Baby Horses Die In Government Pens

From: The Mountain Mouth

“We Don’t Count Foals”

It’s July. Outside Reno, Nevada, in the baking desert, a tiny mustang foal tries to lie down to get the sleep her growing bones needs. But there is no shade; the sun burns as relentlessly as the circling flies. She folds her stick-like legs, and thuds to the hard manure-spotted earth. The air temperature is 105, but the desert ground is over 160. Minutes later, the foal struggles back up without sleeping. Her mother is thirsty. There are over seventy wild horses sharing one trough of water. The mare can’t fight her way to the water as often as she needs. Her milk is compromised.

The foal fights for life, but in a few days, dies.

“A native wild horse filly lies lifeless within a sun-baked government pen” / Photo by Patty Bumgarner

“A native wild horse filly lies lifeless within a sun-baked government pen” / Photo by Patty Bumgarner

“The extreme 105-degree temperature overwhelmed me within minutes,” said Marjorie Lynne Wagner, advocate, of her visit on July 1 to the Palomino Valley Holding Facility. “When I tested the ground temperature with a new Ryobi infrared thermometer, I was shocked to see how high it read… up to 164 degrees.”

Thousands of public pleas to provide shade and more water for the horses at Palomino Valley and other facilities went unanswered this summer. Jetara Séhart, executive director of Native Wild Horse Protection, offered the Bureau of Land Management funds and materials to erect shelters for the captured mustangs, but as July’s sweltering days dragged on, there was no response. Instead of shade, the BLM installed sprinklers, which the horses studiously avoided as seen in this press release.

Unhappy with the government’s response, advocates planned a “Gimme Shelter” protest for July 20 to draw attention to the suffering horses. When they arrived at Palomino, they were met with threats and told their cars would be towed.

“You need to play nice,” BLM special agents reportedly said. It was insinuated that more protests and public scrutiny could lead to the entire facility being shuttered to the public, like what happened at Broken Arrow.

“Little Feather” a.k.a. “Sorro” was euthanized

“Little Feather” a.k.a. “Sorro” was euthanized

The protest was moved to Carson City.

Until 2010, the public was welcome at Broken Arrow, another Nevada mustang and burro holding facility. Most of the almost $80 million annual budget of BLM is spent on the “long term holding” of over 50,000 once-wild mustangs and burros.

Author Terri Farley toured the facility that year and was shocked to see a “tiny emaciated foal standing at the fence line, seeming to plead for help… I was shocked at his condition.”

“I never did witness any shelter to protect near two thousand horses, foals and burros,” said advocate Cat Kindsfather, who photographed that foal the day before its death.

The dead foals are removed from the pens, and their bodies discarded in secret locations. Their deaths are secret, because dead babies are not counted among casualties of the Wild Horse and Burro program.

Not counted.

Why? The official answer is that the foals are too young to have been branded. (A freeze brand is applied to all horses and burros once captured from the wild. The brands serve as identification for each horse.) The obvious beneficial side effect of this policy is that the official death count of the round-ups is kept artificially low. Farley has dubbed them “Phantom Foals”.

“If you are managing the horses properly you need to account for all deaths as these are necessary indicators as to the standard of care,” points out Neda DeMayo, director of Return to Freedom, a 300-acre California sanctuary that houses 400 mustangs, some in intact family bands. De Mayo and others, despite their sanctuaries’ already strained resources, recently outbid killers for mustangs that mysteriously ended up at an auction mixed with Indian mounts, at the Fallon, NV auction last month. For decades, the non-profits and citizens have been left with the clean-up job for a problem artificially created by the wild Horse and Burro Program.

“No animals have passed since July 2,” Palomino Valley Director Jeb Beck said to advocates at a recent press event. But many no longer accept the agency’s numbers.

“We’re concerned about the foal deaths,” Séhart said. “There were 2,000 wild horses at Palomino Valley. The numbers there keep changing mysteriously… now there are 1700. But no horses are dying?”

“If this is what we can see, then what’s going on behind closed doors?”

Jetara Sethart: Protesting at At Palomino Valley. “They kept asking me which one I had picked out to save. I choose all of them.”

Jetara Sethart: Protesting at At Palomino Valley.
“They kept asking me which one I had picked out to save. I choose all of them.”

CONTINUED HERE The Mountain Mouth

  • karen

    This is heartbreaking. Horrible. Beyond comprehension that cruelty like this is going on, paid for with our tax dollars. Something has to give and soon.

    September 24, 2013
  • Shirley Mix

    This is terrible, why are they letting this happen. I would like to do the same thing to them.

    September 24, 2013
  • Robynne Catheron

    This is so maddening. Most of the BLM employees are way too big for their britches, ridiculously self-righteous, and act as though the horses belong solely to them. Sadly, they’re also like a group of resentful teenagers paid to take care of packs of pesky rodents. What they consistently fail to realize is that they are paid BY US, and those are OUR horses.
    The fact that they refuse access or viewing by any of the public is increasingly frustrating.

    September 24, 2013
  • julie

    America! Stand up and do something! This is your government, your money going to animal abuse. Call your senators, join the protests, search PETA’s website , ask them wha tyou can do!
    If you aren’t part of the solution, you ARE part of the problem – and no one wants to be as guilty as BLM!

