Aurora

Death toll hits 142 wild horses held captive in Colorado after BLM fails to vaccinate. Feds promise probe — and more roundups – Aurora, Colorado

Aurora, Colorado 2022-05-12 08:00:14 –

Cannon City – The latest breakdown of the government’s controversial holding system, with the death toll of captive wild horses in fenced enclosures as federal caretakers failed to provide vaccination. The number increased to 142. Land management has raised concerns about humane treatment to reduce the herd of mushroom-hunting mustangs that roam freely with cattle and sheep on increasingly dry public lands.

BLM officials told The Denver Post to investigate why 445 horses brought from northwestern Colorado to Cannon City last summer were not completely vaccinated against equine influenza.

This week, surviving chestnuts, bays and painted Mustangs wandered around 50 acres of pens covering a total of 2,550 horses in a 120-acre camp next to a state prison. Respiratory diseases mainly infect unvaccinated horses, which are dying horses.

Veterinarians said there was little that could be done to prevent more deaths as the flu and subsequent bacterial infections progressed.

Outbreaks and deaths here and at the BLM facility in Wyoming have intensified a long-standing struggle over how to deal with wild horses in the west, or Mustang, a descendant of horses introduced by Spanish settlers. To survive in the wild.

According to BLM data from aerial surveys, wild horse and donkey populations in 10 states have more than doubled to 82,384 in the last decade. This is three times the target of 26,715 agencies that BLM authorities say land can be maintained. Colorado has a population of about 1,689, more than double the land manager’s goal of 827.

Hillary Swift, The New York Times

Land Management Workers are helping to round up wild horses in Challis, Idaho on November 5, 2019. The federal wild horse management program is underfunded or unpleasant because too many animals are on public land and too many are in the hands of the general public. solution.

“Broken system”

Over the last two years, the BLM team has collected and eradicated more horses. They are preparing to capture 22,000 Mustangs, including a herd near Meeker, Colorado, this summer and place them on a network of 28 containment facilities, including Canon City. According to the data, more than 60,000 Mustangs are currently bred nationwide, up from 50,935 10 years ago. The overall cost of taxpayers to manage wild horses has increased from $ 71 million annually in 2013 to $ 137 million this year.

“Wild horses are the safest in the wild. You can’t keep wild horses on a broken system,” said Scott Wilson, a board member of the Denver-based American Wild Horse Campaign. ..

“When we trap wild horses, an outbreak of this kind of disease occurs. We put these horses at risk,” Wilson said. “We are supposed to protect them. They are national treasures.”

Animal rights advocates are seeking proceedings regarding vaccination failures and standards of care in the facility.

Even after vaccination, 11 horses have died since March at a BLM-owned facility in Wyoming, and the outbreak of “streptococcusequi” has infected about half of the 2,750 horses. Horses arriving in 2021 were beginning to receive booster shots against the strangles. “It’s one of the vaccines that every horse treated in the BLM off-range program receives,” said agency spokesman Brad Purdy.

If wild horses remain free, the herd grows by 15% to 20% annually and can double every 5 years, depending on the effectiveness of contraception. BLM officials disputed the claim that horses roamed public land more safely. BLM spokesman Brian Highers said last year at headquarters in Washington, DC, a dry puddle and the disappearance of grass for foraging forced rescue teams to rescue 7,000 horses.

“Chronic overcrowding of wild horses in deserts and sagebrush ecosystems, which tend to lack resources such as feed and water, endangers the overall health of the land and herds and causes permanent and irreparable damage. May bring about, ”says Hires. “As climate change causes more frequent and extreme drought events throughout the west, the impact of overcrowding on pasture and animal health will be amplified. The adverse effects of drought are particularly severely overcrowded on wild horses and donkeys. In areas of public land that have become, it will further reduce the availability of water and feed for wild horses and wildlife. “

Diseases that cause the death of as many captive horses as those that began on April 23 in Cannon City are rare, Hires said, and the disease spreads rapidly when horses concentrate on the pen. Admitted that it can be done. BLM officials declared quarantine at both facilities, stating that employees would monitor sick horses and treat them if possible, given that Mustang may be difficult.

Animal rights advocates claim that reducing cattle and sheep grazing on BLM lands allows more horses to roam, and every two years to keep horse populations sustainable. We advocate increasing the use of contraceptive shots that wear out.

BLM officials refused to discuss activities in Cannon City and why the West Douglas herd from western Colorado was not completely vaccinated last summer.

“We are reviewing how that happened,” BLM Colorado spokesman Steven Holl said in an email.

Wild horses have been bred at BLM holding / recruitment facilities in the Delta, Utah, after being rounded up from BLM land in the western United States on June 1, 2017. At that time, there were an estimated 75,000 wild horses on public land in the west. The United States, whose population is increasing by 20% annually.

