FOIA Records Reveal Reality of BLM NV Off-Range Holding Facilities


9% of the wild horse population in Nevada's largest holding facility died within a year


RENO, NV. (April 29, 2024) – Today, American Wild Horse Conservation is raising the alarm at the number of deaths in Nevada federal holding facilities. AWHC recently received records via the  Freedom of Information Act that revealed 267 wild horses died in 2023 at the Fallon (Indian Lakes) Off-Range Corral. 


With an average population of just over 3,000 horses and a capacity for 7,600 animals, the Fallon facility reported a troubling 9% mortality rate last year.


Among the alarming details revealed in the records:


  • 106 deaths were attributed to "Undiagnosed/Unknown" causes, with all animals found deceased in their pens.

  • 23 horses died before even being "processed" into the BLM system.
  • Concerns were raised over the BLM's policy of euthanizing horses for non-life-threatening conditions such as eye abnormalities and cryptorchidism, resulting in the deaths of 30 horses.
  • Of these deaths, 28 occurred during the routine gelding process, a procedure normally associated with low risk in domestic horses.
  • An additional 49 horses died from traumatic injuries resulting in broken bones, categorized as unexpected/acute deaths

"These records underscore the urgent crisis facing the 64,000 wild horses and burros currently confined within the BLM's overburdened holding system," said Suzanne Roy, executive director of AWHC. "They serve as a stark warning about the dark realities of the agency's roundup and removal program."


The issue extends beyond Fallon, as AWHC references recent FOIA records, released by the BLM, which exposed 23 wild horse deaths in just 24 days due to suspected botulism poisoning at another Nevada holding facility.


In 2022, a Colorado holding facility saw a shocking mass casualty event. In just under 20 days, 145 unvaccinated wild horses died from an outbreak of Equine Influenza Virus (EIV), raising concerns about the welfare of captured wild horses and burros.


Further exacerbating concerns for animal welfare is the BLM's planned roundup and removal of over 20,000 additional wild horses and burros in Fiscal Year 2024. These animals will inevitably be funneled into holding facilities like those in Nevada.


AWHC reaffirms its unwavering commitment to holding the federal government accountable for these distressing deaths and ensuring the welfare of America's cherished wild horses and burros. The organization continues to present its investigative findings to Congress, urging immediate reforms to address this broken, costly, and inhumane system.


 Records available upon request