America Destroys Itself from Within
Brutal captures and deaths of American wild horses are occurring on the range. This is not a fictional western gone bad but federal policy. The government tries to justify this cruelty with junk science and is sheltered in its actions by procedural barriers and judicial deference. For nearly four decades, federal contractors have been capturing wild horses and burros across the western United States under the guise of “management” pursuant to the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The horses are often chased down by helicopters, sometimes for miles through rough terrain in the heat of summer, lassoed, and forced to the ground and then into trailers.
Wild horses live and move in very tight-knit families consisting of mothers, father and young. Captures disrupt natural social structures, with individuals sent off to an unknown fate based on the justification that the land on which they live cannot sustain their presence. In a battle for the limited resources found on America’s public lands, wild horses are losing out to more “lucrative” uses of the range, such as long-term livestock grazing and oil and gas leases. While the government would have the public believe that a “humane” solution has been found to balance competing interests, and that displaced animals are merely relocated to a new home, the treatment of the wild horses is an abdication of the government’s fiduciary responsibility to an American icon and fosters animal cruelty as part of an ongoing agency program.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the primary federal agency in charge of wild horse management. A complex and tortuous federal statutory and regulatory scheme insulates and protects the majority of agency decisions in the area. A large body of case law exists regarding the removal of wild horses from public lands. Individuals and organizations interested in viewing, admiring and preserving the natural state of the horses bring claims under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Wild Horses Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Information Quality Act. The challengers allege that the agencies are violating federal law by making eradication decisions based on incomplete and inaccurate data and without adequate consideration of wild horses as a vital part of public lands. In addition to courtroom challenges to agency actions, an equally active set of advocates is working to try and motivate legislative action to force changes in the statutory template upon which BLM operates its program.
It would take a thick book to even attempt to completely discuss and describe the internecine set of laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines that govern the wild horse issue. This Article briefly sets out the legal framework governing wild horse management, the key elements behind the government’s decisions, and the challenges facing those who oppose the roundups.
Although not directly addressed in the challenges brought, the subtext of these lawsuits is two-fold. First, advocates believe that wild horse homelands are being systematically converted to other purposes without sufficient analysis as required by the statutory framework. Second, as a visceral and somewhat emotional matter, it is the cruelty inherent in the roundups and the dissolution of thousands of horse families that drives much of the opposition. (continued)
PLEASE click (HERE) to read this article in it’s entirety!
Editor’s Note: “Mr. Wagman is the legal team lead for HfH Advisory Council‘s legal battles against the BLM’s ongoing attempts to “zero-out” significant and irreplaceable wild horse herds across the western United States. The small excerpt, above, represents only a portion of an important statement that can be read by clicking the link as indicated. We highly recommend that you visit the linked site to view the photographs, videos and comment on not only this fine example of timely information but on the topic of our national heritage under siege by President Obama’s corrupt wild horse extinction agency, the BLM.” ~ R.T.
- Wild Horse Groups Win Another Round and Vow to Preserve Targeted West Douglas Herd (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Action Alert: Wild Horse Advocates to Rally at BLM Meeting (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Event: Wild Horses and Burros Need Your Voice (thecloudfoundation.wordpress.com)
- Progress! House Votes to Reduce Agency Budget for Wild Horse Roundups (news.change.org)
- Wild horses: BLM Backs Off Plan to Zero Out West Douglas Herd (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- BLM Called Upon To Halt Wild Horse Roundups Until “New Normal ” Policies Enacted To Ensure Humane Treatment of Mustangs (yubanet.com)
- Interior Department Urged To Remove Official Responsible for Cruelty During Wild Horse Roundup (yubanet.com)
- Honey Bandit Wild Horse Story Makes a Difference in D.C. (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Famed Journalist Files Emergency Appeal Over Wild Horse Issue (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Obama’s BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board to Meet in March (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- OIG Joins BLM in Propaganda War Against Iconic Wild Horses and Burros (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Stop Cash Flow to Bloody BLM Wild Horse Stampedes (rtfitch.wordpress.com)