George Frey, Getty Images

Wild horses have been bred at BLM holding / recruitment facilities in the Delta, Utah, after being rounded up from BLM land in the western United States on June 1, 2017. At that time, there were an estimated 75,000 wild horses on public land in the west. The United States, whose population is increasing by 20% annually.

“Temporary” prisoners

“Why are these horses particularly affected?” Is also taken into account in the review, Hall said. According to BLM breaking news, the herd was “replaced” by a wildfire in Oil Springs that burned 12,613 acres north of Grand Junction in June 2021. It will be loaded onto the truck.

Cannon City POWs mean “temporary”. The facility operates in collaboration with the Colorado Corrections Bureau, where prison inmates raise and care for wild horses. The program began in 1985 and expanded to accommodate as many as 2,950 horses, state officials said. Four state officials and 22 prisoners handle horses under the supervision of BLM.

However, captive horses are debilitated here for at least nine months. Some of them are transferred to pastures for unwanted horses in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas and other grassy states.

Some have been adopted. BLM staff will provide $ 1,000 to be paid after inspection of a new home and care pass.

Before the adopted Mustang of Carol Walker ...

Provided by Carol Walker

The Mustang adopted by Carol Walker was drawn before the October 2020 roundup with his mother.

The need for adoption

Last fall, 40-acre horse-rearing photographer and former psychologist Carol Walker applied near Longmont. She took pictures of wild horses and foals in BLM land in the Red Desert of Wyoming. Then, when she heard about Roundup, she persistently chased the foal. It was taken to Canon City.

When she went to adopt it in August 2021, she took a picture showing a light horse whose ribs are shown. She named it Helios. She contacted Governor Jared Polis and requested an investigation into the status of the overcrowded and understaffed facility.

She and her fellow horse advocates police a letter warning of “potential animal neglect” for a review “to prevent wild horses from being unnecessarily neglected or harmed”. Sent to. They cited the legal requirements for humanitarian treatment under the Wild Free Grazing Horse and Barros Act of 1971, the Animal Welfare Act, and the BLM Regulations on the Care of Captive Horses.

The Carol Walker Mustang was painted shortly after it was adopted in August 2021.

Provided by Carol Walker

The Carol Walker Mustang was painted shortly after it was adopted in August 2021.

“This is a matter of animal welfare and cruelty to animals,” Walker said last week as the death toll increased in Canon City. “You put a lot of horses in a small area. They feel stressed. They get sick. And now that all these horses are dead and sick, you have an additional 1,000. Are you going to collect horses and put them in this crowded facility? “

BLM facility manager Steve Leonard oversees BLM’s wild horse operations throughout the state, but is unable to respond and his office clerk has been designated as an agent for all questions. He said he was instructed to refer to a spokesperson. The spokesperson simply responded to the written question by email and refused to speak or use staff.

Leonard later visited to inspect Helios and found that his horse’s health had improved, Walker said.

Sarah King, a research scientist specializing in the management of wild horses at Colorado State University, who conducted research in a habitat that was hit hard in Nevada last year and supports mass castration of men in addition to contraception, said: We need more people to hire wild horses. ” Control for women.

“With this unprecedented level of drought, the land is getting hotter and drier. No doubt, the water sources are starting to run out,” King said. “Wild horse populations can grow very fast and require some control. So, at this point, BLM is really focused on removal and out of range.”

Wild horses roam freely in the state and some private lands on May 31, 2017, outside the federal liberated horse control area near Milford, Utah. BLM, state officials, and ranchers in the western United States are struggling with how to manage and manage the surge in horse populations in the western United States.

George Frey, Getty Images

Wild horses roam freely in the state and some private lands on May 31, 2017, outside the federal liberated horse control area near Milford, Utah. BLM, state officials, and ranchers in the western United States are struggling with how to manage and manage the surge in horse populations in the western United States.

Treat the west symbol humanely

Parliament has declared that Mustang will be protected as a symbol of Western culture. Advocates of wild horses claim prehistoric horses born in North America and call them “returning native species” in lands that have evolved through foraging by horse-like creatures. .. BLM officials have characterized Mustang as a non-native “modern horse” introduced by European settlers.

Euthanasia of wild horses is prohibited. BLM caretakers said in a recent report to Congress that they would prioritize Roundup and use contraception to reduce numbers. You can also maintain cattle and sheep grazing and other wildlife with “healthy horses on healthy land”.

Cannon City veterinarian Pam Rose said he had visited here in the past. Concentrating 2,550 horses in a fenced enclosure is “unnatural,” Rose said. “It’s like day care kids. If one child gets sick, they all get sick. The virus has to go through non-immune people.”

Death toll hits 142 wild horses held captive in Colorado after BLM fails to vaccinate. Feds promise probe — and more roundups Source link Death toll hits 142 wild horses held captive in Colorado after BLM fails to vaccinate. Feds promise probe — and more roundups

Back to top button