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Updates on the Geldings of Calico – Questions Answered & Explained, May 04, 2010

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on May 4, 2010


May 4, 2010

Today I spoke with John Neill, Manager of PVC and Broken Arrow in Fallon. The topic of discussion was the currently-underway gelding of the male horses four years and younger from the 2010 Calico Gather. Recent reports have been posted on other internet sites and blogs about this situation, and, well, let’s just say they’ve not been painting a very pretty picture. So I went to “the source” to get the information I needed to answer both your questions and my own: John Neill.

Before I get started with the gelding updates, I want to share something with ya’ll. Dean Bolstad returned my phone call yesterday afternoon. Dean was not his normal, cheerful and welcoming self when I answered the phone. He was actually a little flustered. I inquired as to what was up with him. He hesitantly responded that there had been a verbal attack by an individual upon his staff and upon himself. Such was the nature of this attack that he was personally offended by its content.

Now, Dean – being the Deputy Division Chief of the Wild Horse and Burro Program in Reno, Nevada – has had to develop some pretty tough skin over the years as a result of his position. More recently, he has had to further bolster his hide as a result of the controversy surrounding the Calico Gather. So for Dean to be personally offended, it must’ve been something pretty low down. I soon learned that it was.

Name calling, mud-slinging, petty personal agendas and the ever-present quest for that 15 minutes of time in the spotlight has absolutely no place in the world of Wild Horse Advocacy. True advocates are not here doing the work we’re doing for our own personal selfish reasons. We are here for the horses, the burros, and recently I think we’ve pretty much begun to include just about anything that is wild and keeps its home on public lands. We’re here for their benefit, not ours.

I will not go into details about the who, the what, the how, or the why, but I will say this: If these are your reasons for being involved in this campaign, please find the nearest exit and proceed through it. We have no room for more problems, got enough of them as it is. Destroying relationships and trust between advocates and those in positions of power and information at BLM and WH&B does not help anything. In fact, it hurts the progress toward our ultimate goal. Bottom line here is this:

If you can’t be part of the solution, DON’T be part of the problem.

Now, on to the matter at hand…

John called back this afternoon. I had compiled a small list of questions from the ones ya’ll have sent to my inbox and had asked on TMP, and added a few of my own. These questions and their answers are below. (Further discussion and explanation will follow them. You will definitely want to see / read these.)

Q.       What – if any – preparation is done prior to the procedure?

A. They are not fed 24 hours prior to the procedure to prevent gastric aspiration during the procedure, much like a person would not have food prior to having surgery.

Q.        What are the drugs used during the gelding procedure?

A. Sucostrin, Ketamine, and Rompun. The Sucostrin is a neuromuscular blocking agent and paralytic. The Ketamine is an anesthetic. The Rompun is a pain medication. Once the medication has been administered, the chute is opened and the horse moves to the corral in front of the chute where the ground is soft sand. Once there, the drugs have begun to take effect and the horse will lie down.

Q.        How do the horses lie down? Is it a “collapse” or is it a simple lying down like he would normally do?

A. No, there is no “collapse” as if their feet and legs just fold out from under them. It’s just like any other time they would lie down, like if they were in the pasture. They don’t just fall.

Q.        Then what?

A. Doc administers a cocktail of Ketamine and Rompun for sedation and pain relief. Then he does the procedure. It usually takes anywhere from four to eight minutes. After about ten minutes, the Sucostrin has worn off and they begin to stir. Then they get up and go back to the holding pen. It’s a very simple process.

Q.        Why not leave the horses inside the squeeze chute and use the tilt feature to facilitate doing the procedure there versus the horse walking out into the corral?

A. This is not a safe practice to use. There are too many risks that the horse could injure himself (his legs, head, body, etc.) while inside the chute during the “going down” and “coming back around” from the anesthesia. As well, this is not safe for Doc as he would have to climb up on top of the chute once it is tilted in order to do the procedure. In the rare case that the horse did not respond correctly to the anesthesia and /or had a reaction, Doc and any of the wranglers around could also be hurt – in addition to the horse itself – by his kicking and struggling. It’s just much safer for the horse and for the handlers to be in an open area where everyone can move around.

Q.        Once they’ve been gelded, do the horses stay in the general population or do they go to the sick pens?

A. They go to a pen that has just the gelded horses in it. They don’t go back to the general population. They only go to the sick pens if they show signs of excessive swelling and/or infection or if they have injuries.

Q.       How many horses have had to be removed from the other gelded horses and placed into the sick pens as a result of excessive swelling and/or infection or injuries?

A. None so far that have been text-book. They’ve all responded very well to the procedure and have all done well in their recoveries, and no injuries. We have had one horse that was a cryptorchid (testicles were not “dropped”; stored in the abdominal cavity and are surgically removed). He was placed directly into the sick pen following the procedure for closer monitoring and to prevent possible suture rupturing. He recovered well and is doing fine.

Q.        What is the “normal” recovery time for them after being gelded?

A. Usually around ten days. Some of the older horses may take up to two weeks because they are older and have more blood vessels to the area. As they grow and mature, so does the reproductive vasculature in preparation for reproduction. If they need more time, we give them more time. We don’t try to push the recovery. If we did, we’d have a lot more problems with infections. We just let them hang out until they’re healed.

Q.        What is the protocol for the geldings as far as pain medications following the procedure?

A. There aren’t any prescribed, as is usually the case even in domesticated horses following the same procedure. There are however prescribed daily exercise routines to prevent the horses from having possible blood clots from inactivity, and to promote circulation to the area to facilitate better healing. Each day, the geldings are moved from their pen (one pen at a time) down the alleyway to another pen. They move around, get the stiffness out of their legs and bodies, and then they go back to their original pen the same way. This takes about 30 minutes each day. We don’t push them rather we let them go at their own pace. It’s just to get them moving around.

