Lawsuit Postpones Huge Roundup

November 25, 2009

In Defense of Animals Lawsuit Postpones Huge Wild Horse Roundup

Washington, DC (November 24, 2009) – The U.S. Department of Justice announced tonight that the massive roundup and removal of thousands of horses from public land in northwestern Nevada will be delayed until December 28 as a direct result of the filing of a lawsuit by In Defense of Animals and renowned ecologist Craig Downer on November 23.

Tomorrow, IDA and Mr. Downer plan to file a motion for a permanent injunction, with supporting affidavits from horse experts and eyewitnesses to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) roundups. The motion will ask Judge Paul L. Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop the roundup altogether.

The roundup and removal of 80-90 percent of the estimated 3,055 wild horses living in the BLM’s Calico Mountain Complex was originally scheduled to begin December 1. The BLM has received over 10,000 public comments in opposition to the roundup.

“We welcome this moratorium on the capture and inhumane treatment of the Calico horses,” said William Spriggs, Esq. of Buchanan, Ingersoll and Rooney, pro bono attorney for IDA and Mr. Downer. “The BLM plan for a massive helicopter roundup of these horses is entirely illegal.”

“We are confident that the court will agree that America’s wild horses are protected by law from BLM’s plan to indiscriminately chase and stampede them into corrals for indeterminate warehousing away from their established habitat,” he said. “The magnificent wild horses and burros of the American West are an important part of our national heritage and must be preserved.”

The Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act, passed unanimously by Congress in 1971, designated America’s wild horses and burros as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West,” specifying they “shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death … [and that] to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of public lands.”

Since 1971, the BLM has removed over 270,000 horses from their Western home ranges and taken away nearly 20 million acres of wild horse habitat. Only 37,000 wild horses and burros remain on public lands in the West. By contrast, millions of cattle graze our public lands. Thirty-two thousand wild horses who have been removed from the range are already held in government holding facilities, and the BLM intends to round up 12,000 more horses in FY 2010.

6 Responses to “Lawsuit Postpones Huge Roundup”

  1. Rene Says:

    FINALLY!!! Someone is listening. Hopefully this judge will listen to all the evidence with an untainted ear and heart to do what’s right.

  2. Lynn Bauer Says:

    Amen! Please, someone with legal authority just HAS to help stop this!

    Thanks, Pam!

    Lynn and Kathy
    New Mexico

  3. We have to make it last. Executive Order; Moratorium. Can the justice Department go that far on this suit? Mar

  4. Margaret Says:

    This is a fantastic first step in this huge long process. I am so glad that the BLM has to delay this “gather”. I wish it could last PERMANENTLY.

    What bothers me is this freeze branding stuff the BLM does during these “gathers”. I thought this was illegal. But then to “gather” by means of a helicopter is also illegal. I know the BLM and the Cattoor’s claim this is the fastest and safest method–but I think the best solution is to let mother nature manage the horses. I know this means mountain lions and bears–think little Dusty and you’ll know how sad that story was.

    But then you always have electrical storms that no one really thinks about. And those storms take many horses every year too. I don’t know if mountain lions and bear will feed on a dead carcass–an animal that was struck down by lightening vs. an animal they killed but I suppose one would hope they would.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that this moratorium becomes permanent. And who knows maybe this will get our Senators to look at this and start talking–like they should have to begin with.

  5. Susan Kerins Says:

    If we in alaska can have wild horses on the island of Unalaska and they are not over grazing and being rounded up and branded why should ALL the wild horses in the lower 48 be removed? How about the wild horses of Hawaii? They eat banana’s for cryin out loud! LEAVE THE MUSTANGS ALONE GO AFTER THE CATTLE RANCHERS WHOSE CATTLE TEAR UP MILLIONS OF ACRES AND ECOSTAT(sp)A YEAR!!! I AM DISGUSTED WITH BLM THEY SHOULD ALL BE FIRED! I HOPE THIS STICKS PERMANENTLY IF NOT I WILL CONTINUE TO HOUND THROUGH PHONE CALLS AND EMAILS INDEFINITLY!!!!

  6. pnickoles Says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments. It’s a great step in the right direction. Many thanks to everyone involved. Now let’s hope for a permanent moratorium and a better way to manage the wild ones on their own ranges.

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