Just-captured Animals Confined in Government Holding Pens with No Shade in 100+ Degree Heat

Video Shows Wild Horses in Distress at Government Corrals in Reno

RENO (July 23, 2023) –  On Saturday, July 22, a humane observer with the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), traveled to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Palomino Valley Center for Wild Horses and Burros in Reno and witnessed several animals in distress, including a disoriented mustang in poor condition.


The facility, which has the capacity to hold 1,850 wild horses and burros, was unstaffed during a day when temperatures exceeded 100 degrees and newly captured horses were at the facility. The horses were recently captured in the controversial Antelope Complex roundup in eastern Nevada and AWHC was at the corrals to conduct a welfare check on them.


In a video shot by an AWHC roundup observer, a blue roan senior stallion is seen unsteady on his feet attempting to walk. In the video, the animal appears disoriented and unable to climb the hill that separated him from food and water.


By the time she contacted a BLM employee, the stallion had collapsed. The observer reported seeing foals desperately clinging to their mothers' sides and left without shade to endure the sun's harsh rays.


The BLM’s own adoption requirements mandate that adopters provide shelter for wild horses and burros. But the agency does not ensure that this basic necessity is available in its own holding facilities, even for horses who have just undergone extreme trauma and exertion in a summer helicopter roundup. 


“With so much focus on what happens during the roundups, it’s important to look at the lasting consequences these animals face once they are removed,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director of the AWHC, noting that AWHC’s investigations, using the Freedom of Information Act, show that scores of wild horses and burros die in the holding pens in the days and weeks after they are captured in roundups.  


“The conditions in these holding pens are inhumane and unacceptable. It’s past time for the BLM to change its practices in order to ensure the wellbeing of the animals it is legally mandated to protect.” Roy concluded. 


Photos of the current conditions of the horses are available upon request.


About the American Wild Horse Campaign

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is the nation's leading wild horse protection organization, with more than 700,000 supporters and followers nationwide. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse and burros in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. In addition to advocating for the protection and preservation of America's wild herds, AWHC implements the largest wild horse fertility control program in the world through a partnership with the State of Nevada for wild horses that live in the Virginia Range near Reno.