Q.        How many geldings are in each pen?

 A. The max number is 80 head, but they usually aren’t at max.

Q.        How many horses are gelded per day?

A. Just whatever time and weather allows for each day. There is one week left for the 2-4 year olds. Then there will be approximately 70 head of horses who will be done under the observation of Dr. Davis from HSUS and Dr. Carolyn Stull, MS, PhD, Animal Welfare Specialist from UC Davis. We’ve invited them to observe the procedure and give us their feedback.

Q.        What is the reasoning behind doing the gelding procedures now versus waiting until after the judge’s ruling in the pending lawsuit?

A. All of the horses currently being gelded are under the age of four years old and are being prepared to be moved to PVC for an internet adoption this summer. Most of them have been requested by members of the general public after seeing pictures of them on the internet. These horses are in very high demand for adoption.

Q.        Everyone would like to know the status of the horses commonly known as “Tomahawk”, “General”, “Lightning”, “Mouse”, “Red Man”, and the horse that has been claimed by some to be “General’s” son. Have they been gelded, and are they slated to be gelded?

A. No, none them have been gelded and none of them will be gelded. Because of the high demand for each of them, they will be placed into an internet adoption as well. It’s the only fair way to adopt them out – to require potential adopters to bid on them. There are just so many people who want to have them.

Q.        And of course, there has been a lot of concern over a horse commonly known as “Legacy”. How is he faring?

A. I don’t know of which horse specifically he is because we don’t name them; we go by their numbers. Of course we know who the others are because there has been so much attention given to them. So all I can say is that there haven’t been any horses separated out due to complications (with the exception of the one cryptorchid), and that all of the gelded horses are doing fine in their recoveries.

Q.        Have all of the gelding procedures been done at Broken Arrow?

A. Yes, they’ve all been done at Broken Arrow.

So! Now for an explanation of all of this info:  

Sucostrin is a neuromuscular blocking agent and paralytic with anesthetic properties. It is commonly called “Sux” because of its common name, Succinylcholine chloride. It has a profound effect on the central nervous system which causes the paralyzed state of the horse. The degree of anesthesia varies with dosage and may reach the level of unconsciousness. Even at clinical dosage levels, however, the eyes remain open and certain reflexes (corneal, palpebral, laryngeal, pharyngeal, pedal and pinnel) are intact. These reflexes and responses can commonly be seen the body’s muscles as they will typically begin to fasciculate (or tremor) after administration of Sux.

These side effects are most often controlled by the administration of a supplemental drug such as Rompun or Ketamine, and in some cases – depending on what the situation calls for – both medications will be used. Such is the case with the gelding procedure currently being used at Broken Arrow.

There have been reports made across the internet and on various blogs about the use of Sucostrin in horses.

“One must, however, take into account that Sucostrin does have its shortcomings. Sucostrin is not a tranquilizer, but a muscle blocking agent—it essentially paralyzes the animal. These paralyzed animals are fully awake, aware, can feel pain, and are subject to stress.”

And…

“With Sucostrin an overdose must always be considered a possibility, so artificial resuscitation may be necessary and has been proven effective.”

These quotes are from a document known as “Tranquilizer Use in Wildlife Damage Control” by Jerry Hoilien and David Oatesy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1981. The purpose of this document was to illustrate the problems associated with restraining wildlife by animal and wildlife control officers who needed to restrain the animals because they were posing a danger to themselves and others around them. The following is the abstract from this document:

“Acceptable handling of problem or nuisance animals has been a concern of the general public and many local, state, and federal agencies. In the past, handling of these animals involved physical restraining techniques. These techniques exposed not only the “restrainer” but the “restrainee” to potential physical damage. Equipment utilizing Sucostrin as the immobilizing agent was developed to minimize these hazards.”

The only mention of horses in this entire document is the following in reason number 7:

“The immobilizer selected was Sucostrin (Succinylcholine chloride). Sucostrin was selected for several reasons:

  1. Relatively safe for human handling, especially at the levels used for immobilizing wildlife
  2. Commercial availability in various strengths
  3. Inexpensive
  4. Fast acting
  5. Only small amount needed
  6. Good shelf life
  7. Its veterinary success on horses.

There is no illustration or mention of the drug being used on a horse and therefore the data it contains does not pertain to administration specifically to horses and their physiology, which is quite different than some of the species listed in the data. Additionally, much greater research and understanding has been gained regarding the pharmacokinetics (how it works in the body) of medications since 1981.

Also used during the procedure is the drug Rompun. Rompun (Xylazine) is an alpha-2 receptor agonist which acts as a sedative, analgesic, anesthetic, a central muscle relaxant and for post-operative pain relief. When given intramuscularly (IM) as it is during the gelding procedure used at Broken Arrow, it produces an “excellent tolerability thanks to Xylazine’s potent action as a local anesthetic. Rompun’s major advantage lies in the timing of the onset and cessation of its three important anesthetic effects of sedation/anesthesia, central nervous relaxant, and analgesia. The muscle relaxant effect ceases before the sedative effect, so that when the animal recovers consciousness, it can rise with no risk of accidents. Rompun’s distinguishing features are its rapid onset of action, quick restoration of normal body functions and a calm recovery of consciousness.”

The same website that reports this information has been quoted as stating the following:

“To increase the depth of sedation, Rompun is widely used in combination with other sedatives and analgesics for minor surgery such as skin suture, excision of small coetaneous tumors, or standing castration under local anesthesia.”

However, this quote comes from a page that is speaking of intravenous (IV) injection. In the case of the horses at Broken Arrow, the drug is not used as the sole sedative / anesthetic. If it were the only drug used, this statement would apply, but it’s not. In this situation, the drug is used for its analgesic properties mainly, but also for its ability to bind with the Sux and Ketamine to produce the desired effect: anesthesia for a surgical procedure in a horse.

Ketamine is the third drug used during this procedure. For years now, Ketamine has also been known as “Special K” as a result of its widespread use as a recreational drug by humans. Ketamine belongs to a group of medications known as dissociative anesthetics. These medications induce a state of sedation, immobilization, amnesia, and marked analgesia. This means that once administered, the horse does not feel pain, does not move, and does not remember the events that occur while under its influence.

