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Welfare group labels Calico toll "shocking"

February 7, 2010

Some 1922 wild horses were removed from the Calico area in the latest BLM muster.

Many mares aborted foals while in the Nevada holding facility. © BLM

A horse welfare group has described the number of deaths from the controversial Calico muster in northern Nevada as shocking, and predicts more will die.

The muster ended with 1922 horses removed from the range, some 600-800 short of the Bureau of Land Management's original plan.

However, the bureau said air surveys indicate about 600 horses remain in the five herd management areas, which meets the plan for the area.

The Cloud Foundation continued its call for a moratorium on wild horse musters, saying the number of deaths and injuries were shocking.

"Thirty-nine horses are reported dead as a result of the Calico gather," the organisation said.

"This does not include the 25-30 mares that have aborted their late-term foals in the feedlot style facility outside Fallon, Nevada."

It said it expected the death toll to rise as the bureau begins processing the horses in a few days, which will include freeze-branding and gelding of stallions.

It said the public may not know what happens from here on, as it appeared the bureau has decided not to provide veterinary reports on the causes of death in the new Fallon facility.

"Thousands of Americans protested this dead-of-winter assault on the last wild horse stronghold remaining in the United States," said Cloud Foundation director Ginger Kathrens.

"I hope this is an eye-opener for Congress and that the huge outcry against these cruel and unnecessary roundups will be a wake-up call for the president."

Kathrens said the bureau continued to make a "fiscal train wreck" of the wild horse and burro programme.

Kathrens was critical of the number of cattle permitted to graze the rangelands, saying blame for any wilderness damage was put on horses, not cattle.

She said public access to view the Calico roundup was limited, despite assurances to the contrary, and she voiced her concern over the roundup proposed for the Eagle Complex in the mountains of eastern Nevada.

"The area is larger than the state of Rhode Island, yet the number of mustangs allowable according to BLM is 100. At the same time, the number of privately owned welfare cattle allowed is over 2700."



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