Fed’s Wild Horse Program Faces New Lawsuit Over Another Huge Roundup

At Issue: BLM Helicopter Stampede and Capture of 495  Wild Horses in Eastern Nevada

Washington, DC (February 4, 2010)  – The national law firm of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney yesterday notified the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that it intends to sue to stop the Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s  planned roundup of nearly 500 wild horses living in the Eagle Herd Management Area in eastern Nevada.  The roundup, scheduled to start in mid-February, would leave just 100 horses behind to roam over 670,000 acres of public land.

“The Bureau of Land Management’s proposed plan fails to comply with the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act, rendering the action arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion,” wrote William J. Spriggs, lead counsel on the lawsuit in a letter sent yesterday to DOJ attorney Mr. Erik Peterson.

Last November, Spriggs was the lead attorney on another lawsuit on behalf of In Defense of Animals (IDA), ecologist Craig Downer and noted children’s author Terri Farley against the BLM’s round up and removal of 2,500 horses in the Calico Mountains Complex in Northwestern Nevada . The BLM proceeded with the roundup, despite U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman’s suggestion that the action be postponed due to the fact that the agency’s plan to stockpile most of the horses in long-term holding facilities in the Midwest was likely illegal. That case continues in federal court.

To date, over 30 horses have died as a result of the Calico roundup and 20 or more pregnant mares have spontaneously aborted. Deaths include a colt with a heart defect who collapsed and died while being chased by helicopter, a colt who was run so hard, fast and far that his hooves were severely damaged and partially sloughed off, a mare who crashed into a gate and broke her neck, and numerous horses who colicked and suffered painful deaths. As of February 2, the BLM had captured and removed 1,878 horses from their Calico range.

The new lawsuit from Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney attempts to protect the Eagle horses from the same fate.

“Our legal actions aim to halt the inherent cruelty of the BLM’s wild horse roundups, which traumatize, injure and kill horses, subvert the will of Congress and are entirely illegal,” Spriggs said.  “Americans strongly support protecting wild horses on their natural ranges in the West.  The Obama Administration must reform the BLM wild horse program to protect these animals in their western lands and uphold the will of Congress to preserve these horses as an important part of our national heritage.”

The number of wild horses warehoused by the government (35,000) now exceeds the number of horses left free on the range. The Obama Administration plans to capture and remove nearly 12,000 wild horses in Fiscal Year 2010, compounding a fiscal black hole that is costing American taxpayers tens of millions per year.

Meanwhile, wild horses comprise a minute fraction (0.5 percent) of grazing animals on public lands, where they are outnumbered by cattle at least 200 to 1. Currently the BLM manages more than 256 million acres of public lands of which cattle grazing is allowed on 160 million acres; wild horses are only allowed on 26.6 million acres this land, which must be shared with cattle.


Contacts: William Spriggs, Esq., (202) 452-6051;
Eric Kleiman, 717-939-3231

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals' rights, welfare, and habitat through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in Mumbai, India, Cameroon, Africa, and rural Mississippi. _________________________________________________________________________________

IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS • 3010 KERNER BLVD. • SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901 • 415-448-0048

20 Comments on “Fed’s Wild Horse Program Faces New Lawsuit Over Another Huge Roundup”

  • Linda Castle wrote on 5 February, 2010, 9:30

    I hope this lawsuit is successful. The BLM’s roundups must be stopped.

  • Sara Gouer wrote on 5 February, 2010, 15:14

    Hopefully this will solve something. I’m tired of fighting over this issue. Leave the wild horses and THEIR land alone. They were here first. Don’t we have enough waste of cattle products in the Unites States already. I don’t think we need more. Build your oil facilites and put up your fences. Use those helicopters to drop bails of hay instead of rounding them up if your worried about starvation. Make natural water troughs if you fear they are dehydrated. Create small shelters if you worry about the elements.They are hard and tough, not like their domestic kin. The horses will stay away from the noise of drilling and the smell of oil. They aren’t stupid. Geld some of the stallions and let them go. Keep the families together and only take a small percentage of horses who are likely to be adoped into families. And if those horse refuses to be domesticated find its herd and give it back to the wild. These are simple solutions. But I know the american people can come up with many more. Let AMERICANS speak and give you ideas without the silly formalities. Stop sitting in your offices and take a trip and watch what happens to these animals. We ALL know you have the money to do so. So DO IT!

