Feds defend press limits to Wild Horse roundup

American Flag IconCross-posted from Courthouse News Service
Original post dated Jan. 10, 2012

Article written by DAVE TARTRE

Wild horse helicopter roundup by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images.
BLM contracted helicopter pilot gets perilously close to a group of already exhausted wild horses during one of their round ups. Image Justin Sullivan / Getty Images.

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A photographer appeared before the 9th Circuit on Monday to defend press freedoms against the federal agency that barred her from attending a roundup of wild horses in Nevada.

Laura Leigh sued in September 2010 for a temporary restraining order that would stop the Bureau of Land Management from conducting a wild horse roundup in the Silver King Herd Management Area, which is about 150 miles north of Las Vegas in Lincoln County.

Leigh wanted to get close enough to take pictures of what is also called a horse gather, which the bureau organized under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which put the federal government in charge of the herds of feral horses that have roamed the west since they were brought centuries ago by Spanish conquistadors.

As the bureau refused to let Leigh access the roundup, citing public safety concerns, she claimed that the bar would prevent her from closely monitoring the bureau’s methods. She also sought to prevent the use of helicopters to chase down stray horses.

After the roundup occurred, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks ruled that Leigh failed to show that she had been treated worse than other members of the media or “that the BLM has placed any specific barriers to her access to or observation of these specific gather activities.”

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit seemed reluctant Monday to consider Leigh’s First Amendment arguments. Read full report >>

6 thoughts on “Feds defend press limits to Wild Horse roundup”

  1. Every time she has been before a judge trying to get this stopped I believe the judge was contacted by the higher up at the BLM and told how to handle it. This needs to go before the supreme court. This is the only way justice will ever be served to try to save the mustangs. You will notice the reporter that wrote the article referred to the horses as feral, that’s because he was told this by the BLM and of course the reporter never bothered to investigate anything. To even find out for sure just where this utopia is that the horses are being taken to will require a supreme court hearing. You will notice that no one is invited to take a look at the so-called ranches where the horses are being held claiming it’s private property and the owners don’t want anyone on their property, what about the horses being the property of the citizens of the United States that’s paying for their upkeep?? No one will ever know how many thousands of these horses are being shipped out the back door to slaughter. Every foot of the public land in these western states will be turned over to cattle, sheep and the gas industry and the horses will be extinct. The ones on the ranches will be forgotten by the public and they will be gone too.


    1. That’s shocking Barb, but not surprising. There are true investigative reporters, though few and far between. The rest are mouthpieces. The editors are just as bad. I envy none of their choices.


  2. Unbelievable! The Circuit Court is not above the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights! At this point she has to go to the Supreme Court to get this rectified. She will be granted the Writ for sure.



  3. I am so amazed that other reporters, photographers, and journalists don’t join Laura in the suit. Our democracy is dependent on access and freedom of the press. How are journalists allowed to be embedded with wartime soldiers, but photographing and commenting on wild horse round-ups is too dangerous. I believe that it is dangerous to the status quo of the BLM and their Contractors…and that is what the judges ( who are put in office by rich ranchers and corporate donations) are protecting.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s