Saturday, January 14, 2012


                 Melanie Mirati, BLM's replacement COR for the Calico Tri-State complex, acknowledges ordering a hotshot be used on an injured, downed horse they struggled for 10 minutes to free from his stuck position in a stock trailer.  A review of my film, below, reveals he got stuck when being packed in like sardines, the last horse forced into an untenable situation, a customary habit among BLM ground personnel and roundup contractors eager to fill up each trailer load for economics. 
             I've put together my film of the incident, below, so I can walk you through exactly what happened as we saw it.  The brief interview is at the end. 
             For the tender hearted (that's a lot of us), my rating of this film is G; this film shows people trying to get a horse unstuck and doing unsavory, upsetting things at times, but it isn't graphic or violently upsetting.  You can only see just enough to know what is going on.  
                   For starters, contrary to Ms. Mirati's statement in this brief interview, this horse was given zero time to rest and collect himself before being hotshotted and forced to stand after being down, injured, and stuck in the trailer for 10 long minutes as those he feared most struggled none too gently to free him and then flagged, poked, prodded him relentlessly to stand.  I doubt he even comprehended what was being asked of him. 
                  She refers to the hotshot being an "acceptable" tool for "livestock" management.  That may or may not be the case for domestic horses, who also are not universally agreed to be "livestock," but certainly the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act treats wild horses as anything but livestock and decrees they are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the American west and are to be treated as an integral part of the natural system of public lands, not treated as livestock.  Additionally, the law states they are to be protected from capture, branding, harassment, and death.  A few minutes here, just a few simple minutes given to this lovely trapped animal who didn't intend to get his foot caught, could make the difference between harassment and compassion, between truly upholding this law and respecting this noble animal, or treating it as livestock, as Ms. Mirati openly admitted she does, whether she recognizes it or not.  
                 It is high time for the members of the Bureau of Land Management to take a personal inventory and reevaluate because Ms. Mirati may well be in violation of the law by treating these animals as livestock, and so would be every member of the elite Bureau of Land Management who does likewise.  
                 Ms. Mirati replaced Ashley Whitman as COR of this Tri-State Complex roundup, who was relieved of her duties after standing by doing nothing while burros were abusively hotshotted when the Sun J crew went into high gear to empty the trap pen for incoming horses rather than tell the pilot to hold off on bringing in more animals, as revealed by Ginger Kathrens' film when she attended the Calico roundup in December 2011.  Candidly, one wonders if Ms. Mirati would have responded any differently. 

Here this unfortunate stallion, whose injured front leg is finally free from being stuck inside the
   trailer, is given no time to calm down, has a rope around his neck and is having his head yanked. 
                I had reported on this in my previous blog post, Yes, It's Bad Enough for Me, and had posted Laura Leigh's video.  After Melanie confirmed her hot-shotting order, I decided to post my video and walk us through the actual event.  
                The day Ginger Kathrens filmed the abusive hotshotting of the burros, a BLM internal investigation and report was released which stated that as part of their investigation, animal welfare experts told BLM officials that electrical prods should be used only as a last resort when human or animal safety is in jeopardy.  
                 This situation, with an injured, downed horse who was shutting down, docile, convinced he was going to die, doesn't come close to meeting that criteria.  He endures poking, prodding, pulling, flagging, with a completely subdued, submissive spirit, surrounded by humans he greatly fears, yet there was no fight, no resistance.  Contrary to Ms. Mirati's statement in her brief interview, he was given no time to collect himself and decide to stand on his own. 
                 The crew makes an attempt to hide the use of the hotshot, but the behavior of the horse gave it away, and when confronted with the question, Ms. Mirati admitted she asked for the hotshot to be used on this horse. 
                 Another concern I want to report on:
                 Farewell to this lovely mare...
                  I saw and photographed this lovely mare on the one day the public was permitted to tour the last Temporary Holding area for this 2012 Calico roundup.  She was down, had been given banamine according to Ms. Mirati, and we were to "keep walking" so we didn't upset her.  
One has to wonder what goes on behind the scenes.  I was under the distinct impression she was to be given time, like overnight, to improve.  I read in the Gather Updates that she was euthanized later that same day. Perhaps I misunderstood the timeline.  But what concerns me is the manner of her death:
                 I'm told she was killed by firearm, and I've been trying to learn why this unfortunate young mare, by the looks of her, was forced as her last living act to load into a trailer, obviously feeling very ill and/or in pain, and be driven off alone to be shot when she could have been administered an overdose injection if she in fact needed to be euthanized at all. I am waiting for her necropsy, as well.  
                 But the very worst thing a person can do to these very social, herd animals is isolate them from others of their kind, especially under stressful circumstances like a roundup.  The circumstances of her death haunt me. 
                 I will update as I receive information.  


