Old Mare collapsed after being driven to exhaustion by BLM Helicopter. Photo by Catherine Stokes (C) The Cloud Foundation.
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Report Courtesy of Maureen Harmonay
The BLM and its contractors have gone on record lately to vehemently protest the characterization of their wild horse roundups as “stampedes,” with BLM spokesman Tom Gorey going so far as to tell Horseback Magazine‘s Steve Long that the use of the word is nothing more than “anti-BLM propaganda.”
But the latest footage from the Antelope Complex roundup, which began on January 23rd in Nevada’s Great Basin, belies that notion. A graphic videotape recorded yesterday captured not only the steam escaping from the sweat-drenched bodies of the wild horses as they flee the terror of the threatening helicopter above, but also the utter exhaustion of an older mare whose legs gave out when, after being pushed by the pilot for untold miles, she simply could run no more.
Again and again, the mare attempted to stand, to no avail. When finally, after many minutes, she was able to get back on her feet, and stagger off, still rubber-legged, the helicopter swooped right back in and started buzzing her all over again, coming perilously close to actually sideswiping her. Deniz Bolbol was there, and she described the horrifying scene for the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign:
“A band of eight horses enters the chute after being chased for a long distance. They run for a distance before an older mare collapses in the snow, her legs buckling beneath her, utterly exhausted from the long, terrifying run. She lays there helplessly as the helicopter hovers over her. She is too exhausted to move. Two wranglers run toward her waving whips with plastic bags tied to the ends, forcing her to struggle to her feet. Incredibly, the helicopter continues the chase.
The spent mare tries to escape, breathing hard, puffs of steam billowing from her nostrils. The helicopter comes within feet of her as she summons her last strength to trot and then run to escape it. To those of us watching, the chase seems to go on forever; we are shocked that BLM allows it to continue. Finally, the helicopter gives up and the mare is left dazed, her sides heaving. She stops for a moment, then walks off, away from the trap where her family is confined, and out onto the range. Alone.
This mare’s ordeal exemplifies the inhumanity of the roundups, which indiscriminately stampede the elderly, the infirm, the crippled and the very young, along with the able-bodied, subjecting them to extreme, and sometimes fatal, terror, trauma, and exertion. Even a local, pro-BLM rancher observing the roundup remarked on the chase of the elder mare: ‘That shouldn’t have happened to that old sister.'”
Old Mare Collapses at BLM Roundup
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