Monday, December 28, 2009

Time to Hold Obama Accountable...Wild Horse Roundups Unjustifiable

(the following is from In Defense of Animals)

This is insane... one massive unnecessary and unjustified roundup...
Please do this now, thanks!

Time To Hold President Obama Accountable:
Demand Halt to BLM Calico Wild Horse Roundup
BLM to Begin Secret Calico Roundup on Private Land - No Public Observers Allowed
Please join IDA and Sheryl Crow in calling on President Obama to halt the Christmas-week roundup of thousands of Nevada horses.
IDA continues to work diligently to stop the pending Bureau of Land Management (BLM) roundup of 2,700 horses in the Calico Mountain Complex in northwestern Nevada. Despite our efforts, the roundup is set to start today, but there is still time to save most of the horses! We won’t stop fighting – but we need your help to stop this massive assault on America’s wild horses.

Please take these THREE essential steps today! Only a huge public outcry will save these horses from the trauma of being stampeded with helicopters over treacherous winter terrain into capture pens, where they will be torn from their family members before being loaded onto trucks destined for possibly illegal BLM wild horse warehouses in the Midwest.

1. Paste the letter below (please feel free to personalize) to President Obama in the web form

2. Follow your email with a phone call to the White House (both numbers) to appeal to the President to halt the BLM’s cruel Calico wild horse roundup. See letter below for details on what we are asking of the President.
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414

3. Forward this message to five friends and family and ask that they take a couple of minutes to help the horses – every public comment and phone call counts. You can help us increase the number of active wild horse advocates.
For more information, see the most recent Associated Press story and IDA’s statement on the recent federal court ruling in our lawsuit to stop the Calico roundup.
LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA (Paste the letter below (please feel free to personalize) to President Obama in the web form

December 28, 2009
Dear President Obama,
I urge you to stop the largest scheduled roundup of wild horses in years – those living in the Calico Mountains in Nevada. Please halt the Interior Department - Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) pending cruel round up of over 2,500 horses who are living peacefully in more than 500,000 acre public land complex.
Last week, a federal court judge ruled that the BLM’s stockpiling of western wild horses in mid-western holding facilities may be illegal and consequently suggested that BLM postpone the Calico roundup. In addition, several appeals are pending with the Interior Board of Land Appeals – including a formal Motion to Stay (stop) the roundup – and your White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) charging that the BLM has flagrantly violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in its failure to assess the impacts of its massive capture and removal plan.
Over the weekend, the BLM made public its plan to begin the roundup in secret on private land from which the public will be barred, thus violating a BLM pledge made just three weeks ago at a packed public meeting in Reno to conduct these roundups with full public transparency.
Wild horse society is complex and consists of tightly knit family bands. President Obama, as you enjoy the holidays with your lovely family, I urge you to take a moment to remember the wild horse families in Nevada’s Calico Mountains that are about to be shattered forever by the BLM's cruel round up plans.
With a simple phone call, you Mr. President can stop the terror that is about to befall the majestic wild horses of northwest Nevada. Please act today.
Thank you for your consideration.

In Defense of Animals, located in San Rafael, Calif., is an international animal protection organization with more than 85,000 members and supporters dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals by protecting their rights and welfare. IDA's efforts include educational events, cruelty investigations, boycotts, grassroots activism, and hands-on rescue through our sanctuaries in Mississippi, Mumbai, India, and Cameroon, Africa.
In Defense of Animals is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We welcome your feedback and appreciate your donations. Please join today! All donations to IDA are tax-deductible.

In Defense of Animals

3010 Kerner, San Rafael, CA 94901
Tel. (415) 448-0048 Fax (415) 454-1031

BLM in violation of Legal Responsibilities: Mustangs vs Ranchers

Ranching is the history of western settlement, as well as wild horses. Both have rights based on property law i.e. herd areas and allotment improvements) as well as historic cultural landscape preservation. BLM has violated their fiduciary duty us to manage our heritage (inheritance) of wild horses according to the law. They have violated their duty to manage healthy ranges that are overgrazed by livestock. They have violated their duty to manage for ecological diversity by removing the very equid wild life that contribute to healthy diversity.
DOI and Congress are catering to the global special interest agenda for energy development and while embezzling our heritage estate in the process.
Boycotting beef and aiming poison arrows at ranchers will not gain ground for wild equids. BLM is the responsible agency and Congress is responsible for BLM. Every BLM manager that authorizes a gather should be personally sued for removing excess horses, transporting them from their native ranges to long term holding and sale (adoption)
----- Original Message -----
From: Nylene Puha
To: Sent: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 12:24 PM
Subject: RE: All evidence points to N. American Native Status of the wild ones...Re: "horses under-counted more likely" Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter

Conversation with a local ranchers relative yesterday-she stated that her Uncle should not have to change his way of life-(cattle rancher)-for wild horses. EVEN IF beef IS unhealthy for the land and even if his own health is affected-he should not have to make any concessions to his family's traditional lifestyle.
My question -Does he hate wild horses? Answer-Well, he is a RANCHER.
Those of you who don't live here-this is the culture we face.

