Judge dismisses Salt River horses lawsuit

SOURCE:  12news.com



One horse rests in the shade, August 4, 2015  (photo:  Stacey Davis)

A federal judge has approved the dismissal of a lawsuit to protect the Salt River horses from a roundup by the U.S. Forest Service.

Simone Netherlands, president of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, said Tuesday that her group made a “strategic decision” to drop the suit after the Forest Service said it would seek to dismiss the case.

Since the Forest Service has no plan right now to move the horses, Netherlands said, there’s no basis for her group’s suit.

“Should the Forest Service make the wrong decision (on the horses), we will refile immediately,” Netherlands said in a phone interview from Prescott.

But she added: “We feel like their outlook has changed from definite roundup and removal to now being willing to look at all the options.”

Forest Service spokeswoman Carrie Templin said the agency is still meeting with stakeholders to find alternatives.

“We’re still trying to find a solution,” Templin said.

Back in August, the Forest Service was forced to back down from its plan to remove the herd of about 65 to 100 horses from their habitat along the Salt River near Saguaro Lake.

Hundreds of people protested the planned removal during an August rally at Saguaro Lake. Several top elected officials, including Gov. Doug Ducey and U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, also stepped in to block the move.

In the wake of the protests, Tonto National Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth postponed any decision on the horses’ fate for at least 120 days, about mid-December.

In a sworn statement Monday that was filed with the court, Bosworth said: “Presently, the Forest Service has not formulated a plan for addressing the stray horses.”

But Bosworth also reiterated the Forest Service’s rationale for wanting to remove the horses:

–He said the horses “are not ‘wild horses'” under federal law, and he denied that a wild horse territory was ever created in the National Forest.

–He maintained that the horses are a safety risk in their Salt River habitat. The risk was heightened this year, Bosworth said, by private citizens placing water, salt and feed in the forest’s high-traffic areas.

Environmentalists have also called for the horses’ removal. They say the horses are ravaging the river habitat for several species of birds.

PREVIOUSLY: Audubon Society wants horses removed

Netherlands said the lawsuit was getting in the way of negotiations with the Forest Service and others.

“Negotiations are somewhat difficult when there is a lawsuit involved,” she said. “It’s in much better faith when you can talk openly and things aren’t going to be held against you in court.”

“it’s going to take a while,” she said. “It’s a very long, arduous process.”

Netherlands says her group is offering a plan for “humane birth control” that would limit the herd.

The horses have been at the center of a social media firestorm since plans to remove them were made public this summer.



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  2. I listened to the BLM meeting last month which included a presentation by the USFS Barry Imler Rangeland Program Manager.
    All bad.
    Don’t quote me, but this is a quick review of what he said.
    Refer to the USFS flow chart handout on the meeting handouts (link below).
    #1 He said that the USFS total AML is about 2,200 WH but that all the AMLs have not been decided yet.
    #2 He said that at this time they are about 7,000 over AML.
    #3 He explained the flow chart and pointed out that ALL WH captured over the age of ten will immediately be sold with NO restriction.
    #4 He explained VERY clearly that they will consider all offers from buyers – regardless of price offered (free?) or who the buyer is or where the horses goes or how many they want to buy. I think we know where they will all go.
    #5 They are interested in capturing WH that may be on the border of reservations and USFS and then give those WH to the reservations (i.e. slaughter).
    #6 As it says in the flow chart, all WH considered old or lame will immediately be euthanized when captured. Also all 3-strikes WH will be sold or euthanized immediately after the third strike – NO short or long term holding.


    • this sickens me, this, the Saylor Creek Herd, all of it, are the hundreds of thousand of people not heard, doesn’t seem like it.


  3. From FSEEE (Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics)
    Questions Abound for 4FRI Contractor

    March 16, 2015 -In September of 2013, a company based in the Arabian Peninsula nation of Oman took over the largest forest-restoration effort in United States history.
    Jason Rosamond, the CEO of Good Earth Power, claimed his company, which before then had operated mainly in Africa, would quickly ramp up operations to thin hundreds of thousands of acres of dangerously overgrown national forest in Arizona at high risk of burning in catastrophic wildfires.


    • Since there are a lot of trees in the deserts of Oman I’m sure they have plenty of experience… c’mon!

      Basically they are hiring some guy from a tax haven to do funny biz and big $$$ with some USFS insider for a task the horses do for free. In fact, they’re being used in the Czech Rep. precisely to control fire risks.

      I have a bad feeling about the Salt River Herd… would not be surprised if Bosworth tries to pull a fast one when we are not looking at.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, let’s’kill them all. Round them up in helicopters, confine them to holding pens, then sell hunting licenses and have hunters shoot them for sport and meat. Great way for the BLM to get rid of the herds, make more money and everyone to have a lot of fun. Better for the horses, as they would not be captives for life, or trucked for days without food or water to brutal slaughter in Canada or Mexico.


    • Please, don’t give them ideas. Bet five bucks something like that will pop up in the next wild horse “advi$ory board” meeting.


  5. Politics Over Science
    Startling Findings at USFWS

    A recent survey done by the Union of Concerned Scientists of 7,000 scientists from four government agencies have unveiled some some startling findings. Perhaps the most startling finding of all is of the surveys done by scientists at the U.S. FISH and WILDLIFE SERVICE (FWS)
    Within the FWS, survey results indicated that “72% of those surveyed believe that too much consideration was given to political interests at their agency, and 47% of agency scientists believe industry interference in agency decision-making is concerning.”

    Furthermore, the study discovered concern over how animals are being protected, or rather not protected under the Endangered Species List due to political interest. One scientist echoed this concern when stating, “Less political considerations are needed. Most decisions I’m aware of: wolf, wolverine, American burying beetle, mussels, were the result of political interference.”

    Findings have also discovered that scientists feel pressured by their managers to follow political agendas, afraid they will lose their jobs if they don’t abide by their manager’s direction. Due to this, many scientists have put science to the wayside in order to protect their own livelihoods. How are animals to be fairly protected when scientists are being forced to protect themselves?

    Click here to read more and to take action


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