Questions: Write us to have
your question answered. If a question is of general
interest, we may post it here. Our goal is to explain and
inform. We will add new material often.
- Wild Horse Report
Mark J. Deesing, Animal Behavior & Facilities
Design Consultant For Grandin Livestock
Handling Systems Observes Our Onaqui Wild Horse
Gather in Utah
- Horse and Burro Coalition
Statement on NBC's Wild Horse Stories
- How are wild horses managed?
What is the History of Wild
Horses in North America?
What is the History of Wild Burros in North
What makes a successful
humane wild horse roundup?
Is the BLM, because of
pressure from the ranchers, trying to remove all of the wild horses
and burros from the range?
Do you run the wild horses with the
Why are helicopters used
to gather wild horses and burros instead of just driving them
with saddle horses or corral-trapping them using water or food?
Things that we do to assure
the welfare of foals.
How can you watch a wild horse
- What are the effects of the horse slaughter ban on wild
- Was Dave
Cattoor convicted of a felony in 1990
- Twin Peaks Gather
- 2010 Summary
Independent Observers' Final Report
OIG 2010 Wild Horse Report
- Club-footed horses in Wyoming
- Pryor Mountain Wild
Horse Roundup - September, 2009
- Calico Complex Wild
Horse Roundup - 2010
- 2010 Tuscarora
by Judith Costello
an objective look at the wild horse issue and
the misinformation surrounding it.
- Brigit Brown of Moriarty, New Mexico, turned a project
for National History Day in her school into an award-winning
documentary. The film won first place in regional and state
competitions, and was featured at the Supreme Extreme
Mustang Makeover in Dallas, Texas in September 2011.
to Brigit's documentary video
to a background interview with Brigit about her project.
Desatoya Gather - Roped
Livestock Wild Horse Roundups Letter to Laura Leigh
Wildlife Refuge Gather
Here are links to videos
of two recent wildhorse roundups by Cattoor
Livestock showing the methods and care that
YouTube Video #1 of a recent Cattoor Wild
Cattoor Gather Video #2
1. How are wild horses managed?
of the wild horses in the west range on land managed by the
Bureau of Land Management, (BLM.) We quote from the
"The Bureau of Land Management
protects, manages, and controls wild horses and burros
under the authority of the
Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to
ensure that healthy herds thrive on healthy
rangelands. The BLM manages these living symbols of the
Western spirit as part of its multiple-use mission under
the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act
2. What is the History of Wild
Horses in North America?
One of the BLM’s key responsibilities
under the 1971 law is to determine the “appropriate
management level” (AML) of wild horses and burros on the
public rangelands. These animals have virtually no
natural predators and their herd sizes can double about
every four years. As a result, about 31,000 wild horses
and burros roam BLM-managed lands in 10 Western states, a
population that exceeds by about 3,500
the number that can
exist in balance with other public rangeland resources and
To help restore the balance, the BLM gathers some wild
horses and burros and offers them for
sale to those individuals and groups willing and able to
provide humane, long-term care.
"Under the 1971 Wild and Free-Roaming
Horses and Burros Act, BLM is required to manage horses and
burros only in those areas (Herd Areas) where they were
found in 1971. Through land use planning, BLM evaluates each
herd area to determine if it has adequate food, water,
cover and space to sustain healthy and diverse wild horse
and burro populations over the long term. The areas which
meet these criteria are then designated as Herd Management
Today, nearly half of the Nation's wild
horses and burros live on Nevada rangelands managed by the
Bureau of Land Management. The current population is about
13,665 wild horses and 998 burros. These Living Legends move
with the seasons within 102 Herd Management Areas comprising
nearly 16 million acres of public land."
As of spring 2008, The BLM says unless Congress
gives them some more money they can not do any gathers this
year unless it is an emergency because they are spending all
of their money just feeding the 30,000 plus horses in the
short and long term facilities. Costing them over $50,000 a
The BLM says, "Although horses evolved in North America, there are
many different opinions as to why no horses or burros existed on
this continent at the time of European exploration. Spanish
explorers reintroduced horses to North America beginning in the late
fifteenth century and Native Americans helped spread horses
throughout the Great Plains and the West. Until as recently as the
mid-twentieth century, horses continued to be released onto public
lands by the U.S. cavalry, farmers, ranchers, and miners."
Some people believe that, at one
time, there were millions of wild horses in the west. If that had
been true when the white man came west, wouldn't the Indians have
been riding horses? We challenge anyone interested in the facts to
check the history of the wild horses or burros in each HMA (herd
management area). They will find the herds most often came from the
ranchers that homesteaded or settled the land. When the
1971 law was passed, only a small percent of the millions of acres
of BLM-managed land had wild horses or burros. These areas were the
areas that were later made into herd management areas.
