The Elko County, Nevada “gather” of wild horses has ended for the moment. The BLM and their hired contractor, Sue Cattour rounded up approximately 636 wild horses in the first phase of rounding up at least 1,200 wild mustangs. Unfortunately, 21 horses died as a result of the stress and dehydration brought on by the helicopter round-up.
The BLM is now ready to begin phase two of this round-up that they just recently began characterizing as a “rescue” of horses dying of starvation and thirst. No one within the agency, however, can produce evidence that one wild horse died before the round-up began. However, both the BLM and Sue Cattour are quick to say that all the horses who have died did so because they were in such poor shape and would have starved to death in a few days anyway.
They also blame the wild horse advocates for these deaths, saying if the advocates had not gotten an injunction to stop the round-up for three or four days fewer horses would have died!
They also contend their is not enough water for the horses, but again, flying over the areas slated for phase two of the gather, horse advocates saw many streams, ponds and lakes, as well as a large gold mine directly adjacent to one herd area that mines using water. All over the herd areas, the observers saw cows – hundreds of cows, but only one small band of horses, who all looked in good shape.
When confronted with photographs of one large lake that is fully fenced off – keeping the horses from getting to the water, but allowing cattle access to it through gates that are opened for them – the BLM replied that yes, the lake was on public land, but the water was privately owned.