There have been statements made that the horses being gelded are fully awake during the procedure and that they can see, feel, and / or hear everything going on around them; that they could feel the pain of the procedure itself as well as the after-pain of the procedure as soon as the Sux wears off enough for them to get up and walk away. This statement is simply not true. These medications are given together for a reason: they induce a state of unconsciousness in the horse to allow for a surgical procedure to be done without him feeling the effects of that procedure. If these medications were given individually and not as a cocktail, then yes, there would be a huge issue here for an act of cruelty. But this is not the case.

This procedure is almost completely identical in the clinical aspects to the same gelding procedure and protocol used by most every large animal veterinarian in the US. The amount of swelling, the horse’s reactions, the look of the wound, the general impression and disposition of the horse following this procedure – all of it is nearly identical to every other horse who has undergone this procedure without complications. There are not normally pain medications prescribed following this procedure for a variety of reasons but mainly because of the way a horse’s bodily physiology works: the meds simply do not act on his body in the same way most people think they do. In order to achieve the same type of effect that a human receives from pain meds in a horse, the dosage would be have to be so great that it would put the horse down again. Horses cannot stay lying down for extended periods of time. Their circulatory systems will not allow it. This is one of the principal reasons that a horse sleeps standing up. They must move around in order to maintain circulation to their extremities.

I have tried my best to explain all of this as clearly as possible. If there are any misunderstandings or questions PLEASE feel free to ask. There are no “stupid questions”, only stupid assumptioms.

T.

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54 Responses to “Updates on the Geldings of Calico – Questions Answered & Explained, May 04, 2010”

  1. Carryl Edwards said

    Why are they putting the younger horses up for adoption when the judge hasn’t ruled yet? When IDA wins the case all the Calico herds are supposed to be set free. I believe it states all the horses will be set free not just certain ones. All this castrating of the young horses is really upsetting. They should all be running free. One other question is why they don’t help these mares when they are in trouble with deliveries? Instead of shooting them and who knows what they do with the newborn foals why not assist them. Blm is supposed to be protecting them, I just don’t see them helping the horses.

    • Hi Carryl,
      Welcome to TMP, we’re so glad to meet you! And thanks so much for the support!
      To answer some of your questions…
      Why are they putting the younger horses up for adoption when the judge hasn’t ruled yet? Best way to answer this is to say “here ya go!” LOL. This link will take you to an earlier post explaining the judge’s opinion and pending ruling.
      One other question is why they don’t help these mares when they are in trouble with deliveries? Instead of shooting them and who knows what they do with the newborn foals why not assist them. The very last action to take in this situation would be to attempt an assist for these mares. You have to remember: these are wild mares. They don’t know humans are there to help yet. They would perceive this action as a threat and would respond accordingly. That response could cause serious injury or death to the mare and to the newborn. I know that sometimes it seems like they would be ok with help from a human, and maybe even would want that help, but this is not the way their world works. Even in the wild, mares will remove themselves from the safety of their herds to give birth. This is a private matter between her, Mother Earth, and the baby to come. What the outcome will be, simply will be. In Broken Arrow, the BLM personnel are protecting them – just not in the same way you’re thinking. Euthanasia of a mare who is having severe birthing complications is a protection of sorts from further pain and agony (being a mother, I know, it’s pretty severe!). It would actually be more of a crime if they were to not allow euthanasia of a suffering mare. Of course, this is all dependent upon whether or not the complications will resolve themselves, or are the complications terminal. As for the newborns, in most cases where there are terminal birthing complications the newborn will not be born alive. He would have already been deceased (as in a still birth) or would have become deceased in the birthing canal. Ironically, these two are often times the reasons behind terminal birthing complications.
      I wanted to ask – “I just don’t see them helping the horses.” How so? (I ask this a lot just to get more information from you all, the commenters and contributors. We lose so much of the understanding behind a statement when it is typed versus spoken. Details help to promote more discussions and less misunderstandings.)
      T.

  2. Linda said

    T. – Thanks for this and all of your efforts to keep our movement on course. It’s late, and this is way too much information to absorb in one reading.

    I know passions are running high, but we must keep our heads. Disagreeing with policies or practices is one thing, but being personally abusive is quite another, and will only hurt the wild ones in the long run. We need cooperation, not confrontation.

    I guess my primary question is do you trust that the folks at Broken Arrow are doing the best they can for these horses under these difficult circumstances? The numbers alone are daunting.

    • Linda,
      As always, you’re very welcome; glad to hear.
      Do I trust the folks at Broken Arrow to do the best they can for these horses under these circumstances? Individually, I can speak for a few. Of those few, yes, I trust completely that they are doing the best that they can with what they have to deal with. I say this in this way because I don’t like speaking for or about people I don’t know personally in regards to whether or not I trust them with something, etc. On the whole, I think that given the numbers that have been through at this point in time – and given that there has only been one horse requiring separation (the cryptorchid) – that they must be doing something along the lines of “right”. Otherwise, we would be talking about a totally different subject right now.
      T.

      • Linda said

        I ran across this link on chemical castration of stallions the other day. Made a lot of sense to me, especially because it doesn’t involve surgery, claims 100% effectiveness, and the goal is to preserve herd dynamics. Do you know if any research was ever done, or what happened to this scientific approach in general? Presentation by Dr. Jim Voss (CSU) & Dr. Kirk Shiner to a 2002 Wild Horse & Burro Preservation Meeting.

        http://www.wildhorse.nv.gov/main/dec1202.pdf

        • reveil39 said

          Just read the report. As far as sterilization goes, it seems to be a huge improvement. Now the question remains, would BLM be willing to look into modernizing and modifying their veterinarian approach?
          This report is dated from 2002 and the vets had gathered results from 20 years already. So we are talking 30 years in the proving.
          Since Chairman Gleason also made a point that that “instead of tracking hundreds of mares, less stallions (would be) needed to be treated to impact fertility”
          Does anyone know if they were any follow ups on this report?
          Would the current vet at Fallon be willing to learn and apply a method which is “very short, quick, painless, no recovery time, non invasive, and no swelling using a shot which is site specific?”
          Even if the same protocol has been used for let’s say over 60 years, there has to be room for improvement. 60 years represents a lot of time from a research point of view,

