RENO,Nv (July 8 2013)–Protect Mustangs is releasing a preliminary video report of captive wild horses denied shade in the recent triple-digit heat wave. Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs, America’s indigenous horse conservation group, has been leading a nationwide outreach campaign (#Shade4Mustangs) on Facebook and Twitter to bring shade to captive wild horses and burros at Palomino Valley Center outside Reno, and elsewhere. Last week’s heat wave broke records. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) refused to install shade despite Novak and Senator Mark Manendo’s requests, outcry from the public and other groups. Protect Mustangs conducted a field investigation during the heat wave with the help of Reno photographer Taylor James, Jim Hart the President of Liberty for Horses and Dennis Walker. The video report calls for the new Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, to have compassion and bring emergency shade because captive mustangs are sick and dying. In the wild they can migrate to shade and cooler zones. Trapped in pens it’s cruel to deny them access to shade and shelter.
“The BLM’s historic disregard for America’s wild horses is a global embarrassment,” states Anne Novak. “We hope the new Secretary of Interior, Sally Jewell, will intervene to bring them shade and call for a moratorium on roundups for population studies, based on science of course. They’re underpopulated on the range now. That’s why they are breeding at a higher rate–to prevent extinction.”
The heat wave investigation found horses without shade who appear to have respiratory illness, as well as ones who have other illnesses and diseases. They are exhausted from repeated exposure to triple-digit temperatures, sore, stiff, probably lame foals, lactating mares, and young wild horses who also appear dehydrated, obese horses, hot sweaty horses and hot horses not sweating, young horses not wanting to get up and eat, who are ill or dying as well as a dead filly the group named “Shadow”.
When the summer heat started to rise on June 9th Anne Novak & Senator Manendo officially called for shade for more than 1,800 captive wild horses at Palomino Valley Center, the largest short-term federal holding facility in America.
Novak uses Facebook & Twitter to reach thousands of people through her widespread outreach. Celebrities such as Daryl Hannah, and Holly Marie Combs graciously shared out Novak’s calls for shade.
On June 24, 2013, esteemed Dr. Lester Friedlander BA DVM called for an emergency action to bring shelter to the wild horses and burros.
Novak continued to contact elected officials, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) personnel and the newly appointed Secretary of Interior, Sally Jewell, requesting shade to prevent deaths from the upcoming heat wave. To this date she has not heard back from Secretary Jewell.
No shade was provided in triple-digit heat–only a handful of ineffective sprinklers for “mitigation”. Neither Protect Mustangs nor Dr. Friedlander suggested using sprinklers. They requested shade and shelter.
Dr. Friedlander DVM and Anne Novak warned the Bureau of Land Management that the wild horses would suffer disease, infections and heat related deaths without shelter from the heat.
Protect Mustangs has been working with Dr. Lester Friedlander BA, DVM, photographer Taylor James, Jim Hart, President of Liberty for Horses, Dennis Walker and other advocates to document the fiasco during the record-breaking heat wave and advocate for change–shelters for wild horses and burros in holding facilities.
Despite the BLM’s ‘sprinkler mitigation’ PR campaign, the Protect Mustangs’ investigation found sick, sore, horses as well as a dead filly hours before the BLM facility official, Jeb Beck, gave Fox News an interview about the ‘sprinklers’.
In his July 2nd Fox News interview Beck says: “We’ve never experienced any problems with the heat and whatnot,” says Beck. “Because of the publicity it’s getting, we wanted to make a proactive step and try suggestions that were brought to us.” – (See more at:http://www.foxreno.com/news/news/local/wild-horses-trying-beat-heat/nYcsD/#sthash.xNDnlcmV.dpuf)
“We witnessed several young wild horses who would not get up,” says Jim Hart, President of Liberty for Horses sent by Novak to investigate the captive pens. “They were just lying there. The heat wave seemed to have taken its toll on them. Then we found ‘Shadow’ who had died. The horses in the pen were coming over as if to say good-bye. When we came back to the pen later Shadow’s body had disappeared.”
