Guest Blog by Marta Williams, Vice President, Wild Horse Education
Late last night (August 14) Wild Horse Education (WHE) President, Laura Leigh, and WHE attorney Gordon Cowan filed yet another challenge in court against BLM These filings take time and money and this one is a long shot, but we all felt we had to do something for these horses.
This new challenge addresses the unbranded wild horses facing sale at the Fallon Livestock Auction this Saturday, August 17th. The wild horses were removed through an agreement with Tribal Authorities, the Forest Service and BLM. Many unbranded wild horses were removed including those residing in an area of BLM managed public land. The wild horses in that area of BLM managed public land may be Owyhee Complex wild horses engaged in their normal seasonal migratory patterns. These horses are already included in another challenge against BLM Leigh currently has in federal court.
Documents filed by attorney Gordon Cowan assert that BLM failed to protect wild horses as intended by the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. In existing court records, and government documents, BLM has already admitted that they have no formal data on movement of protected wild horses in and out of the Owyhee Complex. In the removal documents outlining a ten-year management (removal) plan by the BLM, the area surrounding the Owyhee Complex is included. This is the exact area where many of the unbranded wild horses of the Owyhee Complex traverse. These same horses were likely rounded and are now sitting at the sale yard facing likely purchase by kill buyers for slaughter in Mexico and Canada.
“I am literally ill that the Owyhee horses that we have fought so long and hard to protect may now face certain death,” stated Leigh “BLM sends one person that has not spent any time overseeing the Owyhee horses to ensure that there is no impact to wild horses. How can this person identify unbranded horses, having never seen the horses before? How can this person say a given unbranded horse is a BLM horse or not a BLM horse? I pray that the courts can suspend this sale and help sort this out before it is too late.”
“We currently have a crisis where failed range management has led to BLM having no place to stockpile wild horses,” said Leigh “We have had years and years of managing based on guesstimates and no accountability to the public or the wild horses. It is literally madness. And the ultimate betrayal of a failed system sits, unprotected, awaiting certain death in Fallon. The madness must end.”
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WildHorseEducation.org is a Nevada non-profit carrying three active federal cases against the BLM. Wild Horse Education stands ready to assist BLM to gain the information needed to create a sane and sensible management plan that does not rely on removal as its only strategy and that fails to treat wild horses and burros humanely. Wild Horse Education Website: http://wildhorseeducation.org