The BLM Web site explains, "Under
the 1971 Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, BLM is required to
manage horses and burros only in those areas (Herd Areas) where they
were found in 1971. Through land use planning, BLM evaluates each herd
area to determine if it has adequate food, water, cover and space to
sustain healthy and diverse wild horse and burro populations over the
long term. The areas which meet these criteria are then designated as
Herd Management Areas (HMAs)."
When the west was settled, was common
practice for ranchers to pasture their cattle and horses on the open
range. The United States Cavalry used horses for mounts until
1942. They supplied the ranchers across the west with
thoroughbred studs to run with the ranchers' bands of mares in order
to raise horses for the army. Introducing well-bred stallions
into the herds helped prevent inbreeding and improved the herds. Neither the ranchers or the
cavalry routinely used mares as riding stock, so the mares ran in
"stud bands" on the open range. These bands consisted of
perhaps up to 20 mares led by a dominant mare and herded and bred by
a stallion. Young male horses are pushed out of a band by the
herd stallion. The young males try to capture some mares of
their own or challenge an older stallion for his band.
Ranchers gathered the horses they
needed for their own use and that of the army. During this time, the horse herds increased.
According to the BLM, horse populations on the open range will
increase 15 to 20 percent a year. After the army was no longer using horses
and travel became mechanized, the
ranchers still gathered the best of the range horses for their own use,
but since there was less demand for the horses, the herds increased
and many more became wild. In most places, the
wild horse and burro herds have kept increasing since the wild horse and
burro law was passed in 1971 because the ranchers were no longer
allowed to gather and use the horses and because horses and burros have few natural
What is the History
of Wild Burros in North America?
The Spanish brought donkeys,
called "burros" in Spanish, to North America beginning beginning in
1495. They were prized for their hardiness in arid country and
became the preferred beast of burden of early miners and gold
prospectors during the 1800s in the Southwest United States.
They were used for carrying tools, supplies, and ore. Their sociable
disposition and fondness for human companionship often allowed the
miners to lead their donkeys without ropes. They simply followed
behind their master. With the introduction of the steam train to the
west, these donkeys lost their jobs and many were turned loose into
the American deserts. The wild burros on the western
rangelands descend from animals that ran away, were abandoned, or
were freed. BLM estimates about 2800 burros range on their
management areas today.
3. What makes a successful
humane wild horse roundup?
First, a trap site must be selected.
Preliminary scouting is done to find the natural routes horses
travel. The capture site needs to be close to the animals and somewhere that they would naturally go,
so they do not have to be forced but will travel there more or less
on their own. Proper pens and wings must be built that are
constructed of materials and in a manner that will not harm the
horses and that will make gathering, handling, and sorting easy for
animals and workers alike.
helicopter pilot must be experienced and understand
livestock. He needs to know how they will travel and when to
speed up and when to slow down. He must also be very skilled
and very patient. Then the wranglers
must work quietly together. They also must be very patient,
understand and care
about the animals.
4. Is the BLM, because of
pressure from the ranchers, trying to remove all of the wild horses
and burros from the range?
Absolutely not. First of all
the ranchers are not
asking to have all the wild horses or burros
removed. The ranchers love to see healthy wild horses and burros out
on the range just like you and I do. They are just asking that the BLM be able to manage the herds at the numbers set at
“appropriate management level,” AML. This is
the number of wild horses and burros the BLM has - after studying
and monitoring the range - determined can survive along with the
optimum determined numbers of livestock and wildlife so that there is plenty
of food and water for everything. We just finished a wild horse
roundup and the area permittee came and watched and would point out
horses that were descendents of ones they use to ride. He also had
favorite ones that he watched out on the range. This is typical of
all of the ranchers in the west.
Today, nearly half of the Nation's
wild horses and burros live on Nevada rangelands managed by the
Bureau of Land Management. The current Nevada population is
about 13,665 wild horses and 998 burros. Nevada's 102 Herd Management Areas comprise
nearly 16 million acres of public land.
Do you run the wild horses with the helicopter?
Our pilots do not run the wild horses or burros during a wild horse
roundup. The animals are gathered and then herded much like you
would herd cattle. Horses travel naturally from place to place at a
trot or faster gait. On the public lands where we typically gather,
horses routinely travel long distances to water every day.
