Foals should never be abandon or orphaned. This could easily be viewed as negligence. Yet, it happens far more than what could ever be validated. So why then? My best guess is pure laziness on the part of the contractors. I understand that after you have been doing a gather for the last week, one foal doesn’t seem worth the effort that would be necessary to obtain the animal, but it is outlined specifically in the gather guidelines that no foals are to be left behind, so there is no excuse to not protect the foal. The responsibility of the welfare of the horses/burros has fallen to the common Public. It is painfully difficult to protect anything, but it is especially so when the public knows so little if anything about the mere existence of wild equines. Nonetheless, they need all the help that they can get, because it is the job of the human to give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Many would consider people like myself to be extremists, natural extremists, but if that is the only way to save the planet, then so be it. God sees my heart, even if no one else does.
For transportation, no double-decker trailers are allowed, though they should only be allowed to transport in trailers designed solely for horses and burros. Not cows or any other livestock. If the BLM did this, the risk for transport-sustained injuries could potentially fall drastically, which would mean a lesser need for veterinary support/euthanasia. The trailer roof should be at least 6 (six) feet high, in order to accommodate the large size of the wild horses and burros.
It is my belief that contractors should use trailers that have loading ramps, as it would also reduce the risk for tragic injury as well as be less traumatic for the animals. I also believe that contractors are using trailers that are too large for safe transit and if that isn’t the case then this is: too many animals in one “load”. I have experience with loading cattle, and no matter how many you have in a load, there is always a risk of an animal going down which is a real problem for injuries. The big difference is that if a horse/burro goes down in a contractors trailer, there is a real risk of trampling. If a horse goes down, this could also throw the trailer off-balance, causing a very serious wreck, likely resulting in deaths. Needless deaths to say the very least.
Trailers should be furnished with nonslip mats as well as straw or shavings to help keep the horses from slipping during transit.
It is also my firm belief that family groups should be transported together. This could drastically reduce the amount of stress that the horses/burros have to endure. I also think that processing could slow down. I understand that tagging needs to happen immediately, but vaccines, branding, and gelding could take place over about a week. Give pregnant mares a chance to settle, as an overload of stress can cause an early labor as well as miscarriage, which is dangerous at any gestational stage.
There is much that could change for the sake of the animals and their safety. It is our job to hold the BLM and their contractors accountable for their actions.
Thank you so much for reading and I hope that you have a great day!!