Court Rules that BLM Assault on Wild Horses can Continue

TRO lifted after a week in force
BLM Antelope attack in 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
BLM Antelope attack in 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

A federal judge in Las Vegas has agreed to let the U.S. Bureau of Land Management resume the roundup of dozens of wild mustangs in northern Nevada but says she remains concerned about critics’ complaints the agency is treating the animals inhumanely.

U.S District Judge Miranda Du said Thursday she was granting the government’s request to lift an emergency injunction that halted the roundup last week because opponents had failed to prove the agency lacked authority to remove the mustangs from the high desert near the Idaho line.

The judge said she will issue a formal order on Friday. But she hasn’t decided yet if it’s necessary to include specific restrictions to ensure the roundup is conducted humanely after BLM wranglers were recently captured on video repeatedly shocking mustangs with electric prods.

The action brought mixed reviews from wild horse & burro advocates.

“The judge has begun what the BLM has failed to do, and that is to establish humane standards for roundups,” said Deniz Bolbol, spokeswoman for the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign in a recent interview with AP.

“Anytime the horses are treated better is a good thing,” stated R.T. Fitch, volunteer president of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, “but we are only treating a symptom, here, as the real disease is the roundups which need to be stopped once and for all, anything less is merely a publicity and fiscal distraction.


  1. Dear God…the plaintiffs lacked authority?!

    Who strong armed this judge??????

    Authority my A$$$.

    This is just getting sick and sicker (if that is a word).


  2. Unfortunately not much new here at all. Recent gathers have shown a much higher regard to foals and mares being kept together (you’ll recall the foal brought in across a wranglers saddle and reunited with it’s mom) and the verbiage about the use of hot shots is virtually unchanged. This judge has done little more than lip service to the actual cruelties witnessed. Running them into barbed wire fencing seems to be unique to this herd area which contains a lot of fencing unlike others. After all this is the first instance I’m aware of that this has happened to this degree. I know other areas have strands of wiring strewn about but actual ‘strung’ fencing with gates and a helicopter bearing down on traumatized animals is to get them through the gate is pure and simple stupidity.

    It’s a matter of enforcement. The BLM has turned a blind eye on the contractors actions failing to remember the eyes (cameras) of the advocates are NOT blind.

    Yes stricter policies need to be addressed i.e. the reason to euthanize a horse. Club foot is not a death sentence. When a horse is born with a club foot and is now 10 years old who can say now it has to die? Since you won’t be able to adopt them out why not return them to the wild where they were doing just fine prior to roundup?

    A horse that has broken a leg that healed incorrectly should have a chance as well. Who knows how long ago the leg was broken? So it didn’t heal pretty? It obviously worked well enough for it to run to the trap over God knows how many miles of rocks and holes.

    All of these issues need to be addressed more firmly. I’m afraid in this case the BLM has walked away with a grin on it’s face.


    • Most HMAs have lots of new and old barbed wire on them. We lost some well loved horses off more than one HMA this past year and others because of barbed wire injuries. This is more of a hazard than highways for wild ones on their own ranges.

      We have often discussed the injuries of wild ones and the rate of their euthanasia after surviving the run to the pens. This will remain a sore point with many because there have been rescues who come forward each year and volunteer to help remove older, previously or even roundup injured horses. This is something BLM just refuses to compromise on. Many might have lived if BLM would have allowed intervention.


  3. The roundups need to be STOPPED. PERIOD. The BLM shouldn’t be handling wild horses, even “humanely” since from the first second they start chasing them, it isn’t humane. Now with the bait trapping, there is NO public access, the BLM has written policy in the contracts that the contractors CAN use hotshots (Pete Goicoechia was incorrect on the recent radio interview) and there is no accountability.