        • sandra longley said

          Thanks linda, that was an interesting meeting,altho it appears some of the discussion was removed from the minutes??? It might be a good idea to contact some of those members at the meeting and get their input on the discussion..I got the distinct impression from Abbey-at that time state director in Nevada, that the intention was to focus on the removal of the horses, which is why -I believe- they are not focusing on PZPing the mares-or returning any horses to the wild, as some of the EAs we have read stated they are going to do-but donot follow through on..I am not really sure how i feel about permenent chemical castration, and who and how that is decided-and how many..the only stallions that effect the siring ability are the intact males..the numbers are mostly affected by the mares..I am against these mass removals of stallions because the diversity of many stallions keeps the genetics healthy, and many recessive genes are not expressed in the individual, and only show up when bred to another recessive individual..thats easy to control in a domestic herd…not so easy in a wild herd..I would have to think thru the consequences of doing that.It would be a good discussion to have

          • reveil39 said

            I would rather see all the stallions not altered and run wild, but if they are going to proceed with castration, I would rather have the option of a process with limited side effects.

        • Linda said

          Somewhere in my increasingly-addled brain I remember something about the BLM using PZP under an exclusive agreement with a drug manufacturer. I didn’t and still don’t know if this is true, but I did find a 2009 report on PZP with some really interesting information.

          I’m not putting up a direct link, since I think that’s a violation of their copyright, but if you’ll search for “PZP Wild Horses Manufacturer” it should be at the top of the list.

          I got the impression the BLM is working to get around the non-profit currently supplying PZP, but I’ll have to go back and read more carefully to confirm this.

          • sandra longley said

            BLM routinely cites cost as a factor in not pzping…roughing out some figures, I come up with 666.00 to Pzp 800- figuring 1/2 of the horses in holding are mares..it has cost around a million to round up this herd(even tho contractors are paid by the head) figure not having to roundup for possible 6 years a savings of around 6 million dollars minus $666.00 seems cheap to me..???

  3. sandra longley said

    Excellent, I am happy and relieved to hear they are exercisizing the recently gelded horses to keep them open and draining..Over the years I have had around a 100 colts gelded..few go ungelded before they leave my ranch..each horse is an individual in their response to the medication and the way they come out of the medication..some fight it by trying to get up too fast, some stay down until they can stand with out flopping around like a dryland fish..no one can control that even in domestic horses. I found there to be a distinct difference between the way the offspring of each of the studs handled coming out from being tranqued..You hope they stay down until their balance is sufficient to stand..I congradulate them on the operation of the crytorcoid-that is about a 1500 dollar operation and usually done in a surgery hospital, altho many do drop down if given the time-unless shriveled..the fact that there was only 1 in the whole bunch is a good sign..I see in the burns holding facility they left a 2yr a crypt maybe to give him time to drop, or because they didnot feel comfortable doing the surgery.Thanks for getting the details T and thank you BLM for giving them.
    I agree we should feel free to question the policys and information we are given by the BLM and leave the personal attacks aside…however..(and i do not care HOW many times i have to say this-please be at the frount of the story with the information BLM..less information is not better..I am not going to defend you if I do not have clear details from you..I am here spending my time and my money to insure the horses are treated fairly, in the wild and in the holding pens..YOU have the whole government system working for you, and you are getting paid to do this work with our tax dollars>>I get personally attacks all the time because I advocate for the horses..some people are just like that..I suck it up and so should you.

    • Yea, we as advocates suck it up all the time, but at the same time – like you said – leave the personal attacks behind. When it comes to these horses (and the other “wild ones”) we don’t have the luxury of time on our side because the horses don’t have it. Don’t waste what little time we do have causing more problems – which we dang sure don’t need cuz we got enough as it is. Besides that, its just a ridiculous and immature way to try to communicate – with anyone. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
      T.

  4. sandra longley said

    I want to add-that had i been present when a BLM employee kicked a burro in the head to get it up..that employee would still be searching for pieces of his own “ass”..everyone has limits of tolerence..and even the most reasonable person will react..(that incident did not happen on this crew of BLM people)..

  5. sandra longley said

    as usual, i have alot to say on the subject..LOL..But i did want to add, that I carefully watched the processing video, and was impressed with the job the crew did in handling the horses and being very fast and efficient with the horses, backing off when they needed to allow a horse some time..they have excellent facilities, and if i saw something I didn’t like-I have no problems pointing it out or offering my opinion, I did have some questions and they have been answered..I know this can be difficult to watch for a person not used to the process..but trust me I have seen much worse from veternarians in private practice..much much worse..I am pickier about my vets than my own doctor…we need to stay focused on changing the policy at the top of the chain, while still keeping an eye on how the horses are being handled and treated..A better overall management direction and range management program that is more balanced will benifit the wild horses and burrors in the end..There has to be give and take on BOTH sides and a willingness to agree ..we are going to disagree and still work for a solution. Lets face it..the BLM has had some real screw ups, so have the USFS, the fish and game, the National Parks and the dept of agriculture, there is alot to fix..

  6. From Willis…

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! PLEASE CROSS POST!
    It is not my intention to stifle free speech or control people’s behavior but we all need to reflect on how our personal conduct affects our overall position with respect to generating positive, practical and long lasting improvements in the wild horse and burro program. To do that we have to show some respect for, and work with, folks whose policies we may not always agree with.

    I clearly have my complaints with some folks up chain of command at BLM/DOI and they know it, but Dean Bolstad, John Neill and their crew clearly aren’t included in that group. The irrefutable facts are that they do one hell of a decent job given what they are tasked to do.

