Because the BLM contracts out most of the site gather jobs, the safety of the animals is the responsibility of the contractors. Obviously the number one concern for the workers should be the welfare of the horses/burros.
The Standard Operating Procedure provided by the BLM here is laid out/worded in such a way to ensure the safety of not only the wild animals but also the Judas horses, ropers, and workers. That said, upon watching several videos of gathers, the contractors have not been respecting the SOP to their fullest ability.
I understand that contractors get paid per head loaded, so truly there is no reason that foals should be left behind and orphaned on the range, as stated in the SOP.
Contractors have become increasingly lazy when heeding the instructions laid out in the SOP, which makes me wonder if the Project Inspector (PI) is doing their job to their fullest ability. I am highly suspicious of the latter being the case. The SOP says that all gather sites and holding facilities ought to be oval or round in design, and all of the rails are to be covered in an opaque burlap or the like, however, I do believe that this:
Do not qualify as being opaque, meaning that it can be seen through by the horses that are trapped inside. If should be the goal of the contractors to transport the horses as efficiently as possible to reduce the amounts of stress to the horses, which could be very detrimental to the health of the horses/burros. The runways are supposed to be at least six feet high so that the horses/burros cannot see over nor jump over in an attempt to flee, however if anyone has ever seen a roundup video, the runway is more like four (4) feet high and made of burlap, which an person can run through, let alone a horse/burro. I do not understand why these contractors are being trusted to the their jobs by the books everytime, yet time and again any onlooker can attest to the failure of this. I truly think that the only way that the BLM can be ensured that the job is being done correctly every time is to request the presence of a GAO officer at every facility, every site gather, and every stop made in between.
Thank you muchly for reading this short, soapbox post, I shall post in a more extensive manner soon! Have a fabulous day!