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  • Federal Court Asked to Toss Nevada Ranchers’ Anti-Mustang Lawsuit
    by wildhorsepreservation.org
    Published - 05/29/14 - 09:57 AM | 4 4 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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    (RENO, Nev.) - The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), author Terri Farley, and wild horse photographer Mark Terrell filed a motion to dismiss in a lawsuit filed by the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) and the Nevada Farm Bureau against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the U.S. District Court of Nevada. On April 3, the court granted AWHPC, Farley, and Terrell permission to intervene in the case. The motion to dismiss highlights the plaintiffs’ lack of standing and legal basis for the action.

    Filed on behalf of Nevada ranchers, who graze their private cattle and sheep on American public lands that they lease at well-below market rates, the NACO lawsuit seeks to compel the BLM to immediately round up and remove more than 6,000 wild horses from Nevada public lands, conduct wild horse and burro roundups every two months in the state, and to “auction, sell or otherwise dispose of” the 50,000 wild horses and burros currently stockpiled in government warehousing facilities.

    “The NACO lawsuit lacks merit and is the latest attempt by ranchers to create a legal façade to give the BLM an excuse to cave in to their interests and remove more mustangs,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC director. “We are hopeful that the court will dismiss this case, which is yet another meritless legal assault on federally protected wild horses and burros by ranchers who view these national icons as competition for cheap, taxpayer-subsidized grazing on our public lands.”

    According to AWHPC, the NACO lawsuit is part of a broader push from anti-wild horse advocates -- including those who currently sit on the BLM's own national and Nevada’s advisory boards – to compel the BLM to remove an increasing number of wild horses from public lands and sell captured wild horses for slaughter. In addition to Nevada ranchers, ranchers in Utah and Wyoming have also sued the BLM, and the agency has a history of quickly capitulating to their demands, regardless of the legal merits of their cases. In fact, the Interior Department actually encouraged Wyoming ranchers to file a lawsuit against the BLM as a way of securing more funding for wild horse roundups.

    National opinion polls indicate that 80 percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter, 72 percent support protecting wild horses on public lands, while just 29 percent want public lands used for livestock grazing.

    Under the current Administration, the BLM has rounded up so many wild horses that the number of mustangs stockpiled in government warehouses (50,000) now exceeds the number that remain free in the wild (under 33,000).

    Last year, the National Academy of Sciences endorsed a fertility control vaccine known as PZP as a viable alternative to the roundup and removal of wild horses from the range. Despite this, the BLM has failed to implement fertility control, and stubbornly pursued the unsustainable policy of rounding up and removing wild horses from the range and warehousing them in government holding facilities. In 2013, the BLM spent less than one percent of its budget on fertility control.

    The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. AWHPC’s founding organization, Return to Freedom (RTF), a national non-profit dedicated to wild horse preservation through sanctuary, education and conservation, also operates the American Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, CA.

    Terri Farley is a full-time author who lives in the Reno area and spends a significant amount of time observing wild horses, both on the range and in the holding facilities. She is the author of the Phantom Stallion book series, which has sold over a million copies worldwide and is currently working on a new book, Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them, scheduled to be released in the Spring of 2015.

    Mark Terrell owns the Dayton-based Wild Horses of Nevada Photography. He is a nationally known wild horse photographer and operator of tours that provide visitors with the opportunity to view, experience, and photograph the wild horses of Nevada.

    AWHPC, Terri Farley, and Mark Terrell are represented by the Washington-DC based public interest law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal.

    Comments
    (4)
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    Shane Destry
    |
    May 29, 2014
    I applaud the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Terry Farley and Mark Terell for helping to expose the absurdity of the Interior Department encouraging welfare cattle ranchers to sue the BLM in order to hasten the roundup for slaughter of our wild horses. The absurdity of the government urging citizens to sue the government as a way of extorting more money from citizens needs no further demonstration than stating it ! I am guessing the BLM thinks this is a win-win situation for them: if the lawsuit is dismissed or lost, they can then wash their hands of the resulting blood, in Pontius Pilate fashion, when the cattle ranchers go back to the back old days of mustanging before the 1971 law protecting wild horses. If the BLM/cattle ranchers (I make no distinction between them ultimately) win, they will then no doubt try to empty the coffers of wild horse advocates in the manner in which Ringling Bros. recently did the Humane Society of the U.S.A. But this can equally turn out to be a win/win situation for wild horse advocates if a real judge rules on the fact that all BLM roundups

    are violations of the original intent of the 1971 law subsequently contradicted by amendments which were never approved in open session by Congress - and certainly not by the vast majority of the American people !
    Paula Hooper Denmon
    |
    May 29, 2014
    At sometime the 1971 LAW must be observed. Good old boys are winning at every turn... cattle, banking, women's choice, land use, oil & gas. Voters WAKE UP. That's all I have to say. these situations are all related to Tea Party types and beyond.
    Nancy Albin
    |
    May 29, 2014
    I know how you feel I also am speechless it's like we have said & done everything to save the horses & burros & they still don't hear us!!! I am reaching my last nerve I'm gonna go crazy i don't even get visited by the Wild Horses as i used to before i don't think there is any more around here anyway & I live in Nevada mountains it is so sad now I hate this!
    bjack720
    |
    June 02, 2014
    interesting comment being that the Democrats have been in power for the last 5 years. Don't see that they have made any improvement in saving our mustangs & burrows

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