    I’d ask everyone to take a moment and read Tracie Lynn Thompson’s blog, The Mustang Project, in particular her entry of May 4, 2010. Her report and comments are extremely relevant.

    https://themustangproject.wordpress.com

    We are coming up on primary elections. Some of the candidates are sympathetic to the need for making some practical and sustainable revisions to the wild horse and burro program and to objectively consider the points of view and recommendations from our advocacy camp. Incidents such as the one Tracie Lynn alludes to only serve to undermine the credibility and efforts of the many advocates who are working on specific aspects of the wild horse issue.

    It is my belief that as a camp we need more than ever to present a public image of being responsible and credible parties of interest whose positions are based on facts. Clearly we’re going to have to acknowledge that in a free country there will be individuals who express views that don’t reflect mainstream advocacy and those people are a burden that we all bear. I’ve tangled with a couple of these folks and they seem to manufacture their own reality. It is important that we demonstrate that our advocacy actually is based on our home planet.

    In the meanwhile I ask that everyone check out rumors before passing them on. There aren’t secret truckloads of BLM horses headed to Mexico. BLM isn’t violating any court order or agreement by gelding young horses. The bulk of the previous health problems with the Calico horses weren’t caused by the facility. Pigeon fever isn’t spread by pigeons.

    We need to get off this nonsense and get back to real issues such as making sure that range monitoring and data collection are given appropriate priority and funding, that gather policies are more practical, safe and humane, that the myriad of laws affecting public lands and wild horses are interpreted accurately and fairly, and that the horses that are brought in and clearly aren’t going back on the range have the best chance of getting placed with appropriately skilled and caring adopters rather than be boarded forever in long term holding.

    That means we actually have to get to work producing results (as many do,) not just circulate complaints. It may not as emotionally gratifying as focusing anger on a real or imagined villain, but it’s how we eventually arrive at reasonable and sustainable solutions.

    Want to throw stones? Leave the field people alone and take your complaints to the Department of Interior and the White House where policies are made. We have to be able to work with the people on the ground to make the best of whatever situation the folks at the top create. We have to apply political pressure much farther up the food chain in order to actually change the situation. It’s really that simple.

    On behalf of the Alliance I’m extending my apologies to Mr. Bolstad and his crew for any unwarranted and inappropriate attacks or remarks made by any private individuals. These people have consistently been there when we needed to solve matters that were within their control. Such attacks are not condoned by the mainstream advocates.

    Thanks for reading this message and passing it on.

    Willis Lamm, Communications Officer
    Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates

    cc: Dean Bolstad
    John Neill

    • sandra longley said

      I would apologise too..except I do not actually know “what” was said to Mr. Bolsted..so I cannot speak directly to that issue..i am guessing it was NOT long the lines of “your mother wears army shoes”
      I recommend going out and kicking over the garbage can when you feel like that..by the time I pick all that nasty trash up..its out of my system..i can relate to the overwhelming sense of frustration some days-well- alot of days-people feel deeply about what the horses are going through or perceived in some cases, and the lack of response to our concerns from certain quarters..for certain this is an adversarial relationship..on both sides..and both sides need to take steps to resolve it..Maybe we need to jump into the fray instead of staying above it by providing information that can hopefully reach people, and let them simmer down and think it through, which is what “T” and others here do..and hey, sometimes we let off steam..but know one i know condones personal attacks from either side…

  7. LOUIE COCROFT said

    THE PUBLIC ATTENTION MIGHT MAKE IT A LITTLE BETTER FOR THE HORSES. NOT SURE THE WORD “BETTER” IS THE OPERABLE WORD. YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE IN THE HORSES’ HIDE TO REALLY KNOW. NONE OF IT IS GOOD FOR THEM. GELDING IS A SERIOUS PROCEDURE. A HORSE OWNER WHO TRULY CARES ABOUT HIS ANIMAL TAKES TIME, CHOOSES CAREFULLY THE VETERINARIAN, AND IS THERE TO OVERSEE BEFORE AND AFTER. HOW CAN THAT BE DONE IN THESE CONDITIONS–1 VETERINARIAN FOR HOW MANY HORSES? DOESN’T SOUND AS THOUGH THEY HAVE STAFFED THIS FACILITY WITH MANY WORKERS.
    PERSONAL ATTACKS HAVE NO PLACE IN THIS BATTLE–NOT PRODUCTIVE. THE PROBLEM IS WITH THE WHOLE SYSTEM, PERIOD. THAT BEING SAID– WOULDN’T MIND SEEING THE PRESIDENT YELL AT THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.

  8. LOUIE COCROFT said

    SANDRA, IN THE MEANTIME–WANT SOME PRACTICE? THIS POSTED ON AMERICAN HERDS
    “Tina Nappe: Wildlife will suffer if horses remain on the range,” Reno Gazette Journal (04-28-2010)

  9. LOUIE COCROFT said

    http://www.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201004280600/OPED04/4280382#pluckcomments

    • Linda said

      Read the article. What continues to amaze me is the priority placed on bighorns & mule deer – neither of which are “native” species unless you use the “been around a long time” definition – which, by the way, is an actual, single-entry definition in some dictionaries.

      The only hoofed species in North America that meets the “evolved and still exists” criteria (I think that’s the criteria.) is the single remaining species of pronghorn. At one time there were 5, but it’s believed man hunted the other 4 to extinction. Where have I heard that one before?

      Everything and everybody else came across that damned land bridge, including the human ones that hunted all the other ones until there were no more. All the horses chose to go the other way – OR DID THEY???

      What I want to know is where are the AMLs for other grazers and browsers, especially elk and deer? Of course, you can’t touch the bighorns, because they look so impressive mounted on somebody’s wall. I remember ONLY ONE chart with hoofed wildlife AMLs. I think it was when the BLM completely reconfigured the entire Green River area, but I’d have to go back and check.

      If the BLM is going to count and manage “for the land”, they need to treat all non-endangered grazers and browsers on the land equally.

