When we take away a horse’s natural ability to find protection from the forces of nature, we owe it to them to provide it. It is inhuman and abusive to to otherwise Mr. Storzer. ~ R. Winkler, Publisher, The Desert Independent
From: The Desert Independent
In late January Lisa Friday and Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation (TCF) met with BLM District Manager, Mark Storzer, in Rock Springs, Wyoming to discuss ways to protect the over 600 horses held captive in the 30-year-old corral facility. Harsh westerly winds regularly blast the corrals and the BLM has tried to deal with the problem in the past by putting up plywood on the corral panels, but few of the wooden windbreaks remain.
“At the meeting, we discussed what might work for windbreaks and Mr. Storzer indicated that plywood is too heavy and the wind could topple the entire fence,” states Kathrens, Executive Director of the Colorado-based wild horse advocacy organization. “A week after our meeting with Mr. Storzer, we were excited to find a state-of-the-art lightweight product that is easy to install. I contacted Mr. Storzer and Joan Guilfoyle, Chief of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program in DC, to let them know what we had found and that we were willing to purchase the material and have it installed at no cost to the agency.”
“But BLM chose to look a gift horse in the mouth,” states Friday, a TCF Board Member and wild horse adopter. “Via email, Mr. Storzer reversed course and told us ‘This facility has been in operation for many years and there has not been a need to install or construct wind breaks.’ “
During the same time period, Kathrens informed the American Humane Association (AHA) of the situation. They communicated with BLM, asking to help with the corral windbreak project and received a conflicting letter from the DC office of BLM in which Ed Roberson, Assistant Director of Resources and Planning stated that “Animals held at the facility receive… protection from the harsh winds through both man-made and natural windbreaks…”
Mr. Storzer explained in his email why there is no need for wind protection for the mustangs saying “On the range, within these herd management areas, the weather conditions are cold with few natural wind breaks due to the desert terrain.”
Carol Walker, noted wild horse photographer, author, and Board Member for the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, disagrees with Mr. Storzer’s statement. Walker has photographed horses in the area for years and states “I was just in the area two weeks ago prior to the big snow storm that came in, and I watched several bands of horses move to sheltered, protected areas that had little to no wind because of high cliffs. This area, which has many rock formations, mesas, and cliffs has an abundance of shelter for wild horses. These horses have the freedom to get out of the worst of the storm unlike their extremely unlucky brethren who are trapped in pens with no windbreak and no alternative but to huddle together in the freezing cold, snow, and wind. This is not humane treatment. This is abusive.”