After the trap is completed the pilot or pilots begin herding the
animals to the capture site. When the pilot first locates a group of
wild horses or burros he stays as far away as possible to give the
animals time to think and get used to the presence of the
helicopter. Once they have gotten used to the sound and presence of
the helicopter the pilot will start them moving in the direction of
the gather site. Again, he will stay as far away as possible. By
doing this the wild horses or burros will start off at a slow trot
and will stay all together. Because the animals have had time to
think and get used to the presence of the helicopter, the pilot will
be able to turn them both ways, staying ¼ to ½ mile away from them
The animals travel at their own speed to the trap. If they start to
move too fast, the pilot will back away from them and give them more
time to think and to slow down. If the animals in the front get too
far ahead, the helicopter will get in front of these lead animals to
slow them down until the others can catch up. Again the pilot will
keep a good distance away from the animals. As the herd gets close
to the wings of the trap and can sense the presence of people the
pilot must get closer and put more pressure on the wild horses or
burros. However, because the pilot has been very patient, and given
the animals time to learn and respect the helicopter they are no
longer afraid of the helicopter. The pilot has been “reading” the
animals while driving them to the trap. This means he knows when to
drop down and put more pressure on the wild horses and how close he
must get to assure they will follow the domestic "pilot horse" into
the trap and will not turn around in the wings of the trap. This is
very important for the safety of the wranglers who follow the
animals into the trap to shut the gate. It is also much more
stressful for the animals if they do turn back or go through the
wings and the pilot has to bring them back around and into the trap
a second time. Most pictures taken of wild horse roundups are taken
right at the trap so it appears that the helicopter runs the
animals. That is not the case.
6. Why are helicopters used
to gather wild horses and burros instead of just driving them
with saddle horses or corral-trapping them using water or food?
Helicopter roundups are the most
efficient way to gather wild horses and burros. But more
importantly they are the most humane way to gather. We can say
this because we have gathered wild horses and burros using both
methods. In the fifties and sixties and even after the law was
passed until the use of helicopters was allowed, we captured wild
horses using only saddle horses. When you gather wild horses
and burros horseback you locate the animals and run
them and hope to maybe get them to a trap. With a helicopter
you can start your drive and then back off and let the animals
travel at their own speed. You can not do this horseback
because you have to stay close to be able to handle or turn
then. Therefore, the animals will run and often the mares will
run off and leave the foals behind, especially if they are
small. This is what had happened before the helicopter gather
that was done on the Sheldon in June of 2006. A contractor had
been gathering horseback as we arrived to do the helicopter
gather. After we were finished, there were, I believe, three
foals found that were not with their mothers. We went back with
the helicopter to locate and rescue the foals. Because of
their weakened condition, it was obvious they had been bummed by
the earlier horseback operation and not by the helicopter operation.
When doing a helicopter gather, you
can turn the front of the herd back so the rest can catch up and
you can easily cut off a mare and a small foal to leave, if
necessary. You can keep track of any animal that should get
tired and drop behind until the wranglers can reach it. The
pilot will back way off and let the wild horses or burros travel
at their own speed to the trap. This is the same technique
used on many large cattle ranches to herd cattle.
When doing horseback gathers,
often the animals have to be run and are
followed until they are sore footed and tired enough to go where
you want them to. You cause lots and lots of extra stress by
chasing, instead of driving the animals. And
this method is very hard on saddle horses also since they have
to carry the extra weight of their rider. You will have
more injuries to the wild horses and you will have injuries to
the saddle horses. We have used a helicopter to drive wild
horses and burros to a trap in all kinds of terrain and very
seldom is there ever even a minor injury. We do not have very
many injuries but almost all occur after the animals are in the
trap or in the holding facilities. Anyone who would say or even
think that a horseback gather of wild horses or burros is more
humane than a helicopter gather with a qualified animal herding
pilot has obviously never watched or been involved in either
In a few isolated areas bait or
water trapping can be successful. This would be in an area
where there is say only one water source or where the animals
aren't very wild. But the animals and the area must be
carefully studied. Because sometimes when a water source is
disturbed with a trap the animals will try to go somewhere else
or just stay away from water until they are so dehydrated that,
when they do finally come in the trap, they will drink and they
collapse and can die. Because there are so very few places
where this will work, the numbers could never be managed this
7. Things that we do to assure
the welfare of foals.
