Horse News

NYC Judge Certified Destruction of Colorado Wild Horse Herd

Analysis by Laura Allen of Animal Law Coalition

“Laura’s take on our legal struggles to save the North Piceance Herd.  Tomorrow, my thoughts from the inside” ~ R.T.

Where is the Legal Sense in all of This?

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley, III, sitting in the Eastern District of New York, observed in his ruling on October 21, 2010 that “the Court is accustomed to dealing with bulls and bears on Wall Street, [but] this case turns its attention westward to wild horses in Colorado”.

Judge Pauley then proceeded to deny a motion by plaintiffs Habitat for Horses, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The Cloud Foundation, Toni Moore and Dr. Don Moore, for an injunction to stop the Bureau of Land Management’s roundup of wild horses in the North Piceance Herd Area in Colorado.

The BLM is right now rounding up and plans to remove all wild horses from the North Piceance Herd Area; the Area is part of the White River Resource Area and that includes the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Area and West Douglas Herd Area which was the subject of an order by U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer last year.

Irreparable harm

The judge did note, “BLM seeks to remove all horses from a specific tract of land. The BLM cannot gloss over this…by arguing the plaintiffs can still view horses on neighboring lands“.  The judge found the BLM’s plan to “extinguish” the wild horse population in the North Piceance Herd Area was sufficient to establish a likelihood of irreparable harm necessary to warrant an injunction until the case is resolved.

Likelihood of success on the merits

But, said the court, there was not sufficient evidence of another factor necessary for an injunction – likelihood of success on the merits.

The standard for analysis requires the court to show deference to an agency, and this judge did not question anything presented by BLM. BLM relied on a 1997 land use plan based on a 1980 management, the objective of which was to remove all horses from North Piceance after 2007.

BLM said an aerial census in 2010 showed 49 horses in North Piceance and also 30-130 horses in excess of AML in Piceance East. In a July, 2010 Environmental Assessment BLM preferred the alternative of rounding up all wild horses in and outside of Piceance East and returning about 130 of them to Piceance East. Older mares would be sterilized.

Basically, this would leave no horses in North Piceance and 130 horses in Piceance East with all mares BLM decides are “older” sterilized.

Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act

The plaintiffs argued that the BLM’s actions would violate the requirement under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1331 et seq. (WFRHBA) that the wild horses “are to be considered in the area where …found” as of 1971.  The Court, however, said nothing in this statute requires BLM to “maintain” wild horses throughout the area where they roamed as of 1971. The Court endorsed the BLM’s practice of forming herd management areas, pointing to the provision under WFRHBA that allows the BLM to designate ranges. The Court said a “herd management area” which is not mentioned in WFRHBA and is a BLM invention, is actually authorized by the WFRHBA provision allowing BLM to designate ranges. A herd management area is now a “range”.

Except that “ranges” are supposed to be “devoted principally” to wild horses and burros, something not mentioned by the Court.

BLM created herd management areas within herd areas with the effect of reducing land available to wild horses and burros. 43 CFR 4710.3-1. In this way, with no statutory authority at all, BLM has limited wild horses and burros’ access to thousands of acres that were historically their herd areas. This is done without thought about the horses’ seasonal migration patterns or available resources. The BLM then removes wild horses and burros from the artificially created “herd management areas” on the basis there is insufficient forage, water or habitat! BLM also targets them for removal if they cross the artificial boundaries into their original herd areas.

The Court also found BLM demonstrated a sufficient basis for the finding the wild horses to be removed are “excess” within the meaning of the WFRHBA. “Excess” horses are defined to mean wild horses and burros to be removed from an area “to preserve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship in that area” or for some other legal reason. See 16 USC §1332(f).  The WFRHBA states that before removing wild horses and burros, a determination must be made that there is an overpopulation and removal is indicated “so as to restore a thriving natural ecological balance to the range, and protect the range from the deterioration associated with overpopulation“. 16 U.S.C. §1333(b)(2)

In finding the wild horses are “excess“, BLM relied on a 1997 land use plan which was based on a 1980 management plan. Not exactly current information. There is no real basis offered for the removal except that the land was not “suitable” and it was decided in 1980 and the decision repeated in 1997 that the wild horses should be removed from North Piceance after 2007.

