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BLM task force urges safety in helicopter roundups
BLM task force emphasizes safe buffer between helicopters and mustangs as legal spat continues
By The Associated Press

RENO, Nev. (AP) ' The same day a judge scolded the Bureau of Land Management for a helicopter pilot's misconduct rounding up wild horses in Nevada, the agency's own task force quietly issued a report emphasizing the importance of keeping safe buffer zones between the mustangs and the airborne cowboys.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners Task Force says in the 35-page report presented to BLM on Tuesday that its practices generally support the safety and welfare of the animals but that some changes are needed.

The veterinarians cited "unacceptable" conditions at an overcrowded holding facility in Utah where horses had to stand in up to 8 inches of mud and manure. They also urged creation of surgical anesthesia protocols after seeing horses appear to suffer pain during castration at a facility near Reno.

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