Several horse interest groups in their
zealous attempts to stop helicopter wild horse roundups have made it
appear like our organization, CLR, has no regard for what happens to
foals during a wild horse roundup. Nothing could be further from
the truth. Our concern starts with the pilot when he first spots a
band of wild horses or burros that he will herd to the trap. The
pilot will follow the herd and allow even very tiny foals to travel
with the herd. Under certain circumstances, such as a mare with a
very young foal, the pilot will cut the mare and colt off from the
others and leave them out on the range. If the pilot sees the foal
or even a weak or old animal is getting tired, he radios the
wranglers at the trap and they go out with saddle horses and a horse
trailer and load and transport the foal or other animal to the
trap. We have even on occasion put a young foal in the helicopter
and brought it in to the trap.
Once the animals are captured, the gates
are shut. When it is safe for the wranglers, they start to remove any
small or weak animals from the others in order to prevent any injuries. We
have an alley with gates and carefully sort the foals into a
separate pen. The foals and any weak or very old animals are always
hauled separately. Once at the holding facility, the wet mares and
foals are marked and put into the same pen. We closely monitor this
pen and make sure the mares and foals are paired up. We always have
Foalac (milk supplement) available and will separate and hand feed a foal that maybe
has a young mother with no milk or one that has already lost it's
mother out on the range before the gather or on a very rare occasion
a mare will be so wild she won't settle down and let the foal
nurse. We pride ourselves on the care of foals during capture,
processing and transporting.
8. How can you watch a wild horse
Some of the lies being circulated on the
internet this summer contain statements that say the contractors and BLM do not want and sometimes do not allow people to watch wild
horse roundups. As contractors, we always work with the BLM to accommodate visitors
and photographers. We find a place where they can see and be safe
and not interfere with the gather operations. Just send us an E-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
and we will let you know where our next
wild horse roundup will be and how to contact the local BLM to make
arrangements to come out.
In a high
desert climate, water is life. In many areas of Nevada, water, not
feed, is the limiting factor for wildlife and livestock throughout
much of the year.
Many mountain ranges and valleys in Nevada are covered in feed that
is never touched by animals, but wildlife is very limited. The
reason is obvious, it is a desert, it can be many miles or tens of
miles between the nearest permanent water sources.
The greatest boon to water development for the direct benefit of
wildlife and wild horses throughout the State of Nevada over the
last century and a half has been our ranchers and herders.
Water developments were installed by cattle ranchers and sheepmen to
the mutual benefit of their herds and the local wildlife. The many
thousands of water troughs, spring boxes, water tanks, and other
water developments installed by ranchers never
cost the taxpayer
anything, and yet our wildlife flourished as a direct result of
Where ranchers develop the water, they have developed it in multiple
locations throughout an area, usually no more than five miles apart,
as opposed to the usual single guzzler wildlife organizations
establish within a large area. For ranchers this makes sense, as it
allows the use of a large portion of the range while minimizing
weight-losing travel for their animals to water.
Installing a single water source in an area with no alternatives
creates a perfect environment for predators, especially mountain
lions, to prey upon animals using this single water source.
The majority of old water developments, windmills, and "spring
boxes" were all installed by ranchers over the years. In modern
days, with reduced grazing allotments and a negative attitude
towards grazers by the federal government and state wildlife
agencies, many of the ranchers are not able to use the grazing land
and these water improvements are not being repaired or maintained
and have dried up. All over the deserts of Nevada there are dry
tanks and water troughs where once water was funneled into tanks
during spring runoff, or pumped with windmills or gas pumps. These
old wells are dry, and wildlife and wild horses are going thirsty.
When the ranchers leave, the water dries up and the wildlife either
goes elsewhere or dies.
10. What are the effects of the horse
slaughter ban on wild horses?
According to the Animal Welfare Council, "An increased supply of
low-value horses due to a processing ban will also create direct
competition with the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Wild
Horse and Burro Adoption Program. The BLM has been working
diligently to create a viable adoption program for BLM horses
removed from national public lands. The BLM program will be
negatively impacted by the increased competition for adoption
placement between BLM horses and unwanted horses that would have
otherwise been processed. This will increase the cost of the BLM
program if they have a larger inventory of BLM horses to maintain
due to lower adoption rates. The BLM enforces strict standards of
care for horses in their control, whereas there are few, if any,
governmental regulations in place specifically for
rescue/adoption/retirement facilities." See their Web
site for more complete information.
