BLM NV Creates Access to Wild Horse Facility After Years in Litigation
(RENO,NV) Today the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has announced a public tour of it’s Broken Arrow wild horse holding facility in Fallon, Nevada.
In July of this year Amy Lueders, Nevada State Lead for the BLM, issued a directive on access to wild horse and burro helicopter roundups. Simultaneously the National BLM office had agreed to open up the “Broken Arrow” facility on Indian Lakes Road to public tours.
As a condition of this directive Laura Leigh, President and founder of Wild Horse Education, agreed to voluntarily drop an ongoing federal court action to obtain meaningful access to wild horses and burros during capture and in holding.
The announcement of the public tour at Broken Arrow is a direct result of litigation that spanned years in federal court.
“There are things you never forget,” said Leigh, “I remember a colt whose feet I literally watched begin to fall off at Broken Arrow after being run in the dead of winter. I remember every injured horse that I could not follow into that facility and then reading the facility death reports and wondering which horse died. I think of all the foals there that are born and grow and are never seen. The closed gates of Broken Arrow are a personal constant ache for me. That facility should never have been closed off. It is literally contrary to the BLM stated mission to do everything possible to adopt out animals. How can you adopt out a horse or burro the public never gets to see?”
This case has gone on for 4 years. Leigh has traveled in excess of 250,000 miles in her quest to observe, report and advocate for wild horses and burros during capture and in holding. Her documentation has gained an International audience and brought needed attention not only to the ways wild horses are handled during capture and in holding, but to range management and an adoption program that need serious reform.
In addition the access to view wild horses extends to capture sites. “BLM Nevada’s objective is to provide an opportunity for the observation of individual animals when they are gathered, sorted, and/or placed into temporary holding on the date of the gather,” states the letter sent out from the Directors office.
“This year we have increased tensions on the range,” stated Laura Leigh, “Access to view captured wild horses and burros will be more important than ever. Wild horses and burros have been hidden from public view for almost two years now at Broken Arrow. After months of conversations we have come up with a starting point to begin to work on access issues outside of the courtroom. In addition I believe we have begun to create a conversation that can address a multitude of issues that begin on the range long before a wild horse or burro is ever removed or family bands shattered. Many of those conversations have already begun within districts in this state. It is insane that issues of public access ever had to be taken into a courtroom. It is my sincere hope that we can begin sanity into ways in which issues are addressed before the need for litigation becomes necessary.”
Roundups of wild horses and burros by the BLM will begin again in the state of Nevada in October. There is nothing in the agreement that precludes Leigh from addressing this issue in court once again should the directive fail to provide access to document individual animals and to assess BLM handling methods.
To sign up for the October 17 tour (limited space) see BLM info at the following link: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/info/newsroom/2014/september/blm_to_host_public.html
Wild Horse Education is devoted to gaining protections for America’s wild horses and burros from abuse, slaughter and extinction. Main website: http://WildHorseEducation.org