LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Video obtained by the 8 News Now I-Team shows a wild horse being slammed to the ground. The video was filmed during the Buffalo Hills Complex Wild Horse Gather which began on July 1st at an area about 70 miles north of Reno.

The Bureau of Land Management claims that 383 wild horses need to be captured and that 30 mares would be treated with a fertility control method and then released.  As of July 5th, the BLM reported that 194 horses were captured.  The agency also reported five deaths by euthanasia due to pre-existing conditions such as “sway back” and blindness in a right eye.

The agency claims that the animals need to be removed to protect the land.  The BLM’s website states, “The purpose of the gather is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Horses Act.”

Some wild horse advocates argue that the BLM puts ranchers’ interests ahead of the wild horses and that in most cases, the wild horses do not need to be removed at all. 

Laura Leigh heads “Wild Horse Education” which filmed multiple videos of the Buffalo Hills Complex Wild Horse Gather.  Footage showed a helicopter flying within feet of wild horses.  Additional footage showed the animals in distress as they were chased.  “We continue this fight against abuse, continue to expose it,” Leigh told the I-Team.

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) introduced the Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act of 2022 which would put an end to the use of helicopters during roundups.  Leigh said she is hoping the video of the most recent roundup will help gain support for the bill and stop abuse during roundups.

“A lot of what you will see, if you did it as a horse owner, you would be under investigation,” Leigh said.  “But in this instance, it’s happening on federal land where the people perpetrating the conduct are also the people policing that conduct and it’s a little insane.”