US Court Overturns Round-Up of Wild Horses in Oregon

as published on USNews.com

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management violated environmental law by conducting an emergency round-up of wild horses in eastern Oregon because the agency did not fully consider the impact of its actions.

Steens HMA wild horse family ~ photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management violated environmental law by rounding up wild horses in eastern Oregon without fully considering the impact of its actions, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon’s ruling could mean that some of the horses will be returned to the Three Fingers Management Area in Malheur County, the Capital Press reported. The judge is expected to rule separately on what to do in light of the violation.

The nonprofit group Friends of Animals sued after the BLM gathered up the horses following a 2016 wildfire that made water and forage scarce. The agency had planned to gather up 50 horses before the blaze, but instead decided to do an “emergency gather” of 150 horses because the fire had burned up so much available grassland and made water scarce.

Friends of Animals alleged the emergency action “went far beyond what was necessary to control the immediate impacts” of the fire without a proper review under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.

Instead of permanently removing the horses, BLM could have relocated the horses, used fencing to keep them out of fire-damaged areas or provided extra water sources, the group argued.

The BLM should have conducted a new analysis of the environmental impact after the fire and not relied on its earlier analysis, Simon said.

Lucinda Bach, attorney for the government in this case, said she couldn’t comment on the ruling.

Capital Press was unable to reach an attorney from Friends of Animals for comment.

15 comments

  1. FYI. CAVARY GROUP AND UH ALSO KNOWN AS UGH, NOT AGAIN AND AGAIN ARE BOTH INVOLVED IN ATTEMPTONG TO DERAIL THE STATUS. Calvary Group is M Patterson and UH Duquette so propaganda is getting cranked out to the public. These folks have made a Huge brew haha over the saving of this herd and jumping up and down to stop them from achieving it. Throw all your support behind it. They want all the WILD Horses dead. The real reason behind the deaths of the WILD Horses are simply profit/LAND grab, elimination of Advocates on Public LANDS so they can deceive the public relentlessly, and last the old AQH A PUREBRED HORSES WILL BE MORE SOUGHT AFTER IF WILD HORSES ARE GONE. I grew up originally AQHA, this myth was around when my grandfather and his father ranched. So it goes way back. Destroy free or cheap horses to get higher prices, it however NEVER WORKED LIKE THAT. In fact, it had the Opposite effect, it mea.nt MASS bred horses in the 60s 70s and 80s went for zero with the best breeding confirmation and talent into slaughter. At very low prices, the market gets flooded when you have AQHA ranches all over the West and you absolutely have no market within each other because they all already had AQH A horses and to branch out with social media while knee deep in horses wasn’t a remedy because it simply didn’t exist. So they deluded themselves by profiting off WILD Horses to feed their expensive bred horses they flooded their own market with, when the WILD Horses became protected rustling horses paid for by slaughter to pay for those expensive horses then real RANCHERS realized hey, market supreme horses with skills and we specialize changing the industry sneaking way for higher sales and more demand everywhere. The ones who did not change are the ones we battle today. The same old school mentality, kill a few for coins to enable them to keep their own stock while unable to bring high prices delusionally thinking it will increase their own stocks value. So again, they want every WILD HORSE dead. Any protection we can score needs to be completed. We need to throw ourselves behind supporting them. As they try to discredit HSUS by saying the BBB downgraded them, well that’s stupid, the BBB is up to it’s neck for decades in bribery, paid ratings in a can and fraud. So they have no real basis. We need to realize Duquette is just trying to destroy the health of the horse industry to make imaginary prices appear higher conning the public. When the real bogus issue is the people shipping WILD Horses will be the ones with the money to pay for the most expensive horses. In other buying up the last to keep them hostage from advocates unless you pay a fee to see them behind glass. It’s coming. They want to control the Industry and we Need to stand up and say no!

    Liked by 2 people

    • And the kicker STILL – large numbers of quarter horses being shipped to slaughter, while at the same time, some “breeders” also want to clone horses! Not a good business model!

      Liked by 2 people

      • The AQHA registry has become so narrowed genetically it might be smart to clone the few animals who are healthy, vigorous, useful, sound, and sane. There are millions of horses but it is ever harder to find suitable breeding combinations that don’t include direct relatives or those lines carrying known genetic diseases but are still allowed to breed. This, in combination with the too-early training and competing greatly shortens the useful or pain-free life of many. Quite a few of these pushed too young are resold to unsuspecting first time owners, who end up with enormous vet bills, unsound horses, and broken hearts. Meanwhile, the breeders still churn out more inferior stock at their own whim.

