“Removal treadmill” condemned by HSUS boss

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Wayne Pacelle
Wayne Pacelle

The Bureau of Land Management continues to round up and remove thousands of wild horses, gathering more than it can responsibly care for in holding facilities, the head of the Humane Society of the United States says.

President and chief executive Wayne Pacelle says it is all at an enormous expense to American taxpayers, and in defiance of the spirit of the federal law designed to protect the horses.

Pacelle, writing in his blog, A Humane Nation, urged the bureau to immediately adopt the recommendations of a report prepared by the National Academies of Sciences’ National Research Council panel.

The report urged the agency to end its reliance on roundups and instead keep horses on the range, while humanely limiting reproduction through use of a contraceptive vaccine.

Pacelle pointed to the situation at the Palomino Valley National Adoption Center in Nevada, home to 1800 mustangs, where advocates have been pushing the bureau to install shade to help shelter the captive wild horses from the summer heat.

“Despite the fact that the BLM requires those adopting wild horses from the agency to provide adequate shelter, there is no shelter for the horses at the Palomino Valley National Adoption Center,” he said.

The Humane Society wrote to the bureau after several wild horse advocates brought the matter to its attention.

“Our request is hardly unprecedented,” Pacelle said, “since the BLM has installed shelters at other facilities, like the one in Ridgecrest, California.

“Thus far, the BLM has installed a sprinkler system, but no shelter. Newly confirmed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell can take action to show she’s serious about reform of this program.

“While an important welfare issue for the horses, the situation unfolding at Palomino Valley is yet another symptom of a broken horse and burro program.

“The central problem is that the BLM continues to round up and remove thousands of wild horses and to aggregate more horses than it can responsibly care for at short-term and long-term holding facilities, all at an enormous expense to taxpayers and to horses, and in defiance of the spirit of the federal law designed to protect them.

“We have only about 40,000 wild horses and burros living on our public lands today, but we have almost 50,000 in holding facilities.

“This is not what the drafters of the original Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act could ever have imagined, and the BLM knows that it’s removing more animals from the range than the agency can possibly hope to adopt out to loving homes – yet the roundup and removal treadmill persists.

“This is the larger problem that Secretary Jewell confronts.”

The only way the bureau will ever right the sinking ship is to adopt the measure in the National Academies of Sciences’ National Research Council report, he said.

“We are ready to work with the BLM to address its continuing troubles in this area and to solve them for the long term. But in the meantime, the BLM needs to do right by the animals in its care and the best place to start is by providing the 1800 wild horses at the Palmino Valley Center with the shelter they so desperately need.”

8 thoughts on ““Removal treadmill” condemned by HSUS boss

  • July 23, 2013 at 5:22 am
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    It is a primal instinct to seek shade. Do these BLM morons need a diagram? idiots!

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  • July 23, 2013 at 5:24 am
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    While I appreciate Mr Parcelle’s persistence stating the NAS called for more use of PZP…that’s not the way I read it. The pros and cons of using drugs were clearly outlined in the report and it was not a primary alternative. Leaving the horses alone and letting nature take its course was the optimum.

    “Free-ranging horse populations are growing at high rates because their numbers are held below levels affected by food limitation and density dependence.” The remainder can be found on pages 5 & 6 of the report.

    The results are the same…just say no to drugs for wild animals!

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    • August 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm
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      If you’ve never lived among wild horses, u would discredit pzp. If you are educated in the importance of predatory animal life you would awaken to the importance of pzp

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  • July 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm
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    This is about the wild mustang and Burro that have been here since before we were? Obama as far as i have seen has not stopped the reinstatement of FDA slaughter-house inspectors, which requires Congress to affect and they are going on vacation starting in August! There is a plant in St. Louis that is ready for the round-ups and if the Prez does not get on Congress 10’s of 1000’s of wild horses and Mules left by the Spaniards will be put to slaughter. Looks to me that BLM has been doing all the round-up for the slaugther house killers, all they need to do is back up to the corrals and pay the “Man” (BLM)

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  • July 24, 2013 at 7:22 am
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    My biggest worry is that these herds of “wild” horses will be destined for the states where individuals are attempting to reopen horse slaughter plants. With the recent media reports about horse meat being unsafe due to the the medications, wormers, vaccinations,etc…that domestic horses have in their systems…..where will these operators get their supply of “clean” horses …the herds being held by the BLM ofcourse!

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  • July 25, 2013 at 5:31 pm
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    I have often viewed it futile to see disagreements over things people may have no actual control over other than at a real grass roots level on how they can personally or even physically help.. Meanwhile Over 50,000 wild horses and burros are in captivity; tragically now more than the numbers that run wild. For decades some have been skimmed off the top and gone to slaughter, others shot and killed or died in other cruel ways. Of course they are not in facilities because of overpopulation but because of Department of the Interior that is above the law. Of those that remain, the majority of them are mares and gelded males as the babies sometimes unaccounted for or lost during/after capture. Under these conditions I think it is a travesty on many levels to allow them to breed and breed only to round them up if non permanent reproductive control (natural or otherwise) would otherwise help them to stay in the wild *and not be captured to a life of short and then long term holding, or even ending in slaughter. Because they cannot stay in the wild in this day and age, (because of DOI agenda) thousands of lives and their suffering might have been prevented if some kind of responsible husbandry had been implemented that may include only natural ways of population management…instead of just rounding them up (as that is their irresponsible method of “managing” them). Rounding up and the inherent dangers that follow are not doing these animals any justice and is certainly not a SAFE method. I wish that the horse to the left was running free. My wild horse Piute is a treasure and a blessing in my life but all the same he belongs to nature and will never belong to me. Had HUMANS planned better he or his family members would have never been close enough to see except through binoculars which is what he deserves. But the breed breed breed & stockpile methodology causes immense suffering.

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  • August 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm
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    The breed, breed, breed mentality does not belong only to the BLM. The same mentality is prevalent at most breed associations – especially the Quarter Horse Assn. This is the main reason for most of the so-called “unwanted horses” Until there is more oversight into the overbreeding – looking for that one perfect horse – and throwing away all the others to slaughter – this mentality will continue. Its wrong & we all know its wrong. Frankly, though the wild horses & burros main enemy is the BLM & their management – which consists of rounding them up and stockpiling them. Until some responsible person heads the DOI – it will continue.

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  • August 29, 2013 at 10:17 pm
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    The NAS study found the 24% breeding rate was caused by the removals as the horses try to recover their numbers. It also called for an accurate census. There is no excess population of wild horses since 70% of the herds are not genetically viable and sustainable. PZP would only be necessary in a very few places but unnecessary in most herd management areas . The roundups/ removals all must stop before our wild horses are extinct. The near 50,000 in holding need to be returned to the 22.2 million acres taken from them. BLM is “managing for extinction” and a Congressional investigation needs to be done before more wild horses go to slaughter.

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