Wild Horses/Mustangs

Lawsuit to Protect Wild Horses Continues Despite Denial of Injunction Against Massive Roundup

Advocates Call on President Obama to Give America’s Wild Horses a Christmas Reprieve

The end of a life of freedom and the death of our National Icon

Washington, DC (December 23, 2009). . . . Wild horse advocates today celebrated a partial victory as U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman ordered a lawsuit challenging a Bureau of Land Management roundup of thousands of wild horses in Nevada forward, but denied a preliminary injunction to stop the removal of horses, which is scheduled to begin December 28.

Judge Friedman’s 25-page decision indicates that he found merit in IDA’s argument that the BLM’s practice of stockpiling tens of thousands of horses in long-term holding facilities in the Midwest is not authorized by law, and invited both parties to expedite briefing on that issue.  The decision is available at https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2009cv2222-25

Advocates are now calling on President Obama to give the horses a holiday reprieve after filing complaints with the Department of Interior and White House Office of Environmental Quality (CEQ) alleging multiple violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“The President should order a halt to this roundup until the legality of the long-term holding facilities is determined.  The BLM itself says this is not an emergency roundup, so there would be no harm in waiting for adjudication of this enormously important issue,” said William J. Spriggs, of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, which filed the case on behalf of IDA, ecologist Craig Downer and noted children’s author Terri Farley.

“We are on strong ground in charging that the BLM’s policy of stockpiling tens of thousands of horses in the Midwest, off their rightful Western ranges, is contrary to law, the intent of Congress and the will of the American people,” Mr. Spriggs concluded.

Meanwhile, IDA is turning to the Administration in an effort to save the wild horses living in the Calico Mountains Complex which is comprised of more than 500 million acres in northwestern Nevada.  Beginning December 28, the BLM intends  to wipe out 80-90 percent of the estimated 3,000 horses there by stampeding them with helicopters over dangerous winter terrain  into capture pens, then loading them on to trucks bound for government holding facilities in Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Just four years ago, the BLM rounded up more than two thousand wild horses in Calico in the winter of 2004-2005 and shipped 1,623 horses to short- and long-term holding.

“This is a Christmastime appeal to President Obama on behalf of America’s wild horses,” said Elliot M. Katz, DVM, IDA President. “While the President is enjoying the holidays with his lovely family, In Defense of Animals asks him to think of the horse families who are about to be torn apart forever in the BLM roundup.  With the stroke of a pen, he can stop the terror that is about to befall the majestic wild horses of the Calico Mountains in Nevada.”

IDA is asking the Administration to halt the roundup, charging that the BLM violated NEPA by failing to adequately assess the environmental impacts of its massive wild horse capture plan. Over 10,000 public comments were submitted in opposition to the Calico roundup, which the BLM has stated will cost taxpayers $1.7 million.

Despite promising to deliver change, the Obama Administration has continued the Bush Administration’s policy of removing tens of thousands of wild horses from their rightful Western ranges, often to make room for increased grazing of privately-owned livestock on public lands. The BLM currently warehouses 33,000 wild horses in government holding facilities – the legality of which Judge Friedman has just questioned – yet intends to round up and remove 12,000 more horses a year from the West for the next three years. After that time, the number of wild horses held captive in zoo-like conditions will far exceed those left in the wild.

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15 replies »

  1. The administration has not changed in BLM land. OBushma is losing an opportunity to show the nation he listens to the people. The longer policies like this exist the more there will be opposition later at re-election. The president has betrayed trust. Mar


  2. I sent President Obama the message and added the following at the end of my comment-
    I might add that I helped man a Democratic headquarters in a predominantly Republican town. I was extremely happy when you were elected with the GREAT HOPE that the terrible BUSH polices would be overturned. Please do not disappoint me and countless others.
    What else can we do—Calico Mountains is so far away–
    We are preaching to the choir; wish this message could be taken to the national attention. Maybe a Madison Avenue public relations firm or a DC Lobby firm could come up with a campaign? Since the public was definitly opposed to the killing of wild horses last year maybe some form of “sensationalism” would again grab their attention.
    Also thought about an anti-tourism campaign against Nevada since the authorities don’t appear to like their horses very much and Reid and Burns were in cahoots.


