Court Grants Right To Intervene In Suit Aimed at Wild Horses
BREAKING NEWS! (RENO) Status to defend wild horses and burros in the state of Nevada against a legal action brought by the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) and the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation that makes broad allegations asking for wild horse removals statewide and the destruction of what they call “excess” horses in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) facilities has been granted.
On January 27, 2014 Laura Leigh, President and founder of Wild Horse Education filed to intervene in this case. Leigh and her attorney Gordon Cowan have gained no less than four court orders in the last three years against inappropriate treatment of Nevada’s wild horses, another against unjustified removals during drought, a landmark First Amendment decision in the Ninth Circuit and has active litigation currently pending that alleges the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) uses faulty data to justify removals of wild horses.
“We have to do all that we can to defend wild horses against this suit,” stated Leigh “BLMs lack of proactive action to correct flaws made in historic wild horse management has created a situation where our ‘living symbol of the pioneer spirit’ is once again the target of private profiteers. Restricting domestic livestock, the most detrimental use of public grazing, is valid. To keep blaming it on the wild horse is not.”
In 2012 the BLM created drought action plans to deal with issues that were arising on the range. A handful of livestock permittees faced restrictions where the length of time or numbers of animals they could graze on public lands were limited. These restrictions created a domino effect of outrage among Nevada livestock producers, counties and state Department of Agriculture.
Leigh writes in her Declaration: “The NACO suit would have you believe that wild horses are responsible for the restrictions to livestock producers. The only specific example they note to support their claims is of the “Diamond Complex.” The Diamond Complex is a group of wild horse herd management areas located in a three district cluster. It is of note that livestock restrictions were also put into place under the Battle Mountain “Drought Plan” in areas of the district that do not have wild horse populations. Wild horses were not responsible for the restrictions nor the condition of the range. The drought conditions and continued livestock production were.”
The NACO suit not only requests the court to remove all wild horses in populations that exceed the inaccurate “AML” or stray onto “private property, but goes as far as requesting that horses in holding facilities nationwide be destroyed or sold “without limitation,” or to slaughter. The suit cites the 2004 “Burns Amendment” that allowed wild horses to be sold for slaughter for the first time since the 1971 Act to protect wild horses and burros was passed. The Amendment was slipped into an Omnibus spending bill prior to Thanksgiving recess. Americans, and several Congressmen, were surprised the language existed at all in the bill. Funding for BLM to destroy wild horses or sell them for slaughter has been repeatedly denied in subsequent appropriations bills including again in 2014.
The Order granted Leigh intervention due in part because, “She has traveled to and documented ranges throughout Nevada and has provided specific data when the removal of wild horses is contemplated. She has also made observations and conducted extensive research on the impacts and costs of livestock grazing on public land, which she will presumably use to refute Plaintiffs’ claims. She also professes involvement in public awareness of issues surrounding the destruction, killing or sale for slaughter of wild horses.” (see Order below granting status to Laura Leigh’s motion and a motion from Farley, Terrel, AWHPC)
“More than 80% of the nations wild horses are in Nevada,” stated Leigh “I am grateful to again have an opportunity to be their voice. We will do everything in our power to defend each and every one of the last of America’s Mustangs.”
~~~ Wild Horse Education is dedicated to gaining protections for wild horses and burros from abuse, slaughter and extinction. Wild Horse Education Website: http://wildhorseeducation.org
Court Order Granting Intervention: (Dkt29)OrdOnMot2Interven
links of interest: 2012 Diamond Complex Drought Assessment: http://wildhorseeducation.org/2012/07/16/diamond-drought-report-issued-by-whe/
Roundup of wild horses from the Diamond Complex January 2013: http://wildhorseeducation.org/2013/01/30/new-video-from-blm-diamond-wild-horse-roundup/
Nevada Department of Agriculture meeting July 2012 where wild horses are blamed for livestock restrictions: http://wildhorseeducation.org/2012/08/03/ndoa-meeting-and-action-request/
Welfare Ranching: http://wildhorseeducation.org/welfare-ranching/
Categories: Wild Horse Education