11. Was Dave Cattoor convicted of a felony?
Some individuals and interest groups are
attacking Cattoor Livestock Roundup and Dave Cattoor personally,
saying he has a felony conviction for capturing wild horses and
therefore should not be allowed to have a government contract. The
real story is in August of 1990, Cliff Heaverne and Dave signed a
contract with the Western Shoshone National Council to capture
horses for the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe. The Tribe claimed these
horses as Indian horses that were just running on BLM and Indian
Lands. The horses were captured on the Duckwater Reservation but
some did come from adjoining BLM land. The government declared the
horses to be free roaming wild horses and charged Cliff and Dave and
four others from the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe with count one,
conspiracy, and count two, use of aircraft to capture wild horses
and aiding and abetting. On the advice of their lawyer, Cliff and
Dave plead guilty to the count two charge. This charge was a
misdemeanor and they paid a $500 fine and were on probation for one
year. The Indians decided to go to trial and were found not guilty.
Had Cliff and Dave waited and gone to trial with the Shoshone
Indians they probably would not have been found guilty either. If
you are interested in seeing any of the documents from the courts
and the lawyers or the contract with the Shoshone Tribe, please
contact us. Click here to
read a PDF file containing a
Letter from BLM explaining the 1992 Duckwater
Indian Tribe Horse Gather
12. Twin Peaks Roundup - August 2010
Update - August 26th
August 18, 19, 20, and 21th we captured wild horses from
the Shinn 2 areas. Two different traps were set up and used so the wild
horses could be captured without herding them very far. All of these
wild horses were transported from the trap site directly to the
Litchfield Wild Horse Facility. The stallions and mares were separated
at the trap and loaded in separate compartments on the semi trailers for
transport to the Litchfield Facility. The foals are also hauled in a
separate compartment or trailer. There have been no gather related
animal deaths. Three wild horses have been euthanized for humane reasons
and one stud reared in the working alley at the Litchfield Facility and
died instantly. Please again refer to BLM web site for details and up to
date capture and release numbers.
I would like to add a little additional information about the foal
that was among the 17 head transported to Litchfield on August 19th.
This foal had been living in an enclosure with some cattle for
approximately three weeks. One of the ranchers in the area gave our
wranglers the details and location of the foal and the wranglers took
their saddle horses and retrieved this foal the evening of August 18,
2010. It was held overnight with the saddle horses and then transported
with the wild horses captured on August 17 to the Litchfield Wild Horse
Facility. This foal was a orphan and living in this enclosure with the
cattle before this roundup began.
No gather operations took place on August 22, On August ,23,24, and
25th we gathered at Cold Springs. All wild horses were taken
to the temporary holding facility that is again located at Bull Flat.
There have been no gather related animal deaths. Refer to BLM web site
for details and up to date capture and release numbers.
On August 26th the trap was set up on Rodeo Flat but no
animals were captured because of strong winds.
Update - August 18, 2010
August 11, 2010 was the first day of capture for the Twin Peaks
roundup. We have used three different traps and captured just over
600 wild horses. Some studs and mares have been released back on the
range and the other animals were taken to the Litchfield Wild Horse
Holding Facility. Please refer to the BLM California web site for
more details and the up-to-date gather numbers. There have been no
serious injuries or deaths. Two wild horses have been euthanized for
Anyone who wants to come watch this roundup can meet at the
Litchfield Holding Facility at 6:00 AM. Vehicle requirements and
other details can be found on the BLM web site.
Cattoor Livestock Roundup credits wranglers and pilots credit for
a very low gather-related death loss.
Since January 1, 2010 Cattoor Livestock Roundup has recorded a
very low .158% gather-related death loss. This would be any
accidental death because of the capture, sorting, or transporting of
the wild horses or burros. The non gather related death loss is a
low .570% death loss. This would include the humane euthanization or
the death of any very old, weak, and thin animals, animals with
deformities, animals with severely club feet, blind animals, animals
captured with severely injured legs or feet from previous injuries,
or animals that suffered from water starvation or water intoxication
such as the ones during the Tuscarora roundup. The total death loss
including both non gather related and gather related would be a very
low .728% of the total 9,483 wild horses and burros gather by CLR
for the BLM and other agencies since January 1, 2010.
Both pilots and every wrangler deserves the credit for this very
minimal loss of animals. They work everyday with these wild animals
and they do everything they can to safely and humanely capture,
sort, and transport these wild animals. We are very proud of our
wranglers and pilots.
Click here for Independent
Designated Observer Pilot Program FINAL REPORT October 2010
Below is a link to the BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT WILD HORSE
AND BURRO PROGRAM report issued by the United States Office
of the Inspector General Dec. 13, 2010. Bureau of Land
Management's response: "The Bureau of Land Management
has been working to set the wild horse and burro program on
a sustainable path that protects the health of the horses
and the range. The Inspector General's report is an
important affirmation of the progress BLM has made and the
direction we are moving. The IG report underlines the fact
that there are no easy answers to these complex management
challenges, and we must therefore continue to develop
solutions based on sound science, public input, and our
partnerships with states and stakeholders."