In the end, Judge Pauley said he was following other courts and deferring to the BLM. The judge did not mention the laws requiring that “[m]anagement activities affecting wild horses and burros shall be undertaken with the goal of maintaining free-roaming behavior.” 16 U.S.C. §1333, 43 CFR 4700.0-6 “All management activities shall be at the minimal feasible level“. 16 U.S.C. §1333(a)

Indeed, in Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition, Inc. v. Salazar, No. 06-1609 (D.D.C 2009), Judge Collyer wrote:

It would be anomalous to infer that by authorizing the custodian of the wild free roaming horses and burros to “manage” them, Congress intended to permit the animals’ custodian to subvert the primary policy of the statute by capturing and removing from the wild the very animals that Congress sought to protect from being captured and removed from the wild.

…BLM’s directive is “to protect and manage wild free-roaming horses and burros as components of the public lands . . . .” 16 U.S.C. § 1333(a) (emphasis added). Congress did not authorize BLM to “manage” the wild horses by corralling them for private maintenance or long-term care as non-wild free-roaming animals off of the public lands.

Upon removal for private adoption and/or long-term care, the West Douglas Herd would forever cease to be “wild free-roaming” horses “as components of the public lands” contrary to Congress’s intent to protect the horses from capture.

Moreover, the statute expressly provides that BLM’s “management activities shall be at the minimal feasible level . . . .” It is difficult to think of a “management activity” that is farther from a “minimal feasible level” than removal.

Judge Pauley apparently declined to follow Judge Collyer’s decision which concerned the West Douglas Herd Area.


Judge Pauley also found the plaintiffs did not establish a likelihood of success on the merits of their claims under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321, et seq. Under NEPA, BLM is required to prepare Environmental Assessments or EAs or, if indicated, Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) or Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), for any proposed changes to public lands that may have a significant environmental impact.  The law directs the agency to identify environmental concerns, consider alternatives including no action at all and take a “hard look” at the problem and minimize significant environmental impact. A significant environmental impact includes actions that are likely to be highly controversial or have uncertain effects on the quality of our lives and that affect cultural and historical resources. 40 C.F.R. §1508.27(b).

The court in this case rejected that the BLM failed to evalute the impact of removing all of the wild horses from the North Piceance Area on humans or the cumulative impact of complete removals from the herd area. The court found the summary analysis in the 1997 EIS as well as the 2010 EA were sufficient. The judge pointed out how many pages in the EIS and EA and said BLM does not need to detail how the agency reaches its decisions.

The court also found the effect of removals on people who care about the horses and like to watch them is not significant to warrant further study. The judge agreed with BLM that people could go to a neighboring herd area if they want to watch wild horses. The judge also rejected that NEPA should apply to BLM’s practice of holding wild horses and burros in short term holding facilities.

Harm to BLM

Judge Pauley decided there would actually be more harm to BLM if and injunction is granted and the round up is delayed. He said it would cost more to wait and when the round up did occur next year, there will be more horses, 20% more, according to BLM. The judge noted the “ecosystem on the range can deteriorate quickly if there are too many animals.” He also said the BLM was obligated to manage the public lands for multiple uses, “not solely to maintain the vitality of wild horse populations”.

    48 replies »

    1. Thank you Laura for the analysis and RT for posting here.

      Truly, the judge’s decision does not make sense; especially the “merits” issue. Judge Pauley gives too much to the government and nothing to those representing the equines and the citizens. It seems like he knew what his decision was going to be long before he heard/read even one word from the advocates. Again, if WWP can get the courts to acknowledge the science and data issues or the lack thereof utilized by DOI, USDA, etc, why can’t those litigating for the wild equines get the same consideration of decision?

      Onward, to the next battle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Denise, WWP was off and running when they won their first case. Now they’ve won how many in how many diverse areas of the West? With years of research, a proven formula, and so many wins, they can use precedents to tailor a case to a specific area. Their cases are about Western water, more and more of which is being diverted for so-called “productive” private use, polluted by human activity, and actually or potentially damaging “native” wildlife and habitat.

        Clean water is America’s (and the world’s) most precious resource and is projected (not merely predicted) to become more precious than gold. Otherwise there wouldn’t be corporations BUYING Water Rights/land with Water Rights and so many investors climbing on board. They KNOW what’s coming down the road and know it’s coming fast. Owning water, leasing water, selling water (not the Right, but the product) is the wave of the future.

