Preface: Access to document roundups and assess the condition of wild horses and burros has been sliding backwards after the court rulings to gain access a decade ago. Meaningful access at Blue Wing access is essentially non-existent. A far too common occurrence these days. We tried to work it out and received no satisfaction. Now, we are back to court.
PRESS RELEASE: IMMEDIATE
(Reno, NV) Today, the CANA Foundation and Wild Horse Education (WHE) filed documents in Reno Federal District court for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) roundup at the Blue Wing complex north of Lovelock citing First Amendment infringements.
Last month, the organizations filed a complaint in the same district court against the lack of public process and science-based information incorporated into the 2017 Environmental Assessment (EA), the “ten year Gather-EA,” the agency is using to do multiple roundups in this 2 million acre complex zone. (case number: 2:22-cv-01200)
The current operation targets 800 burros and 200 wild horses. A roundup in the same complex in 2020 captured 1,653 wild horses and 220 wild burros. The organizations state: BLM has failed to create open and transparent management planning, with a lack of current data and a failure to incorporate the use of modern day science.
Manda Kalimian of CANA Foundation states, “ As American citizens we are entitled to have a voice as to the process and a right to transparency of the actions of our federal government. Without the use of modern day science and transparency, our government is ignoring their obligation to the American tax payer.”
On the first day of operations BLM reported that 174 wild burros were captured, nearly 25% of the targeted goal. Four burros were roped and a one broke her neck. Observers were placed more than a mile from the trap location. The trap was often blocked with trailers, moving the burros to a temporary corral that will be off- limits to public observation, preventing observers to witness for themselves what was reported or to assess condition after events.
The organizations attempted to resolve on-range planning and access issues to document operations. Both efforts failed; both are now in the courts.
EXTRA: After two days of operations 304 have been captured, 4 have died. You can see ongoing observer notes from the field. Click HERE
The burros will be shipped from the temporary corrals to an off-limits holding facility. Once again, hidden from observation.
“It is becoming increasingly common for BLM, particularly BLM in Nevada, to once again hide their activities from observers: from capture to holding, even during a release back to the range. Therefore, they are denying us our first amendment rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. All attempts to resolve this ongoing issue fail. We needed to take this important action, we had no choice.” stated Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education.
EXTRA: This is the same district that made headline news last month after a colt was slammed to the ground and tied to an ATV. You can see all from Buffalo Hills, Click HERE.
“An open government has been a hallmark of our democracy since our nation’s founding,” U.S. District Judge Michael Simon wrote when finalizing his order to stop federal police from arresting or assaulting journalists and legal observers for doing their jobs during the Portland riots, citing precedent from the Ninth Circuit case Leigh v. Salazar. “When wrongdoing is underway, officials have great incentive to blindfold the watchful eyes of the fourth estate. The free press is the guardian of the public’s interests and the independent judiciary is the guardian of the free press.”
Leigh continued, “It amazes me that the hard-fought ruling we won to gain meaningful access to view roundups and assess the condition of wild horses and burros in holding can help journalists covering riots, but we still have to fight to gain meaningful access to a roundup. It is more than ironic.”
The groups state that their relationship to the land, wild horses and burros and wild species, is an essential part of public process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution also guards the public’s ”right to know.“
The groups remain committed to exposing the deficits in the BLM on-range program, wild horse and burro program, and to their work to bring science and proper management tools into reality.
We will update you on this developing story as soon as we have more information.
Our teams are working, rather literally, around the click right now. Removals have reached historic levels as the range is rapidly fragmented to suit private profit lines (industry on your public lands). It is time to fight, or risk loosing our wild ones and wild places forever.
Help keep us in the field and in the fight.
Categories: Wild Horse Education