The costs of the recent Wild Horse roundup on Pryor Mountain….
The BLM rounded up most of the Wild Horses, processed, and will put about 57 Pryor horses (+3 foals) through their adoption program on Sept 26, 2009 leaving only around 120 horses on approx. 32,000 acres.
The helicopter roundup started on Sept 3rd, and many horse bands (families) were driven 10+ miles (one way) from the grassy meadows at the top of the mountain (elevation 8700 ft) to the lower desert elevations, captured, & penned at the Britton Springs Corral where they were processed one at a time. Some of the horses that had been designated to be removed were not captured because the roundup ended early. However, others that had already been captured will be taking their place.
A newborn foal at the top of the mountain, and footsore horses are just a few reasons why the roundup ended earlier then planned. But I have to wonder if the BLM received a phone call from a higher authority to stop because of the intense media coverage and public outrage.
Genetic specialists say for safe genetics, a properly managed herd should be closer to 200 head, meanwhile the BLM wants less than 100 head on Pryor and the other Wild Horse Herd Ranges. Did the BLM authorize and pay for the study yet are ignoring the results?
What did this one roundup cost us?
It may run as high as $150,000 according to Jim Sparks, BLM Field Manager. (Billings Gazette) Usually, each roundup only runs around $60,000.
Yet because the BLM refused to change their plans, and they fought hard against the huge public outcry, petitions, flooding of callers, even letters from senators, & lawsuits… it may cost us something like $150,000!
Citizens are still wanting the BLM … to play a better role and properly mange the horses.
We taxpayers, are in a pickle! We foot the gov’t bills while they refuse to listen to us, and the BLM again depends on the public to adopt these horses, because they may starve in the wild on our public lands! (Starvation & poor range conditions are the BLM’s biggest excuse for so many roundups)
So according to the BLM, you and I should adopt these poor, unfortunate, almost starving, & overpopulated horses and pay for their lifetime of care.
But wait a minute…
Although I do not live on or near any of the Wild Horse Ranges, I have always been around horses, and I personally have never seen a starving wild horse because of poor range conditions while photographing them. I have seen thin horses due to injuries & old age, but that is how Mother Nature works when you are living wild and free.
Many people claim that the Pryor Mountain Range is in better condition in 2009 than the last several years.
But lets remind the public that horses have died while in the direct care of the BLM! I can recall one time reading about when the BLM ‘forgot’ about a small herd they had put in a ‘holding area’ that had NO WATER!
The number of adoptions is way down, (was their program ever really successful?) yet higher than normal roundups have been reported in the last few years and many more are planned. Even 100% elimination for some areas.
Why 100% elimination and large removals? Hmmm, does greed, gas & oil, even cattle, or just plain bad judgement ring a bell?
Doesn’t this horrible cycle really make you mad, even if you are not a true fan of Wild Horses, and do not appreciate their beauty and the fact that they are living symbols of America’s Wild West and History?
In 1900 there were 2 million wild horses roaming and now there is around 25,000. (some say more like 15,000)
The whole issue and my story here is not just about the horses… its the poor management skills of millions of acres of public land, abuse of power, greed, the over- spending of taxpayers’ money, & not listening to the public outcry. And now they have authorities at the roundups allowing the public extremely poor & limited access, or no access at all, during roundup activities – on our public lands! So we too are loosing our freedoms with the BLM!
The BLM is a disaster! A regular business could never survive or exist if they worked like the BLM.
The BLM hires and depends on a contractor to ‘do the dirty work’ and conduct round ups.
There are two helicopter contractors in the US and one of them is Cattoor.
Oh, did I mention that the hired contractor David Cattoor, (Cattoor Livestock Roundup), is a 1992 convicted felon for illegally capturing horses in one state, trucking over state lines, & selling them to a slaughter in Texas? He’s been in the business since 1971, so he knew what he was doing in 1992.
It pays well to be a horse contractor for the gov’t, because Cattoor has reported more than 12 MILLION dollars earned from 2000-2007 and the BLM is his primary customer. Some say he has earned 20 Million+ rounding up horses. Really?
Oh, did I mention that felons arn’t supposed to get jobs working for the federal gov’t?
I just do not understand why he has been able to earn so much money from the government if he is a convicted felon.
For the few days that the Cattoor Contractors & Wranglers were ‘just sitting around’ because of the court delay on the roundup, they collected a cool $7,000 per day.
Yes, they even rounded up Cloud, the most famous living Wild Mustang Stallion, despite a huge international uproar.
When many of the horses were released a day or so later, they were still limping & footsore, even the famous Cloud. Isn’t there a better way to work together on this?
Because of the high media attention (most documented in history) on this recent Pryor Mountain roundup, the amount of injury & round-up related deaths was way lower than the usual. So what exactly does that say?
Since Pryor Horses are famous, they will probably all be adopted, (even the older ones like Conquistador, who is 19), instead of being held in the long term holding facility that is already holding 33,000+ head. Well, I hope they will be adopted!
Long Term Holding Costs:
The program’s direct costs for holding animals off the range increased from $7 million in 2000 to $21 million in 2007. For 2008, these costs could account for 74 percent of the program’s budget.
Now for some good news!
Ginger Kathrens’ third Cloud PBS Movie Series, “Cloud, Challenge of the Stallions” airs Oct 25, 2009 on PBS!
The movie will be fabulous! But sadly I already know how upset I will be when I again see many of the horses in the movie, as I know that they have already been rounded up and are forever gone from the mountain.
Visit www.thecloudfoundation.org for more info
Cloud’s Image & Ember, (Cloud’s grandchildren) both 2008 foals were removed.
I have had the privilege of photographing and ‘hanging out’ with these beautiful horses. If you ever get the chance, please visit a wild horse herd – before they are all gone.