This is war. And the ranchers are winning. The best thing I can suggest at this point is to Boycott Beef. If we can get all the REAL environmental groups to join in and organize -which there is talk of...this could have some true clout. Even those who don't intend to stop eating beef-could make the THREAT...."I am a lifelong beef eater but due to the wild horse situation..."...and so on. We must hurt the rancher/beef industry where they care-their pocketbooks. Another issue-wolves, coyotes, cougars-the wild horses natural predators here-are being wiped out by the BLM as well. Wild horse herds cannot survive as wild horses without them.


PS-I think the hay thrown in Moundhouse that caused the accident that killed the wild horse last week- was by a rancher. I was told it was a guy who threw a bale of hay from the back of his pickup-right on the edge of the busy highway. I can't imagine a wild horse person doing such a thing. I think it was to cause talk of the 'problems' wild horses cause. Ranchers don't want winter feeding of wild horses because they will also eat the hay the ranchers throw to their cows in winter. They don't want the predators as they will also eat their cows.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Near Las Vegas? Get Involved! Protest Plan for Today!



On Monday, Dec. 28, 2009, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) intends to roundup approximately 2,400- 2,700 of the estimated 3,000 wild horses in the Calico Mountain wild horse complex of Northern Nevada. They will be driven by helicopters in icy winter conditions, over rocky ground, for long distances. Some horses will be injured or die just as they have in recent BLM helicopter roundups.... (Press Release continued here)

Two More Wild Horse Foals Killed in BLM Roundup

From The Cloud Foundation

Sheryl Crow and Thousands of Advocates Call on President Obama and Senator Reid to Grant America’s Mustangs a Christmas Reprieve

Two More Wild Horse Foals are Killed in Most Recent BLM Roundup

Colorado Springs, CO (December 24, 2009)—Sheryl Crow asks Senator Reid and President Obama to grant a Christmas reprieve until the American people and Congress can find a better way to manage our living legends of the West. Now they are being managed into extinction. The Cloud Foundation also reports two more wild horse deaths, during the recent Paisley Wild Horse roundup in southern Oregon (December 16-18).

"I'm asking President Obama and Senator Reid to stop the Calico roundup of the American wild mustangs in Nevada NOW until Congress decides how to manage our living legends of the West." – Sheryl Crow

Two wild horses foals died, one that broke its leg during the helicopter roundup and another that was found dead in the temporary corrals where the horses had been held overnight. The Wild Horse and Burro specialist at the BLM Lakeview field office reported that the second foal was found dead in the foal pen the morning following his capture. The foals had been traumatized and separated from their mothers directly following entry into the trap.
275 horses in all were captured, 23 were allowed back out on the range, 15 mares and 8 stallions. All mares released were given infertility drugs. According to the Paisley Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, the estimated number of horses remaining in the immense herd area of nearly 300,000 is 102 animals. This number is below minimum standards to ensure their long term survival.

Many are demanding that the numbers of wild horses allowed on their home ranges be increased to guarantee they can survive into the future. At the December 7th National BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Meeting in Reno, Don Glenn, Chief of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, stated that 150 acres is necessary to maintain one wild horse on dry western areas. Yet, in the Paisley area, which is legally designated for wild horses, the BLM has left one horse for every 3,000 acres. As in most wild horse herd areas, BLM allows for cattle grazing and regularly cites the lack of forage in their decisions to remove wild horses.

The focus is now turning on the Administration in an effort to save the last stronghold of wild horses. Three days after Christmas BLM plans to wipe out 80-90 percent of the estimated 3,000 horses living in the Calico Mountain wild horse complex. The horses will be driven by a low-flying helicopter over dangerous terrain in winter conditions to traps and temporary corrals. Respiratory illnesses, permanent injury and death are expected should this winter roundup take place.

“Two foals and a mare have already been killed in the first two winter roundups and these deaths were in roundups 1/10th the size of Calico. I’m asking the public to join me in calling on our President to stop the Calico roundup now. No horse owner in their right mind would run their own horses in the winter the way the BLM does our wild horses. This is nothing short of government-sponsored cruelty.” – Ginger Kathrens, Naturalist and Emmy-award winning filmmaker- creator of the popular PBS Cloud Wild Horse Documentaries

In Defense of Animals (IDA) has filed complaints with the Department of Interior and White House Office of Environmental Quality (CEQ) alleging multiple violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
“The President should order a halt to this roundup until the legality of the long-term holding facilities is determined. The BLM itself says this (Calico) is not an emergency roundup, so there would be no harm in waiting for adjudication of this enormously important issue,”said William J. Spriggs, of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, which filed the case on behalf of IDA, Downer and Farley.

