Court Denies Wild Horse Appeal Sought by Nevada Counties

Story by Scott Sonner ~ Ace AP reporter

“We’re pleased that the courts continue to dismiss attempts by these grazing interests to use the judicial system to rewrite federal law that Congress designed to protect wild horses…”

BLM Antelope Complex attack on Nevada wild horses in 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild horse advocates in Nevada scored a victory Monday in an ongoing legal battle with rural interests they say want to round up federally protected mustangs across the West and sell them for slaughter.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied an appeal by the Nevada Association of Counties and Nevada Farm Bureau Federation representing ranchers and others who argue overpopulated herds are damaging the range and robbing livestock of forage.

The decision upholds an earlier ruling by a federal judge in Reno who dismissed their lawsuit in 2015 seeking to force the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to expedite widespread roundups across Nevada.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a similar decision in Wyoming in October.

In both cases, the American Wild Horse Campaign and others argued the courts have no authority to order the agency to gather horses in violation of the U.S. Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

“We’re pleased that the courts continue to dismiss attempts by these grazing interests to use the judicial system to rewrite federal law that Congress designed to protect wild horses from capture, not to favor the livestock industry,” said Nick Lawton, a lawyer for the campaign that formerly went by the name American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.

The Nevada suit filed in 2014 demanded BLM sell older horses deemed unadoptable without the usual prohibition on resale for slaughter. The Farm Bureau argued the overpopulation “has severe impacts on the health of the horses as well as the ecological health and sustainability of Nevada’s rangelands.”

A three-judge panel of the U.S. appellate court agreed with Judge Miranda Du of Reno, repeating her conclusion the plaintiffs had failed to identify any specific final agency actions that could be challenged.

“Instead, NACO seeks judicial oversight and direction of virtually the entire federal wild horse and burro management program in Nevada,” the three-page ruling issued Monday said.

The BLM estimated a year ago that there were 67,027 wild horses and burros roaming federal land across 10 Western states — 40,000 more than the agency maintains the range can sustain. About half are in Nevada.

BLM removed about 8,000 of the horses and burros from the Western range in 2012, but fewer than 4,000 in each of the past two years, due in part to budget constraints.

Terri Farley, a Reno-area based author of the children’s book series, “Phantom Stallion,” and Mark Tewell, who owns Wild Horses of Nevada Photography in nearby Dayton, joined the campaign in opposing the rural counties’ lawsuit.

“This decision should help put a stop to baseless lawsuits from the livestock industry” intended to force the government to round up mustangs across the West, Lawton said.

Visit Scott’s page for more great journalism: https://www.facebook.com/ssonner

21 comments on “Court Denies Wild Horse Appeal Sought by Nevada Counties

  1. Finally they are getting a break! We can only hope that this will get better. These lands belong to all of us. And not the cattlemen and the ranchers. I would like to rent hundreds of acres for a $1 a year and just watch the horses. These cattlemen and ranchers are greedy Moran’s. When my friend and I went to see her vacant property in southern Arizona because she wanted to develop the property, the land was over run with various ages of cattle. There were no markings on the cattle to determine who they belonged to. The land was not yet fenced. But what gives the people the right to run cattle on someone’s else’s private property without their consent. They need to BUY their own property and raise their cattle on their own property and not everyone else’s. They do not own public lands and its time OUR government put an end to this. No more welfare ranchers and cattlemen.

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  2. “… an appeal by the Nevada Association of Counties and Nevada Farm Bureau Federation representing ranchers and others who argue overpopulated herds are damaging the range and robbing livestock of forage.”

    These arguments have raged since the first cattle and sheep were introduced to the West, long before there were any protections or management of wild horses and burros, who are native on these landscapes and have been for hundreds of thousands of years.

    I encourage everyone of all political persuasions to get hold of Nathan Sayre’s newly published book “The Politics of Scale, A History of Rangeland Science” for a much-needed and clear-eyed historical review of public lands management.

    Here’s one source (it’s on Amazon too):
    http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/P/bo16762107.html

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  3. As a journalist and mother & wife of journalists, may I pass on a tip that will help the horses? When you see an online NEWS story about wild horses– click on it. Newspapers, TV stations, etc., count clicks to identify public interest in a topic. News rooms are greatly understaffed, so editors must make choices. No clicks=no interest. If the same story is picked up by numerous publications, give each a click!

