For Immediate Release:
Mustang Advocate Finds BLM Violates Own Rules, Files Lawsuit
Hundreds of young wild horse foals risk death in imminent Nevada roundup
Reno NV (July 9, 2010)—One woman from Herd-Watch, a program of The Cloud Foundation, studied the newly published Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro handbook and caught BLM in the act of violating their own protocol for the Tuscarora (Owyhee Complex) roundup. The handbook states roundups are prohibited until six weeks after foaling season which ends on June 30th. Therefore the earliest date to start the roundup is August 11th. Laura Leigh, Project Manager of Herd Watch filed a lawsuit today in US District Court in Nevada to stop the roundup.
"I found their error right in the BLM's management handbook," explains Leigh adding, "The BLM disregards their own rules when it comes to ‘managing’ wild horse population.”
Based on past experience and the current rush to remove 6,000 wild horses in three months, The Cloud Foundation believes that the BLM's priorities are based on contractor availability not humane treatment of wild horses—especially foals, some of whom may be only weeks or days old.
The Foundation is requesting that humane observers and members of the public be present during all phases of all the roundups. Since the deadly Calico roundup in NW Nevada, BLM has tightened restrictions, preventing the public and humane observers from viewing the horses adequately. In the case of Tuscarora, the public will not be allowed to view any round up activities for the first two weeks.
Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation, shares Leigh’s concerns that "more foals may have their feet literally run off because they are too young to be chased by helicopter over sharp, volcanic terrain for miles in the hottest month of the year. At least two foals died a horrible death like this in the Calico roundup. Didn’t BLM learn anything from Calico?”
More than 100 wild horses died and more than 40 spontaneous abortions occurred as a result of the Calico roundup.
“Currently, the only way to gain accountability—with an agency apparently left to police itself—is for a member of the public to file suit,” remarks Leigh. Leigh’s efforts are being supported by Grassroots Horse, an organization based in grassroots activism to prevent cruel wild horse roundups.
“If this roundup were being conducted in a safe manner,” says Leigh’s attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno, Nevada “one would make the assumption that the BLM would want the public to witness its entirety. Barring observers and press raises concerns.”