Wild Mustangs Chased in 90-Degree Heat Under False Emergency
A controversial roundup of wild horses in Colorado is well underway, despite calls from Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Congressman Joe Neguse, In Defense of Animals, and other influential individuals and organizations to halt or delay the operation.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) initially scheduled the roundup at the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area (HMA) for September, when the young foals would be older and the weather cooler. The BLM used an “emergency” designation to expedite the operation, which is now underway on the hottest summer days. Newborn foals and heavily pregnant mares are being forced to run many miles with temperatures in the 90s.
The BLM’s “emergency” cited horses and rangeland in poor condition. Yet facts, photos, testimonials, and an independent ecological assessment of the Piceance East Douglas HMA show healthy horses in good condition, with robust foals. The Sierra Club assessment also shows enough forage to sustain the herd.
At the same time that the BLM declares the range in the Piceance Basin to be in such poor condition that it must remove the majority of the wild horses, it continues to do what it always does; which is to authorize livestock grazing on behalf of private ranchers that is the primary cause of the degradation of our public lands.
The BLM’s true motive for expediting this roundup is likely an attempt to avoid extra scrutiny after Gov. Polis, First Gentleman Marlon Reis, and Congressman Neguse all called on the BLM to halt the costly, inhumane roundup.
In Defense of Animals has observed five consecutive days of the Piceance roundup. As usual, there were significant challenges for viewers with land formations and obstacles in the way of a full view of the operations and the captured horses.
The BLM and its helicopter contractor also put temporary holding pens on private property where the public was not allowed. After capture, the horses were quickly loaded into trailers and whisked away to the temporary holding pens on private land, without the public being allowed to see them.
Also reprehensible is the terrible road to and from one site, which will likely further injure horses during transport. It was so rutted and washed out in places that it took out a skid plate in our representative’s SUV. The horses in the trailers, especially the foals, were banged and thrown around on that eight-mile stretch of dirt road.
The public is getting wise to the BLM’s false narrative, especially when the “emergency” reasons for removing wild horses keep changing when inaccuracies are pointed out.
In Defense of Animals is working hard to bring about change to end the roundups and keep wild horses safe on our public lands. You can help us in these actions. Find out more about what we’re doing and how to get involved by visiting our Wild Horses and Burros campaign.