December 29, 2009

Wild Horse Roundup In Nevada Begins

The federal capture of about 2500 wild horses from public and private lands in northern Nevada began on Monday.

Protesters say the roundup is unnecessary and cruel.

Federal officials said the roundup is needed because the 850 square miles of land is overpopulated. Without the roundup, the horse population in the area would grow by 20 percent to 27 percent annually, passing 6,000 mustangs within four years.

There was a lot of controversy on whether to go forward with the roundup. Sheryl Crow was one of many wild-horse advocates who called on President Obama to block the major roundup but on December 23 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved the removal of the horses.

The agency began corralling the horses on Monday in the Black Rock Range, a stretch of mountains more than 100 miles north of Reno, Nevada.

BLM spokeswoman JoLynn Worley said two helicopters under BLM supervision were used to move the horses. The animals were then being trucked to Fallon, Nevada for immunizations and veterinary care.

The roundup was to include horses from five federally managed areas in the Calico Mountains complex.

The amount of horses captured won't be known until early Tuesday. Worley said the agency would likely be in the range for one week to 10 days "” with a goal of capturing 250 mustangs "” before moving on to the next of five areas.

Protesters say the use of helicopters is a risk of injury and inhumane. They also say with it being winter, there's also a risk of respiratory illness.

Federal officials said a September count showed more than 3,040 wild horses were living in the area, about three times the land's capacity.

The seized horses are to be placed up for adoption or sent to holding facilities in the Midwest. The agency said a facility in Reno was full of adoptable horses, so adoption plans are unclear at this time.


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