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Video: Group criticizes BLM treatment of wild horses in Delta

By John Hollenhorst | Posted - Nov. 15, 2011 at 8:15 p.m.

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GUNNISON -- A wild horse advocacy group released a video a few days ago, accusing the U.S. Bureau of Land Management of not properly caring for captured wild horses. The BLM now admits the critics had a point. But, the agency was already planning to deal with it.

The BLM is holding tens of thousands of wild horses, captured from public land, in more than 1700 in Utah corrals. The agency acknowledges, a few, just a few, didn't get their hoof-trimming on a timely basis.

Wild Horse advocate Lisa Friday shot this video late last month at the [BLM corral inDelta](<<a href=>). The Cloud Foundation released the video, quoting a veterinarian who said the untrimmed, long and curling hooves indicated "gross neglect."

"The hooves need to be taken care of. They can cause such severe lameness if they are not addressed immediately," Friday said. "Some had some unsteady gaits. And it's not natural for them to walk that way, so I suspect they would be in pain."

The BLM's Gus Warr admits there was a problem at the time the video was shot.

"Oh yes. Yes, definitely. I mean, there's nothing hiding it. Them horses have long hooves, and they needed to be taken care of," he said

He said there was a temporary manpower shortage. They decided, with only one employee, they couldn't safely trim mares that were accompanied by their foals.

"Every time you work those animals or move them through a chute, you have a chance to injure one. And so we would typically hold off working mares and foals, trimming feet, until a later date," Warr said. "But, yeah, we should have jumped on them, yeah, definitely months before they were actually taken care of."

He also said the agency was planning to bring in extra manpower and do the trimming, even before the video was shot.

"Since the video (came) out, all the horses that are on site there have been trimmed. And they actually are in really good health and looking really well," Warr said.

He denies there's a long-term personnel shortage.

"Yes, BLM has a lot of horses that we're taking care of. But I really feel that we have the staff and the capability of caring for them. We just need to make sure those bodies are in place."

"It's not about the lack of trying by the BLM employees in my opinion. It's the lack of funding for positions Following one of Lisa Friday's previous videos, the BLM actually closed down its Butterfield Canyon corrals in Salt Lake County.

She praises the BLM horse handlers in one regard. She said they've been very open with her, even pointing out problems themselves, generally blaming them on funding and personnel issues.



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