        While I’m not a fan of endless regulations, I have always found value in the European models which require strenuous and comprehensive testing of breeding stock, including conditional permission to breed which only becomes permanent when a certain number of their offspring also pass these tests–which are psychological as well as physical, so even a perfect specimen with a nasty personality or poor manners will be marked down. One reason I support keeping wild horses wild, in the wild, is to keep those genetics in the pressure cooker of relatively natural selection, as we may need them to rescue our domestic breeds. We could start with good hooves, for one example, the bane of domestic breeds.

        As our industry declines these are matters which should concern everyone. Where I live, ancient horse trails are being closed to horseback riding in favor of mountain bikes, and it is common to hear folks complain about “rich” horse owners who can afford them while plenty of these younger people are riding $10k bikes, and generally own more than one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree completely with all of your points! The lack of regulation has made possible these genetic defects – also sent so many young horses to slaughter. The US certainly could, and should do a better job of preventing the many genetic failures that have been carried down through generations of animals. The sad thing is even when, for instance, it was well-known exactly what the Impressive genes were perpetuating – breeders continued to use Impressive stallions! Thats where some kind of regulation is needed.
        And not just any one breed! Thoroughbreds? Arabs? Before all this manipulation with particular lines of horses – all these various breeds were much tougher in many ways. And the racing at TWO – the TWO & THREE year old futurities? These are babies – knees not even closed! Everything is hurry, hurry, hurry – and like everywhere, profit is most important.
        And yes, we NEED our wild horses to be wild & healthy IN THE WILD! That whole subject is absolutely scary at this point in time.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Domestic livestock have an approximate total (permitted and suspended) of 10,240 AUMs on the Three Fingers HMA. If private livestock were removed*, and the resultant freed-up AUMs were given to wild horses, an additional 853 wild horses could live on the HMA (using BLM’s AUM measurement of one horse per AUM per month).
    *This removal action would be legally covered under 43 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) 4710.3-2 and 43 C.F.R 4710.5(a). In particular, 43 C.F.R. 4710.5 clearly states that the Bureau of Land Management can legally reduce livestock grazing in order “to provide habitat for wild horses or burros.”
    § 4710.5 Closure to livestock grazing.
    (a) If necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros from disease, harassment or injury, the authorized officer may close appropriate areas of the public lands to grazing use by all or a particular kind of livestock.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is the point exactly, but rarely mentioned or examined. 150 horses, how many AUMS needed to be the first and really only question in this EA. The judge needed to require BLM to show documentation of what became of the horses – all of them.

      Liked by 2 people

      • BLM is not in keeping with the law or the wishes of the American people who own the land and who own the wild horses and burros – it is completely biased and favored toward a special interest group – the private/corporate domestic livestock industry. This in itself is illegal and often called “Regulatory Capture”. Regulatory capture is a form of political CORRUPTION that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure; it creates an opening for firms to behave in ways injurious to the public. The agencies are called “captured agencies”.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The ORIGINAL legally designated Three Fingers Herd area was 92,681 acres. The current HMA is now only 62,513 acres = a LOSS of 30,168 acres, all of which by law is to be devoted PRINCIPALLY although not necessarily exclusively to their welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept for the public lands. It is the law.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Perhaps the question should be WHY hasn’t the DOI/BLM been sued over this and/or has it? Could it be because the livestock associations have a large and very powerful lobby? Could it be that once a complete investigation was done on this issue and other similar issues, that almost every BLM/DOI employee would be behind bars? Could it be that the DOI/BLM is a “captured agency”?
        Excuse me for repeating myself but:
        BLM is not in keeping with the law or the wishes of the American people who own the land and who own the wild horses and burros – it is completely biased and favored toward a special interest group – the private/corporate domestic livestock industry. This in itself is illegal and often called “Regulatory Capture”. Regulatory capture is a form of political CORRUPTION that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure; it creates an opening for firms to behave in ways injurious to the public. The agencies are called “captured agencies”.
        In my mind, the BLM employees are guilty of violations of title 18 (falsifying legal documents) as has been recently brought to light in the WHFF white paper showing numerous biologically impossible wild horse herd population increases. BLM’s growth estimates and population increases on specific HMAs is biologically impossible and scientifically absurd. The BLM has reported, on more than one occasion, statistics that would establish a 750 to 1250 percent increase in population over the course of a year.”
        Fraud?
        Corruption?
        YES.

        Like

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