Horse News

Federal Judge to Rule on BLM Nevada Wild Horse Stampede

story by By SCOTT SONNER , from multiple sources

Judge: “I am very concerned about the wild horses!”

A federal judge has said he intends to decide Friday whether to grant an emergency injunction blocking a government roundup of 1,700 wild horses in eastern Nevada, a move that also could affect other roundups on public rangeland across the West.

“I’m very concerned about the wild horses,” U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben said Thursday as he questioned lawyers for both sides about their interpretations of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

Opponents of the roundup say it violates the act because the Bureau of Land Management has failed to prove the herds are over populated and causing ecological harm to public rangeland.

Such a finding is necessary before any of the horses can be removed from federally designated “horse management areas,” they say.

“This statute was put in place for a reason — to protect these horses from man, and that includes BLM,” said Rachel Fazio, a lawyer for the Colorado-based Cloud Foundation suing to block the roundup BLM intends to start Saturday.

“These horses are to be left alone and not interfered with unless there is a threat to the thriving, natural, ecological balance and that does not exist,” she said.

“There may be some water issues in some isolated areas, but these horses are in great condition. There is tons of forage out there. There is no urgency right now to remove these horses from the range.”

The 1,700 horses targeted for roundup are among about 2,200 that roam a series of horse management areas covering a total of 1.7 million acres southeast of Elko and northwest of Ely in northeast Nevada.

BLM maintains that area can support only between 500 and 900 horses. Agency officials say they already are trucking in water due to typical water shortages in some areas and that while forage may be adequate now, there will be less come winter.

“The plaintiff suggests we wait until the entire 1.7 million acres is severely damaged before we can act,” said Erik Petersen, a Justice Department lawyer representing the BLM during Thursday’s one-hour hearing.

Petersen said it is important for the agency to stick to its schedule of roundups because there are a limited number of contractors who can provide the helicopters needed for the largest gathers.

Postponing the Nevada roundup “could delay other gathers throughout the western United States,” he said, adding that the next big roundup is planned in Wyoming in September.

16 replies »

  1. The burden of proof is on them. The Environmental Assessments do not address the disproportionate ratios of livestock to Wild Horses nor do they provide adequate range data to support any claims of range destruction CAUSED by Wild Horses. Has there ever been any monitoring of water use?
    As far as how many Wild Horses are even left out there….there are much more sophisticated and accurate means of census taking than have been used. Congressman Grijalva addresses that in his letter to the Department of the Interior.


    • Louie, you and others will want to look at this documented contradiction of BLM … saying whatever they want to get their way. On the range they say the riparian environment is damaged by the horses/burros more than livestock and yet HERE (EA for long term holding in the midwest) they say the exact opposite! This could and should be brought up during every EA and RMP (etc) meeting/comment opportunity.

      • Wetlands and Riparian Zones This Proposed Action is not likely to adversely affect any wetlands. Ranchers and BLM wild horse and burro (WH&B) staffers commonly believe that horses spend less time in wetlands and riparian zones than do cattle. Wild horses appear to prefer higher ground in order to have better visibility and to take advantage ofthe wind for relieffrom insects.
      Under this premise the grazing of wild horses may cause no further degradation of the riparian areas. Because of the limited time the wild horses tend to spend in the low lying riparian areas, the likelihood of stream bank degradation is assumed to be less than with cattle grazing. Some healing of past erosion may be possible.
      Regeneration of the woody species could improve due to lowered grazing pressure, providing more opportunities for the woody species to become established and increase in density. These more deeply rooted species could provide more stability to the soils and possibly result in improved functioning condition of the stream systems. Species of grasses may also rebound in these riparian zones. The decreased use of the riparian areas by the wild horses could result in improving the condition of wetlands and riparian zones on this WHGF.


  2. I am an old lady and no longer care that what I say is politically correct … the truth is what is important! This Triple-B Complex area is and has been under a FLOOD WATCH and is not in drought conditions! If the BLM has been hauling water to the range because #1 because the horses have been fenced out of their legal water (for mining?) and/or #2 the BLM actions are nothing more than another political step to pull the wool over the tax-paying and animal caring public to contradict the legal and truthful objection to gathering the horses off the complex?. How stupid can the BLM be?
    We see your lies and deceit!


