For immediate release:
How many wild horses will die before BLM gives them shade?
Sprinkler mitigation a farce--will not prevent heat stroke, illness or death, just bad press
RENO, NV (June 30, 2013)--With the western heat wave in the triple-digits, captive wild horses are at risk of heat stroke and death because they have no shade. Close to 1,800 native wild horses are 'processed' and eventually transferred by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the Palomino Valley Center (PVC). Rarely are they adopted due to poor marketing and customer service.
"Putting sprinklers in a few pens appears to be a publicity stunt when what they really need to do is create shade for this emergency situation," states Anne Novak, executive director for Protect Mustangs. "The BLM is full of excuses of why they can't create shade when they need to cowboy up and make it happen."
The few sprinklers BLM installed this weekend are not only a waste of water during the drought, but appear to be a BLM publicity stunt to water down public outrage spreading across social media. Wild horses are not going to be cooled off by a random sprinkler in select pens. They might roll in the mud but most skidish wild horses will be scared of sprinklers.
Emergency shade is needed urgently. The June 9th press release requesting shade for captive wild horses had been ignored so Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs and Nevada Senator Mark Manendo contacted BLM officials in Washington last week requesting emergency action to create shade.
"The pens are huge with so many wild horses trapped in the triple-digit heat," explains eye witness Taylor James who photographs wild horses in the Reno area. "The only way to ensure their health in the pens is with shade."
An equine facility about 8 miles up the road provides shade for the equines in their care. The BLM requires adopters to provide access to shade for adopted wild horses and burros. Why is the mega facility exempt from basic horse care?
The Department of Interior and the BLM have access to engineers who can easily solve the shade problem. The BLM employees are paid to care for the wild horses and burros--yet without shade their job is doomed to failure.
How many unbranded wild horse foals die during heat waves? Facilities such as Palomino Valley don't keep track of the unbranded young dead foals according to their public affairs officer, Heather Emmons.
The BLM needs to solve the problem they created by rounding up and stockpiling American icons of freedom in the pens. Fertility control is premature as there is no evidence of overpopulation according to the National Academy of Sciences.
"If the government can send people into space then they can figure out how to shade the captive wild horses or just return them to the range," states Novak. "In the wild they can migrate to shady areas. In captivity it's cruel to deny them shade."
Triple-digit heat waves can cause heat stroke and death for equines left out in the sun with no shade.
According to the article on heat stroke in Overheating and Heat Stress in Horses by Gary P. Carlson, D.V.M., PhD.
". . . The clinical signs of heat stroke are depression, weakness, lack of appetite and a refusal to continue exercising . . . Despite elevated body temperature, the sweating response is inadequate, therefore, hot, dry skin is indicative of impending heat stroke. Depression and weakness may progress to ataxia (inability to coordinate voluntary muscular movement), collapse, convulsions, coma or death."
Life saving care involves taking rectal temperatures, lowering body temperatures rapidly in the shade using fans, hosing down with water, applying ice packs and water enemas--hardly possible for treating untamed wild horses.
The BLM's minor sprinkler mitigation appears to be a publicity stunt to avoid bad press. The sprinklers won't cool down heat wave temperatures. Most pens are huge and don't have sprinklers. The majority of wild horses won't get sprinkled because they will run away.
What the wild horses need is access to shade. The BLM is responsible to care for wild horses and burros humanely after rounding them up. . .
For more info and to see the sources for this press release visit Protect Mustangs dot org
Video Footage taken under the direction of Anne Novak by Taylor James on June 30, 2013 at Palomino Valley Center (PVC) for processing and adoption outside Reno, NV © Taylor James. Media may contact Anne Novak: Anne at Protect Mustangs.org for written permission to use.