  10. sandra longley said

    The article on american herds blog spot about the massacre lakes HMA and the BLMs assesment is the best example of corrution mismanagement and compilation of lies I have ever read. I am forwarding the article to the white house and my senator who sits on the appropriations comittee as proof of the need to CLEAN HOUSE of all current BLM employees involved in this process across the board..the corruption is too deep to seperate the good from the bad-and any future employees need to take a polygraph before hired to prove they are not pathological liars..their only redeeming qualities are that they are too frigging stupid to even cover their tracks..round the sons of #$@*&s up and ship them to holding facilities in the midwest where they can no longer infect the public domain…this is where my theory of “the spotted owl” comes in..when your greed becomes so overwhelming that your cannot control your excesses on your own, expect the public to take extraordinary action and stop you from being a functioning entity-remove ALL cattle allotments in existence, the good as well as the bad have to go..then take “Ts” statement above: “if you CANNOT be part of the solution”—YOU ARE THE PROBLEM! and apply it to where the problem started..and thats not with us! Clean up your house BLM or we will clean it up for you..YOU do’nt like threats???/TOUGH..get used to it

  11. LOUIE COCROFT said

    THERE IS A COMMENT FROM A VETERINARIAN ON ELYSE’S APRIL 27 BLOG. YOU ALL SHOULD READ IT. LISTEN TO THIS VETERINARIAN’S POINT OF VIEW ON THE CASTRATION OF THE HORSES.

    • tracielynnthompson@yahoo.com said

      Nope, I talked to Liberty (Dr. Getman) Wednesday.
      “They were my quotes (I believe written in the paper that you submit when you speak at a meeting), but in no way specific for or related to wild horses anywhere, and definitely not specific to those from the 2010 Calico Gather at Broken Arrow USA. They were quotes from a talk that I gave at a national meeting held for equine veterinarians, so the subject matter was meant to be focused on “generic” (i.e. all breeds, ages, etc.) horses.

      Hope this helps!

      Liberty ”

      T.

      • sandra longley said

        Lets not get hung up on the details of gelding..Its a process that goes on every day across the US..These sidebar issues are distracting everyone from the real issue..which is, as we are squabbling amongst ourselves and defending so and so…discussions on the HMA roundups are taking a backseat..this week has been eaten up with these discussions-meanwhile back at the ranch…a herd is being zeroed out, and 2 others being scoped into the garbage can..we are all grown ups -i hope- and can defend ourselves…everyone needs to get a thicker skin and decide WHY we are here..We all have lives we can go back to..the wild horses don’t-this is not some high school social circle

    • sandra longley said

      Louie, the most common procedure done in veternary practice is gelding of stallions..and THANK GOD for that…otherwise there would be alot of dead and damaged people as well as stallions around..It is far more likely a stallion will die because they are left a stallion in domestic situations..Only 1 % of people have the facilities and the experience and common sense to own a stallion. the most frequent complication is that they close up to soon and don’t drain and have to be worked to keep it open and draining or be surgically reopened..second would be a bacterial infection caused by contaiminated instuments or soil. thirdly would be the rare occurrance or complication that would be a cause of death..This vet, in context, was speaking to a gathering of vets-vets are called out when there are complications…put that into the context of what he said…and the statisics he quoted…he was not referring to the commonplace everyday gelding process. Swelling is a normal side effect..and no…bute or pain medication is not given for normal recovery

  12. LOUIE COCROFT said

    I THINK WE WERE ALL RESPONDING TO TRACIE’S INITIAL POST AS TO WHAT WE ALL THINK–HOW THE GELDING IS DONE–DO WE THINK IT IS THE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT. WE TAKE EVERY ISSUE AND CHEW IT, DISSECT IT, AND FINALLY COME TO SOME SORT OF A CONCLUSION. I DON’T THINK ANY OF US WOULD PUT THOSE HORSES THROUGH THAT PROCEDURE THE WAY IT HAS BEEN DONE. HOWEVER, ANNIE’S ARMY IS STILL MARCHING FORWARD.

    • sandra longley said

      Louie, do you take your cat or dog to the vet to be fixed? Are you terrified they will die? they can suffer complications as well..are you a responsible owner by having them fixed? I think so, and the same applies here-if those horses are going up for adoption, they need to be castrated..its cut and dried

  13. LOUIE COCROFT said

    I THINK THE DIFFERENCE IS IN THE “HOW” AND “HOW MANY AT AT TIME”. IT DOESN’T LEAVE MUCH TIME FOR OVERSIGHT AS WOULD BE DONE WITH AN INDIVIDUAL’S ANIMAL. I ALWAYS SEE IT FROM THE ANIMAL’S POINT OF VIEW. THEY HAVE BEEN PUT THROUGH SO MUCH ALREADY.

    • sandra longley said

      How would you like to see it done? Keeping in mind that these are wild horses…given the fact that we have yet to get these roundups stopped and in fact they are escalating..and there will be thousands more studs in holding..I personally think our time is better spent trying to get the roundups stopped and then this will be a moot point..the horses will be wild and free.If there was an obvious problem at the facility Tracie and/or I would be all over it in a heartbeat.

  14. LOUIE COCROFT said

    THE VETERINARIAN THAT I MENTIONED SAID THAT SHE ADMINISTERS THE ROMPUN FIRST SO IT HAS TIME TO KICK IN BEFORE GIVING THE KATAMINE. THAT WOULD MAKE A HUGH DIFFERENCE TO THE ANIMAL. HAVE YOU EVER TALKED TO ANYONE WHO HAD ANESTHESIA GIVEN TO QUICKLY? THAT IS A TERRIBLE FEELING. THESE ANIMALS ARE TERRIFIED ALREADY. THIS VETERINARIAN ALSO SAID THAT SHE HADN’T HEARD OF SUCOSTRIN BEING USED IN YEARS. THAT WOULD PROBABLY LAUNCH A WHOLE OTHER DEBATE. THERE ISN’T ANY PHASE OF THIS WHOLE OPERATION THAT ISN’T FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG.

  15. LOUIE COCROFT said

    THE LION SIZE SHARE OF THE FUNDING FOR THESE ROUND-UPS PROBABLY GO TO THE UPPER ESCHELON AND THE CONTRACTORS, LEAVING VERY LITTLE FOR THE REST OF THE PROCEDURES. THERE SHOULD BE WAY MORE PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY VETERINARIANS ON THE GROUND. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TIME OR PEOPLE TO DO IT RIGHT. THE ANIMALS GET THE BRUNT OF IT.

