Animal Welfare Groups Respond to Federal Ruling that Fails to Protect Colorado Wild Horse Herd

October 22, 2010

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), along with Habitat for Horses, the Cloud Foundation, and Dr. Don and Toni Moore, today responded to a federal judge’s ruling that declined to issue an injunction preventing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from continuing its inhumane and illegal roundup of wild horses from Colorado’s North Piceance herd area. The case, brought against U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in New York, charged that the BLM’s ongoing treatment of America’s federally protected wild horse herds violates the National Environmental Protection Act, as well as the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

The BLM had dropped its immediate attempt to relocate the case from New York to Colorado or Washington D.C., making this the first case against the BLM to be heard in New York. “While we are disappointed by yesterday’s ruling, we are encouraged by the court’s acknowledgment that the removal of these iconic horses impacts all Americans,” said Matt Bershadker, senior vice president of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty. “The ASPCA is committed to protecting our nation’s wild horses.”

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley acknowledged that the plaintiffs would undoubtedly suffer irreparable harm from the roundup of the wild horse herd. The court further acknowledged the permanent injury caused to Dr. Don Moore, a Colorado veterinarian who has personally known the Piceance-North Douglas Herd for decades. “Although we did not get the win that we were aiming for,” stated Jerry Finch, founder and president of Habitat for Horses, “we stood fast in a contested venue and got the court to agree to the damage done to American citizens when the BLM pulls our wild mustangs from their rightful land. That in its own right is huge.”

“I would be lying if I said that I am not disappointed,” said R.T. Fitch, volunteer executive director of the funding HfH Advisory Council, “but it’s not about me, you or anything else other than the horses. That’s where my feelings reside. It’s time for the American wild horse to catch a break, and we intend to see that promise through.”

More than 19 million acres originally designated for wild horses have been slowly whittled away for cattle grazing, making the horses both the victims and targets for removal. The use of helicopters to run the terrified horses over miles of scorching desert has resulted in serious injuries and several horse deaths throughout the summer, as well as one-half or more of the wild horse population languishing in long-term holding pens.

“The fight to save the last of the mustangs is just beginning,” said Ginger Kathrens, director of the Cloud Foundation. “We will continue to take our message to Congress, the courts and to an increasingly concerned public.”

For more information on the BLM’s mismanagement of America’s wild horses, please visit To learn more about the Habitat for Horses Advisory Council, please visit, and for information on the Cloud Foundation, go to

Source: ASPCA Press Release

15 thoughts on “Animal Welfare Groups Respond to Federal Ruling that Fails to Protect Colorado Wild Horse Herd”

  1. The French People??? Sorry for my ignorance and for a stupid comment if that’s what it was.

    Organized protests are continuing and I pray they are effective. I, for one, have a hole in my heart for what is happening and feel helpless.

    Will we simply see what we have witnessed in other nations who have no respect for natural preservation of species and habitat???? For example, the ivory trade and eradication of elephants or the trade for exotic animal parts for human gratification.

    I had hoped we were more civilized and educated for such atrocities. But I guess not.

    The human spirit is not dead. It lives on in secret…. It has come to believe that compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind. ~Albert Schweitzer, Novel Peace Prize address, “The Problem of Peace in the World Today”

    Words to live by. If only these words were beyond politics, money, greed and the deplorable existence of so-called democracy as we know it.


  2. That is the Standing QUESTION, Have we tried everything???? We need to ask the French people to organize protests?


  3. The BLM needs more than a warning now , the time for warnings has come and gone,proven they dont listen to warnings !!!!! Now they need to be made TO Stop in no uncertain terms……………. They need to be overthrown………………..kicked out !!!! They have already done damage that will never be able to fix, these bastards from hell need to be plain and simple STOPPED……………..


  4. The BLM is FAR from bullet proof. They are a government agency THAT MUST ANSWER TO THE PEOPLE, we just need to get rid of these un-Constitutional, un-ethical government/people and judges so WE THE PEOPLE can act!

    They the BLM are about to get a very serious DOSE of legal warning and enquirers from a few Congressional members I contacted, according to their responses to my letters.




  6. A good suggestion for you Skippy would be to alert and contact all the Media in your state, Implore them to give Media coverage to The Plight of the wild mustangs, these Spectacular horses need Media coverage , I think you can get it……………………….Go for it !!!!!!!!!


  7. number 1 Skippy, I really dont think you can make a statement like that , without research, everyone here is dedicated to the release of these Magnificent Wild Mustangs if you did your homework properly you wouldnt be making such ridiculous statements, Please concentrate on helping the Wild Mustangs instead of wasting thier precious lives with unfounded nonsense……………..


  8. If the mustangs are left in drought areas they will starve to death. All of you are good at screaming but you are not helping those animals.


    1. Skippy, I, for one, am not screaming, although I have been know to raise my voice. I’m asking questions and trying to find solutions through thoughtful submissions to the BLM.