        The BLM is selling Public Lands they no longer have use for (Lindreth, NM – can’t remember how many acres, but it’s within the privately-owned Stevenson Ranch and is part of their allotment. There’s a stream running through it and adjacent land agency-controlled land.), no longer wish to manage (Aztec, NM – not contiguous and already chewed up by Permitted Uses.). These aren’t large tracts in the overall picture, but (multiplied by how many others?) the BLM is decimating our public lands and waters.

        With our economy in the tank, the government is all about is short-term monetary gains, not long-term consquences. They’ve moved from “mortgaging” our and our children’s futures to selling them outright.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I knew immediately what the out come was after reading the judge’s comment,
      “the Court is accustomed to dealing with bulls and bears on Wall Street, [but] this case turns its attention westward to wild horses in Colorado”.

      In the end, Judge Pauley said he was following other courts and deferring to the BLM.

      The above shows the judge’s true arrogance.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. This Judge historically makes little sense.

      In July 2009 – Overseeing a settlement among securities regulators and Wall Street firms over conflicts of interest that tainted research. Judge William H Pauley III ordered $79 millions dollars in funds set aside for victims to be turned over to the government. He said it can’t be distributed to aggrieved investors and continues to accrue interest. (source:

      Comments in “the robing room”: are worth a read. Some comments include “pro-government”, “Ignored everything in our brief”, “Simply amazing the way this judge rules most times.” I doubt the last comment was written in a warm and fuzzy pen.

      Nominated by President Bill Clinton on May 21, 1998. (source: Remember guilt by association. Although Clinton is not running in the next election, remember the manner in which appointees handle their decisions and power while you exercise your own power of vote in this November and in future voting sessions.


    4. What can you tell us about the possibility of an appeal- or go back in quick on other grounds. Why can’t those people be charged for plain ole animal abuse?

      If I did to my horse what they do, I’d be arrested, charged, convicted, and put in a ‘holding pen’ just my size!


      • It’s pretty complicated, Elaine. You and I see it as abuse, the court sees it as the way things are done and we argue on “points of law” which is where we thought we had them on this case. We did not just randomly go after this roundup, it was calculated because by our legal teams definition the BLM is clearly breaking the law by using out dated and worthless data to “zero out” this herd. The final order shocked us as the written order appeared to be contrary to the judge’s demeanor during the hearing. (I will be writing more in my OpEd, tomorrow)

        Appeal? It’s a matter of money, how much money can we throw at this and being that our intent was to win, we didn’t get there. This last case has pretty well drained the funds that Terry and I had allocated to keep these suits going as we have been funding them. Sure would like a large donor to step up to the plate right now, any takers? The fiscal responsibility to progress these actions should not fall exclusively upon the shoulders of a few private citizens, how about one of the big boys stepping up to the plate?

        R.T. Fitch Author – “Straight from the Horse’s Heart” The Force of the Horse, LLC 1-800-974-FOTH


        • I’m actually working on something that might help with that. No promises, but I will pursue some deep pockets I know of. Will keep you posted. (Take heart. I lost 16 times in an amazing adoption case where the govt was going to return a tiny baby to the people who almost killed her. It took all my life savings and more, but we finally won after seven years in the state Supreme Court. I felt like I should have been given a law degree certificate along with the adoption papers when it was all over. Unbelievable how those kinds of things can happen in this country!)


        • I would frankly like to see Madeline Pickens step up to the plate on this. She may be doing so and I just don’t know-if so, please feel free to correct me.

          I admire her decision to purchase land and make it available for the horses stuck in BLM jails but I do think an equally (if not more) important issue is to halt the removal of horses and burros in the first place. This can only be accomplished through the courts and the legislature. In this case, with the exception of the Burns amendment, the legislature has done their part and it is the executive (enforcement) and judicial (interpretation) branches that are sadly lacking.

          While I don’t blame this specifically on Obama since the problem would most definitely not improve under a president of the opposing party, it is getting beyond tiresome to have the executive branch refuse to intervene and enforce existing law. It is equally tiresome to see the judiciary rule contrary to it. I am guessing that in this case, ignorance plays a big part. Most judges are not at all aquainted with western environmental issues–not even most judges in the west–especially when it comes to something as “trivial” as a bunch of horses. They have no understanding of the issues involved with wild life in general and even less with the horses and burros, which many still do not believe are truly wildlife.

