The Cold Creek Gather Controversy

THE COLD CREEK GATHER CONTROVERSY

iStock_000049200492_Small Just a few weeks ago, Bureau of Land Management officials gathered over 200 wild horses at Cold Creek in southern Nevada due to extreme drought and lack of food. These horses were suffering from severe starvation and officials were forced to euthanize 28 horses which had deteriorating conditions. Anne Novak, the executive director of an advocacy group called Protect Mustangs, questioned whether poor management of the horses resulted in their death, “or was the B.L.M. just too lazy to give them the care they needed?” Perhaps there is a third explanation. The BLM has been handicapped by interference from wild horse “advocates” who supposedly value these horses’ freedom above all else, including their health and well-being. One group in particular which has had a toxic influence on proceedings is Wild Horse Education, led by Laura Leigh. In other areas of high concentration, Wild Horse Education has waged legal battles to keep horses from being removed from public ranges, where they are draining resources for themselves and all other animals. In places like Owyhee Complex, WHE has gone to great lengths to impede BLM’s progress The poster boy (or horse) of this situation is Sarge, whose rapidly deteriorating condition has been a benefit to WHE fundraising. The group has taken pictures of Sarge which are then used to raise money, all while they allow Sarge and horses like Sarge to continue suffering. This group has made life difficult for anyone who tries to improve these horses’ lives and now they are suing the BLM for not taking care of the situation. Does anybody realize the amount of hypocrisy in these actions? They continually blast the BLM for attempting to remedy the situation, then blast them again for not remedying the situation. It must be nice for them to live in such an illogical world. Wild horses, which are non-native to America, have basically no predators, so the size of their herds can approach unsustainable numbers in any given area very quickly. Congress has refused to reopen horse processing facilities, the previous (successful) method for controlling excess animals under the original Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. These horses are starving to death in the areas where Wild Horse Education wants them to remain, and somehow they wonder why they feel they are under attack. The logical solution is reopening horse processing facilities, the only option that is cost-effective and still guarantees compassionate care for the animals before the end of their lives. Wild Horse Education is advocating for a hands-off approach and expects the situation to correct itself, but we are way beyond that point and something must be done soon.

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