  4. Publicity spreads AWARENESS to the public, a very good thing as when more Americans see what is happening to wild horses on public lands they may join the fight. This “Symptom” (humane handling of our wild horses) is critical while we are all trying to figure out how to stop roundups. The roundups may never stop, but if they are to continue the horses must be treated humanely, with respect. Period. This is a big win for me, I am so happy less horses will be injured and die. Very happy that they cannot run them through barbed wire and must slow down and not drive foals to exhaustion!
    Read the judges orders here in Horseback Magazine.


    • Just like Maddy Pickens’ plan to put gelded Mustangs on her “Sanctuary” dealing with issues AFTER the fact is dealing with the ass end of the horse…we are all into the front end of the horse and diligently working to STOP the roundups instead of tweaking the BLM in the manner in which they are conducted!

      Sounds more like collusion versus active advocacy.

      There is only one message to speak and that is to “Stop the Roundups”, full stop!


      • How long has the “Stop The Roundups” message been out there, ….over 20 years, and we are not much closer to stopping them in 20 years. We all want them to stop, we all want fair, equitable and humane treatment. Let’s all work together for an end to the roundups, for an end to wild horse brutality.
        I celebrate all who work toward this end, all actions large or small.


      • Dear Leslie I agree fully and completely,I have been on this for 18 years and have only seen it get worse for The Mustangs, is there way no end in this American Tragedy !!!!!


      • ‘Stop the roundups’ became a national outcry at the Pryor roundup in 2009. Only a handful of people had been hearing and attempting to get this story to the public before then. Without the carefully developed and laid out PBS shows on Cloud by Ginger Kathrens, was this crisis then revealed to millions of Americans. The ground swell in 2009 was unprecedented. The Cloud Foundation continues to bring all of us video reports from the Pryors as well as pictorial essays from other HMAs all year round. No one else has equaled this professional and generous sharing of the celebration of our wild horses as well as the concern for the many aspects of their present fragility. Many unsung heros are out on their local HMAs learning what BLM does not know and becoming the new backbone of the advocacy. People who have used their year round observations to know the range and the bands living on them. We have strayed a long way from the desire to understand the wild ones and pursue the safety of all of them and the lands they run on. Roundups are only part of the problems we face. We have to be able to see beyond them to get beyond them. We need the answers from our own field scientists and local watchdogs.


  5. I am so sick of this. It seems this judge was also bought and sold by the mineral rights or oil people. I can’t believe any one can allow these horriffic round up’s to continue one day more. Why isn’t any advocates watching this ride into this mess and stir these horses away from the trap and giving the blm and these wranglers a run for there money. All I’m seeing in these pathetic articles are people reporting on the courts rulings or round up pictures and reports, I have yet to see any psychical action, why? Why aren’t people out on the same plains as these horses protecting them from the helicopters and wranglers? I’m about ready to delete this site because it’s to heart breaking. All the petitions I have signed seemed to have been for not. I commend the advocates but until you get pro active and get off your butts and out there to step in against thse wranglers psychically this will never stop. What’s everyone waiting for , the last horse to be killed?


    • Agree with Debbie – and if one attempts to interfere with a roundup look to getting a bracelet on your wrists and a trip to a cell. Do not expect to be treated kindly by the BLM gestapo.


      • Debbie,your right Ihave never been to a round up because I’m not in that area of the country. If these horses are on public land how can any one stop you from taking action? I thought the horses were also federally protected, am I wrong? If no one can stop this then is there a point to trying to save what the blm is hell bent f destroying and no one can stop them? I’m past sad, I’m angry. I had no idea the guards did that to you’s. How sad ad in my opnon criminal.


  6. witch33 ,I’m guessing you haven’t been to a roundup, but there are BLM security guards (armed with guns) and it is often run like a military operation. If you ever attend one, you will feel like an inmate in a prison. I have been to roundups where there is one armed guard for each observer, and more, counting BLM personnel. You don’t get a map of which area is being rounded up that day, and are required to have a BLM escort to the area. There is often a BLM vehicle in front of your car AND behind your car. At the Twin Peaks roundups in northern CA, the cars of observers were surrounded by BLM vehicles, blocking us in. There is no way to stir the horses away.