  3. How about a campaign to mail back all of our Nevada state quarters — the ones with the beautiful wild horses running free in the sunshine. This used to be my favorite state quarter, but now the sight of it makes me sick. It is odd that Nevada would choose this particular image to represent their state knowing that in the not too distant future this image could be just a memory. I have been thinking of sending my quarters to either the governor or tourism board, maybe even the local BLM. Perhaps bags and bags full of these coins could arrive on somebody’s doorstep, kind of like the March of Dimes. They could be carried by kids on horseback dressed like cowboys or “Wild Horse Annies”. A sight like that might be sensational enough to get the media’s attention. I do think the tourism people would be nervous if there were talk of a boycott of Nevada. A Christmas pardon would be nice, although they are usually reserved for criminals and our wild horses and burros are completely innocent of any crime. It is still worth a try, even though the new president seems either ignorant or apathetic to the plight of our wild equines. I asked him how he would explain to his daughters why he let our wild horses and burros go extinct on his watch. Hopefully it will make him think about how he wants history to remember him.


  4. equus5, This is a great idea. get us an address or whatever. Maybe just a constant barrage of returned quarters would be good. Or should we send them to a newspaper or media to raise attentio? This is a MUST do! Mar


  5. Great idea! Send the quarters to a newspaper or media for attention with the condition money is collected for a horse rescue/something related to wild horses. Can’t stand the thought of anti-horse authorities getting one penny of my money!


  6. equus5, i have sent your comment to a couple people and there is a chance we can do this… We may need a contact in Nevada who is a horse rescue or advocacy group who can collect and bank the money for the horses and keep the public informed. In returning the quarters to Nevada they would be in protest of the roundups and against tourism and other Nevada oriented public activities. Choose your point and give money to horses legal fund. this was your idea, I hope you will be in touch with someone. Thanks, mar


  7. URGENT – PROTESTR TOMORROW – get the detials at TCF.

    Not sponsored by TCF, but the press release is there!

    Read that they are NOT ALLOWING the public as promised.


  8. I think the best way to get media attention is to mail the quarters to the media. How about:

    Mr. George Knapp
    3228 Channel 8 Drive
    Las Vegas, NV 89109

    Enclose a letter stating the quarters are a symbol of opposition to the roundup of wild horses and you will not be visiting Nevada as long as it continues, or something like that. I know that Nevada 1) isn’t the only state it’s happening and 2) can’t really stop the BLM, but it’s a media issue. Who cares if it’s fair or not to pick on Nevada? They have the larges population of wild horses and lands in the program.
    The roundup is supported by the Nevada Department of Wildlife, The Nevada Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources, and other private groups.


    • I think it is a start and we may need to do change destination in the future depending on how George Knapp feels about this. But we need to start and until we can do otherwise, this is as good a person to begin with as I can think of, to. Mar


    • Ugh. Las Vegas does not equal Nevada!! I’m in Norteastern NV, you’d be better off directing something to Reno. The Palimino Valley holding center is just outside of Reno, wild horses still roam near what is now neighborhoods. Just a month or so ago there were 4 or 5 dead horses found outside Reno, the horses in the neighborhood infested areas are getting hit. THIS is the area where your concern should go. Vegas is a world away. Maybe tourism would affect them slightly, but name the number of people that go to Vegas to find wild horses??! It’s the open spaces of Northern Nevada where you can get within a few hundred feet of a real wild herd of mustangs. I’ve done it myself.


      • KENVTV.com is the local station for Elko. From there you should be able to link up to the Reno NBC station and branch out from there.


      • BlondeNak,

        Good info.

        I think Geroge Knapp was picked because of his investigative documentary “Stampede to Oblivion” and his national status as a Peabody winner.

        I can’t find any Nevada Quarters anyway.


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