  • Tracy Mohr wrote on 6 February, 2010, 21:09

    You are dead on right with your ideas. It would save taxpayers literally MILLIONS of dollars annually in round ups and long term care. But someone is making BIG bucks on the roundups (the contractor doing the roundups for one, who has been found guilty of selling mustangs to slaughter), and what about all the mustangs not accounted for, not branded. They are going somewhere, and someone is making money. There needs to be an investigation, NOW!! Then there are the ranchers. More money there.
    To add to your ideas, there is much money to be made with eco-tourism, like the safaris (non-hunting) in Africa. People from all over the world would love to come and see the horses running free. From over night to month long, from rustic camping to luxury accommodations, it could actually MAKE money for the BLM (unlike the grazing program).

  • kimberly wrote on 8 February, 2010, 7:43

    THANK YOU IDA!!!!!!!!

  • Anne wrote on 24 February, 2010, 5:03

    Feb. 17 Indian Lakes Road Facility

    One weaned colt was euthanized as an act of mercy due to declining poor body condition. No miscarriages noted today.

    Facility death: 1, cumulative total: 47

    “this is the Colt who was left lying in a sandpit with no feed for 3 days;
    imo anna wahpoose

  • grrace wrote on 3 April, 2010, 17:08

    I think it;s pretty clear that BLM are getting paid somehow for these horses to slaughter. I believe it’s time for an audit of these thugs.

  • grrace wrote on 3 April, 2010, 17:11

    Stop supporting the catttle industry. Put them OUT OF BUSINESS. STOP EATING BEEF!

  • grrace wrote on 3 April, 2010, 17:15

    This is why Republicans HATE trial lawyers. This is why they try and weaken trial lawyers under the disguise of “TORT REFORM.” say NO!. Unleash the lawyers, support them with your cash, don’t eat BEEF, hit the evil ranchers where it counts..their WALLET. RANCHERS OFF OUR WILD HORSE LAND. vOTE Democratic!!!!!!

  • Lynne wrote on 6 May, 2010, 16:36

    If we are going to move forward as a great country, things like rounding up Mustangs cannot go on any longer. No more taking away life from our environment, no more endangering species that have survived on their own for hundreds and thousands of years. Who are we to interrupt their survival instincts.. NO MORE BLM…Reverse your thinking and think again. We can only respect those who are respectable….Save our money and let our horses roam free…

  • arlene orlando wrote on 2 June, 2010, 15:08

    The BLM must be stopped they think they can terrorize Our Wild Mustangs with no repercussions, they are a rogue Agency who will stop at nothing to Betray Our Wild Mustangs terrorize them, for no reason , with exception they are replacing them with ground stripping cattle……….The Mustangs have forever been Our Symbols of Freedom, without them right now we would be nothing, they helped settle America….How can The BLM go on with out being investigated??? They Must Be Stopped Now !

  • dar haskins wrote on 10 January, 2012, 17:17

    Well reading the comments afirmed that you don,t know the facts about the so called wild horses. Facts are; The indians from some tribes used horses, that were brought here and used by the spanish, some were discarded or stolen by indians. The the US calvary and the early settlers who also depended on domestic horses that came from England. When the settlers, the calvery, and, the homesteaders , were done with some horses they turned them loose. They are not in fact a wild endangered species. They are a product of American evolution. I know everyone of you think you need to protect them . Fact is if your are a tax paying citizen of America you are paying, for the care of domestic horses, not wild horses. The BLM has tryed to manage these horses, and have good guidlines in place. Again they are not the romantic wild mustang you beleive they are. If you really want to care about their well being, take a tour in wild horse habitat in winter when they are over populated,inbred, and starving. Believe me i Iove all horses, but pretending they are a majestic mustangs is not in their best interest. Thanks for your time

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  1. Fed’s Wild Horse Program Faces New Lawsuit Over Another Huge Roundup « The Mustang Project's Blog
  2. February 7, 2010 – Environmental Law and Climate Change Law News, Vol. 2, No. 5 « Taber Law Group
  3. petArtistWithPeaches horse blog » More about postponed Eagle Herd roundup
  4. Taber Law Group – Environmental Law and Climate Change Law Newsletter, February 7, 2010, vol.2, no. 5 « Environmental Law & Climate Change Law Blog
  5. Taber Law Group – Environmental Law and Climate Change Law Newsletter, February 7, 2010, vol.2, no. 5 « Taber Law Group

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