Advocates Urge Court to Immediately Stop Army’s Illegal Seizure of Horses, Slaughter Plan

SOURCE:  Animal Legal Defense Fund

Pegasus Equine Guardian Association files preliminary injunction motion to protect Ft. Polk horses

Contact: media@aldf.org

New Orleans — This week animal advocates filed a motion for a preliminary injunction asking a federal court to take immediate steps to stop the Army’s illegal roundup and sale of Louisiana’s wild horses pending their lawsuit’s resolution.

In 2016, Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA), led by attorneys with the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, sued the Army over plans to evict roughly 700 wild horses from a western Louisiana Army base and national forest areas that are used in trainings. The lawsuit alleges the Army violated laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, by asserting it did not need to prepare an environmental impact statement for the removal of the horses. The Army also omitted other requirements, such as ensuring nonprofit organizations could put groups of horses up for adoption, rather than the horses being sold for slaughter.

The plaintiffs filed today’s motion in an attempt to restrict the Army from moving forward with its plan, pending the lawsuit’s resolution. The Army has recently ramped up its efforts to evict the horses, leading to speculation it will try to moot the lawsuit by completing its plan before the issues can he heard.

For decades the horses have been living on, and part of, historic Fort Polk and Kisatchie National Forest areas. Horses have ranged free on this property long before Fort Polk existed. Animal advocates fear that the Army’s current, controversial plan will result in the slaughter of the majority — if not all — the wild horses due to the difficulty in rehoming horses who have been wild for generations.

“There are several unique herds of truly wild horses in Louisiana, that are of value both environmentally and culturally, especially to the inhabitants of the area, but also to all Americans,” says Amy Hanchey of Pegasus Equine Guardian Association. “The horses should be preserved and protected. Regardless if they have been abandoned, generationally wild or otherwise wild, their welfare is at stake.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund works with law schools across the country to expand their curriculum of animal law related classes and clinics. The organization’s expert animal law attorneys provide support and advice to programs, such as Tulane Environmental Law Clinic.

 

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.