Group sues to stop roundup of 10,000 wild horses

(WILD HORSES Jan. 30, 2018) — EcoWatch reports:

Animal rights group Friends of Animals has filed a lawsuit over a planned wild horse roundup in Nevada.

The suit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Reno, the Associated Press reported. It claims that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws by approving the removal of nearly 10,000 mustangs over 10 years in a 4,900-square-mile expanse of federal rangeland near the Nevada-Utah border.

Michael Harris, director of the group’s Wildlife Law Program in Colorado, said the roundups could occur without public notice or comment and without site-specific analysis of each individual gather.

The “roundup decision is unprecedented in size and scope,” the suit states, and would allow BLM to “continually roundup, remove, drug and castrate wild horses for 10 years after the initial roundup.”

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• See also Nevada could give away nearly 3,000 free-range horses in May »

Featured Image: Las Vegas Review Journal 

Front Range Equine Rescue Files Suit to Stop Surgical Sterilization ‘Research’ on Oregon’s Wild Horses

Nonprofit Horse Rescue Group Challenges Inhumane Experimental Surgery

PRESS RELEASE

HINES, Ore. (July 26, 2016) – Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), a national nonprofit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue, advocacy and education, announced today it is suing the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management to stop the BLM’s experimental sterilization of wild mares in Oregon. The lawsuit was filed late yesterday in federal court in Washington D.C.

FRER’s suit contends the BLM’s intention to conduct surgical experiments on 225 wild horses, many in various stages of pregnancy, and potentially thousands more horses over time, causes harm and suffering in violation of federal law.
The sterilizations on wild mares proposed by the BLM, to be carried out in collaboration with Oregon State University, include three untested, dangerous procedures:

  • Slicing open the mare’s vagina while sedated, but awake and standing, and blindly pulling out her ovaries – a risky and controversial surgical procedure even for tame mares under the best of conditions, let alone captive wild horses in a holding facility
  • Burning and then cutting the sedated, but conscious horses’ fallopian tubes, a procedure that is surgically untested on horses
  • Using a laser, inserted through the vagina, to scar and seal the ovaries – another surgery that has never been studied in horses

Caslon Quote Left Black“It is unjustifiable for the BLM to conduct such barbaric sterilization experiments with a host of known risks, including death, on captive wild horses,” said Hilary Wood, President of FRER. “Performing unproven surgeries in a holding pen, let alone on the open range, is contrary to the BLM’s congressional mandate to care for wild horses, especially when responsible alternatives like the PZP contraceptive vaccine already exist to maintain population levels and ensure herd viability.”
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Earlier this year, FRER filed formal comments opposing the “research” that will be done on conscious animals in long-term holding. These comments – and comments submitted by more than 20,000 members of the public – were disregarded, prompting FRER to file its suit.

Caslon Quote Left Black“These sterilization procedures are not documented, practiced, or analyzed in non-surgical settings; they are overly invasive, and they are unlikely to have applicability for mares on public lands,” said Laureen Bartfield, DVM, an expert in population control of wild horses and the social structure of herds. “Two of the three procedures have virtually never been performed on horses, and the unvisualized removal of the ovaries, while documented in the literature, is disfavored by reputable veterinarians. The BLM’s plan is not just clinically ill-advised, it constitutes animal cruelty on a large scale.”
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The plans for eventual widespread sterilization of horses on the range will also run up an estimated cost to the taxpayers in the millions – and the first of the funds could be handed to OSU in the form of a BLM grant. This first group of mares to go under the knife are in BLM custody in the Hines Corral in Eastern Oregon.

FRER’s lawsuit says the experimental sterilizations represent a conflict of interest, and are not in the best interests of wild horses, but rather in the BLM’s own best interest by reducing their management load without considering their mandate to properly manage the horses.

This is not the first time the BLM has pursued surgical sterilization for wild horses. In 2011, a federal court found the bureau’s plans to castrate wild horses captured in Wyoming was of an “extreme and irreversible nature.” In 2012, the BLM was again forced to defend similar plans in federal court, and abandoned its efforts to castrate Nevada’s wild horses.

The grim reality facing these innocent wild mares includes:

  • Invasive surgery performed in a non-sterile environment
  • No known studies on domestic mares for the tubal ligation procedure
  • No known studies on domestic or wild mares for the hysteroscopically-guided laser ablation procedure
  • Procedures to be performed on wild mares in varying stages of pregnancy
  • Infection, hemorrhaging, colic signs, aborted foals, potential for abnormalities in foals born, and death “If any gestational group in any procedure meets a major complication rate greater than 20 percent” then the procedure will be stopped
  • Major complications leading to death or the need for euthanasia are “expected” to be less than 2 percent (225 mares are slated for the research; 25 in a control group; 200 divided up for the three procedures)
  • Wild mares will be frightened as they are separated from their herd mate.s They will be even more terrified when driven into a confined chute to be sedated and restrained for the surgery
  • Ovarian function plays a significant role in the endocrine (hormonal) system. To destroy this biological function will damage behavior and health of surviving mares
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If you would like to support Front Range Equine Rescue and help with legal fees, please visit their website.


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Wild horses rounded by the BLM. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Walking Horse owners sue Blount County SPCA for $2.1M

Tennessee Walking Horse rescued from accused horse sorer Larry Wheelon, Blount County, Tennessee. Image: Kathy Milani/HSUS.
Rescue worker washes down a leg of a Tennessee Walking Horse taken from accused horse sorer Larry Wheelon, Blount County, Tennessee. Image: Kathy Milani/HSUS.

AS REPORTED BY WBIR
by EVAN JOHNSON

(WBIR) — Seven horse owners are suing the Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) for $2.1 million.

They claim their horses missed an entire show season in which the animals would have been able to win prize money.

The lawsuit stems from an April 25, 2013 raid on Larry Wheelon Stables. On that date, the BCSPCA seized 19 horses from the Blount County facility over accusations that trainers used soring on the animals, a practice in which a trainer intentionally inflicts pain on a horse to enhance its high-stepping gait.

According to the lawsuit, the owners claim their horses were not returned to them them until November 2013 and at that time “it was apparent that they had been granted substandard care and were in poor condition than when they were seized on April 25, 2013”. The horse owners also stated “deprivation of their personal property led to said horses never being about to return to their previous show condition or to never be able to be shown again or to have their value substantially depreciated due to the deprivation of their personal property”. The horse owners are accusing the BCSPCA of “intentional, malicious, and reckless” actions.

Gino Bachman, president and senior cruelty investigator for the BCSPCA, said, “I can’t say much about it except the fact that we as an agency, the SPCA, conducted ourselves within the letter of the law by doing what the law dictates us to do and that was to seize evidence, In this case it was the horses.”

The horse owners also claim the horses were taken to an unknown location and the BCSPCA did not tell the owners where the horses had been taken.

Bachman said, “The owners were contacted within 72 hours of the seizure of the animals. My wife personally contacted every one of those owners by telephone. She did not notify them of where the animals were kept and that was because they were evidence and we didn’t want the evidence to be tampered with.”

Source: http://www.wbir.com/story/news/local/maryville-blount/2014/04/30/horse-owners-sue-blount-county-spca-for-21-million/8531341/
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RELATED READING

1. Return of horses seized in Larry Wheelon stable raid delayed by dispute

2. Charges dropped against Tenn. horse sorer Wheelon; case may go to Grand Jury

3. Hearing reset for Blount County trainer in horse soring case

4. Nineteen sored horses seized; trainer charged with felony animal cruelty