Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I met an animal rights activist

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is charged with managing public lands for multiple use which includes the management of "wild" horse herds. When I wrote my original post in response to a news story that was ran by NBC News, I decided that in order to further educate myself, as I encouraged all my readers to do, I needed to attend a wild horse gather. And I did just that.

Last week I attended the Salt Wells Herd Management Area (HMA) gather, where BLM estimated that approximately 150 head would be removed from the range. Throughout the entire month of gather, an expected 700 head would be removed. This sounds like alot right? Consider that this covers an area that is nearly 2.5 million acres and 700 head isn't all that much.

I'll be honest, the gather was pretty much what I expected and not all that exciting. We were a good mile away from the trap and we waited for a long time before horses started coming in. The ran pretty far from us and there were no incidents that have been cited in article after article of the horrid treatment and abuse to the horses. I just simply didn't see any of that.

I thought the most interesting thing about the gather is  that they use a "pilot horse" inside the trap. The trap is made of jute material and serves as a guide rather than an actual holding pen. If the horses hit the jute it simply lies down and the horses can escape. As the helicopters brings the herds close to the wings of the trap, they turn loose Judas and he runs towards the band being brought in by the chopper. Once he has their attention, he turns and leads the band into the catch pen where they can be loaded on a trailer to be transported to the holding facility where they are processed. Many of the horses that go to the Rock Springs holding facility are processed then sent out to prisons for mustang programs in Colorado and Nevada. The rest are held in the facility and BLM will have an adoption push to attempt to get people to adopt a mustang.

You are welcome for pointing out the interesting parts of this photo because we were so far away and I don't have one of those fancy smancy wouldn't even know what you were looking at. Oh isn't that sage brush and blue Wyoming sky so beautiful. That is what you would say.

Now if I would have made friends with the animal rights activist.....well now she had a fancy smancy camera! So I will confess, I didn't actually meet her, but I overheard a conversation. That practically counts right? Said conversation included statements like "I've seen lots of horses with broken legs live and be perfectly fine, I think they just like to put them down and say its for the horse's own good" I bet that is why expensive racehorses are often put down when they break a leg....its because the quality of life and recovery rate is worth it. or "Its just so sad that they round them up and put them in holding facilities. They should just let them be wild" Yes, starving to death is much less sad. 

And let's be honest......are they even really wild?


  1. I admire you so much! You really go out and EDUCATE yourself on these things. Well done. And I really enjoyed the pictures and the informative arrows. The sage brush and blue Wyoming sky are quite lovely too. :)


  2. She's one of those people that probably says, "Why can't do you have to kill the cows?? Why can't you just go to the store and get your beef there like everyone else???"