Click here for the December 13, 2010
Office of the Inspector General Wild Horse Report
September 16, 2011 -
AIRPLANE HARASSES WILD HORSES AND PUTS
HELICOPTER PILOT, WRANGLERS, BLM, AND OBSERVERS
IN DANGER DURING SPRING CREEK, COLORADO WILD
On September 16, 2011 Cattoor Livestock
Roundup, Inc was doing a wild horse gather in
Southwestern Colorado in Spring Creek which is
located in Disappointment Valley. There were
many observers and several protesters present
that day. A viewing area had been chosen up on
the hill above the trap and temporary holding
site. The helicopter did not start herding the
wild horses until afternoon because of a
mechanical problem that had to be addressed. A
small airplane had circled the area several
times during the morning hours. The helicopter
was bringing in the second band of wild horses
when this airplane suddenly appeared and flying
very low above the helicopter followed it all
the way up the wings of the trap. Dave Cattoor
was down on the wings with the Judas horse and
told the pilot that the airplane was just above
him and to stay very low and then to land as
soon as he could safely do so. That is what the
pilot did. The airplane made another circle and
flew down very low beside the helicopter on the
ground and then flew low over the observers on
the hill and at the entrance gate. There was a
photographer hanging out of the window of the
plane taking video or pictures.
Dave and Troy Cattoor and the pilot then met
with the BLM COR and PI’s overseeing the gather
operation and when it appeared the airplane has
left the area they decided to put the helicopter
back in the air and bring in another band of
wild horses. The pilot had just picked up
another band not very far from the trap when the
airplane suddenly showed up again. Someone there
at the gather observation site had contact with
the airplane and was telling him when and where
the helicopter was. This time the airplane again
flew very close to and parallel with the
helicopter. The photographer was still hanging
out the window taking pictures. As the
helicopter brought the wild horses close to the
wings of the trap the airplane moved ahead and
turned the wild horses in front of the
helicopter causing them to go up the hill. The
airplane pilot was harassing the wild horses and
trying to turn them out of the wings of the
trap. He was once aging very close to the
helicopter putting the pilot in danger. Dave
again told the helicopter pilot to land as soon
as he could. When the helicopter was safely on
the ground we shut down for the day.
We reported this incident to the FAA and they
are doing an investigation of the pilot. The
observers working with this pilot are just as
guilty and really do not care about the wild
horses. They only care about themselves, getting
close up pictures no matter what, and their own
notoriety. Our pilots do everything they can to
herd the wild horse to the trap as humanely as
possible. They should not be put in this kind of
a dangerous situation.. Nor should the wild
horses be subjected to this extra stress. Our
wranglers, the BLM personnel and the other
observers should not have been put in this kind
of danger either. The actions of this pilot and
these other individuals was very irresponsible.
This only gives the good advocates and others a
bad name, which is sad because most of the
public coming out to observe the roundups are
really good people who just care about the wild
Club Footed Wild Horses in Wyoming
We just finished the roundups in White Mountain
and Little Colorado in Western Wyoming. During
this roundup ten wild horses were humanely
euthanized. Three were badly crippled with
pre-existing injuries but seven were club
footed. These club feet are a genetic defect and
the horses have a hard time traveling to feed
and water. These two pictures are of one pinto
stud horse with club feet from White Mountain.
August 19, 2012
Desatoya Gather - Roped
Holly Hazard with HSUS was an observer at the
first day of the Desatoya Wild Horse Gather we
are doing near Austin, Nevada.
She has issued a press release
criticizing the way one foal was handled at the
In her statement she said the foal was
hogtied and left in the path of galloping wild
This statement is not the truth.
It is misleading and exaggerated.
The little foal was captured and tied
down but certainly not in the path of galloping
This is what happened and why the foal was
handled the way it was and why certain decisions
The pilot radioed that he had a foal that
appeared to be very weak and was dropping back
from the band.
Our pilots herd the wild horses at their
own pace so they know if something can not keep
up it usually has a problem of some kind.
CLR’s protocol is to immediately send a
wrangler on horseback to the foal so that it
will not become lost and can be brought in to be
evaluated and reunited with the mother.
A wrangler captured the foal and could
immediately tell this foal was very weak.
