Target: The Bureau of Land Management
Goal: Don’t force pregnant mares and young foals into a stampede.
A drought in Nevada’s Jackson Mountains has been causing food and water shortages for wild horses grazing in the area. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is adding to the horses’ stress by using inhumane tactics to corral the animals. They have been using a helicopter to force the animals into stampedes, and plan to continue doing so throughout the next three to four weeks. Due to the forage and water shortage, the BLM has stated that they would like to reduce the estimated wild horse population from 930 animals to fewer than 270. Captured wild horses are trained and put up for adoption.
The amount of stress caused by a stampede puts pregnant mares at risk of miscarrying their foals. Young foals already born will also be at risk. Their hooves are not yet developed enough to handle running at high speeds for long amounts of time. The BLM has recognized the dangers present for pregnant mares and young foals, stating that stampedes in the past have caused mares to abort their foals, and that young foals often have a hard time keeping up with the rest of the herd. Advocacy groups have reportedly offered to assist the BLM in carrying out more humane trapping methods, but their offers were ignored. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, as well as eleven other horse advocacy organizations, have recently spoken out about the cruelty of corralling wild horses by forcing them to stampede.
Opponents of the round-up have suggested that the BLM has failed to prove that there is even a valid reason to begin capturing horses early this year. Wild horses in the area are supposed to be left alone unless their population begins to threaten the local environment. The BLM is corralling grazing wild horses, stating that it is due to the water and forage shortage, while at the same time allowing livestock animals to remain in the area.
Stampeding horses into corrals is a common practice, however it would be much safer to do so after the horses’ foaling season has ended. Foaling season normally starts in early March and ends around the end of June. Horse advocates have suggested that luring the horses into corrals with bait would be much safer and more humane. Please ask the Bureau of Land Management to wait a few short weeks until after the foaling season is finished to corral the wild horses, or to use more humane baiting methods rather than forcing the horses to stampede.
Dear Bureau of Land Management,
Please reconsider using a helicopter to force the horses in Nevada’s Jackson Mountains into a stampede. A stampede during the horses’ foaling season presents many risks, especially to pregnant mares and young foals. Your organization has stated that the early round-up this year is due to drought-induced forage and water shortages, and yet livestock animals are being allowed to remain and graze in the area.
Please take into account the suggestions that numerous horse advocacy groups have been putting forth. It would be much safer for these animals if you waited until the foaling season has ended to stampede them into corrals. Or perhaps you could consider using more humane methods, such as baiting the horses into corrals.
[Your Name Here]