  16. Sucostrin is Succinylcholine (or Sux for short)
    Sux is used daily on horses, humans, dogs, cats, etc. in anesthesia, Rapid Sequence Induction Intubation (RSII) among other things bc it is a paralytic.
    The most important point to remember in this situation is that each mammal’s body reacts and responds to medications differently. The comparison of how a human responds to anesthesia vs how a horse responds is like comparing apples to oranges. The two just don’t match.
    This situation has been so overplayed and so chewed up (as Louie described earlier) that it’s ridiculous in itself. Here’s the bottom line(s):
    We must control the population of animals who are in our care. These horses need to be gelded regardless of where they end up. We have rescues overflowing and turning down new horses as it is because of the intense unwanted horse population – be that in the domesticated setting OR in the wild. This has gone far enough. Why do you think the slaughter-pros are ramping up as hard as they are? They see an open opportunity to take advantage of a bad situation. It is ethically and morally irresponsible to allow reproduction to take place when there is no “room” for the ones already needing a house let alone the ones to come.
    This procedure is done hundreds of times a day. The veterinarians performing these procedures are not as qualified as Dr. Sandford in some cases. I am personally very grateful and thankful that he is the one taking on this task. He is the most knowledgeable vet for the job when it comes to wild horses. Heck! The man is so good at his job that he gets called out of state several times a year to perform surgery on cryptorchid patients that the referring vet deems too difficult.
    The gelding of these horses is not a horrible thing, or a bad thing, or a terrible thing, or a cruel thing, or anything even remotely close to that end of the spectrum. Yes, there will be complications when you have ANY surgery performed on an animal. Yes, the risk of complication does increase some when those animals are wild. No, this is not one of those cases. These horses are being cared for, they are being looked after, they are being monitored, and they are not being mistreated.
    I simply don’t understand what seems like a “need” to make their situation into a horrible one. There are other horses out there on the range this very second that need our attention – other horses who are actually in peril, quite unlike the ones at Broken Arrow. We have to FOCUS people! I wanted to make this information known to anyone who wanted to know about it because I hate that it has been so disgustingly misrepresented and wrongly reported thus far. But it is because of that misinformation that we are at this point now. We are getting sidetracked, we are forgetting what this is all about! Why we are here to begin with! TO HELP THE HORSES WHO ARE IN NEED! Not to bash and fight with each other or with the BLM. These horses are not in need at the moment. They are being taken care of. The Massacre Lakes HMA, the Yuma HMA, the Oregon horses, the horses in line at the kill buyer auctions, the horses down the street from your neighborhood who don’t have food or water… THESE HORSES ARE IN NEED. HELP THEM, Not The Ones Who Don’t Need Our Help Right Now.
    T.

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  17. LOUIE COCROFT said

    TRACIE, I THINK WE ARE. I KNOW I HAVE. WRITTING, WRITING AND MORE WRITING. ALSO, DONATING. I THINK EVERYONE ELSE IS, ALSO. TO ME, THOUROUGHLY DISCUSSING SOMETHING FROM ALL SIDES IS NOT THE SAME AS SQUABBLING OR ARGUING. THINGS NEED TO BE DISCUSSED AND EXAMINED.

    • Louie,

      I know that most of us have been doing these things, however there are still a lot of folks who are not. My comments were mostly directed that way. Even still, there are those of us on TMP, myself included to some degree, that have gotten sidetracked on this issue. So I guess what I’m saying is let’s regroup.

      T.

  18. LOUIE COCROFT said

    TRACIE, I THINK WE ARE RIGHT ON TRACK. THIS IS A VERY CAPABLE GROUP OF PEOPLE. I AM CONTINUALLY IMPRESSED WITH THE QUALITY OF THOSE WHO ARE FIGHTING FOR THESE ANIMALS. MOST ARE VERY GENTLE NATURED, GOOD HEARTED AND PROBABLY NOT INCLINED TO GET INTO FIGHTS. THEY WOULD MORE THAN LIKELY BE GOING ABOUT THEIR OWN BUSINESS, HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR A “CALL FOR HELP”. I HATE FIGHTS, BUT I DON’T BACK AWAY FROM THEM. I MUCH PREFER HARMONY.

  19. LOUIE COCROFT said

    ONE GROUP THAT NEEDS HELP RIGHT NOW–THEY HAVE DONE A LOT OF GOOD–ONE OF THE OLDEST SANCTUARIES FOR WILD HORSES–WILD HORSE ANNIE WAS WITH THEM. THEY WILL BE OUT OF HAY IN TWO WEEKS AND NEED HELP NOW. THEY HAVE HAD SO MANY BLIZZARDS.
    http://www.ispmb.org/category/latest-news/

    • tracielynnthompson@yahoo.com said

      Louie,

      I spoke with Karen just a bit ago… Getting the info together now. TMP is on board! Gimme just a bit to dot the I’s and cross the T’s… Then get ready to bust our butts. This one is gonna take some work, but work is something none of us are strangers too LOL.

      T.

  20. LOUIE COCROFT said

    TRACIE–WAY TO GO! THANK YOU!

  21. LOUIE COCROFT said

    PERHAPS WE SHOULD SEND WILD HORSE ANNIE’S BOOK TO THE FIRST LADY FOR MOTHER’S DAY.

