered this forum I am so amazed at the terrible,terrible information I am gathering. It seems as if all of government is out of total control. It is so sad that a few control the masses. But then I think it has always been that way!!1 Why don’t they leave the horses in the wild where they belong. How in the heck can they be stopped???

    April 19, 2013
  • Daryl

    Just make others aware of the horrible things done and what happens to them once they are to go for sale of meat buyer , send mails, get others to see what is happening. Never stop talking about it, we have to let our government see this is not want the public wants in any way shape or form, Slaughter is out of the question for any horse.

    April 19, 2013
  • Judy Lane

    Anyone here know someone within the media? Been waiting for weeks for NBC Today show to give the Wild Horses their time in the news.

    April 20, 2013
  • susan carter

    Time for BLM to admit they cannot mange horses. Time for a new plan. BLM needs to get out of the Cattle business, too. They are getting too big for their britches. The only thing left to do is hand these captive wild horses over to mega-landowners like Pickens and Ted Turner and some Native groups. Lessen the cattle and put the horses back on our lands. LAND management. Get into restoring LAND and watersheds. Leave the Cattle to cattlemen. They are looking to slaughter our horses and that is just WRONG.

    June 1, 2013