U.S. Court Finds Wild Horse Territory Cut Illegally

Congratulations to Carla Bowers, Return to Freedom, American Wild Horse Campaign, Animal Legal Defense Fund and Meyer, Glitzenstein & Eubanks on this win!  –  Debbie

Wild horses in Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory (Photo:  U.S.) Forest Service

SOURCE:  Horse Canada

by American Wild Horse Campaign

On August 4th, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned a decision by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to cut the size of the habitat area for California’s largest remaining wild horse herd.

The federal agency had planned to remove 23,000 acres from the middle of the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory in the Modoc National Forest. They claim this land was mistakenly added to the wild horse territory in the 1980s and that removing it now would cause “no significant impact.” The Court, however, characterized the move as “arbitrary and capricious.”

The Court found that: “The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and other plaintiffs filed suit alleging that the Service’s revamping of the territorial lines violated numerous federal laws. We agree. A 23,000-acre tract of land and two decades of agency management cannot be swept under the rug as a mere administrative mistake. We accordingly reverse in part and remand for the Service to address rather than to ignore the relevant history.”

“This is a precedent-setting victory making clear that federal land management agencies cannot exclude federally protected wild horses or other key uses of public lands without grappling with the implications of such actions on the environment,” said William S. Eubanks II, of Meyer, Glitzenstein & Eubanks, who along with David Zaft, pro bono counsel for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, represented the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), Return to Freedom and California citizen Carla Bowers in the appeal.

Read the rest of this article HERE.