WRITTEN BY PAT RAIA
The contested Triple B Mustang gather in Nevada got under way Wednesday (July 20) after a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judicial panel declined to grant a group of wild horse advocates’ injunction to stop it.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was to begin gathering approximately 1,726 animals collectively from the Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and the Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory, in Nevada on July 7.
The gather was postponed after the a Colorado-based wild horse advocacy group, The Cloud Foundation, along with ecologist Craig Downer and Lorna Moffat, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in Nevada claiming the BLM failed to demonstrate that the animals threaten the thriving natural ecological balance of the ranges or that the mustangs are responsible for range areas that might exhibit some use-related impact.
On July 15 U.S. District Court Judge Howard McKibben declined to prevent the gather.
Immediately after McKibben ruled on the roundup, attorney Rachel Fazio (who represents the plaintiffs in the case) appealed McKibben’s ruling. That same day, Judge Richard Paez of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary injunction preventing the gather until the court could review the appeal.
On July 19 Paez, 9th District Circuit Court Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, and Chief Judge Alex Kozinski declined to grant the emergency injunction to block the gather on grounds that the plaintiffs failed to show the absence of the injunction would cause irreparable harm, or that the injunction was in the public interest. The ruling allows the BLM to proceed, beginning with the Triple B gather, while the court hears the plaintiff’s appeal.
NEVADA SENATOR HELLER CALLS FOR MORE BALANCED APPROACH
In the meantime, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, who stayed behind in Washington to work on the budget crisis, stated there needs to be a more balanced approach to managing the horses on the range along with the wildlife and cattle.
“My goal is to have a healthy ecosystem and protect the industries that are out there,” he said.
Heller said he would “love” to have both sides on the horse roundups come together in Washington and discuss the issues. He also had reservations about the humaneness of the holding pens for the horses, yet he said the pens are the only solution until the two sides can talk and determine how to best handle the excess Mustangs.
The Silver State currently leads the nation in unemployment.
Source: Lahontan Valley News