    • As Grandma Gregg said, the nice thing about hitting SS age is we no longer give a damn about being “politically correct!” LOL

      My concern is not how stupid the BLM is, but how stupid the American citizens are to buy into this type of cowpucky! The information is there, the numbers are there, and we have our main government looking at SS, Medicare, Veterans Benefits, etc. to bring down the debt and money into their coffers. While my main suggestion would be that all those fat cats in Washington offer to take a cut in THEIR BLOATED SALARIES AND KICKBACKS, the MILLIONS of dollars being spent on rounding out healthy animals and then warehousing them around the country at TAX PAYERS expense is totally insane! And no one is mentioning the incongruity of that attitude. The horses haven’t been a problem to anyone – and suddenly the BLM is concerned for their health and welfare? Don’t piss on my leg and try to tell me it’s raining! THAT is the approach I’m looking for – someone to point out the waste of money on this project at a time when programs that effect humans are being threatened! WTF is this all about? Okay, putting my soapbox back under the desk and heading to the midnight first showing of the last Harry Potter movie! LOL Blessed Be to all of you and what you are doing to help OUR horses!


  3. If this roundup was canceledit would not affect any other roundups. It would keep money out of Sun J’s pockets! BLM is ass backwards on this whole thing!


  4. Having just turned north at hwy 93 and I 80 Tuesday morning I can tell you of mountains that have a ton of snow on them still. Looking back through my rearview mirror I saw nothing but snow laden peaks. Even here in WY you plainly walk through snow at 8200 ft.

    The ranges should be in better than great shape this summer. Fields that usually are brown this time of year are green with growth I haven’t seen in a long time driving.

    Sorry BLM but all your EA’s should be updated to right before the round up to see if anything changed. This year this has certainly been the case.

    Hwy 93 @ I 80 is Wells NV. If this sounds familiar it should. This is where RT and Laura stayed at the end of Antelope, when RT made that YouTube clip in the snow. That’s where I saw TONS of snow on the mountain tops.


  5. Isn’t that sign in the photo at the top of this article a bit of a contradiction? I have seen it many times when going into one of the wild horse area I visit many times and it just makes me laugh. What If you really called to report the abuse that the BLM performs on a regular basis, ( I know, you are suppose to report if you witness others abusing the animals), you are just calling the BLM office that oversees this area. Do they really care???


    • Jerry, sounds good to me. If everybody who could called to report the a*holes in choppers harassing wild horses, wouldn’t someone have to go check it out?


    • That is exactly why I put it there as it IS a contradiction. I have both photos and accompanying video of me actually calling the BLM in the Pryors, while in the Pryors, reporting the BLM’s intentions prior to the start of the ill-conceived Cloud stampede. Do you think I got a return call? NOT!

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


      • Good to hear from you RT.

        I have a question (it’s long), outside of the First Amendment case has any litigating equine advocate addressed the contradictions between poor population counts, contradictory and outdated EAs/NEPAs, sterilizations, removals, removals less than 18 months after a previous removal and then back again to remove, the on-off-back on nature of leased livestock use of that same public land, fencing off wildlife (to include wild equines w/1971 Act) to water, covert roundups, failure to consider migratory genetic nature of wild equines that still get removed as strays if they are on private or state lands, identification (or the lack thereof)…in their totality? Has a case ever been presented in these complete terms? Seriously, has anyone pro wild equine litigant challenged the ENTIRE program as a total issue?

        I understand we have to find a window and frequently it is based on one specific stampede. But has anyone ever filed a challenge to the possibility that the entire DOI/USDA/State programs of wild equine removal are a concerted effort to stampede, remove versus manage?

        Yeah, I get it…long complicated question…give it your best.

        Remember, my questions aren’t about commitment or effort; just tactical.


  6. Grandma Gregg, THANK YOU! As always, you do a spendid job of finding JUST THE RIGHT information….AND at the right time.


  7. I only hope Judge McKibben’s keeps his word. One can only hope for a victory here! Wish I could be with all of you – Keep up the excellent job you are doing
    and let the “Force of the Mighty Horse” be with you. And Grandma Gregg you are SPOT ON. Tell it the way it is….You also are fearless Warrior!


    • Uhhhhh…he didn’t. AND I NEVER thought he would.

      What’s next?…beside the gnashing of human teeth and the destruction of a protected species called Free Roaming Wild Horses and Burros?

      No dis….just a question because the killers and their trolls ain’t gonna’ quit.


      • Then go for the Head-Honcho,Obama,he is desperately fighting for his re-election.They say cut off the head of the snake.
        But everyone should make it known to him,”We are not voting for you but anyone who stands against you that is not a Murderer of other Living Creatures”


      • Then go for the Head-Honcho,Obama,he is desperately fighting for his re-election.They say cut off the head of the snake.
        But everyone should make it known to him,”We are not voting for you but anyone who stands against you that is not a Murderer of other Living Creatures”


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