Issue: The Calico Mountains Complex wild horse roundup.
Update: 1/2/10 on-site observation of the "Black Rock East" trap site at Paiute Meadows.
Craig Downer, Cloud Foundation
Elyse Gardner, Cloud Foundation
The following report is based on a telephone conversation with Craig Downer who returned to the trap site on Saturday when gather operations had resumed.
To determine if gather operations were conducted safely and followed appropriate gather management protocols.
(Please see the previous page on this subject.)
They day was cold and icy. The path of travel for the horses at the trap wings and inside the trap consisted primarily of hard packed snow. It did not appear that sand, straw or hay had been spread out to restore traction at the throat of the trap wings or in the sorting areas. Mr. Downer reported that there was an undesirable amount of slipping and sliding among the horses entering the trap and during the sorting process.
Mr. Downer further observed that the horses were not provided sufficient time to settle while in the trap system which seemed to contribute to the agitation of the animals in the corrals. One stallion jumped out of the trap system and escaped, pushing through a barbed wire fence on the ranch property to do so. (The observers nicknamed the stallion, "Freedom.")
While Mr. Downer expressed concerns over unnecessary risks associated with the footing conditions in the trap at and the pace in which horses were being handled, he did not report any accidents or injuries aside from the stallion likely receiving barbed wire cuts during his escape.
BLM reported that a foal had died during the previous day's operations. BLM would not let Mr. Downer inspect the foal. A necropsy report was provided to Mr. Downer, who forwarded it to us. We had a retired veterinary pathologist (DVM, PhD) who is also a wild horse advocate and adopter review the report. Her conclusions were that the report as described was valid.
The report and various comments can be viewed
While the foal could have had some preexisting condition, the circumstances following this incident have led advocates to speculate why BLM refused to let an experienced range ecologist inspect the foal. Not only would Dr. Kane have been able to point out his findings, but a valuable anatomy opportunity was lost. More importantly, inspection of the foal would have removed any doubts that the necropsy report was correct.
Mr. Downer reported that he did not observe BLM providing birth control to and (intentionally) releasing any horses back onto the range.
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This report will be revised as may be appropriate after it has been posted.