Wild Horse Org Takes Legal Action Against Ten-Year Destruction Plan
(RENO) Today, Wild Horse Education and founder Laura Leigh have filed litigation to stop the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ten-year destruction plan aimed at the Jackson Mountain wild horse Herd Management Area (HMA) in Nevada. Not only does the plan outline large-scale removals of the herd for ten years, it approves a plethora of fertility control methods that include sterilizing 25% of the mares left on the range after the agency reaches their goal of leaving only 130 wild horses on the 283,775 acre HMA.
The agency released their final plan for the Jackson Mountain HMA on May 31. The agency approved: large-scale removal of over 75% of the existing population along with “implementation of population growth suppression utilizing vaccines for horses, IUDs for horses, sex ratio adjustments for horses and managing no more than approximately 1⁄4 of the mares at low AML (i.e. 13 mares) as a permanently non-reproducing portion of the population, including mares that are sterilized.”
“The agency repeatedly oversteps their authority and determines long-term management tools through removal planning, not management planning,” said Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education. “Herd Management Area Plans, or HMAPs, are the only planning document outlined under the law that can set long-term and specific management goals and options. The agency continues to short-cut obligations to protect and manage wild horses, while removing wild horses to satisfy management plans specific to every other interest. It is maddening!”
Wild Horse Education has documented that stress and aggression increase in herds when even two of the less invasive fertility control methods are used concurrently. When more extreme measures like sterilization compound, the organization has documented extreme aggression and foraging changes.
According to BLM’s own 2020 Report to Congress, management goals, tools and objectives are to be outlined in an HMAP. The agency admits their deficits in planning and has not taken any steps to rectify egregious planning errors as they ran forward the 2020 Plan. The agency has approved plan after plan to attack populations to rapidly achieve the same numbers on the range Congress found “fast disappearing” at the time of the passage of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
“On top of ramming population levels down toward politically, not scientifically, based numbers inside arbitrary boundary lines… the agency is throwing every single fertility control method at every herd.” Leigh stated, “This is not management; it is insanity. The damage will last for decades.”
In 2012, Wild Horse Education successfully litigated to protect wild horses at Jackson Mountain when the agency attempted to perform a helicopter roundup throughout the HMA during the June foaling season. The court ruled that the agency overstepped their boundaries and could not declare an emergency capture throughout the HMA.
The organization is committed to continuing to work to protect the wild horses of the Jackson Mountains from agency overreach.
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Categories: Wild Horse Education