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From September 10 to 25, 2011, the BLM rounded up wild horses in the Barren Valley Complex, a remote area in southeastern Oregon, comprised of three Herd Management Areas (HMAS): Coyote Lake/Alvord-Tule Springs, Heath Creek/Sheepshead, and Sand Springs.
BLM reports that 581 horses were captured, this is nearly 70 fewer than the 650 horses targeted. BLM reports at least 8 deaths during the roundup.
However the deaths resulting from this roundup may be higher, as it is unclear whether the BLM tracks or reports horse deaths that take place at short-term holding, after the captured horses are shipped from holding facility at the roundup. The Barren Valley Complex horses are descendants of cavalry remounts and ranch stock and represent a unique piece of history.
The BLM stated it wanted to remove 275 mustangs from this area, leaving an estimated 449 horses behind in this nearly one million acre, public lands area. The Barren Valley roundup is being conducted by the contractors known as "Sun J."
These are the same helicopter wranglers responsible for the horrors at the Triple B roundup. Their brutal treatment of horses there prompted U.S. District Court Judge Howard McKibben to issue an emergency injunction prohibiting the mistreatment of wild horses by helicopters at that capture operation. [Judge McKibben ruled on a lawsuit brought by wild horse advocate Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education and funded by the Wild Horse Freedom Federation.]
First group captured on Sept. 11, 2011. Photo by Laura Leigh, WildHorseEducation.org
Daily reports from the field, from Wednesday, September 14 - 19, 2011 from AWHPC's Deniz Bolbol who traveled to the Barren Valley Complex to document the roundup thanks to a generous grant from our coalition partner, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
Eyewitness Report for September 14-15, 2011: BLM Withholds Information from Public 2nd trap: Observation is approximately 1/2 mile from trap site and view of mouth of trap is obstructed by a hill.
Eyewitness Report for September 16-18: Six Mustangs Die, Two From Broken Necks 3rd trap: Observation is 3 miles away making viewing impossible.
Eyewitness Report for September 19-22: BLM Oregon Shuts Down Public Observation 4th trap: BLM prohibits observation by driving to trap via private land (White Horse Ranch, Fields, Oregon).
AWHPC Files Complaint Against BLM Oregon for Lack of Transparency at Barren Valley Wild Horse Roundup
September 13, 2011 BLM now reporting 120 wild horses captured as of Sept 13 and one horse has died. Reportedly, the horse was a senior stallion who BLM determined was blind and therefore he was euthanized. Visibility at the trap site for public observers (Deniz Bolbol and Laura Leigh) reported to be very poor. Although BLM employees have a vantage point on a hill that allows full observation of horses entering the trap, public observers are not allowed to join them.
Wild Horse Education's Laura Leigh reporting 7 horses driven into trap late morning, then trap was relocated.