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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contacts: William Spriggs, Esq., (202) 452-6051;
Eric Kleiman, 717-939-3231
IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS • 3010 KERNER BLVD. • SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901 • 415-448-0048
120 Comments on “Fed’s Wild Horse Program Faces New Lawsuit Over Another Huge Roundup”
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