Transparency and accountability questioned at upcoming mustang roundup

Preservation group wants increased visibility for public and media to document native wild horses at roundup and temporary holding

WASHINGTON (February 3, 2012)—On the eve of another expensive Tonopah roundup in Nevada, Protect Mustangs voices their concern for the welfare of the American wild horse during roundups as well as government transparency, fiscal responsibility, public access and accountability. The preservation group awaits the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) response to the following questions:

1.) We are very concerned about the lack of transparency at roundups. Keeping visitors miles away from the trap site is unacceptable. In 2009 and 2010 members of the public and media were allowed closer access to document the roundups. Why has this policy changed?

2.) We want to go on the record to ask that the canvas on the metal corral panels—blocking the ability to see inside the trap site even from a distance—be taken down. It appears the BLM shrouds the mustang removals in secrecy and does not want the media or public to see what is going on when wild horses are captured. This protocol is very upsetting to members of the public. Will BLM take down the canvas tarps blocking media and public visibility to document the roundup?

3.) We would like to see a burro expert on site to prevent animal cruelty at taxpayer expense. Will a burro behavior expert be on site every time burros are being rounded up and transported so the cruel hot-shotting incident at Calico will not be repeated?

4.) The American public wants all roundup-related deaths to be counted correctly. If a wild horse—enjoying life out on the range—is removed from the range alive and BLM kills it because it is “old” or for whatever other reason this needs to go on the record as “roundup related”. The horse would have continued to live for some time if the BLM had not rounded it up. Will the BLM attribute the death of wild horses as “roundup-related” for a minimum of 30 days from their capture?

5.) We also want to go on the record asking for BLM to hold all aspects of capture, temporary holding, processing and adoption on public land—giving reasonable access to the media and the public—as an act of good faith to show the global community that the Wild Horse and Burros program has taken the new direction the courts are expecting the BLM has taken. Will you hold all aspects of the roundup, holding, processing and adoption on public land to build trust with the public?

Upon receiving the response from BLM, Protect Mustangs will post it to their website:

Rounding up healthy wild horses illustrates fiscal irresponsibility during America’s economic crisis. The overpopulation myth was created by BLM to justify spending millions of tax dollars.

In 1900, 2 million wild horses roamed the West. Today, Protect Mustangs believes less than 20,000 exist in the ten western states combined.

“After hearing the State of the Union address we are concerned that the Obama Administration will forfeit wildlife for the New Energy Frontier,” explains Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “We want to see genetically viable wild horses and other wildlife remain on public land for the public to enjoy. There can be a win-win for wild horses and energy. Industrialization must not wipe out wildlife.”

The preservation group urges interested people to contact the Tonopah BLM to adopt a wild horse or burro at the roundup site. Their office telephone is 775-482-7801.

Protect Mustangs is a Berkeley-based preservation group whose mission is to educate the public about the American wild horse, protect and research wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.

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Media Contacts:

Anne Novak, 415-531-8454

Kerry Becklund, 510-502-1913

Photos, video and interviews available upon request.

Links of interest:

Protect Mustangs’ videos:

Protect Mustangs in the news:

Protect Mustangs website:

Josh Fox (GASLAND HBO) denied 1st Amendment rights & arrested:

Obama Continues Destructive Federal Grazing Subsidy on 258 Million Acres of Public Land:

Cloud Foundation Captures Burro Hot-shot Abuse on Video:

Deb Coffey’s Open Letter to Tonopah BLM: 

Video of Press Denied Access at Roundup and First Amendment denial:



3 thoughts on “Transparency and accountability questioned at upcoming mustang roundup

  1. Despite their email informing us they would respond to our questions, the BLM has failed to respond to our questions as of 6 p.m. February 17, 2012.

  2. As of 6 p.m. February 24, 2012, the BLM has failed to respond to our questions despite informing us they would do so weeks ago.

    Why aren’t they responding to the public?

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