He knew not to stress it further by
trying to drive it on into the trap but to try
to get a trailer and the vet to it as soon as
At this same time the helicopters were
bringing in other bands of horses that also
The wrangler, again following CLR
protocol, tied the foal down at the end of one
of the long wings.
He then rode out of the way so as not to
scare and turn back the bands of horses the
helicopters were bringing in.
As soon as the bands were safely in the
trap this wrangler went back to the foal and
brought it to a trailer that was dispatched to
take it to the temporary holding.
Here the foal was given water and put in
the pen with the wet mares to find it’s mother.
After all the wild horses had been sorted
through the chute and were settled in pens with
food and water I gave Holly a “walk around” of
the holding facility.
I showed her this foal and she could see
that at that time it appeared to be OK.
We spent some time observing these wet
mares and foals to make sure they were pairing
up and that everything was OK.
This again is CLR’s protocol when we are
doing gathers and have small foals.
But also we knew that today we had
captured some very weak foals.
Several were really thin and their hair
was rough - they were not slicked off like
healthy foals should be in the summer time.
This foal and one other appeared to not
be doing good so they were caught and given
electrolyte paste and some more water.
We could not save them
They later both died.
The APHIS vet performed necropsy’s on
The little foal that had been roped was
starved and very weak.
You can read the report.
The other foal had gone immediately to
the hay that was provided for the horses and ate
too much and had coliced.
Again you can read the report.
We all felt bad but knew we had done all
we could to save them.
Yes the gather may have hastened their
deaths but they were so weak and the wild horses
were traveling so far to water that they would
not have survived for very long.
We lost these two but because the wild
horses were gathered other weak foals that might
have died out on the range were saved.
We, Cattoor Livestock Roundup really resent
Holly’s insinuations that the treatment of this
foal was not humane and that we did something to
cause it unnecessary stress.
We also resent her insinuations that we
tied the foal down and brought in the other
bands of horses for only gather efficiency.
She insinuates that we were not looking
out for the best interests of the foal.
We feel that the best decisions that
could have been made under these circumstances
The foal was very weak and the wrangler
knew he would need to bring a trailer to load it
and not try to drive it on into the trap.
He knew the other wild horses were close
to the trap.
He knew theses other bands also has
He did not want to scare them and cause
extra stress on those bands so he tied the foal
down in a safe place where it was certainly not
in any danger from the other wild horses being
driven into the trap.
He went back and got it as soon as he
The other bands could continue on into
This is especially important because, as
I have described in my information about what
happens as wild horses are located and driven to
the trap, the helicopter gets the animals to
move away from it and to move in the right
If the helicopters would have backed off
and the bands allowed to turn back under the
helicopters and escape and then the pilots try
to bring them back around and in to the trap
these animals would have had lots of extra
distance and lots of extra stress put on them.
That if anything would have been
I would also like to add that we closely
monitored several more of the foals that were
captured this day and the next day.
These wild horses that were living out in
this area were really short of feed and were
traveling a very long ways to water.
They had not had any green grass this
spring or early summer and so the mares did not
We had two foals that we weaned from
their mothers because they were in very poor
shape and the mares did not have any milk.
They were taken to an individual in
Dayton for some TLC.
Several more were marked so PVC could
BURRO RANGELAND MANAGEMENT COALITION
Advocating for commonsense,
approaches to managing horses and burros to
healthy wildlife and range lands for future
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Terra Rentz, NHBRMC
Phone: 301-897-9770 x309/
Horse and Burro Coalition
Statement on NBC's Wild Horse Stories
Washington, DC (May 15, 2013) -
The National Horse & Burro Rangeland Management
Coalition issues the following statement in
response to two stories released by NBC News
today on wild horses:
"Recent stories by NBC News
(Today Show: Wild horses: Endangered animals or
menace, and Cruel or necessary? and NBCNews.com:
The true cost of wild horse roundups) portray
only select facts and a narrow part of the
reality surrounding wild horses and burros on
the western range.
While regarded by many as icons
of the American West, free-roaming horses and
burros are in fact nonnative species that
threaten rangelands and native plant and animal
species. But managed at appropriate population
levels, wild horses and burros are not a
those with whom the range is shared. Nor is it
accurate in any way to call wild horses and
burros "endangered." In fact, the problem is an
overpopulation of horses and burros in and
beyond many herd management areas. lt is
inaccurate for these reports to depict only
healthy horses or rangelands. While this exists,
so do unhealthy horses and degraded range.
Finally, considering the Bureau of Land
Management (BLM), the Federal agency tasked with
managing most of the wild horses and burros in
the West, has gathered tens of thousands of
horses over the past decades, it is an unfair
portrayal of those gathers to focus on a few
instances of potentially inappropriate gather
methods. While not perfect, the BLM works hard
to maintain humane gather methods.
