Yesterday in a telephone meeting with the Federal Court, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was given the go-ahead to remove only a portion of the wild horses in the West Douglas Herd on Colorado’s Western Slope. BLM’s Environmental Assessment (EA) stated they would remove horses both inside and outside the herd area. The Honorable Judge Collyer limited BLM’s removals to only 40-50 horses. BLM’s environmental documents contended were “in danger,” from drought.
“We’re relieved that Judge Collyer allowed only a partial removal of a herd the BLM has been trying to eliminate for decades, ” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation. “But we’re disappointed that 40-50 wild horses will lose their freedom and their families while our Nation is celebrating its independence and freedom.”
“The West Douglas wild horses have endured many droughts in the past,” states Don Moore, DVM, who grew up in Rangely, Colorado, near the West Douglas herd and has watched the wild horses in the area for over 50 years. “If a drought was going to kill these horses, it would have done so a long time ago.”
Dr. Moore adds, “The condition of these unique horses and the range is paramount to advocates. We’re concerned for their safety and well-being during capture and transportation, especially during extremely hot weather.”
“BLM closed the Texas Mountain area, so how can advocates monitor the operation and verify that the horses are being treated humanely?” questions Kathrens. “Simply saying all is well and the horses are being treated humanely doesn’t fly anymore after the hundreds of horses, including little foals, have died from what BLM characterizes as ‘non-gather related’ injuries.”
In addition to the Cloud Foundation, Plaintiffs include Colorado Wild Horse & Burro Coalition, Habitat for Horses, Front Range Equine Rescue, and Don and Toni Moore. Litigation to protect the remainder of the West Douglas herd continues, as BLM continues their push to remove the entire herd.
“The West Douglas horses, like all our wild horses, belong to the American public,” reminds Kathrens. “And Americans should speak up for them now, before these symbols of freedom are gone forever, living on only in history books and romantic memoirs of the ‘good ole days’.”