    September 24, 2013
  • mary Gardner

    These people are not interested in the horse!!This is just sad, the horse went through the birth and they care so little they just let it die! Something has to be done! PLEASE HELP!!!

    September 24, 2013
  • Kathleen Hayden

    BLM did not have the authority to remove these horses from their migratory ranges anymore than bighorn sheep. BLM and USFWS has a mandate to maintain the habitat for the conservation and preservation of critical habitat for wildlife.Cindy’s article in 2009 is applicable to repatriation of our heritate herds….. excerpt” On June 17, 1976, a federal judge ruled that Congress had granted wild horses and burros protection on public lands as both wildlife and wild animals and both the Secretary’s of the Interior and Agriculture had the authority to enter into cooperative agreements with land owners and other state and federal agencies to assure their protection.”
    Are AMLs used to confine and manage other wildlife..deer, antelope, elk, bighorn sheep?

    September 24, 2013
  • Yvon

    This is happening because the public hasn’t got angry enough. BLM as is most of government agencies are run by uncaring, undereducated humans who don’t give a damn about what the public thinks. They do what they are told to do and brainwashed to think they are right! They do not hire humans who like animals…..they have been killing animals for years. Force has to be met with force.

    September 24, 2013
    • Arlene

      I will STAND for the Mustangs AND THE horses ANY PLACE ANY WHERE ANY TIME !!!!!!!

      September 25, 2013
  • This is so wrong….holding pens….what is the government thinking….BLM you suck…this government sucks to allow inspectors for the horse slaughter plants…we foot the bill for this BS….and the cattle people pay for the lobbyists to get the land that belongs to the horses and burros in the first place..what the government is doing is animal cruelty..when it is 105 and no shade and little water.maybe congress should work in those conditions.

    September 24, 2013
  • tgeiger

    They added Sprinklers instead of shade! Really? Do they have any horse knowledge? Horses seek shade not drizzling water on a hot day because if they get wet it can actually cause them to become hotter. Moisture also creates other issues… could make their feed go bad especially if it gets wet & heated… mold, fungus, & bugs reproduce so much better when they have more moisture and then they spread infectious diseases… So why spend the extra $$ on sprinklers instead of shade… Really…. even just a couple poles with cable & shade cloth!!!!!! That is the least they could do!!!

    It makes me so angry that our wild horses are treated this way by people we are paying, they are better off Wild & Free, Stop with the round-ups. If a general person treated horses in this way they would go to jail!

    September 24, 2013
  • Sue Wallis Lies

    This is downright disgusting. Those poor babies. Robynne is right, most of the BLM employees act as if they own the mustangs not the American public. They need to be taught manners, act like public servants and not gods, which they aren’t.

    September 24, 2013
  • Arlene

    This is outrageous, Why is the BLM being allowed to continue with this Horrible charade ……………..The BLM needs to be given the BOOT !!!!!!

    September 24, 2013
  • Cynthia Curtis

    So sick of the BLM getting away with murder of God’s creatures everywhere and these inhumane acts of roundups and neglect of captured equines in extreme heat is deplorable. I feel ashamed of our government’s callous attitude towards all animal species for the sake of greed and lack of respect for what is right. These heartless acts should not be allowed. Americans should hang their heads low in light of these travesties, I do everyday and I feel so hopeless because despite of public pleas and countless petitions,there is no change! Please stop!!!!

    September 24, 2013
  • sherriey

    this is horrible…but am i surprised? no! just a few more Mustangs that they don’t have to take care of and bother with. numbers. thats all they are to the BLM….numbers!
    these BLM people are sick! to me they are no better then those that work in a slaughter plant. they have absolutely no feelings for anything other then their wallets! low life-scum of the earth!

    September 24, 2013
  • barbara ries

    I believe in divine justice and who ever is responsible needs to rot in hell. Wild horses are beautiful being and desire the right to live because so many people love them. Why is it that we are killing horses to put in cattle and hydraulic frack for minerals and oil. Nature and wild horse provide beauty to feed generations of souls of children. At this rate they will not be any wild horses left on the in the US.

    September 24, 2013
  • Urbancritter

    If there wasn’t so much demand for grazing lands to support the meat industry, they might not feel the need to round up our wild horses. So go vegan! For the animals (including the wild horses), for the planet, for our bodies.

    September 24, 2013
  • Donna Orr

    Its time for the BLM agents to be put out of their misery. When are the people of this country going to stand up and tell the government to back off and STOP this. People get together, they can’t stop us as a group of thousands. It’s time we went to these facilities and took over, if the government wants no problem then they need to back off. Where are you? I will lead if you will follow. I need thousands to stop this and stop this now! Sign up, get your friends together and we will march and stop this. But it will take an army. So where are you? I can’t do this by myself. But we can stop this together!

    September 24, 2013
    • Arlene

      Where am I Donna , I am with You !!!!!! Sign me up !!!!!!

      September 25, 2013
  • Wendy

    If this happened on private property, the stink would be monumental. How come it’s not important on government property, is the government so “special” that they are immune from cruelty?

    September 25, 2013
  • Debbie Tracy

    Does anyone have proof that this baby or others have died?? You know some kind of picture or other information?? Also WHY did they close Broken Arrow to the public there official reason??

    Can they do this legally??
    I hope someone can help me with this info??? 🙁

    September 25, 2013
  • These government people should be brought up on cruetly charges just like you and I would be if it happened at our farms

    September 26, 2013