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Terri Farley
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Friday, June 28, 2013

BLM's Palomino Valley Adoption Center

Dear Readers,
I rarely post a BLM press release just as it comes to me. Today, I'm making an exception, but keep your skeptic's glasses on.
 Northern Nevada is in the midst of an over 100 degrees each day heat wave. Wild horse and burro advocates have repeatedly asked BLM to give the wild horses some shelter so that they can follow their natural behavior which is just like your's : SEEK SHADE WHEN THE SUN IS BEATING DOWN!
Ever-responsive BLM communications person Heather Emmons tells me BLM installed sprinklers today in 3 large outside pens and 5 mare/foal pens on a trial basis to see if that will help cool things down.  They're going to monitor them and see how the horses do with them.
She also sent me a press release.
 I have repeatedly marked the BLM PRESS RELEASE as such because I have not been out to Palomino Valley to see these sprinklers for myself.
It is the BLM's responsibility to preserve and protect healthy herds of wild, free-roaming horses and burros as components of the public lands. Above, is BLM's Palomino Valley Wild Horse Adoption Center.

According to BLM press release, photo above is from today

Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Center Installs Sprinklers to Mitigate Effects of Heat Wave
Reno, Nev. – In expectation of continued three-digit temperatures this weekend and to address public concerns, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Palomino Valley Center outside Reno is installing sprinklers to three of the large, outside wild horse pens and five mare/foal pens as a stop-gap measure to attempt to reduce heat levels inside the corrals. BLM staff will observe how the animals respond to the sprinklers, which could include avoidance, or chewing on and rubbing against the sprinklers, which are foreign structures to the animals.  
The use of shade shelters in corrals has been considered and evaluated by BLM numerous times. Current policy is based on the following principles: 
- Wild horses and burros are accustomed to open environments and when their nutritional demands are met, they do well against the natural elements, including sun, rain, snow, and hot and cold temperatures.  At Palomino Valley, the animals are fed hay each day; mineral blocks are available in each pen; and a continuous supply of water is available via automatic waterers.
- Open corrals with plenty of sunlight have proven to be the best way to minimize disease-causing organisms.  The BLM's open corrals enable the drying effects of the sun and wind to take effect.  The corrals are sloped to minimize the pooling of precipitation in the pens and to allow it to channel to the exterior of the facility. 
- Due to the temperament of the animals, the social hierarchy between the animals, and their unfamiliarity with shelters, the BLM feels that corrals without shelters are the safest approach.  Shelters could create a potential obstacle for animals running and playing in the corrals, and cause significant injuries. The BLM has wind breaks and/or shelters for sick animals.  The “sick pens” do not have the same safety issues because the animals are in a smaller area with limited pressure from other animals. 
Weather conditions, as well as determining the most appropriate way to address the needs of the animals, vary across the country.  What works well and is needed for a small facility in the Midwest may not be necessary or work well for a large facility in Southern California or Nevada.  Each facility uses methods compatible with local animal husbandry practices to provide the best solution for maintaining the large numbers of animals for which the BLM provides care. Nonetheless, plans are underway for the BLM to consult the scientific research community to inform future options on this issue.     BLM PRESS RELEASE

The Palomino Valley Center, located about 20 miles north of Reno, is the largest BLM preparation and adoption facility in the country with a capacity of 1,850 animals.  It serves as the primary preparation center for wild horses and burros gathered from the public lands in Nevada and nearby states.  Visitors wishing to adopt are encouraged to call the Center prior to arrival at (775) 475-2222. Public hours for visiting are held Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and on the first Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-noon. BLM PRESS RELEASE

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Posted by Terri Farley @ 7:05 PM

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Comments: Seeing these animals in this pit...I know that right now, Palomino Valley is as good as it's ever gonna get, but there is something inherently wrong with first, forcing these animals out of their homes, then consigning them to a life of hopelessness and utter boredom. For all the money allocated to short term holding facilities for the 'care and feeding' of our horses and burros - over $3M a year for PV, if based on the current population - you'd think they might merit better than a flat expanse of hot, dusty bacteria-laden dirt and a single, inadequate trough per 'pasture'.
Thanks for hangin' in there, Terri.
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