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Nearly 1200 horses removed from Calico complex

January 25, 2010

A wild horse has a taste of captivity for the first time.

Craig Downer and BLM Nevada Wild Horse Specialist Alan Shepherd.

Wild horses await the move at Black Rock West.

A Judas horse with a halter guides the wild horses into the corral at Black Rock West.

Wild horses are loaded into a trailer to move to the holding corral at the gather site.

On the move: wild horses being taken to the gather site. © BLM

© Kurt Golgart/BLM

The planned muster of up to 2700 wild horses from northern Nevada is nearing half way.

The latest report indicates 1195 horses have been removed from the five herd management areas of the Calico complex.

The Bureau of Land Management said two animals have been euthanized and the remaining horses moved to the short-term holding facility in Fallon.

The bureau reported late last week that mares coming into the Fallon facility were in poorer condition than stallions and weanlings/foals.

About 30 mares from the Warm Springs herd management area ranged in body condition from 2.5 to 3.0, the bureau said. One mare that was down on the transport truck arrived at the facility alive, but subsequently died.

One colt with multiple hoof sloughs from the capture was euthanized at the facility. The colt was from the Black Rock East HMA and has been at Fallon more than two weeks.

When the colt arrived at the facility he was put in with the general population. A day or two later, the colt started showing acute lameness and was moved to a sick pen. The facility veterinarian noted the colt's two hind hoof soles were bruised, but there was no visible abscess or infection. The colt was given antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medicine, was kept segregated and contined to be checked by the veterinarian, the bureau said.

Its hind feet abscessed and the outer hoof wall separated. The colt was euthanized by the facility veterinarian.

The bureau said about 20-25 horses at the facility have received treatment for various injuries or lameness and are recovering. There are no indications of infectious respiratory disease.

The animal welfare group, In Defense of Animals (IDA), has called for full and ongoing access for public observers in the wake of the deaths and injuries.

It said the injuries were the result of the "helicopter stampede" and roundup practices.

"These latest tragic and unnecessary deaths document beyond doubt that the bureau helicopter stampedes violate federal requirements for humane and minimally intrusive management of wild horses," said Elliot Katz, president of IDA.

The organisation wants a "full and independent investigation of these and other fatalities and injuries caused by the Calico roundup".

The Calico muster has angered wild horse advocates. They argue it is cruel and unnecessary, and are concerned over the number of horses being removed from the western rangelands.

The bureau says the muster is necessary to maintain a healthy ecological balance in the area.

A legal challenge to the Calico muster failed to stop it, but the judge said there appeared to be some merit in the advocates' argument that long-term holding of horses further east of their natural range may be illegal.



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