  7. Excerpts from:

    Bureau of Land Management Abuse of Animals, Taxpayer Money, and Information
    The fact is this, the BLM gets away with their tyranny and bad decision making via the Department of Justice. It is having to go to court to fight against their bad decisions that makes, most often and when not affordable for the common taxpayer, harmful to wildlife and our Public Lands. BLM employees must be made to take responsibility for their decisions, and that means taking-away their abundant access to Department of Justice Attorney’s, paid by our tax dollars. They must take responsibility for either their bias and narrow scope of decisions, primarily for special groups, or their false information that they spread throughout public documents.

    The Gettysburg Address was designed to protect the common folks from the questionable conduct and venues’, then and now, from government agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of the Interior. These government agencies say those Advocates that call for justice are “radical” or worse, provide the public a “sky is falling” context. The truth of the matter is this, Advocates are American’s, they are demanding the BLM and DOI to stop conducting a costly stream of misinformation to the public at large, stop breaking laws, stop abusing animals, and adhere to the very foundations of what America was established upon!
    BLM/DOI and Misinformation

    “But government or media messages are only two potential components of misinformation campaigns. It could be said that, in general, the true power of such campaigns lie with the public, or audience, and how thoroughly they accept messages.”1
    Horse Advocates’ conducts themselves with finite references and photos toward Animal Abuse and questionable conduct in regard from BLM employees and their private contractors, and remain concerned over the Wild Horse Herd Roundups. Substantial evidence exists both within the photography and referenced material that BLM is caught, what most describe as BLM/DOI “Wrong-Doing.”

    “Government Speak: “After reviewing instances of alleged animal abuse during the recently completed Triple B wild horse gather in Nevada, a Bureau of Land Management team has found that helicopter contractor Sun J Livestock generally demonstrated appropriate, humane handling of wild horses over the course of the six-week gather that ended August 31. . .” This is what BLM employees consider acceptable abuse? But oh, there is so much more and this tale continues below. . .” 2

    Of course as we discover later as outlined within their “own” document, “The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s internal review of a wild horse roundup in Nevada found some animals were whipped in the face, kicked in the head, dragged by a rope around the neck and repeatedly shocked with electrical prods, but agency officials concluded none of the mistreatment rose to the level of being inhumane.” As recorded within a BLM document, by eye witness testimony, and further covered in the Las Vegas Review Journal, and posted on the Internet March 26, 2012.3
    We find beyond a doubt that BLM Media people and DOI media people take almost verbatim from the WWII Nazi propaganda machine, how to disseminate information to the public. We all know where this leads, don’t we?

    BLM and the LAW and False Claims
    Make no doubt to the seriousness of this situation. The False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729–3733, also called the “Lincoln Law“) is an American federal law that imposes liability on persons and companies (typically federal contractors) who defraud governmental programs. It is quite obvious there is an illegal act committed by both Cattoor Livestock and Sun J Livestock, both BLM private contractors’ doing current Wild Horse Herd Roundups – among many others and continuously – then why has BLM administrators ignored this?4

    Not to be ignored is the illegal activity that transpired here, in regard to false information given to the government, but as usual the BLM employees and private contractors ignored, and at the expense of many horses being crippled and killed as well, including foals. This is unacceptable, and there is just no excuse for this type of incompetence and/or attitude within our government agencies and their employees/contractors. To actually allow felonies to occur, and being paid for the felonies, is beyond doubt an unscrupulous and uncalled for situation.


  8. Obviously stopping the roundups is the ultimate goal but we all know that’s not going to happen tomorrow. The BLM is bound by the law to maintain numbers given them by lame brained scientist(?) therefore the gather process will continue until the laws are changed. This will require Congressional action on legislation yet to be written. Just how long do you think this process is going to take noting the ineffectiveness of our current Congress?

