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Wild Horse organization demands BLM training on humane care

To The Desert Independent

August 13, 2019

Wild Horse Education (WHE) has sent a report to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) demanding they train personnel in the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP). The report details severe deficits in basic knowledge the policy and failures of he policy in practice.

“It appears personal opinion may play a large factor in how seriously federal employees carry out their legal responsibility,” stated Laura Leigh, President of WHE, “If a police officer has a personal belief that beating someone up whose ideologies he disagrees with his fine, it is still his duty as a public servant to carry out the law. This analogy is similar to what we are seeing in practice in BLM’s wild horse and burro program.”

CAWP is a welfare policy adopted in the fall of 2015 after multiple legal actions won against practices such as hitting wild horses with helicopters, running them through barbed wire fences, use of electric shock prods in young or terrified animals and running foals until collapse.

“Conduct at a roundup can vary drastically depending on the federal employee designated to run the operation,” stated Marie Milliman, WHE volunteer, “Some employees do not appear to even know the most basic parameters like stocking levels of temporary holding or temperature limits. These limits are set at the maximum allowed; not the boundaries of safety, but the limits of safety. Many do not even seem to understand these parameters at all.”

Three years ago, Milliman joined WHE’s CAWP team and began attending roundup operations and contributing to WHE’s ongoing database that spans more than a decade.

“Our database demonstrates a clear and concise deterioration, not a steady improvement, of handling practices at roundups. As this environment deteriorates so does transparency at operations.” Leigh stated, “BLM must renew it’s commitment to both CAWP and transparency by retraining any personnel that get a paycheck off the tax payer and are placed in charge of capture and handling of our wild horses. It’s not an opinion or discretionary measure; humane handling is the law.”

Wild Horse Education is the only organization in history to take the BLM to court over issues of inhumane treatment during capture.

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