          I don’t know how to ever get past this issue–education is always the moast difficult aspect of politics. In this respect, Ms. Pickens is helping to make people aware of the issue but equally so are you folks here.

          I so much appreciate your keeping the information flowing so that we can try to circulate it widely and keep it on peoples minds and I so appreciate the personal sacrifice many of you have made.

          I am so sorry for this disappointing and inexplicable ruling and hurt for those of you who invested so much time and heart and money in it. You are heroes.


    5. Here’s what I think happened:

      Phone in chambers of Judge Bill Pauley: Ring, ring…

      BP: “Hello.”

      Voice: “Hey, Bill. How ya doin’?”

      BP: “I’m fine. Just working on this wild horse lawsuit thing I gotta rule on. It’s a no-brainer, so I should have it wrapped up by tomorrow.”

      Voice: “Well, Bill… that’s why I’m calling…. uh…. Bill, do you like your job? That robe sure looks nice on you.”

      BP: “Yeah, thanks. I like my job a lot. Great pay. And I can wear anything I want to work, ’cause this robe covers everything up real nice. (Laughs.). Why ya asking?”

      Voice: “Well, Bill… it’s like this. If you stop BLM from doing what they do- that horse abuse and killin’ thing they like to do out west… well, it’s not going to look very good for us up here in the White House, ya know? After all, it was the Big Boss who named Ken Salazar to the head of that thing, and he’s sort of gettin’ a kick out of all that cowboyin’ around their doing out there, so… well… I’m just sayin’ that if you like that job of yours, and want to keep wearing Hawaiian shirts and cargo shorts to work, you’d better lean waaay far over toward those BLM fellers on that deal. Know what I’m sayin’?”

      BP: Uh, yeah… I guess I do. Well, OK. Dang! I’d better get going then. I’ve got to scratch all this stuff I’ve written already, and start all over now. Geez, it’s going to be hard to find some way to side with BLM, but if you say so……”

      Voice: “Well, I say so. Thanks, Bill. See ya Saturday out on the golf course?”

      BP: “Yeah, sure. I’ll be there. Wild horses couldn’t keep me away.”

      Hangs up.

      BP writes… “The motion to stop killing, terrorizing, and chasing wild horses with helicopters till they drop dead is hereby denied……………”


    6. The BLM didn’t stick to their original plan which was:
      The White River Field Office endorsed Alternative A, which allowed the BLM to gather all the horses in Piceance East and then release 135 back into the herd management area so that Piceance East’s population would be at the AML’s low end. Further all horses outside Piceance East would be removed unless the BLM determined some could be moved into Piceance East.

      They instead decided not to gather and count the number horses in Piceance East. If they had gathered and found those numbers to be lower than 135 they could have moved some (possibly all) of the horses gathered, outside the HMA, to the HMA. Since the number they found outside the HMA was about 1/2 of what they expected to gather, I am guessing they knew the number in the HMA was also lower than expected.

      I don’t see any explanation of their authority to abandon the three proposed options and do something else entirely. Am I missing something?


      • Somebody who knows “BLM-ese” please please follow up on Diana B’s question!
        Another option: ask BLM themselves? (On the phone)?

        I have another question:

        Exactly how much did this legal battle cost? R.T.: Why don’t you write up a “bill” and post it as an article? Send the bill out To Whom It May Concern (in the article).

        I have no idea what kind of costs you are talking about. $200? $2,000? $20,000?

        Since you are organized under the law, I suppose you don’t have to do this, maybe you just have to provide an annual report of some kind.

        Whatever you did or spent, the horses thank you. I spoke to one yesterday to let them know what was going on with their wild cousins. They were very concerned, but relieved that real solutions were being so hard fought for them.

        Thank you for your sacrifice on their behalf!


    7. Another unlawful gather is scheduled 11/27/2010 in the Pine Nuts Mountains area. There are no excess animals there yet they are going to gather, treat with “two year fertility control vaccine” and turn out all gathered. They expect to gather 118 horses on this area with an AML of 179. The rational is that this will help them to “maintain” the proper AML and reduce the number that would need to be gathered in the future. Since there is no mandate to gather until they are excess this “Lets gather them now so we don’t have to gather them later” plan makes no sense.

