Lawsuits filed as advocates seek to halt wild horse roundup

Dead Mustang Foal
BLM knows how to kill foals. Here is a photograph of a dead Mustang foal from a previous BLM roundup. Wranglers lassoed and tied him up so he wouldn't get lost, but forgot to go back and get him. They came across him dead several days later. Oh well, they said. Things like this naturally happen in a roundup. Yes, it does if you are a rogue government agency totally out of control.

Two lawsuits have been filed against the Bureau of Land Management alleging mishandling of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, in particular questioning the timing and conduct of the current gather underway in the Elko District of Nevada.

In Defense of Animals has this to say about the lawsuit they filed with reknown ecologist Craig Downer and a conservation group to halt the roundup currently in progress in the Owyhee area, and postpone it for six weeks.

Yesterday, In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal protection organization, and ecologist Craig Downer, represented by Advocates For the West, a leading conservation group, filed an Appeal and Petition to Stay with the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Owyhee Complex roundup scheduled to begin today.

The Appeal and Petition for Stay states that the planned roundup – scheduled to begin only nine days after the BLM’s identified “peak foaling season” which ends on June 30th – unnecessarily subjects newly-born foals to life-threatening conditions including the helicopter-created chase, or stampede, of horses for miles over rugged terrain in desert summer temperatures.

The Appeal and Petition to Stay further challenges the agency’s determination that the Owyhee Complex horses are “excess” and therefore must be removed. The scheduled roundup, which indiscriminately rounds up wild horses without any regard to age, condition or health, would include young foals, some of whom may have been born within the last week or so, creates inhumane conditions which would expose the vulnerable youngsters to life-threatening health problems and possibly death.

BLM acknowledges that “summer gathers pose increased risk of heat stress” and “death can result.” In addition, running young foals can cause a multitude of physical health problems including hoof, skeletal and development issues.

The Appeal and Petition for Stay seek to postpone the roundup until at least after August 15.

Source: Press Release

Laura Leigh, of Herd Watch fame, filed a lawsuit today as an individual to halt the roundup for around six weeks:

Leigh studied the newly published Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro handbook and caught BLM in the act of violating their own protocol for the Tuscarora (Owyhee Complex) roundup. The handbook states roundups are prohibited until six weeks after foaling season which ends on June 30th. Therefore the earliest date to start the roundup is August 11th. Laura Leigh, Project Manager of Herd Watch filed a lawsuit today in US District Court in Nevada to stop the roundup.

“I found their error right in the BLM’s management handbook,” explains Leigh adding, “The BLM disregards their own rules when it comes to ‘managing’ wild horse population.”

Leigh and her attorney go on to say:

“Currently, the only way to gain accountability—with an agency apparently left to police itself—is for a member of the public to file suit,” remarks Leigh. Leigh’s efforts are being supported by Grassroots Horse, an organization based in grassroots activism to prevent cruel wild horse roundups.

“If this roundup were being conducted in a safe manner,” says Leigh’s attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno, Nevada “one would make the assumption that the BLM would want the public to witness its entirety. Barring observers and press raises concerns.”

Source: Press Release

Neither press release about the lawsuits was accompanied by copies of the legal documents.

22 thoughts on “Lawsuits filed as advocates seek to halt wild horse roundup”

  1. Disgusting! Why oh why can they not leave these beautiful animals alone. Keep writing, keep petitioning. This needs to be stopped!


  2. This is not unlike what has been done in this country since the native american people were brutalized….Why can’t we change this mentality? Blessings of love to all involved


  3. Keep writing and calling all representatives and the White House. Keep contacting the media and if you have a chance, document and photograph as much of the BLM mis-management as possible. The BLM is out of control – if it were up to me, most of the staff would be fired and replaced. It is really, really sad and disgraceful beyond words that our government finds such violent, brutal and intentional abuse of a “protected”, “wild” animal tolerable.


    1. Why doesn’t the BLM ask or the Gov. ask for trained horse breeders/lovers to assist in the round up of these wild mustangs? We all love them and have a vested interest in these beautiful Icons of America. I would think that several experienced horsemen would gladly help in the humane way to round up these horses.
      Debbie, WI


  4. This is just horrendous, cruel, unconsionable, and outright WRONG. I have e-mailed and written the White House, Joe Biden, Harry Reid and Shelly Berkley and I have not heard one single word back. I am quickly loosing respect for these individuals. Some how we must keep trying to get the Entire Government to see just how deceitful and cruel and under handed the Department of Interior/BLM really are. They have definitely gone far beyond the bounds of their authority and listen to no one. They are only listening to the Oil companies and the cattle ranchers. Everyone needs to listen to the George Knapp/Mark Allen interview from Channel 8 in Las Vegas to see how unethical and under handed they really are and have been for years and years. It is criminal and they should all be prosecuted, fined, and jailed. This is just plain criminal!


  5. As part of Grassroots Horse, I know we did the right thing by trying to stop this massacre of foals. However, last I heard – yesterday – BLM was going on with it starting today – Saturday.

    I cannot IMAGINE why any judge would not issue at least a temporary injunction, but I’m beginning to wonder about the judges as well as the DOI/BLM. :(


    1. I agree Suzanne. How can anyone condone these practices..even scum like the BLM? I can’t comprehend how people can be so cruel and without compassion for these horses. It is simply criminal. May they all rot in hell!


  6. Stupidity Personified, The BLM s New Logo………………………. These people have absolutely no Business managing anything, Another precious foal dead in the wake of their needless brutal assaults……………… Graig Downer and the IDA I applaud all of your gallant efforts to stop This ROGUE Agency……………………. And also Everyone who is trying to stop these Poor excuses for Human beings ……………………………. I wish with all my heart they are stopped and held totally accountable………………….for all of the deaths of Our Precious Living Legends……………..


  7. Yay for BLM stupidity and Laura Leigh sharp mind and Craig Downer and all others involved. Unfortunately this is a temporary situation. Keep writing and calling and emailing BLM, the President and the Vice President and anyone else concerned.


    1. You are so right Broken Hearted. These lawsuits are delaying tactics, which are great, but do not resolve the issue. The roundups need to stop until the BLM is investigated and a management program implemented based on facts and upholds the law.


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