Seven Tears Into the Sea
Phantom Stallion Series
Friday, March 26, 2010
Fallon Foal Death
Mare stands guard over new foal, photo by Tara Kain
There's a new set of hooves in Heaven.
BLM's death tally for the week doesn't show what happened.
However, visitors are allowed to tour the tax payer funded Indian Lakes wild horse facility. It's land-locked inside a private ranch in Fallon, Nevada, but opened once each week by reservation only for two hours.
Three observers from the CalNeva Cloud Foundation and photographer Cat, visited Sunday, March 21 and took photos, video and notes.
Saturday, March 20
a pale dun foal is born to a buckskin mare
Sunday, March 21
11:00 Members of the public arrive to tour the Fallon facility. Director John Neill is their guide and he waits for a late arrival
11:37 tour begins
11:45 visitors observe buckskin mare and newborn foal in a pen with other adult horses. Foal looks like "he had melted into the contours of the ground" according to one observer and Mr. Neill said the foal was a weak newborn from the night before.
12:30? Sometime during the tour, members of the public notice a nursery pen with just six mare and foal pairs inside and wonder why the buckskin and her foal aren't with them*
(RIGHT: As adult horses move, mare makes a protective barricade of her body, photo by Tara Kain)
1:45 Tour ends, passing by the buckskin mare and her foal. Mr. Neill agreed with visitors that foal might be sick and indicated he would check on it. If necessary, a vet would be called. He added that volunteers from WHOA might be asked to bottle feed the foal if it couldn't rise to nurse.
2:00 as observers depart, foal is still down.
Monday, March 22
no deaths are listed on the BLM's facility update, so CalNeva Cloud observers hope for the best
Tuesday, March 23
Still no deaths listed for the weekend**, but one observer calls and talks to John Neill who says "the colt was euthanized." She understands Neill to say the vet had determined the colt had a broken femur and must have been kicked.
The caller commented, "Oh, that's why he never got up."
Neill replied, "No, he was up that morning nursing." Sometime after that, he speculated, the colt must've been kicked."
Neill said the foal was destroyed via chemical injection.
(with freedom tantalizingly close, mare urges foal to rise and nurse, photo by Tara Kain)
Friday, March 26
I reached John Neill at Palomino Valley wild horse corrals and he answered my questions about the Medicine Hat stallion I've told you about before and this foal.
He clarified two points from the timeline above:
* "Once we know the colt's strong, we put them in the nursery pen" along with their mothers
** Live births are not entered into BLM's system until horses have been freeze-branded, which takes place after four or more months.
Since foals delivered "in facility" are not listed as born, they are not listed as dead. So, they are not posted on BLM's online Calico Round-up updates.
John Neill described the last hour of the little dun's life.
"He was down during the tour. Afterward I went out to check on him and he was packing a right hind leg and he had to be put down."
"When did the vet come?" I asked.
"Was it a compound fracture so that you could see it was broken?"
John answered, "I could just tell, so I took care of it."
After our call ended, my English teacher brain flashed to "I am cruel only to be kind." Hamlet, I remembered, and knew that if I were watching over a newborn foal with a fatally fractured femur, I would not want it to suffer.
But "Hamlet" ends with a stage strewn with corpses.
I tried to get confirmation that such a leg injury is easily diagnosed, but the two vets I consulted disagreed on both diagnosis and prognosis.
John Neill told me "We have births daily and if something happens like this or there's a bad mother, we can't track them all accurately."
Is it fair to the public that our mustang foals are born and die without notice?
This is not Neill's decision; it is BLM policy. As with so many other BLM policies, the numbering of lives and deaths are rough estimates.
There are no disposable mustangs. Taxpayers have no disposable income, especially for a system they hate.
There must be a moratorium on the capture of our wild horses, before a ruined system erases an entire species.
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Posted by Terri Farley @ 1:17 PM
Comments: OMG Terri: this is too sick. since when is okay to practice medicine without a license??? I mean if the colt had a compound fracture that's one thing--or something else that was visually seen to the untrained eye.
But this is the kind of stuff that makes me ill and want to puke. Other than the observers that were there Sunday morning--there were no humane observation as to when the colt was actually born, was it truly hurt beyond reasonable medical care (if say--the Federal Government says all the horses have to be turned back loose--he wouldn't survive) and as for when it was put down--was it chemical or shot in the head???
I have to put together a fax this weekend to Obama for Monday and will cite this as one of the many examples of a system gone wrong.
Had to foal truly been ill beyond care--yes, I would have wanted it put down. But that's why you call a vet. He has training. I wouldn't want these people practicing medicine on me or my family.
Words fail me. No vet, and if a vet did come, would he be worth the title? I really don't know how much more of this I can take - I feel SO helpless and babies are dying, adults are dying.
I just hope someone, somewhere is listening.
And BLM claims that their roundups are for the good of the horses.
Wow, today was heartbreaking as we toured Fallon. That baby only EXISTED because the visitors saw it. There were SO MANY TINY babies that were mixed in with masses of adult horses today. We were told that they are moved the "next day", but that is not true as many of those are easily 3-4 days or more of age. Also, the statement "once they are healthy they are moved" is so sick. THEY SHOULD BE MOVED SOONER, NOT LATER IF THERE IS ANY CHANCE THEY ARE FRAIL. WE HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO STOP THIS. Palomino, Chilly Pepper's mom
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