      When they asked for comments on new directions for the program, I sent (USPS & Email) a 12-page proposal. Although I requested email confirmation they received it, I’ve yet to hear from them. I don’t believe any of the 9,000 others who replied to their request have either, not even those who mailed them “Return Receipt Requested”. By the way, I included “Emergency Removals”, but only when the situation was dire and confirmed not only by the BLM, but also by independent investigation.

      And please tell me where these “drought areas” are. I’ll do some research on whether those conditions truly exist or the removals are being done because the BLM has “other plans” for the land.


    2. Aw come on Skippy.

      If you are so knowledgabe and can help them, then why don’t you make some suggestions rather than insulting everyone?

      I think everyone involved is doing the best they can given the circumstances.

      How do you propose to stop the BLM and the apathy the government has shown towards this crisis the horses are now facing?


  9. It’s a shame the BLM is bullet proof. But they are not out of the woods yet, the NEW CONGRESS will help to seal this fate.

    To many times being said that in order to stop the BLM, Congress has the only power. Change the law. If your going to vote then nail your new wannabe Congressional candidate to the floor on supporting the wild horses. Make them say it out loud.

    Been down this road and until the groups decide to act as one the BLM will keep on picking them off. Placing wild horses in homes is our number one goal this way they can’t send them to the back door of hell.

    To many cutting their teeth in on wild horse issues trying to make a name and get money. If you want to see a difference then you have to be the difference.

    Federal judges aren’t elected so they don’t give a dam except that they are federal government employees also. Do you really think they are going to go against their own?

    I think its time to adopt more wild horses, then return them to there rightful place. We’re taxpayers we own the land so if we adopt a wild horse technically we can place it on our land……


    1. Ray, spot on. Mustang Rescues need to put aside their differences – including squabbling about Spanish Colonials, Treasured Herds, etc., – and get as many wild horses, burros, and mules to safety as possibile. Then train them using a combination of experts and educated volunteers and get them to good adoptors under strong adoption contracts with “Right of First Refusal” provisions – no outright sales.

      I hate too say this, but geld colts and PERMANENTLY sterilize fillies/young mares (ovectomies) that display characteristics of inbreeding. They can still be trained to live useful lives, but, in my opinion, keeping obviously inbred horses “whole” should be avoided. I’ve been monitoring recent BLM Internet Adoptions and, while the older horses seem to be genetically strong, more and more of the younger ones look inbred.

      We need to be putting our efforts where they will do the most good NOW. While some targeted lawsuits (including Laura Leigh’s re: First Amendment. We may ALL have to figure a way to become journalists!) may be a good thing, they’re eating up funds which could be spent in more productive ways.


      1. Good thoughts Linda. But BLM practices of disturbing the natural balance of the herds has caused this in-breeding. They do everything indiscriminately, with no plan, no thought, nothing but destruction on their minds. There are barely any horses left. I am personally opposed to birth control of any kind as the herds are already below viable maintenance levels.


        1. I should have qualified my remarks. I meant horses that end up at Rescues. I’m totally with you about the BLM’s removals below genetic viability, but don’t know how we can stop them. Nevertheless, we’ll keep on fighting!

          This is part of an email I sent David Cramer about the BLM removing the Bordo, NM, horses (which did and sent to Oklahoma) earlier this year. He’s very familiar with Bordo, and has spent allot of time on the HMA photographing the horses.

          I asked about “Spanish Colonials”, because the Spanish brought so many horses to NM I wondered about how much of their blood might remain. This doesn’t mean I have any less commitment to all of our the wild ones.

          From me: “If they leave only 50-60 the 147, the herd will be well below (at least by 1/2) the genetic viability herd numbers recommended by Dr. Gus Cothran. (120-150).

          The BLM claims they gather and ship genetic material to Dr. Cothran for analysis and intend to protect designated unique and historic herds. Do you know if the Bordo horses have ever been tested? Some appear to have Spanish Colonial blood.

          I wonder if they ever listen to or implement Dr. Cothran’s findings and recommendations. Apparently just lip service. More inbred wild horses courtesy of the BLM!”

          This was his reply: “Cothron did a report on the Bordo horses a few years ago, and, if I remember correctly, he did not think there was much Spanish blood. I have a copy of the report filed away somewhere. The BLM knows very well these numbers take it below genetic viability, having gotten the report from Cothron himself.

          However, I’ve also heard it explained that low numbers don’t necessary lead to a bad genetic outcome. It’s only if “bad” genes are in the mix. In other words, even in a small herd, if the genes are mostly “good ones” then the small number of horses won’t lead to negative outcomes. I don’t know if this applies to the Bordo herd.

          The last roundup there was in 2005. They brought the numbers down and the herd still seems strong. I’m fairly certain the BLM does not often listen to the experts, but instead do what will bring in the most $$$.

          I always say, horses do just fine until people get

          His last sentence pretty much says it all!


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