Animal programs

Violations found at Wheatland wild horse facility, animal rights group outraged

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Bureau of Land Management review of its Wheatland wild horse facility found several policy violations and at least one national animal rights group is outraged.

A report from the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program (CAWP) was released this week and found that while the Wheatland facility met most office standards, some things in the facility were considered “not compliant”.

“While 83% is rated in the ‘compliant’ range, the BLM views the recent assessment of the comprehensive animal welfare program as an opportunity for improvement,” BLM spokesman Tyson Finnicum told the Times on Friday. Cowboy State Daily. The Wheatland Off-Range Corral is one of BLM’s newest wild horse and burro facilities and some areas were planned to be worked on. However, our goal is to see the facility meet and eventually exceed the standards set by the CAWP.

These issues included lack of staff to complete all work at the facility in a timely manner, lack of sufficient paddocks to sort feral horses and burros, lack of shade, shelter or windbreaks in many paddocks and non horses receive enough quality hay to achieve and maintain acceptable body condition.

Finnicum said work is underway to correct some of these issues and the BLM is actively working with a contractor to improve and add to the facility.

“We currently have several ‘sick’ enclosures used to isolate and care for sick or special needs animals,” he said. “These enclosures have proven inadequate, and a plan is already underway to build new and improved ‘sick’ enclosures. At no time did we run out of space for sick or special needs animals.

No animal goes without food, water or care, despite the lack of staff, Finnicum said.

He added that many horses considered to be in poor physical condition at the facility were in poor health when rounded up, but noted that their condition was improving.

The American Wild Horse Campaign, a national organization that advocates for the welfare of wild horses, was outraged by the violations found in the report, spokeswoman Amelia Perrin told the Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.

“[This] The review of Wheatland Corral revealed concerning violations, especially in light of the recent outbreak of mass strangulation at the facility which has so far claimed the lives of at least 13 feral horses,” Perrin said. . “Wheatland is one of eight facilities assessed to date and all have highlighted deficiencies that call into question BLM’s ability to hold and care for these horses and burros once they are removed from public lands. .”

“Reports indicate a construction crisis at detention facilities and provide urgent justification for BLM to suspend roundups and refocus resources to manage feral horses where they are safest: in the wild,” she continued.

The Wild Horse Group wants to end the raids of wild horses, both in Wyoming and across the country. In May, he called for the program to be halted until a deadly outbreak of equine flu, which killed more than 100 horses, at a facility in Colorado could be investigated.

Overall, the CAWP report concluded that the Wheatland facility was 83% compliant.

One aspect of the BLM animal welfare program is to implement internal and external assessments for all activities undertaken within the wild horse and donkey program.

The Wheatland facility has been closed to the public for more than two months due to an outbreak of a contagious equine disease known as strangles. Thirteen horses from the corral died of disease.

Last month, it was reported that more than half of the 2,750 horses housed at the corral showed signs of the disease.

The mortality rate of strangulations is generally less than 10% but can reach 40%. Approximately 0.8% of horses affected by strangles at the Wheatland facility died.

BLM Wyoming operates 16 wild horse herd management areas on nearly 5 million acres.

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