(Fallon, NV), May 20, 2016. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hosted a public our of the Broken Arrow wild horse holding facility on Indian Lakes Road in Fallon NV. Seats were offered to view the facility for two tours today. Colleague, Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education attended and sent her comments to RTF along with these photos:
“Broken Arrow is currently used as an overflow facility. What that means exactly is that the wild horses and burros that come to the facility are not brought directly from the range. Currently the facility primarily houses mares from last year’s Beatty Butte roundup, Mares from the Soda Fire in Idaho and hundreds of other mares that have been warehoused there for years.
The ground at the facility is sand. The sand blew in gusts that at times made visibility difficult. Observers experienced burning eyes and runny noses that continued well after the tour ended. There are no shelters for the horses.
Broken Arrow currently houses approximately 2200 wild horses. The capacity of the facility is currently set at 3200.
Currently BLM houses nearly 50,000 wild horses in short and long term holding facilities. The estimated cost of holding a wild horse for its lifetime is currently around $50,000. per horse.
Viewing wild horses in their natural environment on the range contrasts sharply to the abnormal environment of a facility. There are no family bands and the social order is nonexistent.
Wild horses can often travel 20 miles or more in their natural environment daily. In facilities like Broken Arrow they are separated into gender groups, confined in large and small pens and managed like livestock.
Proactive management, that includes the use of fertility control, is needed to keep wild horses on the range. The need becomes more evident as you look into the eyes of the captive horses in the crowded pens.” Laura Leigh May 20, 2016
Return to Freedom advocates for wild horses to live in their naturally selected family and social bands on their rightful ranges. If population management will minimize or eliminate capture and removal, RTF advocates for using the most minimally intrusive, humane tools available as an alternative to the costly and traumatic roundups and warehousing of fractured wild horse herds. Currently, the only tool available which has decades of data supporting humane, safe and proven results is the Native PZP fertility control vaccine. RTF has used Native PZP since 2000 to slow down reproduction. Mares at RTF’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary are living into their 30’s and show no signs of illness, laminitis or other claims of disease or negative behavior. The biology of the mare is to birth almost every year and the herd certainly is invigorated by the raising of the foals- but if the result is more roundups, population management is a more humane alternative. Native PZP is non-hormonal and does not affect the food chain, so it will not poison other animals.
Unfortunately, decades of propaganda have scapegoated our wild horses and burros as the “biggest concern” on the range by livestock ranchers even while the ranges are ravaged by mining, fracking and drought, livestock ranchers continue to point the finger at the wild horse who is outnumbered by millions of privately owned livestock. While our wild horses fight to survive – the American tax payer is paying the price – special interests profit from livestock, and the sale of our minerals and natural resources on our federal land; Americans pay over $132 million a year in direct costs alone to support livestock grazing on our public lands- yet less than 3% of America’s beef supply is from cattle grazing on public lands.