BLM blames staffing shortages for wild horse illnesses, deaths

BLM blames staffing shortages for wild horse illnesses, deaths

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Federal Bureau of Land Management said it’s moving forward with plans to gather a record number of wild horses from public ranges in Nevada and other western states.

The BLM wants to gather 23,000 mustangs, despite recent deaths and illnesses among captive horses at crowded facilities in Colorado and Wyoming.

On Wednesday, BLM officials held a briefing for the public and were supposed to explain why 145 mustangs died in Colorado.

Another question that remained unanswered was why more than 1,200 horses are currently infected with another illness nicknamed “strangles” at a facility in Wyoming.

Hundreds of questions were submitted by the public for the public briefing but only one question was asked about how BLM plans to prevent future outbreaks of death and disease at the government corrals.

“The comprehensive animal welfare program and their review found that we had some staffing shortages and maintenance issues. We are addressing the staffing shortages actively right now, as well as the maintenance issues,” said Alan Bittner, who is the director of the BLM’s resources and planning department. “I think being able to take care of the horses more quickly at a facility will help alleviate some of that pressure.”

Other than the statement that they are addressing the problems, no other details were provided about how BLM plans to prevent more deaths and diseases among the 58,000 captured mustangs it oversees.

Scott Beckstead of Animal Wellness Action reacted to the BLM’s event on Wednesday evening.

“This was an opportunity for the BLM to be honest with the American people and the agency blew it big time, he said.

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