  22. LOUIE COCROFT said

    SANDRA, I WOULD PUT MUCH MORE MONEY AT THE BASE LEVEL-MORE VETERINARIANS-MORE WORKERS-TAKE MORE TIME. THESE OPERATIONS ARE ALL ABOUT EXPEDIENCY AND THAT LEAVES NO TIME FOR THE NEEDED CARE AND OVERSIGHT THAT SHOULD BE IN PLACE. I DOUBT THAT THERE IS ANYONE ON DUTY AT THE FACILITY AT NIGHT, AND THAT IS WHEN A LOT OF POST-OP PROBLEMS OCCUR. I, IN NO WAY, BLAME THE CURRENT VETERINARIAN OR THE PEOPLE ON THE STAFF. THEY HAVE TO WORK WITH WHAT THEY ARE GIVEN. MY CRITICISMS ARE AIMED DIRECTLY TO THE TOP, WHERE THE POLICY DECISIONS ARE MADE. THAT IS WHERE IS SEND BY PROTESTS.
    I THINK ONE OF THE BIG ISSUES HERE HAS TO DO WITH THE GENE POOL, AND I THINK THAT IS WHAT HAS A LOT ADVOCATES UPSET. THESE PEOPLE HAVE WORKED SO LONG AND SO HARD TO KEEP THESE HERDS GOING, AND YET ARE GIVEN NO SAY IN THE SELECTION OF THE BREEDING. HORSE HUSBANDRY IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF ANY GOOD MANAGEMENT PROGRAM. INSTEAD, THE SELECTION IS BEING MADE BY AN AGENCY THAT HAS NO INTEREST IN THE HORSES OR THE FUTURE OF THE HERDS. THIS HAS TO BE LIKE SALT ON THE WOUNDS.
    ANYWAY, ENOUGH SAID.

  23. Linda said

    (Please refer to this post and comments for more on this topic.)

    T., this is off-topic to Calico, but I hope you won’t mind if I post it here.

    BORDO WILD HORSES NEED OUR HELP!!!
    The Bordo Altravesado HMA is one of only two extremely small BLM HMAs in New Mexico. Soon there may be none.
    COMMENTS DUE THIS FRIDAY, May 14th. I’m still working on mine, and I’m hoping to send them by Thursday.
    This is the link to the EA:
    http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/nm/field_offices/socorro/socorro_planning/socorr_eas.Par.4361.File.dat/DOI-BLM-NM-A020-2010-07-EA.pdf
    Please email your comments to: NM_Bordo_EA@blm.gov
    I contacted Carlos LoPopolo of Wild Horses of the West requesting any information he had on the BLM action. This was his response:
    “Their plans are to “zero out” that wild horse management area. In fact, they want to “zero out” all of New Mexico’s wild horse management areas. That is why I’m trying to set up preserves on private land that they can’t stop. My southern preserve is to the west of the Socorro management area.
    “As far as wild horses go, your lucky if you have 40 wilds. You do have many ranch horses that the ranchers let loose when it comes count time. I believe the ratio of cattle to wild horses on the Wild horse management area is 51 head of cattle to 1 wild horse.
    “What you have to realize down here in the Socorro area BLM it’s an “old boys club.” It’s been that way for fifty years. This is a place where they reimburse you for the bullets you used to kill the mustangs. The shame of it is that it’s the same all over the west. The BLM does not manage the wild horses for continuation. It is managing the wild horses for extinction.
    “My horses are from all over the west, not just New Mexico. My plans are for 10 preserves totaling 250,000 acres, four in New Mexico and at least one in every surrounding state. Right now, I run approximately 180 head on 33,000 acres.
    “You should be aware of the fact that those who claim to have old Spanish mustangs and are breeding and selling them have a problem with my preserves, because of our DNA testing and our scientific approach. They have fought me tooth and nail for ten years. Even though I don’t sell or adopt any of my horses, they still feel I’m a threat somehow.”
    I encourage you to visit the Wild Horse of the West website for additional information on what I believe is a vitally important effort to preserve the Old Spanish Mustang bloodlines.
    http://www.wildhorsesofthewestartgallery.com/index.cfm

    • Linda said

      I want to emphasize we have no way of knowing if there is Spanish blood in the Bordo horses unless genetic testing is done. A number of horses were introduced in 1992, 1997, and 1998 and there is no mention of their breeding.

      They were introduced to “maintain the genetic VIABILITY (i.e. numbers) of the herd”, but not necessarily to maintain or enhance the horses’ distinctive and/or historic characteristics.

      I’m not going to refer to the horses as “Old Spanish” in my comments, but I am going to request genetic testing to determine if there is any Spanish blood present.

  24. LOUIE COCROFT said

    LINDA, THANK YOU. THAT ONE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN BY US. DO YOU THINK THEY WILL GET A PETITION UP?

    • Linda said

      Louie, I haven’t seen any formal petition so far. Wish someone would put one together, since it’s far easier for folks to use.

      Once I get my letter done, I’ll put it on the sites where I posted the Bordo information. Everyone has my permission to use it directly or edit it. Personally, I like to mix things up a bit so it doesn’t read like stock comments.

  25. sandra longley said

    http://www.hcn.org/issues/42.8/wanted-horse-sense

    Usually we are attacked by the rightwingers, this is an attack from the left and is full of misinformation that needs correcting

  26. LOUIE COCROFT said

    SANDRA, IT TAKES ME A LITTLE TIME TO FORM A REBUTTAL AND DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME TODAY–JUST ONE THING I THOUGHT OF. I JUST READ THAT HONEYBEES AREN’T NATIVE TO THIS CONTINENT. THEY WERE INTRODUCED HERE IN 1620. I SAVED THE ARTICLE. WONDER WHO’S PAYROLL THIS WRITER IS ON?

  27. LOUIE COCROFT said

    THIS “LEFT/RIGHT” THING IS JUST BEING USED TO KEEP EVEYONE STIRRED UP AND AT EACH OTHER. WORKS REAL WELL FOR THE REAL VULTURES.

  28. LOUIE COCROFT said

    SANDRA, I POSTED A COMMENT THERE, BUT I CAN’T WRITE EVEN CLOSE TO AS GOOD A LETTER AS YOU CAN. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE A “GEORGE KNAPP” LETTER THERE.

  29. LOUIE COCROFT said

    REMEMBER–TUESDAY NIGHT VIGIL–5:00 TO 7:00

  30. mouse said

    How well does sucostrin work on horses or cattle. I do animal control in TN. Is there anyone I can contact on this? Thanks

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