Eye witnesses have documented the following during the heat wave:
1.) Triple-digit temperatures
2.) No shade and no relief from the record-breaking heat
3.) No shelter from the strong winds and dust storms
4.) One or No sprinklers seen (depending on the day)
5.) Wild horses stayed away from the sprinkler.
6.) Lactating mares and foals appeared depressed, sore and dehydrated
7..) Horses with bad hoof care
8.) A lot of depressed horses and possibly ill horses
9.) Horses missing their tags
10.) Horses with respiratory illness
11.) Obese horses
12.) Yearlings and other horses who were lying down, breathing hard and not getting up to eat.
13.) Most of them had severe gas
14.) A dead bay filly named Shadow in the pens
15.) The dead filly named Shadow “disappeared” when they came back to the pen
The public wants to know “How many had died? And why is the BLM hiding the deaths?”
Novak has requested the mortality count during the heat wave since June 27 and wants to know the number of sick horses also. Witnesses Hart & Walker asked to view the sick pens but were denied permission to view from a distance.
Palomino Valley Center doesn’t keep track of the dead unbranded foals according to Heather Emmons Jasinki, Public Affairs Officer for the Bureau of Land Management.
“We are requesting immediate transparency and accountability for the mortality rates at all facilities as well as shade and shelter for the captive wild horses and burros,” states Novak. “These wild horses should be living with their families in freedom on the range not enduring cruelty in a government holding pen. Is it time for another agency–without a conflict of interest–to manage America’s native wild horses and burros?”
Less than 18,000 native wild horses and burros are estimated to be living in freedom in all ten western states combined. Today more than 50,000 are stockpiled in government funded holding–at risk of disappearing into the slaughter pipeline. Horse advocates want to see them returned to the range.
The National Academy of Sciences has stated there is no accurate population count. Protect Mustangs, AANHCP and other horse advocate groups know that when a scientific population study is done, the numbers will be very low.
The BLM’s population numbers have been inflated by BLM to justify costly roundups and removals for the public land grab and industrialization.
“The BLM requires adopters to provide ‘access to shelter’ so why aren’t they doing the same?” asks Dennis Walker from Northern California. “It was horrible to see these horses surfing with no shade.”
“They are all so sweet and young,” says James. “I’ve been visiting them sometimes twice a day, to check on them. They would be flaring their nostrils and after the first day they didn’t sweat as much. I was worried. After a few days some would not eat but clearly were weak and dehydrated. They should have never been removed from the range, It’s not fair that Shadow died because the BLM didn’t want to give them shade while they sit in their air conditioned offices, drinking their fresh, cold water.”
# # #
Anne Novak, 415.531.8454 Anne@ProtectMustangs.org
Kerry Becklund, 510.502.1913 Kerry@ProtectMustangs.org
Photos, video and interviews available upon request
Links of interest:
Captive wild horses need shade, advocates say, Horsetalk, NZ: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/07/02/captive-wild-horses-need-shade-advocates-say/#axzz2YQ4084gM
How many foals are dying after roundups?: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4246
BLM’s email revealing they are not counting the unbranded dead amongst the 37 dead mustangs at the Nevada facility http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4220
NPR: Fertility drug, nature, better than horse roundups http://newsle.com/article/0/78084688/
Information on native wild horses: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=562
Wild-horse advocates: Rallies held in 50 states to drum up opposition to roundups, slaughter http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/80561cc4e8a64b43ae909f7d09a0473e/NV–Wild-Horses-Rallies
Animals Angels investigative report: http://www.animalsangels.org/the-issues/horse-slaughter/foia-requests/497-blm-nevada-mortality-records-a-nevada-rendering-animals-angels-foia-request-reveals-discrepancies.htm
ProPublica: All the missing horses: What happened to the wild horses Tom Davis bought from the gov’t?http://www.propublica.org/article/missing-what-happened-to-wild-horses-tom-davis-bought-from-the-govt
Palomino Valley Center: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/prog/wh_b/palomino_valley_national.html
Protect Mustangs’ press releases: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=12
Anne Novak quotes at Newsle: http://newsle.com/AnneNovak
Protect Mustangs in the news: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=218