    Until that time we have horses and burros being put through the pipeline to adoption, permanent captivity or slaughter. During the process, starting at ground zero (the range) it is only right that the animals are treated humanely. Unfortunately this judge didn’t go far enough. Helicopters needed to be grounded and hot shots banned all together. Long chases i.e. over 3 or 4 miles have to stop completely. When the BLM launches a counter suit then the courts can step in and get the ball rolling to change the laws.

    The Burns Amendment has to be repealed so the BLM and the DOI don’t have an excuse to euthanize or sell off to kill buyers 50K wild horses. Unfortunately the law will have to be enacted for someone to file suit to stop it and take it through the court system to have it repealed. How many will we loose before the courts do stop it? This is the same type of scenario that Nevada has been contemplating.


    • I certainly hope that stopping the roundups is not the ULTIMATE GOAL! It is but one goal to reach along with the right to independent study and truly scientific based management. This is what we want, is it not? A future with wild horses in it?


  9. Geezus. Sounds like a loss to me. What next? You’re right snooty the slowness of the courts and the inactive and blocking of bills that would help anything not to mention the lack of speed. Heel buy the time anything gets accomplished they will be gone. So this judge sold out too. The BLM are nazis and our government is both corrupt and a dictatorship. This sucks..


  10. So far very few of these judges have actually stopped any of the roundups. They might put one on hold for a weekend but that’s about it. All of the judges so far in my opinion have been contacted by a person high up in the BLM hierarchy that tells them how the BLM wants them to rule when it comes to these horses. It seems that the horses are not as important as saving a prairie chicken or a endangered plant which is unfortunate.


  11. Another American disgrace, I cant even believe that anyone knowing full well what the Blm is doing could ever with good conscience ever allow this horror to continue , these people have insulted our intelligence to many times throughout the years !!! Clearly it is inhuman to treat these beauties like this , the Mustangs should be enjoying the Freedom to roam for all they have done for America, I also cant believe that this is allowed to continue, though the Courts ….. What in the name of Justice are these Judges doing certainly not giving any Justice I am ashamed of America on this proven fact that these round ups are unnecessary in the first place !!!! I am truly sick and tired of this ……………


  12. There have been so many laws broken that a REAL judge would have put a stop to the roundups a long time ago. It’s going to take a judge with enough Moral Fiber and GUTS to put a stop to this.


    • If the act were to be enforced because a federal judge ordered it must, then we might proceed in a whole new manner with the law in action. Ignoring a law for an amendment that attempts to reverse the law is itself a total misrepresentation of the Act of 71.


  13. The LAW has been ignored over and over again:

    BLM the LAW and Contractor Helicopter Pilot Conduct
    Also ignored is the illegal actions, that consistently ignore FAA Laws. The law is FAA PART 91—GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES § 91.13 – Careless or reckless operation.4 The law is quite clear, yet ignored. This Journalist says “ignored” because there exists video taped evidence, in abundance, on the Internet, which is not edited what so ever. This is a felony, and as outlined in FAA Part 91–#91.13, as well as within many state and federal jurisdictions on Vehicular Assault upon people or animals.
    “Officials for Sun J Livestock in Vernal, Utah, the contractor for the Triple B Roundup between Elko and Ely, did not return messages seeking comment,” as the reporter at the Las Vegas Review Journal states in the article when asking them about the obvious abuse within the BLM report.2
    In this Journalist’s opinion there is guilt written all over this situation, via photos, testimony, and many other documents to include questionable budget expenditures, consistently — and why? Because those abusive situations did happen, and will happen again because these people get away with the abuse, supported by the BLM administrators! And, I might add, get paid with tax payer dollars quite well, for abusing the horses. Ignoring this situation, outright felonies, simply escalates the problem.
    Since the 1990’s Horse Advocates have been documenting and photographing and video taping Wild Horse Herd Roundups. Throughout this time Horse Advocates have been asking for a current investigation (one was done in the early 1990s, over 1,000 felonies found, in excess of 400 or 500 misdemeanors found, but canceled the night before taking this particular paperwork to the Federal Grand Jury—well documented and on
    What is and remains false, and shrouded by a constant stream of lies and misinformation, is the BLM and the DOI conducting Wild Horse Herd Roundups, and the information as to why they are being conducted. Is there something not understood by BLM/DOI employees and their status as Americans, or is greed and criminal conduct exceptable within these government agencies. And of concern, why are criminals and people like these even hired within a government agency, and worse, allowed to run sli-shod, ignoring laws, and using taxpayer money to do so? These questions need to be answered!
    So we as Americans attempt to remain within the grasp of what Abraham Lincoln told fellow Americans, and we do not pay our taxes and remain American’s for the BLM or DOI to become their own government within themselves, Separate from America. No, this government is run by agencies within Our government “. . . for the people, and of the people of these United States.”