      They may be trying to get around the numbers by including 67 horses found “well outside the HMA (up to 12 miles away), often congregating on private property in the Fish Springs (Douglas County) area” as part of the Pine Nuts Mountains inventory. This is obviously a separate gather since these horses will all be removed from this area 12 miles away. If they commingled them in one gather they might have few enough to turn them all back out. And we know they don’t move the horses as far as 12 miles to get them to a trap, so this has to be a separate gather and should not even be called Pine Nuts Mountains.


    8. This is truely bad news for all. The free mustangs have now got the death sentence; with their last hours of freedom set in writing now. American people have lost yet another part of their freedom….as all the one’s who truely care and those who are unaware are losing the last TRUE NORTH AMERICAN ICON.. People the world over have to be saying the American Mustangs are going to be extinct because of lies…


    9. I mentioned this late last night on another thread. Elyse Gardner release video yesterday that shows the BLM contractor HITTING a yearling with his HELICOPTER SKIDS. This is not BS nor is it photoshopped,

      While this video is intense you will see NO blood or guts. But you will be appalled to see this poor yearling terribly harassed by the helicopter pilot for a full 5 mins before he hits him.

      The reason I’m bringing this up again–I want everyone here to go watch it. It’ll make you so angry you won’t be seeing straight for a while. But on Monday you’ll be calling the White House and demanding yet again for an immediate moratorium and hopefully for the Killtoors contract.


      • I could not believe what I was seeing in this video. That poor young horse. He seemed dumbfounded and didn’t know what way to go. Seemed like a lot more than five minutes that the Helicopter harassed him with its loud noise before actually driving him. Poor horse stopped dead each time the copter moved back. I think he was stunned. Then the damn thing rode right on top of him and pushed with the “skids” Baby finally went into the pens and stood bewildered. I think he was in shock. I know I would be if that loud noise was that close to me for that long a time.


        • That young horse is beyond dumbfounded. He is frozen with abject terror. He is not just confused. His family is all gone. He has no idea what to do. His new, little brain is shutting down. He is literally frozen in terror and waiting to get eaten by that monster in the sky. This incident may well have damaged him psychologically. This is extreme animal abuse and I don’t think it is allowed by the FAA. BLM yes, FAA doubtful. Please write the contractor to demand they stop these increasingly aggressive tactics that are inhumane and completely unnecessary or us folks who pay their paychecks will demand a new contractor.


    10. I’m speechless. I want good to triumph over evil, yet, the BLM and their cronies have used the Bullish market to force this conclusion. Shameful. Sad. A great great loss.


    11. yes they are ordered by law to manage at “minimal feasible level” yet the blms actions of round-up and trailer rides are PROVEN by experts/science to be the highest stresser of horses. They cause a lot of deaths, long-term health problems and prevent many horses from reaching full potential

      It is aburd the blm is allowed to claim a low round-up related death rate, to make themselves and their methods look “good” yet where are the million horses they rounded up the past 10 years?


      ” “The stress caused by being ridden for the first time is nowhere near as much as that caused by being transported by road.””

      “” a lack of care or an incorrect regime in early training could cause long-term damage to the relationship between a horse and its rider and thus prevent a sports horse from reaching its full potential”””

      1.Alice Schmidt, Jörg Aurich, Erich Möstl, Jürgen Müller and Christine Aurich. Changes in cortisol release and heart rate and heart rate variability during the initial training of 3-year-old sport horses. Hormones and Behavior, 2010; 58 (4): 628 DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2010.06.011


      • I am a Canadian fairly new to this holocust of the Mustangs; been reading and commenting about this problem. Absolutely unbelieving of the crap this BLM bunch are pulling off; turning this land control into total annilation of all mustangs… YET the people have been rallying against this problem for 10 years or more and never anything has stopped or changed ??? Then there is no stopping it.. Your Goverment has told the BLM to exterminate them; the laws of the White House will be behind you and no court’s will stop you. Pretty dam obvious; different presidents and members have done nothing for the people; then it is deemed… No Free Mustangs On Public Lands…