    Like

      • On this radio show Patience O’Dowd talks about the “news black-out” when it comes to our Wild Horses & Burros.

        RADIO SHOW (Courtesy Marty Oakley/PPJ Gazette

        TS Radio: “Voices Carry for Animals #130”- Wild Horse Observers Association- Patience O’Dowd

        Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) was formed by Placitas, New Mexico community members to protect and preserve the remaining wild horses and their habitats in the areas of Placitas, New Mexico, the state of New Mexico, and all the United States. WHOA supports the preservation of wild horse family units (bands) and herds where they naturally roam. The members of WHOA observe, study, aesthetically enjoy and derive recreational value from wild horses.

        WHOA supports the humane treatment of wild horses and the preservation of their natural habitat. Wild horses that have been illegally removed from their natural habitats should be returned and allowed to resume their wild existence. WHOA supports the maintenance and re-creation of wildlife corridors to afford wild horses and other wild animals the freedom to roam in their natural expanses of territory.
        http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marti-oakley/2017/03/29/ts-radio-voices-carry-for-animals-130-wild-horse-observers-association

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      • Love Marti and the show and while it’s true that local coverage is lacking some places, nationally the coverage of wild horses and public lands is booming. I like to give credit where it’s due. It’s not just my own journalism connections at play, here. Look at this work by one Arizona reporter for a Gannett paper. I stumbled upon him yesterday and it’s amazing the editorial board of a newspaper would invest so much time ($) in such in-depth coverage of wild horses http://www.azcentral.com/staff/16895/brandon-loomis/

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      • THANK YOU Terry and that is an excellent point.
        We need to know which news sources are supporting and ACCURATELY reporting.
        Then we need to support THEM.
        What I’ve noticed is that a few years ago it was almost impossible to get news coverage. Once the power brokers saw that it was impossible to stop it…they started spinning it.
        Now what we’re seeing are news articles making claims of Wild Horse & Burro “overpopulation” and “damaging the range”.

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      • Thank you, Debbie. Another way to educate the public is to go to the comments section of each post and enter conversations with knowledgeable comments that include sources/documentation. Like all of us, reporters want to see what people say about their work!
        Non-nut-case comments 1) stand out and 2) may lead to follow up stories.

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  4. ALVA REVIEW-COURIER
    April 2, 2017

    Court denies mustang appeal sought by Nevada counties

    Terri Farley, a Reno-area based author of the children’s book series, “Phantom Stallion,” and Mark Tewell, who owns Wild Horses of Nevada Photography in nearby Dayton, joined the campaign in opposing the rural counties’ lawsuit.

    “This decision should help put a stop to baseless lawsuits from the livestock industry” intended to force the government to round up mustangs across the West, Lawton said.

    http://www.alvareviewcourier.com/story/2017/04/02/interesting-items/court-denies-mustang-appeal-sought-by-nevada-counties/11821.html

    Like

  5. McClatchy DC Journal

    Court denies mustang appeal sought by Nevada counties

    Terri Farley, a Reno-area based author of the children’s book series, “Phantom Stallion,” and Mark Tewell, who owns Wild Horses of Nevada Photography in nearby Dayton, joined the campaign in opposing the rural counties’ lawsuit.

    “This decision should help put a stop to baseless lawsuits from the livestock industry” intended to force the government to round up mustangs across the West, Lawton said.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article142449519.html

    Like

  6. Yet another article where I commented my comment, so far, has not been published.
    It seems that many news sources encourage opinions and arguments but are not interested in publishing FACTS

    ABC NEWS

    Why Are They Killing the Wild Horses?

    While coyote hunting in the open federal lands of central Wyoming, Chuck Reed recently made an ugly discovery
    .
    The officer for the Rawlins, Wyo., division of the Bureau of Land Management spotted a mound of brown against the white snow. As he drew nearer, he realized he was looking at the corpses of three recently shot wild horses.

    Reed says it’s not uncommon to find single corpses of horses that have been sickly and then shot out of mercy. But as he inspected the two young mares and one stallion, he concluded they could not have been killed with any good intention.

    “The animals were fat and healthy,” recalls Reed. “There was no point in looking for a noble motive. It was obvious they’d been murdered.”

