Gov’t Autopsy Reveals: BLM Ran Foal with Birth Defect to His Death – Colt’s Final Moments Filled with Terror

January 6th, 2010 by Nicole Meyer


BLM Captures More Than 299 Wild Horses in First Week of Calico Roundup Scheduled To Last Two Months

Another foal who survived the chase into BLM's trap pens.

Another foal who survived the chase into BLM's trap pens.

A necropsy (animal autopsy) report on the young foal who collapsed and died in a New Year’s Day helicopter chase shed more light on the tragedy befalling the horses of Nevada’s Calico Mountain Complex. The necropsy states that the little foal collapsed twice while being chased for at least a half-mile by a government-contracted helicopter. Ten minutes after the second collapse, BLM wranglers found the colt dead.

This six-month old, dark bay/brown foal’s final moments were filled with terror trying to escape from the government operation; BLM officials acknowledged to observers that the tax-payer-funded helicopters are chasing the Calico horses at speeds of 20-30 mpg for 3 to 5 miles, and up to 10 miles. The little colt could not keep up with his family. Separated from his mother, he fell behind and died.
The BLM justifies this travesty by stating that the colt had a defective heart and would have died anyway, as if that justifies the trauma this agency’s heartless wild horse policies inflicted on this innocent young horse and his family.

Read the necropsy report below.

Meanwhile, the BLM reports that, as of January 4, it had rounded up 299 Calico horses. The capture operation has now moved from private land in Paiute Meadows Ranch to private land in Soldier Meadows where they will remain for the next two weeks. Daily access for public observation of the roundup activities is being denied and the BLM has selected three days each week (for the next three weeks) to allow orchestrated public observation. BLM claims staffing constraints as the reason to limiting public observation of this multi-million-dollar government operation. The only individual given unlimited access to view the roundup over consecutive days is a photographer hired by the BLM.

Necropsy Report

Date:                          1/1/10
Prepared by:          Albert Kane, DVM, MPVM, PhD

Location/Event:      Calico Complex Gather
Animal ID:              6 month old, dark bay/brown, colt

History: The pilot reported this colt lied down twice while moving just ½ mile from the original location of the band of horses. The second time he radioed to the trap for wranglers to come with a trailer and assist the colt as he seemed unlikely to make it to the trap. I accompanied the wranglers to the location. We arrived to the colt’s location about 10 minutes after the call from the pilot. On arrival he was found dead, lying in left lateral recumbency, with no signs of struggle or agonal movements apparent in the surrounding snow.

Examination: Alan Shepherd accompanied me during this necropsy examination. The carcass was rolled onto the right side, no external abnormalities were noted. Front right leg was lifted and reflected dorsally. On opening the chest cavity negative pressure was apparent. There was no blood present in the trachea. There was a large amount of free blood in the chest cavity. The lungs were pink and airy with no abnormalities noted.

On examination in-situ a hole was apparent in the pulmonary artery at the base. The left ventricle was thickened and larger than expected and the atria were thin and without muscular tone. There was an area of thinning and apparent aneurysm on the left atrium.

The abdominal cavity was examined with no abnormalities noted. Body condition was moderately thin with only small amounts of subcutaneous and abdominal fat noted.

Conclusion/Differentials/Dx: Left side heart failure.
Death caused by acute pulmonary artery rupture attributable to a pre-existing, probably congenital heart condition. Gather related but attributable to a pre-existing condition

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Albert J. Kane, DVM, MPVM, PhD
Veterinary Epidemiologist
Senior Staff Veterinarian
APHIS/BLM Wild Horse and Burro Partnership