OPINION: Palomino horse facility needs shade

Roof over hay stacks. Image courtesy of Monika Courtney.

Roof over hay stacks. Image courtesy of Monika Courtney.

By Monika Courtney, Evergreen, Colo.

Was the quick organizing of a BLM workshop in Reno a courteous act or another PR stunt – pulling a hand brake on bad publicity pertaining to animal cruelty at Palomino Valley government holding facility?

I fear it is the latter.

The workshop’s structure defined biased control, a la Delphi style. Time restraints and biased input by “experts” recruited by BLM, rendering opinions rather than integral advice on current lack of shelter in higher climatic heat trends… reflected disregard for horses and us.

Despite Joan Guilfoyle’s (Division Chief) welcome gospel of “engaging with public”, most left with a sense of non-accomplishment.

You may see a shade going up over the sick pen, the sole objective of PhD, UC Davis recruits insisting on lack of shade studies on wild horses, therefore forfeiting the benefits thereof to the confined, suffering equines in their care. They even claimed shade increases insects, when the contrary is pointed out by reputable equine veterinarian experts.

These vet recommendations, shelter/heat stress /nutritional info, NWS weather charts, photos of wild horses in shade on the range were submitted. Common sense of roof structures as they have over hay stacks but none for horses does not exist. It is dispelled with biased scholar magic geared to halt public pressure of increasingly concerned tax payers. Moreover, sequester excuses garnish the agenda. While monies are allocated to continued “emergency” round ups to stockpile more horses, non-existing “shade research on wild horses” is discussed to deter from the goal.

#8318  in pen 1, "to be trimmed." Image courtesy of Monika Courtney.

#8318 in pen 1, “to be trimmed.” Image courtesy of Monika Courtney.

The neglect is real. 7 inch long curled duck feet hooves of limping horses in the “trim” pen (just when?), foals baking, the suffering and inhumanity are a disturbing whopper to digest. Anyone in doubt, take a trip to PVC.

The ghostly broken spirits trapped onto 160 acres of hell are prisoners of a self-serving agency, demonizing them since decades. With a self-inflicted crisis, the budget pie is off the rocker as tax funds go to round ups, holding, and administrative overhead. Little to none is given to welfare or more sensible on the range management.

The one size fits all quick fix scriptures of BLM, evicting more horses as I type, causes unspeakable suffering. Yet, BLM creates horse mills resembling feedlots, with absence of modernity and wellbeing to animals, which would label any private person a sadist.

The saddest chapter in this book of misery is that those in charge are outlandishly detached. Federal guidelines to holding do not currently exist– but agony and suffering. Policy handbooks with strict quality care to be implemented are needed now. Life on the range, as the 1971 Act intended, with mustangs’ contribution to the balance of the eco-system where they also help prevent wildfires, seems to be a science BLM is not willing to consider.

Surely, life in the wild is more humane than the equine concentration camps and death pens. Thinking of the pleading horses I met at Palomino Valley… I think they would agree.

Image courtesy of Monika Courtney.

Image courtesy of Monika Courtney.

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