What Are We Asking For? (Litigation Update)

Fighting against roundups is VERY different than fighting against abuse at roundups. Our teams have multiple appeals and legal actions to prevent specific roundups from happening: we are fighting against roundup plans and habitat loss, too. From the 5 HMAs of Pancake (where BLM has no management plan), to the 9 HMA/HAs* of Blue Wing (where BLM is running without updated data, is still using the same modeling for burros they use for horses), to Stone Cabin (where BLM has failed to update planning since 1983), through appeals against livestock grazing and mining expansion and more. We are working very hard (sometimes with partners and oftentimes alone). *Herd Management Area (HMA) are areas BLM manages horses and burros today. Herd Areas (HA) are land designated for use, but taken away from wild horses and burros.

But once the chopper takes to the air, the fight enters a very specific layer of the complex program: the welfare standard and the fight against abuse. Isn’t this where we should all agree?

Yesterday, we filed an emergency motion with the court as BLM continues to race to the finish line. In the last week, BLM captured 702 wild horses. In that time, BLM ran 3 traps, 2 of which provided no public access or observation of any kind. The 3rd trap held observers 1.5 miles away.

What we are asking for (in layman’s terms)

In the Complaint filed last week we are asking:

BLM complete paperwork required under NEPA for any activity that operates under an old approved analysis (in this case, the 2017 Gather-EA). The document we are asking for is used to demonstrate that nothing has changed (like the hard winter did not kill off horses and the drought noted in the 2017 EA is still active and range conditions are the same and did not change due to the wet winter) or that things have changed and the old analysis needs revision.

We are presenting that the welfare policy BLM is using is not an enforceable rule and needs to be one to comply with the law (1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act).

We are presenting information that demonstrates the lack of any hard standard, enforceability and that the parameters of the welfare standard are not adequate to create an environment where horses receive care that equates to current standard equine husbandry.

What did we ask for in the emergency motion?

We asked the court to enjoin (stop) the following while we argue the underlying case:

BLM from rounding up horses without allowing observation.

BLM from running during Heat Index cautions (dangerous health alerts).

BLM from running bands so that babies cannot keep up.

Setting traps in unsafe locations such as those containing barbed wire fencing.

We asked that the court require BLM to euthanize injured horses immediately.

The court did NOT enjoin the BLM during hearing as BLM said that access would be provided and no heat waves were expected to return.

The case remains active in the courts and full briefing continues.

We are seeing people online take what we are asking for out of context. The rumor mill runs full steam in a sad world run by social media factions that take “teams” before issues. 

How do you feel about what we are actually asking for? We asked BLM for the same things. They refused. 

Over the last few years issues surrounding the actual handling, the humane policy, have been used to forward a bunch of other agendas in other layers of the wild horse and burro program. This fact has created numerous layers that we have to cut through to get the most basic, the simplest of issues, understood.

Many of you are asking questions. We are small. We have no office staff. We are working as fast as we can. It has taken us 7 years to be able to find the resources to even try to have a federal judge remind BLM that there is someone that can remind them “not to hurt horses” and that they need to do better. A federal judge is the only single person with the power to enjoin the agency when the agency fails to correct itself.

We are trying. This cannot continue without trying to stop it. We are working around the clock. 

No matter how you feel about wild horses on public land… do you think BLM can do better than what you have seen at this roundup? 

Do you think BLM should be asked not to run bands so babies fall behind? This is how easy it is for a baby to get lost (this one fell behind in the sight of observers). 7 have been reported as orphans.

Is this really a controversial subject? Are things really that out of control? 

History of the fight against abuse, click HERE

Our team has been onsite since roundups began on July 1. 

2023 Summer Roundups

Antelope North Daily Public Reports

Antelope South Daily Public Reports 

Reveille Daily Public Reports 

Thank you for keeping us in the fight!

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Categories: Lead, Wild Horse Education