Equine groups sue BLM over planned sterilization project of wild mares

Mustang Mare and Foal. Unaccredited Google search result image.
Mustang Mare and Foal. Unaccredited Google search result image.

(CNN, By Ellie Kaufman, Sept 25, 2018) — Nonprofit organizations are taking to the courts to try to stop an Interior Department project that would sterilize up to 100 wild female horses in Oregon through a procedure the groups deem “dangerous” and “inhumane.”

Front Range Equine Rescue, a nonprofit organization that works to stop cruelty and abuse of horses, filed a federal lawsuit in Washington D.C. challenging the Interior Department Bureau of Land Management’s project on September 24. The group claims that the project violates a number of laws, including the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

The American Wild Horse Campaign and the Cloud Foundation, along with two individuals, filed a separate federal lawsuit in Oregon on September 21 claiming the government project violates the First Amendment because it does not allow outside groups to adequately observe the proposed experiment. It also believes the project violates the same laws Front Range Equine Rescue argues in their suit.

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The Cloud Foundation Wins Reprieve for Pryor Wild Horses

The Temporary Restraining Order was granted. See Press Release below. There is a further hearing set for September 28th in Billings, Montana. Learn more at The Cloud Foundation.

THE CLOUD FOUNDATION PRESS RELEASE

Cloud the Stallion. Image: PBS.
Cloud the Stallion. Image: PBS.

Temporary Retraining Order prevents September 2 Trapping and Removal

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Susan P. Watters, United States District Judge, has ruled in favor of Ginger Kathrens and the Cloud Foundation in their efforts to protect the small Pryor Mountain mustang herd from capture and removal stating, “Plaintiffs’ application for TRO is GRANTED. Defendants are hereby ENJOINED from conducting the wild horse gather set for September 2, 2018, pending a hearing on Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.”

“We won,” stated a jubilant Ginger Kathrens, who brought the herd to international prominence with her documentaries about Cloud, a charismatic palomino stallion she documented from the day he was born. “I hope that the TRO and what we believe will be a permanent decision later next month, will ensure a lasting future for this unique Spanish herd.”

In her ruling Judge Waters acknowledged that BLM fell short in managing for both rare genetics and the unusual colors.

The Pryor Mustangs are descended of Crow Indian horses (the range borders reservation lands) and before that, the horses of the Conquistadors. Genetic and color experts have concluded that this is a rare Spanish Colonial herd. Their range is located on the Montana/Wyoming border east of Yellowstone National Park. Kathrens, who began her journey with wild horses in 1994, was ridiculed in the Government’s brief for repeated efforts to protect the Pryor Herd, stated. “I hope this is a turning point for America’s beleaguered wild horse herds that have been so cruelly treated and that the BLM will finally adopt humane methods of management that take into account the essential need for family structures and the basic right to live in freedom as the Wild Horse and Burro Act intended.”

In her decision to grant the TRO Judge Watters states: “BLM argues that one removal action will not result in the permanent loss of genetic diversity of the Pryor Herd. … This conclusion is contrary to the evidence before the court. Extinction of a bloodline or phenotype is, by its nature, loss of genetic diversity. And extinction, meaning forever, is certainly a long duration. This court finds that Plaintiffs have established a likelihood of irreparable harm absent a TRO.”

“We could not have brought this suit without a high level of confidence in our donors.” Kathrens continued. “Cloud fans are loyal to wild horses and understand that maintaining the family structure and genetic strength are the essentials to living wild. This one’s for you Cloud!”

“2018 is the 50th Anniversary of the creation of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, the first nationally designated area established to provide a home for free roaming horses. What a grand way to celebrate!,” Ginger Kathrens concludes.

The hearing in Billings, MT is set for September, 28 at 9:30.

The Cloud Foundation is being represented in the lawsuit by Katherine A. Meyer, of the Washington DC public interest firm, Meyer, Glitzenstein, and Eubanks.

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The Cloud Foundationis a Colorado-based 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the protection of wild horses and burros living on public lands in the American west.

Advocates defeat Appeal to round up wild horses in Nevada and send them to slaughter

Wild Horses Nevada. Andy Barron / AP Photo.

RENO, Nev. — Wild horse advocates in Nevada scored a victory Monday in an ongoing legal battle with rural interests they say want to round up federally protected mustangs across the West and sell them for slaughter.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied an appeal by the Nevada Association of Counties and Nevada Farm Bureau Federation representing ranchers and others who argue overpopulated herds are damaging the range and robbing livestock of forage.

The decision upholds an earlier ruling by a federal judge in Reno who dismissed their lawsuit in 2015 seeking to force the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to expedite widespread roundups across Nevada.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a similar decision in Wyoming in October.

In both cases, the American Wild Horse Campaign and others argued the courts have no authority to order the agency to gather horses in violation of the U.S. Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Continue reading at The Republic online »

SOURCE
Associated Press; by Scott Sonner; April 3, 2017

FEATURED IMAGE
Wild Horses Nevada. Andy Barron / AP Photo.

Governor joins lawmakers in betraying Kentucky’s horses by tagging them as livestock

FRANKFORT, KY — On March 27, 2017, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed SB 139 into law.

Previous to SB 139 becoming law, Kentucky horses were categorized as domestic animals and had the protections that go with it. Not that animal protection is a high priority in Kentucky. Kentucky is in the bottom five of the country in animal protection; some put it last.

SB 139 tags Kentucky horses as livestock, a clear demotion in status and entitlement to desperately needed protections. It is clear to see what a sad day March 27, 2017 was for the horses of Kentucky.

In every legislative step taken for SB 139 to become law in Kentucky not a single negative vote was cast against it despite hearing from constituents strongly opposed to it. Of course, lawmakers in Kentucky may tell you differently. If they do they are lying.

Kentucky lawmakers may also tell you this is simply a necessary step towards awarding tax breaks down the line to horse owners in Kentucky. Again, untrue. This could have been done without reducing horses to livestock.

These same Kentucky lawmakers may also tell you that this has nothing to do with horse slaughter yet SB 139 conveniently opens the door to it.

We think it is a fair statement to say that the horse industry in Kentucky cares only about the money they make off these horses’ backs and precious little about the horses themselves. We see no evidence to the contrary. Where were they in all of this? Backing SB 139? Or will they now conveniently say that Kentucky lawmakers ignored them too?

The timing is interesting with the Kentucky Derby weeks away when the eyes of the world will be on Kentucky. How will they all be viewing this?

Now according to Kentucky the “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” is run by a bunch of livestock.

RELATED READING

•  Supporters of Kentucky SB 139 respond to their critics in Blood-Horse article, March 18, 2017 »

So happy together — Supporters of Kentucky State bill SB 139 reducing horses to livestock status, March 7, 2017 »

Kentucky legislature setting the stage for the slaughter of horses with SB 139, March 5, 2017 »