The Cloud Foundation (TCF) received a report from wild horse advocate, Lisa Friday, regarding the conditions of two Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wild horse holding facilities in Utah. Friday was following up on the wild horses she found living in squalor at the Herriman holding facility outside Salt Lake, who were relocated to other facilities in the state. Despite finding the horses living in clean pens with plenty of hay, Friday’s report contains stills and video
which reveal more inhumane treatment of wild horses.
“I saw captive wild horses in Utah with severely long, curled hooves,” explains Friday. “Dozens of mustangs were very lame with shocking sled-runner feet. When I asked why their feet were not trimmed I was told they did not have the funding to hire a professional farrier and were just beginning to ‘train’ a fellow to trim hooves. I would like to see the two facilities (Delta & Gunnison) allocate funding to have the mustangs’ feet cared for by a professional. The facilities have a paid public relations specialist on staff but no professional farrier to care for the horses. Their priorities are mixed up.”
In March of this year, Friday revealed wild horses living in knee-deep mud, manure and urine with no dry place to lie down at the Herriman facility. As a result of her video, released by TCF, and subsequent BLM reviews, the facility is closed for the winter with plans to close permanently within the next two years.
Friday was not permitted to take pictures or video when she visited the Gunnison Correctional Facility on October 27th, however she reports seeing the same long, uncared for hooves and lameness. She even saw an inmate riding a lame mustang with severely long toes.
“This is definitely gross neglect,” states Dr. Lisa Jacobson, an equine veterinarian in Clyde Park, Montana who examined Friday’s photographs. “There is no excuse for allowing hooves to be in this crippling state.”
Friday took pictures of 20 or more captive wild horses in the Delta Facility with severely curled hooves and reported that the Gunnison facility had the same problems. Horses in the care of private citizens are often trimmed every 6-8 weeks. Hoof health is essential for horse health.
“I have never seen wild horses in the BLM Canon City, Colorado holding and training facility with hoof problems like those in Lisa’s pictures,” explains Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation, who has been visiting the Colorado facility for the past 13 years. “BLM schedules all horses for regular hoof care every two months or so in Canon City. If Utah cannot do the same, they should not have horses warehoused there.”
Friday also discovered a bay mare (Neck tag #7081) in the Delta facility with a very severe-looking eye condition. The veterinarian for the facility did not know what had caused the problem. Eye problems in horses can cause blindness. Two weeks later, the condition has yet to be diagnosed or treated.
“I visited a holding facility and adoption center this year in Mississippi,” says Friday. “All the horses seemed very well taken care of—quite a contrast with the Utah facilities.”
Friday attended the Winter Ridge roundup near Vernal, Utah two months ago. She wanted to check in on those horses now in holding who were shipped to the Delta facility. She was shocked to see a lot of the wild horses were not freeze branded and did not have ID tags.
“Why weren’t the Winter Ridge horses branded and wearing their ID tags? asks Lisa Friday. “Without indentification, captured wild horses are at risk of slipping into the slaughter pipeline. What’s going on here?”
In August, a trailer was busted at a port of entry outside of Helper, Utah under suspicious circumstances and 64 BLM mustangs bound for slaughter in Mexico were impounded.