The BLM faces a daunting task.
Current herd sizes, which greatly exceed
manageable levels, stand to jeopardize other
multiple uses called for by law; they do so by
trampling vegetation, hardpacking the soil, and
over-grazing. Current overpopulation of horses
and burros on the range results in great
suffering for the animals, many of which are
dying of thirst or starvation. Other multiple
uses that depend on healthy rangelands are
suffering as well. Despite protection under the
law, for example, BLM reports that since horses
and burros became protected in 1971, ranching
families have seen livestock grazing decline by
30 percent on BLM lands. Meanwhile, the horse
population is 42 percent above the
scientifically-determined Appropriate Management
Level (AML) - which is the population size that
BLM can graze without causing ecological damage
to rangeland resources. More than 37,000 wild
horses currently reside on the range, over
11,000 more than the west-wide AML of26,500
individuals. Without management, horse and burro
herds can double in size every four to five
The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and
Burros Act of 1971 was enacted to protect "Wild,
free-roaming" horses and burros, as well as
guide their management as part of the natural
system on BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands in
the western United States. The Act requires
those agencies to maintain a "thriving natural
ecological balance" and protect existing rights
on those lands, based on the principle of
multiple use. The Act, as amended, also
authorizes the agencies to use or contract for
the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles
for the purpose of managing horses and burros.
This aids BLM to reach AML. When AML is not
reached, the animals and other multiple uses,
such as wildlife habitat and livestock grazing,
are negatively impacted.
sound management of wild horses and burros on
the range is in the interests of all those who
care about the health of the animals, the
sustainability of the range and the well-being
of the rural communities in the west. The NBC
stories unfortunately neglect to address these
legitimate issues and provide an
incomplete picture of the challenges facing
policymakers, rancher.;, and the conservation
For the sake of animal welfare
and multiple-use-and in keeping with the
Act--the Coalition supports actions that will
bring herd sizes in line with AMLs, and
emphasizes the following positions:
• The Coalition appreciates
BLM's efforts to find ways to reduce
reproduction rates, increase adoptions and
otherwise find solutions to a problem that
continues to burden the BLM, taxpayers, and
ranchers and create concerns for the welfare of
horses and burros and the health of wildlife and
the habitats on which they depend. About 70
percent of the total program budget ($74.9
million) is currently being spent on the over
50,000 horses and burros being held in corrals
and pastures. These levels are unsustainable. We
support innovative strategies such as adjusting
sex ratios, and we encourage more research into
effective fertility control treatments. Aside
from population suppression, offering trained
animals for adoption is important to increase
demand for excess horses and burros. We
encourage cost-effective initiatives to partner
with entities such as universities, prisons and
the Mustang Heritage Foundation.
• The Coalition applauds the
BLM's implementation of humane handling and
holding practices. BLM is now supplementing
their already-sound practices with a new
Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program. As
reported by the American Association of Equine
Practitioners in 2011, BLM's "care, handling and
management practices" are "appropriate for this
population of horses and generally support the
safety, health status and welfare of the
• The Coalition believes horses
and burros should continue to be cared for in a
humane manner both on and off the range;
integral to this goal is managing herd
populations at scientifically determined AMLs
and removing old and injured animals. Management
decisions should be science-based and increase
the ability of rangelands to support healthy
horse and burro herds along with other multiple
uses, including sustaining native plant and
wildlife communities and livestock grazing.
The rangeland resource should be
managed for multiple-use in accordance with the
law and the land's scientifically proven
capability to accommodate a variety of uses,
including the presence of horses and burros and
the biodiversity of the landscape. The
consistent application of sound science and
economics in relation to animal and rangeland
management should be used throughout the horse
and burro program."
The coalition is a diverse
wildlife, conservation and sportsmen
organizations, industry partners, and
professional natural-resource scientific
societies working together
identify proactive and comprehensive solutions
increase effective management of horse and burro
populations and mitigate the adverse impacts
healthy native fish, wildlife, and plants and
the ecosystems on which they depend.
For more information, visit
American Farm Bureau Federation.
Masters of Foxhounds Association. Mule Deer
Foundation National Association of Conservation
Districts. National Cattlemen's Beef
Association, National Rifle Association.
National Wildlife Refuge Association. Public
Lands Council, Public Lands Foundation. Rocky
Mountain Elk Foundation. Safari Club
International, Society for Range Management, The
Contact us at