    12. We are all victims, not just the horses. We are plaid with, like puppets on a stage of evil doers. I feel this judge ought to hear from the people now. He is on the East Coast, has never seen a round up or a mustang probably, has no clue and fell for the good ol’boys propaganda as they have successfully deceived the whole nation with it. This judge ought to hear from us now. How about sending notes, letters of protest, links, information he never saw – never heard of. George Knapp’s links, Elyse’s links, Jane’s links… Imagine his desk getting inundated with letters from all over – he needs to realize this is not just about some few folks who love horsies… this is a subject that concerns us ALL and we will not shut up EVER. His pacifying remarks are truly idiocy, as his actions don’t match his words. Enough is enough. I will send a letter and hope others will too. If anyone knows his contact, let me know. They are criminal. All of them.


    13. Is the BLM balancing its so called management of wild horse and burros “to preserve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship in that area” with other species of critters that share that “range”? Are they rounding up deer and buffalo, too? And the natural predators, are they being balanced out because of reduced prey? What about the “excess” of profiteering private citizens’ cattle – are they being managed to keep a “natural ecological balance’?
      Why are the horse and burros being targeted and discriminated against?

      And why, in the definitions under the WFRHBA, is the term “multiple use” not defined?

      The Wild Free-Roaming Horses And Burros Act of 1971 (Public Law 92-195) is – IMO – a ill-written Act that fails to protect wild horse and burros in the spirit of Wild Horse Annie Act; and needs to be repealed, re-written or seriously amended.


        • Animal advocates are not defeated. If anyone thinks that we are going to stop agitating, they had better think again. If anyone thinks that we are going to stop litigating, they had better close the courts. If anyone thinks that we are not going to demonstrate and protest, they had better roll up the sidewalks.
          ~ Columbus Top Dogs paraphrasing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

          this is from an email demanding justice for a dog, but it speaks for ALL of us who want what is right and fair for all animals, and especially our wild horses.


    14. All I can say is “Horse Hockey” ! RT and Terry, thanks for trying so hard. The unfairness to the horses has needed to be championed and you have risked much in your efforts. If we out here can help you, we will.. hugs, mar


    15. to Linda B Yes it does sound like something gruesome out of middle earth. I’ve thought so from the start– we need some magic to make it right.

      to All the Warriors in the court room and behind the scenes:

      The government, its agencies,the judges, BLM– from the top ranking officials to the bottom—they have determined to destroy a symbol of America– they must now carry that burden of guilt–it sits upon them forever–on this living side and beyond into the grave. When you see any of them– you can hold your head up high–you can look them straight in the eye — and you will know that they have betrayed you, and they have betrayed the horses, and they have betrayed America.

      To the horses I say–do not give up–never– we will never stop fighting for you.


    16. When will we find a judge who is willing to stand up and say ‘this is wrong’ and ‘I will stop it?” Even if it was reversed later, this judge would be my hero. The court is supposed to be in part, a way to keep any one agency or branch of government having too much power. Instead, they all seem in collusion. It does reminds me of a line from the Lord of the Rings: loosely said it says that some thing must be fought for even if they seem hopeless. Just because they are right. – If our government and courts no longer see it, then it isn’t just our wild horses in trouble.


    17. On CNN tonight they had a brief interview with H. Reid about Angle attacks and Obama coming to NV to “rally” the voters. He reminded the reporter that there were many very “good” friends that had come to NV to help him including the true and inspiring American “Horatio Alger” storybook saga buddy, pal, amigo…(that’s right, you got it)…Kenny Salazar. I ’bout puked! NOT really surprised though because someone has to be cooperating with somebody to keep Congress off Slaughterczar’s back while shoveling money into the killer’s budget all the while he is out there in Nevada killing thousands of wild equines..


    18. Multiple-use as it applies to WFRHBA:
      “range” (HMA) means the amount of land necessary to sustain an existing herd or herds of wild free-roaming horses and burros, which does not exceed their known territorial limits, and which is devoted principally but not necessarily exclusively to their welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept for the public lands.

      Included in the Secretary’s duties are management and adjustments to forage allocations:
      All management activities shall be at the minimal feasible level and shall be carried out in consultation with the wildlife agency of the State wherein such lands are located in order to protect the natural ecological balance of all wildlife species which inhabit such lands, particularly endangered wildlife species. Any adjustments in forage allocations on any such lands shall take into consideration the needs of other wildlife species which inhabit such lands.
      Nothing about adjusting to allow livestock grazing. Livestock grazing would be a secondary use in this multiple-use plan.

