Today is the birthday of our founder, Laura Leigh. (In honor of Laura’s birthday a generous supporter will match all contributions to this work through Tues. Feb 19th at midnight.)
For those of you that do not know Laura her body of work is impressive. Once called a “one woman wrecking crew” against the actions of the BLM by a writer for the LVRJ and LA Times, her resume includes a decade of on the range data collection and documentation that has been taken into court. The amazing court rulings that were deemed “impossible” by many have been the driving force for policy change. She is the only person in history to take BLM to court over the inhumane treatment of wild horses at roundups. But her work is not limited to roundups; First Amendment cases brought access to roundups, cases against inequity on range have stopped legally unjustified removals before they could begin.
A few quotes from authors:
“She has a detailed understanding of the law and a passionate desire to see wild horses treated humanely, and, because of this, she has dedicated her life to making sure the spirit of the Wild Horse Annie Law is carried out.” ~ Dave Philipps, Pulitzer prize winning author, writing about Laura Leigh in his book Wild Horse Country (2017).
“It’s her fourth pickup truck in seven years — the cost of a controversial 100,000-mile annual journey across six western states and a nomadic lifestyle that often means sleeping inside her truck cab or in cheap motels, guzzling reheated gas-station coffee and downing peanut-butter sandwiches behind the wheel. She’s always red-eyed, always on the road.” ~ John Glionna, career journalist for the LA Times, Scientific America, The Guardian, writing about Leigh for the Reno Gazette Journal (2016).
“Before these rulings the public and press were blatantly blocked from seeing and knowing what was happening to America’s wild horses and burros. From planning, to the range information, through the roundups and all the way to the animals end destinations much has been hidden. Laura Leigh’s Wild Horse Education opened the doors…” ~ Joe Camp, author of the Benji books, of the movie series fame, in Born Wild – The Soul of a Horse.
“Her quick mind probably had something to do with her success in court. Since founding Wild Horse Education in 2011, she had filed more than a dozen successful lawsuits against the Department of the Interior and the state of Nevada over wild horse policies, including a landmark First Amendment case that forced the federal government to open wild horse round-ups to press access. A federal judge in 2013 declared her “the most knowledgeable journalist on wild horses in the world.” In a single year, she logged 112,000 miles on her truck crisscrossing western states to document round-ups. The Nevada Historical Society was so impressed they asked to paint her portrait, which was hung in 2016 in the society’s museum in Reno.” ~ Christopher Ketcham, journalist for Rolling Stone, Penthouse, Harper’s, writing for the Daily Beast (2017).
This website contains thousands of articles penned by Leigh for all of us. As she says “It is the responsibility of any advocate not only to fight as hard and smart as they can, but to arm the next generation so they can move the fight forward and not just repeat the past.”
We at WHE understand when she repeats, over and over, “An educated advocate is needed more than ever.”
slideshow (a few pics of the last decade)
A note from WHE volunteers:
On behalf of WHE volunteers we would like to celebrate and share our gratitude for the day that our founder, Laura Leigh emerged unto this unsuspecting world. WHE would like to express our gratitude, affection, and respect for an advocate who embodies the true sense of the word stewardship on behalf of our public lands and wild, wild horses. WHE are appreciative of her efforts and successes in maintaining an honest voice and the highest level of integrity in her voice and actions for the Wilds. Regardless of the hurdles and speed bumps that seem to multiply daily, you continue to inspire us with one of our simple, favorite phrases; “Onward……”
WHE thank Laura for her persistence in educating anyone that will simply take the time to READ. The ideal of the common good, for future generations to enjoy, and to guide all of us at WHE in that crucial mission.
WHE raise our voices in appreciation of WHE’s hard fought battle against abuse of wild horses and raise our copies of the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy in recognition of the difficult work to implement it. We raise copies of the many victorious court orders that gained access and created First Amendment case law used nationwide in civil rights cases. We raise our coffee cups to all the roundups stopped, before they could begin, due to diligence in field work.
Through midnight Wed Feb 19th all contributions matched for the “birthday card.”
Below is a short film featured in the New Yorker that later screened at Mountain film. Leigh began her journey living in her truck. Today she helms the modest org she built, Wild Horse Education.
Categories: Wild Horse Education