Eagle County wild horse advocates battling roundups

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Summit Daily.com, Randy Wyrick, August 18, 2013

images-2EAGLE COUNTY — Two local women are helping lead efforts to rein in wild horse roundups on public land.

The Bureau of Land Management says the roundups are necessary, but the agency is running out of corral and pasture space.

Roxanne Graznow has been a wildlife photographer for more than two decades and worked on six continents. She chronicled the wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone in 1995.

Graznow and Theresa Thissen are part of a vocal group that’s trying to convince the agency to stop using helicopters to round up the wild horses, and to let the herds regulate themselves.

“These mustangs are an American icon. They represent the freedom that built America,” Graznow said.

“They deserve protection. They deserve someone to speak for them,” Thissen said.

Three lawsuits contend that the bureau holds the horses under poor conditions until they are either adopted out or slaughtered. Neither of those charges are true, said Bureau of Land Management spokesman Tom Gorey.

“Overall, what we see is a constant barrage of anti-BLM propaganda from bloggers who don’t really have an answer for any of the issues facing us,” Gorey said.

Overpopulation can be addressed with fertility control, which is another conundrum for the Bureau of Land Management and its critics.

“We are applying fertility control, but to do it we have to gather horses,” Gorey said.

Right now, about 40,000 horses and burros live on open range across the West. The Bureau of Land Management keeps about 50,000 horses on grasslands and pastures in the Midwest or in holding pens, Gorey said. They’re not overcrowded or mistreated, he said, but the agency is running out of room.

“We’re running out of holding capacity in both corrals and pastures. We’re confronting a crisis that’s about to take place in the very near future,” Gorey said. “With this limitation on holding, the gathers themselves are going to be difficult to carry out because we have no place to put the horses. We’re really up against it.”

Some of the difficulty is overpopulation and some is supply and demand.

“There’s not sufficient demand for adoption of these horses,” Gorey said. “There has been a steady decrease in adoption demand. Some of it’s the economy, the high price of hay and energy. When people are strapped they don’t want to take on the additional expense of a horse.”

Opponents seem to be under the impression that the Bureau of Land Management should let nature cull the horses, Gorey said. They cite a study indicating that once an available habitat is filled, the horses limit their own population as density-dependent controls are triggered.

That’s partially true, but probably brutal, Gorey said. Self-limitation probably means mares would be too weak or sick to breed, or that foals quickly die, he said.

“These animals are not the overpopulating misfits they are too often portrayed as,” said Craig Downer, a wildlife ecologist and author of “The Wild Horse Conspiracy.”

“As returned native species in North America, they are simply in the process of filling their ecological niches,” Downer said.

The Bureau of Land Management says they plan to remove 1,300 wild horses and burros across the West this summer. For the year, the agency will remove 4,800 animals, down from 8,255 last year. That’s 855 in Nevada, 140 in Oregon, 105 in Arizona, 65 in New Mexico, 50 in Colorado and 25 in Idaho.

“The BLM is galloping ahead with rounding up more wild horses, despite the high cost to taxpayers and animals, as well as the findings of an independent scientific review that recommends against continued roundups,” Suzanne Roy, spokeswoman for the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign said in a written statement. “The agency still has not gotten the message that the removal of wild horses from our Western public lands is inhumane, unsustainable, unscientific and must come to an end.”

CONTINUED… Read the rest of the article HERE

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
9 Comments
  • Arlene

    Hummm Too Bad we the People cant just go there and take what belongs to us??????? The Mustangs and Just Plain ole return them to their Land , quite far fetched , but where there is a will there’s a way !!!! And the WILL is CLEAR and Present isnt it ?????

    August 19, 2013
  • Julie

    ” If you hadn’t of listened to the cattle ranchers… you wouldn’t be in this situation now ..would ya “? Your program adopting out wildhorses and burros was a good thing.going…”.until you all got a wild hair up your ass “… and thought rounding up the horses in a “cruel fashion ” was going to bring you more money! Wrong! You brought this all upon yourselves!! What goes around.. comes around!!!! Aho mitakuye oyasin

    August 19, 2013
  • Nancy Albin

    there has been helicopters everyday here i don’t know if it’s the fires or blm

    August 19, 2013
  • Nancy Albin

    now this interior chief jewel is ok’ing the round-ups ? what does the judge du have to say? does the court’s have any control at all anymore? so far the dmv now jewel can override the judge what the hell do we have to go to court for then? so far in my adult lifetme nobody goes by what the courts say anymore so why don’t we get rid of that & save money because sorry judge’s i know in california & in nevada you might wanta start looking for other employment

    August 19, 2013
  • D.K.

    WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVES – Demand that Congress pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1094/S. 541) to prevent horse slaughter from resuming in our country and to permanently stop the shipment of our wild and domestic horses to slaughter for other countries.

    Safeguard American Food Exports act is S. 541 in the U.S. Senate and H.R. 1094 in the U.S. House of Representatives. Contact your politicians here.

    http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

    August 19, 2013
  • Robyn

    Mr Gorey you need to use tax dollars to feed our Wild Horses!!
    You’re Roundups are costing the taxpayers thousands.

    NAS Study wants the Roundups to Stop!
    The tax payers want the Roundups to Stop!

    YOU’RE NOT LISTENING!

    We do not want the Roundups!!!!!

    August 19, 2013
  • Robyn

    They are using drought conditions as a reason to Round up..

    I know there has been a lot of moisture in the Colorado Mountains this summer. I am having a hard time understanding a drought there now and the reason for this years Roundups in Colorado?

    All Excuses!

    August 19, 2013
  • Lisa LeBlanc

    Please, PLEASE: When the Bureau stipulates to a number of animals on the ranges, do not believe it out of hand.
    Most folks with even a minimum of horse knowledge know it takes 11 months to put a foal on the ground; most wild mares do not breed year after year, ad infinitum.
    Wild jennies may not breed for many years between infants; wild burros don’t live in the same social bands that wild horses do. They aren’t dependent on their stallion for leadership or protection.
    Last year, BLM declared an on-the-range population of 37,294 animals; they took 8,107, and PZP’d the very few mares they returned to the range. This year, the population is ‘estimated’ to be 40,605 – PRE-FOALING (February 2013). This number is the highest on the range since 2001 (45,414), despite removing 110,769 since then.
    And they make these declarations with no visual or statistical proof to back it up.
    Not every pregnancy comes to term; not every foal born lives. There are so many natural dangers in being a wild equine that never seem to make it into these foaling rates.
    And there is no acknowledgement of the percentage of the populations removed; averaged over the past decade, 25% of the entire population is taken every year. But individual herd removals have been as high as 88%, in some cases.
    You have to ask yourself – with all this, as well as contending with drought and low forage, how is it possible for these animals to continue to breed so indiscriminately?
    My guess is they don’t. But as long as they roam free, they don’t generate any income, either.

    August 20, 2013
  • LNorman

    “Three lawsuits contend that the bureau holds the horses under poor conditions until they are either adopted out or slaughtered. Neither of those charges are true, said Bureau of Land Management spokesman Tom Gorey.” Gorey is in DC and either never went to PVC or saw the documented evidence. Hundreds of wild horses die at this facility and are sent to rendering plant, they have been infected with strangles, warts, ringworm, and chased in the pens by rednecks in trucks. PVC is a hellhole and sorry Gorey, the videos and photos don’t lie. I have seen mustangs in holding with rain rot, lice, filthy troughs, filthy pens, overgrown hooves, etc. Mustangs in the wild are healthy and NOT overpopulated.

    August 20, 2013