Major Victory for Wild Horses – Federal Appeals Court Denies Wyoming’s Appeal Against Wild Horses

Source: Carol Walker as published on WildHoofBeats.com

“This is a major precedential victory that will have important implications for federal wild horse policy for decades to come,”

For Immediate Release

View online here.

Major Victory for Wild Horses: Federal Appeals Court Tosses State of Wyoming’s Anti-Mustang Lawsuit

PRECEDENTIAL DECISION HAS IMPLICATIONS ACROSS THE WEST

DENVER, CO (October 11, 2016) . . . Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the State of Wyoming against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeking the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands across the state. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and wild horse photographer Kimerlee Curyl were granted the right to intervene in the case and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against the BLM.

At issue in the case, first filed in 2014, were wild horses in the Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek, Stewart Creek, Fifteenmile and Little Colorado Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in Wyoming.

The Tenth Circuit held, “We reject the State’s arguments… the [Wild Horse] Act does not define the phrase “appropriate management level” and thus does not equate it with any requirement to remove excess animals from a particular HMA… the BLM is under no statutory duty to remove animals from the seven HMAs at issue.”

“This is a major precedential victory that will have important implications for federal wild horse policy for decades to come,” said Bill Eubanks of the public interest law firm Meyer, Glitzenstein and Eubanks, which represented the intervenors in this case.

“The appellate court has clearly affirmed two important issues – first that wild horse populations in excess of the BLM’s arbitrarily established ‘appropriate’ management levels do not equate with overpopulation, and second that the BLM is not required to remove wild horses from the range even if it determines an overpopulation exists,” Eubanks continued. “Rather the agency has broad discretion to implement other management approaches, including implementation of fertility control to humanely reduce population growth rates and reduction in livestock grazing within HMAs.”

Eubanks said that this precedential decision will impact similar pending cases at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and in U.S. District Court in Utah, and should serve as a deterrent to other states, including Nevada, considering litigation to compel the federal government to round up and remove thousands of wild horses from Western public lands.

The State of Wyoming lawsuit sought the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands in Wyoming, a state in where just 6,500 wild horses remain on 3.2 million acres of BLM-managed land. By contrast, hundreds of thousands of domestic cattle and sheep graze 18 million acres of BLM land in the state. Put another way, wild horses are present in Wyoming on just 2 percent of the BLM land grazed by livestock.

Eubanks is also representing the groups on separate litigation involving the BLM’s decision to wipe out wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard, a two million acre area of public and private land in the southern part of the state. The groups are awaiting a Tenth Circuit decision on a 2014 lawsuit and have filed new litigation challenging the BLM’s plan to conduct another Wyoming Checkerboard roundup, beginning as early as October 18.

16 comments on “Major Victory for Wild Horses – Federal Appeals Court Denies Wyoming’s Appeal Against Wild Horses

  1. Mr. Eubanks is a lawyer, Im not, but this sounds like BLM not being required to remove is not the same as an actual provision to protect horses from being removed. Also if BLM is still given latitude to implement fertility control -let’s not forget the hideous programs they are still involved with – and to reduce grazing, Im sorry Im not seeing a huge victory here.

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    • Amanda, if you read the 1971 law provisions were made there to manage so called “excess” animals, but did not mandate removals on any scale, or even determine what an “excess” would be since no population inventories had yet been made.

      In fact, the law requires the “minimum feasible” amount of management, which would indicate Congress intended on-range management in nearly all circumstances (roundups, removals, processing, warehousing are all very expensive). The BLM/USFS also have always had great power to restrict, rescind, or revoke grazing permits, they just rarely do so.

      The victory here is that a suit was pressed to REQUIRE the BLM to roundup and remove wild horses, something not in the law, not fiscally responsible, and which (had it passed) would have set a precedent for other states where powerful interests are consistently intent on removing wild horses and burros from their legal areas in favor of private gain.

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  2. This is the first good news I have heard that helps our beautiful horses who have been so abused in violation of all that is decent in this country. THANK YOU FEDERAL APPEALS COURT for restoring our faith in America!

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  3. My two favorite parts:
    “…wild horse populations in excess of the BLM’s arbitrarily established ‘appropriate’ management levels do not equate with overpopulation…”
    and
    “…reduction in livestock grazing within HMAs.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. my concern is that the language used is ambiguous concerning BLMs options..does birth control mean or can be interpreted to mean- spaying in the field..I think the either or option given to the BLM, is a hole in which to wriggle out of removing cattle..If you take birth control-off the table-then they would have to comply by taking cows off or adding acreage back for the horses..watch the BLM try to crawl thru the hole in upcoming EAs..but this is an improvement as an opinon from the appeals court carries weight in upcoming litigation….watch the BLM will cancel some roundups for a while until they plug this hole

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  5. BLM fraud … they use biologically and mathematically impossible annual wild horse population rates and here are just a few examples that BLM published:

    Carter Reservoir Herd Area – a 1257% increase in one year. That would be 7 horses having 95 foals in one year.

    Centennial Herd Area – a 1281% increase in one year. That would be 40 horses having 487 foals in one year.

    Nut Mt. Herd Area – a 417% increase in one year. That would be 6 horses having 25 foals in one year.

    WHY is this so important? Because these are the figures that BLM gives to Congress when requesting funding for wild horse and burro capture and management plans.

    In addition, the perpetrators (BLM employees) of these fraudulent population increases are in violation of Title 18 (18 U.S.C. § 1001). Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits knowingly and willfully making false or fraudulent statements, or concealing information, in “any matter within the jurisdiction” of the federal government of the United States, even by mere denial 18 U.S. Code § 1519 – Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.) US Code

    Per the US Department of Justice, the purpose of Section 1001 is “to protect the authorized functions of governmental departments and agencies from the perversion which might result from” concealment of material facts and from false material representations.

    Reference: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/herd_management/Data.html

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  6. Celebrate the victories but watch out for flank attacks.

    Amodei hopeful lands bill will get a hearing in September

    ELKO – U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei said Tuesday that he expects a hearing this year on his Nevada lands bill, HR 1484, which would transfer federal land to the state.
    The Nevada Lands Council hosted a meeting in Elko to discuss the bill with ranchers, city and county officials, recreationists and other interested parties.
    Amodei said he wants a hearing on HR 1484 — Honor the Nevada Enabling Act of 1864 Act – this September.

    http://elkodaily.com/news/local/amodei-hopeful-lands-bill-will-get-a-hearing-in-september/article_cb61392e-01a3-570c-bc4f-406c71ac1ca1.html#utm_source=elkodaily.com&utm_campaign=%2Femail-updates%2Fdaily-headlines%2F&utm_medium=email&utm_content=66C041A6DB0DAC32FE48018EC208D852193B173E

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  7. Alright, this is the best news, I have heard in a long time. We still need to keep fighting other states and the BLM. From doing harm to other horse’s

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