BLM to Review Nevada Gather Operations

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will review the operations during a Nevada gather that some wild horse welfare advocates allege put animals at risk.

In July the BLM began gathering animals collectively from the Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and the Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory, in Nevada. More than 1,200 animals were removed from the ranges during the gather, which was completed on Aug. 31.

On Sept. 23 BLM Director Bob Abbey announced that a review team composed of agency personnel would review existing agency procedures used at the Triple B gather relative to the alleged instances of animal abuse including those depicted in a video when a helicopter was seen striking a horse during the roundup. The BLM team will consult with specific non-agency experts during the review, Abbey said. The review and subsequent findings would be used to "inform" the agency's development of a comprehensive animal welfare plan for the Wild Horse and Burro Program, Abbey said.

In a written statement Abbey said, "This fact-finding review is aimed at advancing the BLM's ongoing efforts to strengthen humane animal care and handling practices. Any resulting changes in Bureau-wide standard operating procedures will apply to gather contractors, BLM employees, and volunteers."

BLM Spokesman Tom Gorey said the agency is in the process of formulating its list of BLM personnel and non-agency consultants who would take part in the gather assessment.

Laura Leigh, vice president of the wild horse advocacy group Wild Horse Freedom Federation, questioned the value of a review conducted by BLM personnel: "As long as the (review) committee does not include individual members of the public and animal welfare organizations who aurally witnessed these atrocities, the review means nothing."

Gorey said the review team is slated to report its findings on Oct. 12. Thereafter, review results will be posted on the BLM website.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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