BLM Acknowledges Rough Handling of Wild Horses

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The U.S. largest land management agency acknowledged on Wednesday that it’s contractors had been overly aggressive in their handling of wild horses during a Nevada round-up that was stopped short on judge’s order after animal welfare activists objected to the tactics.

The Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday that its contractor had made mistakes, but said those incidents did not amount to abuse and that the round-up which resulted in the capture of roughly 1,200 wild horses in Northern Nevada was largely conducted appropriately and humanely.

The agency said it was moving to correct incidents that included helicopters hovering too close to animals and instances in which a single animal was pursued for an unreasonably longtime from the air.

“Aggressive and rough handling of wild horses is not acceptable and we are actively taking steps to ensure that such behavior is not repeated,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey in a press release issued Wednesday afternoon.

Among the steps that his agency plans to take are:

  • A review of helicopter “gather” contracts, including clarifying expectations of appropriate tactics.
  • Additional training.  

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