      The act was amended specifically to allow for the use of helicopters, but the Secretary is charged with proscribing humane procedures to be followed in their use:
      In administering this Act, the Secretary may use or contract for the use of helicopters or, for the purpose of transporting captured animals, motor vehicles. Such use shall be undertaken only after a public hearing and under the direct supervision of the Secretary or of a duly authorized official or employee of the Department. The provisions of section 47 (a) of title 18 shall not be applicable to such use. Such use shall be in accordance with humane procedures prescribed by the Secretary.
      So it is not up the contractor to decide how to use the helicopter. Salazar is responsible for giving him guidelines to follow.
      How close to the horses may the copter come?
      How fast may he move the horses?
      What is the copter to do when one or more animals fall back from the group?
      How low may he fly when following close?
      Can we demand to know what those guidelines are? Isn’t Salazar guilty of mismanagement if he has not issued these guidelines?


    19. can you explain this rationale “the standard of evidence must show DEFERENCE to an agency” Is this to imply their evidence is believable till proven otherwise, without a doubt? Deference is a notion of ‘respect’ but in a court I should think all should be granted respect. Is this deference to imply the truthfulness of a government agency? If the EPA were to be sued over supplying hurricaine survivors with trailers contaminated by formaldehyde, would the EPA insistence they did no such thing be granted ‘deference’ in a suit by injured citizens? I am just taken by this idea that the judge gave some weight to the analysis by the BLM for their justifications, over and above the weight of the plaintiffs evidence of lack of diligent scientific underpinnings.


    20. RT, even with my very busy schedule, I find myself checking in on your posts and their subsequent comments off and on several times a day. I must say that I am very impressed with the intelligence, thoughtfulness, and general savvy of your followers! Most sites with ‘comment’ columns are freckled with profane, unprofessional, impulsive rantings that serve no purpose other than to diminish the credibility of the site and its moderator.

      I applaud you on somehow managing to acquire what seems to me to be one of the best mannered followings in blogdom!

      Hope you have a restful weekend that gives your mind a break. We shall prevail. ‘What don’t kill us’ll make us stronger.’


    21. The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law is an idiomatic antithesis. When one obeys the letter of the law but not the spirit, one is obeying the literal interpretation of the words (the “letter”) of the law, but not the intent of those who wrote the law. Conversely, when one obeys the spirit of the law but not the letter, one is doing what the authors of the law intended, though not adhering to the literal wording.

      “Law” originally referred to legislative statute, but in the idiom may refer to any kind of rule. Intentionally following the letter of the law but not the spirit may be accomplished through exploiting technicalities, loopholes, and ambiguous language. Following the letter of the law but not the spirit is also a tactic used by oppressive governments.




      • And everyone needs to remember that the extermination of buffalo, wolves, mountain lions(all western cat species) and coyotes is strictly for the antiquated, special interest livestockers that believe they are nusiance species…never thinking that they are irrepairably destroying the delicate balance called Mother Nature.

        Oh, forgot to throw wild equines in there too…they are getting whacked because of livestockers AND water-hogging resource extractors.


    23. Jesus Christ, in his wisdom, said: “The Law is made for man, not man for the law” .
      However Hitler, Stalin, George Bush and other bureaucratic criminals have had their way through history. Salazar is such a one. He is plundering the axiomatic right of the world’s children to live in a natural and species-shared environment. It is not too emotive to describe his edicts as resulting in holocaust, because this is the sacrifice of entire species in the interests of another. Having been subject to holocaust, how can any self-respecting Jewish members of the American government not rise up against this sort of legislation? Or, wow, is this too near-the-bone a truth to speak? Having seen the results of fanaticism in anti-terrorist zeal, how can any self-respecting muslim in a position to influence these affairs allow this to continue? The acquiescence of those Americans in power beggars belief.


    24. It’s the old shell game: today we have an HMA, tomorrow a range, yesterday was the 1971 land wild horses were on and overnight we have reduced the ‘range’ area from 159,000 acres to 10,000 for wild horses so we now have an over population!


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