The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is under fire after 11 horses were killed during a mustang roundup in Nevada, according to CBS News. The wild horses were chased by both wranglers in a helicopter. The horses were trying to flee capture and did their best despite injuring themselves along the way.
The deaths include five young foals, four horses with broken necks, and one with a snapped leg. The one with the broken leg was called “Mr. Sunshine” by locals that named him after seeing him for many years roaming the wild in Elko. An advocate for wild horses, Laura Leigh, took to social media to share pictures of the incident.
Pictures show the horses tripping over a barbed wire fence while running away from the wranglers. Mr. Sunshine reportedly ran with just three good legs for over half an hour before finally being euthanized. The incident has been condemned on social media.
Leigh, the founder of Wild Horses Education, a nonprofit organization, said that watching what happened to the horses made her physically ill. Many who responded to her agreed and railed against the BLM.
The tragedy also caught the attention of politicians. Nevada Democratic Rep. Dina Titus, who recently sponsored the bipartisan bill to prevent the NIH from sending taxpayer money to foreign laboratories, said that the incident was tragic and is a wakeup call.
BLM spokesperson Heather O’Hanlon defended the agency, claiming that they make the safety of the horses the most important during their effort to capture them. She then claimed that about 99 percent of gathering operations do not result in injury or death.
The latest mustang roundup occurred on July 9 because the ecology of the land was reportedly being negatively affected by growing herds. More than 68,000 wild horses are roaming in Nevada.