PILOT CONDUCT RULED “INHUMANE”
BLM Pilot Conduct Ruled “Inhumane” at Triple B Wild Horse Hearing
Federal Judge “Deeply Concerned” Over BLM Defense
Yesterday, August 30th 2011 in a Reno Nevada Federal Courtroom the Honorable Judge Howard McKibben granted a Temporary Restraining Order against the continuation of documented helicopter pilot conduct at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Triple B wild horse roundup in Eastern Nevada. Citing his authority as a Federal Judge to enjoin an agency’s conduct where their actions have been demonstrated to be “in violation of an Act” Judge McKibben issued the TRO.
“I am deeply concerned,” Judge Mckibben stated to Eric Petersen, BLM’s legal counsel, “that declarations presented to the Court by the Agency do not address the issue, but simply deny wrong doing.”
Judge Mckibben went on to recite the only declaration, of the four presented to the Court, that addressed an instance where video taken by Plaintiff Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education (WHE) shows a BLM contract pilot coming dangerously close to an exhausted horse apparently making contact with the animal was in direct contrast to what was recorded. He stated that the declaration by Defendant was not what he observed in the video as he could see an exhausted animal and the pilot apparently making contact. He said he did not appreciate the “blame the horse” direction of the Defendant’s statements.
Although McKibben did not rule in Plaintiff’s favor on other cited alleged violations he did verbally address the Defendants. For example in the insufficient water assertion McKIbben did say that if the horses drain the water they should simply be given more.
“I was honored to have the opportunity to bring these issues into the Courtroom,” stated Leigh’s attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno “this is a beginning to addressing this most basic premise of an Act of Congress that still has significant public interest.”
Mckibben also noted that if the BLM brings a helicopter contractor back to Triple B, as stated in Alan Shepherd’s (BLM) declaration, “this Court will be watching.”
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Feds found to be in violation of own humane standards
Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education. filed a lawsuit and companion Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Federal Court in Reno Nevada on Wednesday, 8/24/2011. The issue of “humane treatment” will enter into a Courtroom.
The Wild Horse and Burro Act that passed unanimously in 1971 was done with the expressed intent of protecting the “living symbol of the pioneer spirit of the West.” Yet questions of humane treatment, including basic care like water and feed, often come into question during actual roundup operations.
Now 40 years later the question of “humane care” will have its “day in Court.”
“Day in, day out, roundup to roundup, I see the same issues,” said Leigh Founder of WHE (Wild Horse Education.org), “lack of water in holding, feed given inappropriately and a pilot that flies dangerously close, including contact with an exhausted animal. When you view these animals in their natural state and then witness the disregard given to our symbol of freedom, it is a direct blow to your soul.”
Leigh has witnessed more roundups than any government or public observer in the last 18 months. She has spent countless hours documenting wild herd behavior and the process these horses face once they are removed from the range.
BLM states it operates under regulation 43 CFR 4700, including the following definitions:
Humane treatment means handling compatible with animal husbandry practices accepted in the veterinary community, without causing unnecessary stress or suffering to a wild horse or burro.
Inhumane treatment means any intentional or negligent action or failure to act that causes stress, injury, or undue suffering to a wild horse or burro and is not compatible with animal husbandry practices accepted in the veterinary community.
TRIPLE B: HORSE HIT WITH SKIDS_8/11
Video Report from Laura Leigh
DRAFT REPORT ON TRIPLE B: PRESS RELEASE
Draft Report of Triple B Roundup released
Wild Horse Education has published the draft report on operations at the Triple B roundup in Nevada.
The report contains photographs and video of the roundup during foaling season that has already taken the lives of 9 horses. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) “gather report” claims these foal deaths have been due to abnormalities in the young horses. Documentation obtained shows otherwise.
“The development of the foals I have seen are all within normal range,” says Laura Leigh, founder/President of Wild Horse Education and VP of Wild Horse Freedom Federation “Joint development in young foals has a broad range of normal. None of the foals I was actually able to observe showed any fatal abnormality other than inflammation and damage from a run that never should have been allowed to happen.”
Other issues with this roundup include over driving, poor loading, lack of appropriate amounts of water and lack of public assessment opportunity.
Report can be downloaded for printing and faxing to Congress at: