Concern mounts over hidden death count
We learned today that the BLM’s public affairs officer (think public relations expert) eventually responded, on April 18th, to our inquiries from April 12, 2013, wherein we requested to know the number of dead wild horses at the Nevada short-term facility since January 1st.
The Acting Facility Manager refused to give us a simple death count. He told us we must file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to know the number of dead wild horses at the facility from January 1, 2013 to April 12, 2013 . This appeared to be a blatant lack of government transparency.
We saw the public affairs’ officer’s email for the first time this afternoon. It was unopened and was lost amongst emails. We don’t understand why the BLM did not respond back to our last email to let us know they had eventually answered our question. Emails can go unseen unlike certified letters.
We are very concerned the BLM facilities are not keeping an accurate death count related to roundups and holding facilities. The BLM admits they are not including the unbranded foals, aborted fetuses, animals born dead nor dead newborns in their count. One must ask, “How many are really dying in holding facilities after roundups?
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Information you requested regarding deaths at PVC
From: “Emmons, Heather” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, April 18, 2013 3:58 pm
Cc: James Beck <email@example.com>
Sorry for the delay in responding to your question. As Acting Facility Manager at the Palomino Valley Center (PVC), Jeb sought advice on your question as to what constituted a FOIA request and was originally told that it met those qualifications. Upon further evaluation, we realized it does not and apologize for the miscommunication. Jeb is off for the next couple of days, and we wanted to get back to you as soon as possible, so I am writing to you on his behalf.
To answer your question: How many horses have died at the facility since Jan 1, 2013? According to the Wild Horse and Burro Program System, the number of horses that have died at PVC from Jan. 1, 2013 through April 1, 2013, is 37. This number does not include stillbirths (aborted fetuses, animals born dead and newborn animals found dead) and young foals that died before they were freeze marked. Foals are freeze marked when they are weaned. This varies with the size and condition of the foals and the mares, but usually occurs sometime between three and six months of age.
Additionally, the National Wild Horse and Burro Program is currently reviewing its reporting procedures for modification.
If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact me, or my colleague Debbie Collins at the National Call Center:
Heather Emmons: 775-861-6594 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie Collins: 1-866-468-7826 or email@example.com