THURSDAY: Final Court Hearing on Federal Lawsuit Over Controversial Wild Horse Roundup
Plaintiffs Seek Return of 1,900 Captured Horses to Range
Washington, DC – The landmark Calico wild horse lawsuit which has triggered enormous controversy over the government’s program will be in Federal Court for final oral arguments on Thursday, May 6.
The Calico lawsuit, filed pro bono by the law firm Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney (BIR) against the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), has resulted in the Honorable Judge Paul L. Friedman to preliminarily determine as illegal the government’s practice of sending wild horses to long-term holding facilities in the Midwest.
WHAT: Final Oral Arguments in Federal Lawsuit Regarding Calico Wild Horses of Nevada
WHEN: Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.
WHERE: Courtroom 29A, U.S. District Court, 333 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, DC
“To date, 87 horses have died during or as a result of the roundup, some under extremely cruel circumstances,” said William J. Spriggs, lead counsel on the pending wild horse lawsuit against DOI and BLM filed pro bono by the international law firm Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney. “Those deaths, and the suffering of the survivors, need never have occurred if the BLM had followed Judge Friedman’s suggestion to postpone this roundup.”
“A viable plan, unrelated to our lawsuit, to place the surviving horses within Calico while making range improvements to increase the Appropriate Management Levels in the Calico Complex has recently been submitted to the Secretary of Interior,” concluded Spriggs. “We strongly believe that this option represents the best way to redress the BLM’s violations of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act uncovered in this case.”
Plaintiffs include international animal protection organization In Defense of Animals, renowned ecologist Craig Downer and popular children’s author Terri Farley. A final ruling in the case is expected in late May.
The Calico Mountain Complex roundup of 1,922 wild horses is one of the largest roundups in recent years. The BLM removed at least 80-90 percent of the Calico wild horse population, leaving behind an “estimated” 600 horses on the 550,000 acre (or 859 square mile) Complex in northwest Nevada. The roundup ended on February 4, 2010 — 500 horses short of its target for removal. The roundup proceeded despite a ruling by Judge Friedman — in the lawsuit brought by Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney — questioning the legality of the BLM’s long-term holding facilities and suggesting that the BLM postpone the Calico roundup.
Wild horses comprise a small fraction of grazing animals on public lands, where they are outnumbered by livestock nearly 50 to 1. The BLM has recently increased cattle grazing allotments in areas where wild horses are being removed. 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. The Obama Administration plans to remove nearly 12,000 wild horses and burros from public lands by October 2010. There are currently more than 36,000 wild horses warehoused in government holding facilities and only 33,000 wild horses free on the range.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2010
Contact: 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
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