  1. I read your posts, and it just kills me inside. How many of these people have ever been hotshotted themselves? Much like Tasers and cops, you don't use them on people unless you've had one used on you.
    I don't like any part of how they're doing these roundups. It could be done so much better.
    Now I'm going to go feed and hug my own horses and pray for the rest of them out there.

    1. I have been hotshotted actually while in the roping pen we hot shot ourselves as a game. YOu know they are NOTHING like a tasers, the electricity that is in them is actually LESS then you touching a hot wire fence. The hot fence actually hurts more then the hot shot.

    2. I don't know what voltage, what instrument you were playing with. But that was your choice, and you were geared up for it, braced for it, and you knew what was happening to you. I have tasered myself to see what it felt like, and when you are braced for something it usually isn't nearly as horrifying or painful. It is important not to minimize the damage done to animals by relying on the infliction of pain to move them or otherwise control them, especially wild animals whom you hope will eventually bond with humans.

  2. I hate what they are doing to these living symbols of our historic past. The horse was what made this country. The horse faithfully served my people and all the rest of humankind as well. Where is the compassion and caring that should come first? For those who need to know, I am Native American.

  3. Please!!! Everyone write their representatives and senators and demand this activity be stopped. There is no reason to treat any animal in this manner. I have worked with animals a good portion on my life and have never seen such cruel inhumane treatment of animals and this include being around Rodeo stock.

    The only way we can stop this is by writing and calling and not just once but every time this happens. Our letters and phone calls do count. Comments on the internet although they express great concern and support for these magnificent horses do little to stop this atrocity.

    Again please wright and call!!!

  4. I'd like to know what happened to the "horse stuck in a panel" (name of the YouTube video). That horse also got hot shot about 50 times and was obviously injured. I have no more tolerance for the BLM cover ups and mistreatment of wild horses. It is beyond disgraceful.

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  6. Hotshotting is not "acceptable practice. A large, successful cattle rancher friend doesn't own one, and does not ever let one touch his cows at any time, even forbidding the haulers who take his cattle to market to ever consider using one. So "No," BLM--it's not accepted practice to ranchers who really care about their livestock. And wild horses aren't livestock, by the way. LindaH

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  8. I removed my comment because my iPad is once again having issues with SPELLING! I'll be back with my comment.

  9. I remember a few years ago at the Breeder’s Cup a young filly reared entering the track. Somehow while passing this rolling gate she had gotten a back leg caught. The dreaded trap was brought out and they only showed a replay of the fall once. But that one time was GRAPHIC. The filly when she had reared went over backwards. She struck her poll (top of the head) DIRECTLY. Sadly a few days later she was euthanized. But there had been updates about her condition all along. She was suffering serious seizures and had gotten cast in her stall.
    This is different. This is man made by the rushing and the cramming of too many horses on one trailer. The emergency was this: get that horse uncaught, loaded properly and then take off. Didn’t happen that way. It took 10 mins of pulling and tugging, shuffling things around, unloading horses to give the men room to work. After all that don’t you think the horse is going to think—hay I need a few moments to gather my wits.
    Instead what the wranglers did was distract the horse with putting a rope around his neck, tightening it and dragging o
    his head. Sounds a bit barbaric does it? Well this is what they did. Now when the horse bangs his head against the trailer—and remember he still hasn’t gotten up from falling, so he’s probably a bit dazed by all of this—someone decided that the horse wasn’t moving fast enough. Time to pull out the ole hot shot.
    What totally irks me about this is: cops when they train on stun guns they stun each other. They do under supervision in a training room. With support for the person being the victim of the stunning. I wonder do the wranglers train on each other before being turned loose on the wild ones???? Do they even know what a hot shot feels like? Do they know that men usually mess their pants when stunned???
    Why is it so difficult to make these people understand that being so rushed confuses the horses? These aren’t domesticated horses—they don’t know that they are being asked to load into a trailer. There too busy catching their breathe and understanding that they just been split apart from their families much like what happened in WWII. Shock confuse dazed—those terms would seem to apply.
    And yet even after Ginger’s graphic video of wranglers gone wild with the hot shot apparently only one person lost their job over that. And it should be noted that Ginger got that video at the very same time Bob Abbey was telling the world that the BLM was innocent of mishandling the horses. That there internal review said so. I have to ask the obvious “What’s wrong with this picture?”
    I say SLOW DOWN. Funny that’s the same thing I yelled when I was a crossing guard at parents who wouldn’t slow down for kids. It’s for the horse’s welfare. I mean that is your no. 1 priority isn’t it? It should be.
    I think BLM would be much better served as would the horses if the bonuses were handed out FOR APPROPRIATE MANAGEMENT AND HANDLING. Hotshot a horse lose the bonus. Rush the horses onto the trailer, lose the bonus. Cram the trailer til the horses can’t move or breathe—lose the bonus on every horse on the trailer. It’s that simple. You don’t feed or water because it’s not in the contract lose the entire contract.
    I believe in KIS—and yes that’s with one S. Keep it Simple. I think it might be too simple and people get caught up in how easy all of this should be.