    Graceful and Contested

    Reed’s discovery raised the total number of wild horse killings in Wyoming to 37 since December. And while the spate of killings has inspired outrage and disgust among all kinds of groups, it also highlights a continuing source of tension between animal-rights activists and ranchers: how to manage the estimated 49,000 wild horses that roam free in Western states.

    To people like Andrea Alococo, director of Wyoming’s Fund For Animals, ranchers and the government should do everything possible to allow these graceful animals to run free and wild. To ranchers like Leonard Hay, president of Wyoming’s Rock Springs Grazing Association, the horses nibble the grasses that are vital to livestock, and need to be controlled.

    In compliance with the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, the BLM manages flourishing wild horse populations by keeping tabs on their numbers and regularly gathering hundreds of wild horses using helicopters, fences and wranglers. The horses are taken to temporary holding pens, where they’re fattened up with rich grains and then sold for adoption.
    “They’re going to manage wild horses into extinction,” says Alococo.

    Alococo’s group also finds big problems within the BLM’s mustang adoption program. The Animal Fund recently sued the bureau for failing to protect more than 575 adopted horses from slaughter last year despite a 1997 court settlement requiring the BLM to enforce tougher oversight of the adoption process.

    Slaughtered Adoptees

    Alococo points out that too often, adopters either slaughter their adopted horses before or just after gaining titles to them. BLM officials say they work with slaughter houses to try and ensure no untitled horses are processed. But they argue there is little the bureau can do once the horses become private property.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=94255&page=1


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  7. Meanwhile…BLM has captured and removed more of America’s Federally Protected Wild Horses from Public Land in Idaho

    View wild horses in BLM corrals

    Posted: April 6, 2017

    The Bureau of Land Management Challis Field Office continues to gather wild horses from within the Challis Herd Management Area (CHMA) using bait traps. The gathered horses are available for public viewing at the Challis Wild Horse Corrals on Wednesday, April 5, and Thursday, April 6, from 3 to 5 p.m.

    This is the first time a larger-scale bait-trap operation has been attempted in Challis. So far, 18 horses have been captured. The bait-trap operation will continue until mid-April. To review the gather operation reports, please visit bit.ly/ChallisGather2017

    Directions: Travel three miles south of Challis to Hot Springs Road. Turn left on Hot Springs Road, and follow the road 2.8 miles. Hot Springs Road will veer left; continue traveling straight to the wild horse corrals, which are visible from the junction.

    Those interested in learning more about the bait-trap operation should contact Public Affairs Specialist Heather Tiel-Nelson at (208) 736-2352.

    http://www.challismessenger.com/articles/2017/04/06/view-wild-horses-blm-corrals

    Like

  8. Court of Appeals rules airlines have right to ban hunting trophies
    MERRITT CLIFTON
    MARCH 21, 2017

    Verdict issued against rhino shooter Corey Knowlton, Safari Clubs, & coplaintiffs

    DALLAS, Texas -The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on March 20, 2017 ruled that Delta Airlines is under no legal obligation to carry hunting trophies.

    45 airlines quit hauling trophies from the “Big Five” African species after Cecil the lion was killed in 2015.

    Knowlton, who shot the black rhino he paid the Dallas Safari Club to kill in in May 2015, sued Delta in October 2015,
    alleging along with his co-plaintiffs that
    “Delta’s embargo threatens the tourist safari hunting industry’s entire user-pay, sustainable use-based conservation paradigm.”
    Knowlton and Conservation Force also filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation, alleging they were the victims of illegal discrimination.

    Delta & others banned “Big Five”

    The lower court also dismissed the discrimination complaint, with prejudice, meaning that it could not be refiled.

    The plaintiffs appealed the lower court verdict, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld in entirety both the verdict and the legal reasoning behind it.

    Ruling on the case were Judge Rhesa H. Barksdale, appointed in 1989 by then-U.S. President George H. Bush, a life member of the Safari Club, and Judges James E. Graves, Jr. and Stephen A. Higginson, both appointed in 2011 by then-U.S. President Barack Obama.

    http://www.animals24-7.org/2017/03/21/court-of-appeals-rules-airlines-have-right-to-ban-hunting-trophies/

    Like

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