We Have to Expect the Laws to be Enforced, or They Won’t Be

21 August 2018
Val Cecama-Hogsett

In Part two of our Catching up on CAES works and what we’ve been up to we’re going to discuss the recent gathers and abuses that many of us have seen on social media.

Recently we saw photos and videos posted of 2 wild horse gathers, one in Utah and the other in Wyoming. In both cases, we contacted the BLM Director of the state. We asked for an immediate halt to the gather, and that an investigation is done on the contractors and the inhumane events that were happening.

The Utah gather we called Ed Roberson, BLM UT Director, and the gather was stopped, although there has been no investigation launched into the behaviors of the contractors, and the location of the trap being next to barbed wire fencing that horses ran into and in one case flipped over.

The Wyoming gather we contacted Mary’Jo Rugwell, the Wyoming BLM Director, and we received no response. We then put out an action alert asking people to also contact her office. We noticed that there was a huge interest in what was happening, and we compiled a list of 85 groups and organizations that were with us in asking for the WY to come to an immediate end and again asking for an investigation to happen. We sent the list and the second demand for Ms. Rugwell, or someone at BLM to hear our request and do something on August 16, and on August 17 we received notice that the gather was stopped, the BLM stated they are looking into what happened that killed so many foals and how they can improve. We asked that they also look at their policy for shipping stallions since they lost a 6-year-old during a fight in a trailer between 2 stallions.

We still question the ability of the project lead on the WY gather and the call he made to allow the gather to take place in temperatures that were very close (possibly over at times) to the cut-off that is legally allowed, and most days of the gather were in the range where the call to go or stop the roundup was made by the project lead. This was the likely reason for several foals dying of what the BLM termed ‘capture’ shock. It is shock induced by a fast and severe loss of body fluids.

The other issue we addressed and are going to continue to follow is one of the use of the term ‘pre-existing condition’ for horses that are euthanized at the trap sites or holding facilities. We explained in our complaints about both gathers that there is a BLM MOU stating the herds are checked for horses with pre-existing conditions before the roundup, we do not feel this is done. We also feel that it is extreme animal cruelty to chase a wild horse for miles with a helicopter when it has a condition that is SO bad that the animal needs to be euthanized. If the condition is not that bad but is exacerbated by the chase, then is that not knowingly and willfully killing an animal?

There are BLM policies, the CAWP (Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program) Standards that are ‘guidelines’ or policy of BLM, and those were questionably followed, maybe…there are some areas that we believe were violated, but they are not strong enough to prosecute. However, there are also federal, state and even county animal statutes that the BLM must abide by, and that’s where these events are prosecutable. We are discussing issues with BLM and they are aware that we still may file complaints of animal cruelty, endangerment, and abuse. What our goal is, is to affect change.

We’ll update you as we go.


(Parts 3 & 4 of our catching up series will be next week and will address what legal actions are we are involved in currently and the Water for Western Wildlife program and goals for the remainder of 2018 and 2019.)

4 thoughts on “We Have to Expect the Laws to be Enforced, or They Won’t Be

  1. I will follow and support your efforts to save our Wild Horses for as long as it takes

  2. CAES are very diligent in following up irregularities, the BLM not soat all. Shared.

  3. THERE should be NO discussion with BLM until they commit to STOP all roundups, period!!! There are so many other ways to manage these herds that do not involve mass roundups. They are spending too much money on eradicating these horses that we want left free on OUR public lands. No negotiation, legal action only until BLM capitulates and stops all roundups by helicopter Forever!!!!!!!

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