    1. Thank you, Margaret. Thank you all for speaking out. Please continue...the BLM and our legislators read this blog. They need to know hot shots are not the status quo for everyone. They also need to know Melanie Marati does not speak for everyone or represent the "norm."

      When I asked if there was a time limit the helicopter can be chasing the horses, Melanie Marati is the same COR who told me, "as far as I'm concerned, the longer [horses are out there being chased by the helicopter], the better. Why is that? "Because they come in walking."

      What can you say to that? — to that level of incomprehension ?

    2. Elyse this is why the Humane Case with Laura is so important. If we can get a ruling about the helicopter striking that horse last Aug we might be setting the stage for an actual manual on how contractors etc are suppose to handle things. Amazing that BLM doesn't even have anything like that. Boggles the mind.

      There was a report last summer that the BLM or the Contractor reportedly said that they didn't have to give the horses food or water because it wasn't in the contract. Granted dead of summer roundup you need to take precautions that the horses don't overdo it on the water trough but I suggested over a year ago that on the way thru the panels they install some kind of sprinkler system to help cool the horses off after that long run. Maybe not a full force thunder shower more like a spring shower.

      I am so frustrated by BLM and our Pres who won't do a thing to stop the madness--that when Judge McKibben made his first ruling in July that BLM could do there roundup I swore off red meat then and there. I had had it. Once and for all. Done finished. It was the only action I could take. We rally peacefully and speak the truth. We try desperately not to use 4 letter words--cause those words just inflame an already bad situation. I'm quite content not eating red meat. I don't miss it. And while one person may not make a huge difference in terms of cows and those contracts--I know I'm doing my part. Will I ever go back? Probably not.

      I found a wonderful substitute--soybeans. They have beef flavoring but are entirely soybeans. Pork bacon lots of different goodies. I will happily eat it, plus it's great to put in the emergency food storage--for us earthquake prone people in the Bay Area.

    3. About this stud who went down in the trailer: I have been unable to get identifying information about him just to follow up. People are always interested in seeing these horses after the fact. I hope/trust he is fine now, as they say. I would like to see him and verify but I am not getting a response to my request for either his tag number (he would be branded by now) or a photo. We never got a good look at him. The public wasn't allowed into temp holding until Saturday, and by then he was shipped to Palomino Valley.

  10. Where do they find these She-devils?

  11. This is some information that I found out a few weeks ago. The cattle industry will be shipping beef to South Korea if the slaughtered cattle are at least 30 months old. This is a way to get around the ban that many countries had on US beef after the Mad Cow scare some years ago. The cattle industry is gearing up to ship beef to Asia and any other countries since the Mad Cow seems to have disappeared. Korea will not except the brains or spines of the beef cows. This is the reasoning behind the complete removal of the mustangs because the BLM intends to hand over all of the public land for cattle grazing. The US is the EU's largest trading partner. The cattle ranchers are hoping to be able to ship to the EU if they can overcome the Mad Cow stigma. And it's going to take several years to build up their herds to meet this future demand.

  12. I think its absolutely irresponsible of Melanie Marati to say that the longer they keep the horses running the better for HER CREW~~~~ How sad for the horses and their welfare ~~~ I guess what the Wild Horses NEED just doesn't matter ~~~ I agree that if you abuse, hotshot, overload, ANY of these Wild Horses you should LOSE YOUR JOB ~ I would NOT have a wrangler on my property that had these kind of attitudes ~ Its a matter of BRAIN over BRAWN ~~~ Get rid of Sun J and Melanie Marti ~ BLM retrain YOUR PEOPLE with some RESPECT for AMERICA'S Wild Horses ~ These horses belong to the public and WE are the ONES that pay your salary NOT BLM ~ We want our Wild Horses TREATED with R-E-S-P-E-C-T ~~~

  13. Er, hey Vanessa @ Packard Law: Did you notice the content of this blog?? How about a sponsored blog post on something relevant to readers like violations and abuses to the Wild Horse & Burro Laws (not to mention a blatant disregard of the 1st amendment for people to speak out) including what we can do to help. Pretty sure the people visiting this blog (and blogs like it) are here for the HORSES, not get inundated with totally irrelevant junk.

    1. Thank you, Rachelle, for addressing and calling my attention to "Vanessa's" spam comment. I have deleted it.

  14. As far as I am concerned, Gods worst creation was man. Some people are truly disgusting and cruel. How would these idiots like to be chased by a helicopter until they are completely exhausted, beaten and crammed into trailer filled with others? These monsters need to be treated like the horses and see how they like it, then you would see this insanity stop!! Absolutely disgusting behaviour of these magnificent animals. Round up these asshole people, beat them and put them in jail!!

  15. BLM Unmerciful lying Horse & wild life Slayers! DAMN YOU BLM to HELL!