Calico Wild Horse Update
IDA’s lawsuit to stop the roundup of wild horses in the Calico Mountain Complex in northwest Nevada proceeds. Last week, our generous pro bono legal team at Buchanan, Ingersoll and Rooney in Washington DC filed the final brief in the case. We continue to highlight the illegality of the government’s practice of removing wild horses from the wild only to stockpile them in government holding facilities in the midwest. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for April 30 in Washington DC, and the court is expected to issue a ruling by the end of May.
The roundup of the Calico horses exemplifies what is wrong and illegal with the government’s management of wild horses.
The tragedy of the Calico horses began with the helicopter stampeding of horses into traps and the separation of family members. It continues today at the holding facility which confines these wild horses in unnatural, zoo-like conditions. Of the reported 1,922 Calico horses rounded up, from December 28, 2009 to Feb 4, 2010, at least 83 have died from roundup-related problems. More than 40 heavily-pregnant mares have spontaneously aborted, and an uncounted number of foals born at the facility have died. (The BLM does not report foals born at the facility who have died.) The government officials claim this is the typical cost of a roundup and they make our point for us – it is too high a cost. It is an unnecessary cost. It is wrong and it must be stopped.
The Calico horses are kept at a newly-built, feedlot-like facility in Fallon, Nevada – approximately 200 to 300 miles from their home range. They are forced to stand and lie in their own waste. The horses are stressed from the confinement, being kept with unfamiliar horses, separated from their family members and the boredom.
Stress tends to weaken immune systems, which can increase susceptibility to health problems that could otherwise (under healthy, stress-free conditions) be warded off. The government recently revealed that a highly-contagious bacterial disease called “pigeon fever” is present at the holding facility. This bacteria, which lives and multiplies in dry soil and manure, is spread by flies and creates large, open intramuscular abscesses on the horse (the abscesses can also be internal). The government states between 50-100 horses are currently infected. This is just the latest misery to befall these innocent victims. We will continue to monitor this situation and let you know how you can help.
Please schedule an in-person meeting with your congressional representative and/or senators to educate them about how they can better represent you by helping wild horses. For information about setting up such a meeting, which can either be in your own state or in Washington DC, please send an email to email@example.com. Put “wild horses” in the subject line.
And educate yourself further by checking out our co-plaintiff and children’s author Terri Farley’s blog, which chronicles her visits to the Calico horses at the holding facility.
In Defense of Animals, located in San Rafael, Calif., is an international animal protection organization with more than 85,000 members and supporters dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals by protecting their rights and welfare. IDA’s efforts include educational events, cruelty investigations, boycotts, grassroots activism, and hands-on rescue through our sanctuaries in Mississippi, Mumbai, India, and Cameroon, Africa.
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