  14. There must be one Judge who has enough courage to defend the Horses, one Judge with convictions that will not but subdued by the BLM…….One Judge to have enough conviction to show the BLM that he or she will not be swayed by anything other then the TRUTH………………… One judge that will step up for the truth and facts !!!!and absolutely overwhelming evidence backed up by Video, these Judges of lately are insulting the Judges who do what they are appointed to do, they are not setting an example for their profession , they are making a mockery of all the other Judges………………… is a privilege to be a Judge and be able to give Justice by evidence presented , ……………………………… and uphold the Law for those who have been plotted against…….. Which is definitely the case here,,,,,,,,,,,,,, The Mustangs deserve to be protected and Honored by all……………………………. The Mustangs are the True American icons and Treasures here, they built it ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


  15. witch33, even though these are public lands, the BLM closes off roads and areas where the roundups will be taking place each day, with trucks and guards. In case you didn’t know, the BLM often puts the capture area on PRIVATE land (a private ranch) so that the public cannot observe the roundups.
    Please keep making phone calls and writing letters. The horses will only lose if we give up. DO NOT GIVE UP!


  16. Good comments by all. The corruption never seems to stop. Politics is out of control! It is so sad that the horses, burros and other equines are the big losers here. When these cases go to court they should be held in other district courts away from the violated areas. Its too sad because the law is not enforced as it is written. Its obvious that they cannot make a non biased decision. We have to change the person who heads the Interior Department. What ever happened with the appointment of the Rep to head the Interior Dept.? I totally agree with the statements made by those attending the roundups I’m sure the BLM is always ready to take those into custody that interfer with their operation We never can stop fighting for the horses and burros and bringing light to the inhumane treatment of these animals. If anyone in my state was caught on tape doing some of the stuff the BLM has done they would be arrested. Get the politics out of these trials by changing the District court hearings…move them to another state if necessary and then perhaps the attorneys representing the horses through the advocates may have a chance. It appears that if the court cases continue to be held in those areas the horses and burros will always be the losers. However, we can never give up the fight and demand that the news media continue to present this to the American people. I still say if private plans are hired to fly over the areas with large banners protesting the roundups and video taping the events it might help. I want to commend the person who flew over one of the roundups…Some people disagreed with the actions, but didn’t it make the BLM a little nervous to think they could be caught in the process of doing illegal actions. I totally agree though if the roundups were stopped and the law returned to the original law more money could be spent in other ways.


  17. Judge Du must be proud she let this abuse resume: yesterday two mares broke their necks slipping on ice. What was the temperature they were stampeded in yesterday? It was -31 wind chill in Ely yesterday. How many have died since yesterday from being stampeded in brutally cold temps? Yeah, improvements are evident; improving & expanding ways to kill our “protected” mustangs.


    • Dear Lnorman. It is More than sad, it is Criminal absolutely , and the worst is , its unnecessary !!!!! I certainly hope she feels the same pain that these Mares felt , and all because she did not do her job , The Job she is appointed to is a Job that requires lots of Conscience, if she has any I am sure she will have a lot of moral issues over this one !!!!!! There is Karma on this !!!! She will have to live with this on her soul !!!!!


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