Colorado Facility: More than 80 wild horses are killed by mystery illness

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Officials confirmed that 85 wild horses died from a mysterious and contagious disease at a Colorado Federal Holding Facility.

The Cañon City facility, about 115 miles south of Denver, is now under voluntary quarantine because of the outbreak, the BLM said in a statement. The holding area contains approximately 2,550 wild horses, gathered from nearby rangelands.

The disease started spreading on April 23rd. The agency announced that it is working closely with federal, state and local officials to identify the cause. According to the BLM, horses that were herded in the West Douglas region last year have been the hardest affected.

“It’s upsetting to BLM and to employees,”Steven Hall was the spokesperson KUSA-TV. “It’s taking a great toll on them. This isn’t where anybody wants to be in terms of managing wild horses.”

“We’re doing everything that we can from a veterinary standpoint,” Hall said. The staff is “doing what we can to isolate the horses and we’ve voluntarily quarantined the entire facility.”

The BLM routinely round up wild horses. It is a controversial practice that advocates for animals call inhumane. They claim the horses are removed from their natural habitats, and kept in corrals in poor living conditions.