IDA charges that BLM violated NEPA by failing to adequately assess the environmental impacts of its massive wild horse capture plan. Over 10,000 public comments were submitted to the BLM in opposition to the Calico roundup, which the BLM has stated will cost taxpayers $1.9 million for the roundup contractor and BLM personal alone. Additional costs for branding, sorting, processing and transporting horses are expected to add at least another million.

“The thing these horses have to fear most is the very federal agency that is supposed to protect them.” —Howard Boggess, Crow Indian Elder and Historian
It would appear that there is a continuation of the Bush era policy of removing tens of thousands of wild horses from their rightful Western publicly-owned rangelands, often to make room for increased grazing of privately-owned livestock as well as for oil, gas and mineral deals. Judge Friedman questioned the legality of BLM’s warehousing of over 34,000 wild horses in government holding facilities. 9,000 more are expected to be added this year and in 2011 and in 2012 as BLM continues its unwarranted massive removals. Independent analysis1 of BLM’s own population estimates shows a dramatic decline in populations since 2000 and leaves in question how many wild horses and burros are even left on public lands. According to BLM the number of wild horses in government holding facilities will exceed those left on public lands around the time the government agency completes its desruction of the Calico horses.

“BLM only looks at removing or contracepting wild horses to manage what they claim to be exploding populations. BLM fails to look into restoring even a portion of their legally designated 24+ million acres that have been taken away from the wild horses and burros in the past 40 years.” —Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist.

“This is not only a humane issue, this is an issue about preserving a legacy that we have in the west.” —Congressman Raul Grijalva, in an address to wild horse advocates in Washington DC on September 29th, 2009.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Backyard Horse and Rider: Bring on the Rain!!! (...or "Look What I Got Today!")

Backyard Horse and Rider: Bring on the Rain!!! (...or "Look What I Got Today!")

How the Grinch (BLM's Ken Salazar) Stole Our Mustangs

In case you missed this when it made the rounds....

It's really too good (and informative) to miss!

Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction But Questions BLM Policies

Judge Friedman Denies Preliminary Injunction But Questions BLM Policies
Posted Dec 21, 2009 by laura allen, Animal Law Coalition

Update Dec. 23, 2009: Judge Paul L. Friedman has denied the motion by plaintiffs In Defense of Animals, Craig Downer and Terri Farley, for a preliminary injunction to stop the roundup of up to 2,736 wild horses from the Calico Mountain Complex herd management areas in Nevada.

But the judge has also rejected that BLM can continue to keep unadopted wild horses and burros in long term facilities. The judge agreed with the plaintiff that BLM has no authority to transport healthy unadoptable horses and hold them in long term holding facilities especially in places where they were not located previously, Oklahoma, Kansas or South Dakota.

The judge, however, found the plaintiffs did not raise this argument until their reply brief and it could not be the basis for a preliminary injunction. The judge said the defendants had not had time to brief the issue fully. The judge did reject the BLM's contention that Congress had ratified its policies of putting unadopted wild horses and burros into long term holding facilities by approving appropriations bills.

The judge suggested the agency postpone the roundup scheduled for December 28 but declined to issue an injunction at this time. The judge reasoned that if the BLM proceeds with the gather, knowing that long term holding may not be an option and with no funds under the Appropriations Act, FY 2010, for euthanization or sale for slaughter, the agency must come up with another solution for the horses it will have removed from the wild. The judge said that once removed as excess, the horses could not at that point simply be returned to the herd areas.

The judge found "untenable" the plaintiffs' other contention that BLM cannot round up and remove horses en masse. The court rejected the plaintiffs' interpretation of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1331 et seq, (WFRHBA) that BLM must determine on a case by case basis those horses deemed "excess" or causing an overpopulation, and then remove them under a tiered approach with the old, sick and lame taken first and then the healthy adoptable horses. The judge said such a process would put the BLM in "an impossible Catch-22" because the agency could not really evaluate the health or age of horses without capturing them first. The judge found the WFRHBA did not prohibit the BLM's current method of rounding up horses, separating them, sterlizing and returning some and placing others in short term holding facilities for adoption or sale.

Judge Friedman did also say the public and BLM's interest in controlling the overpopulation of wild horses could be negatively impacted by a delay. He said "issuance of an injunction at this stage might lead to substantial growth in already overpopulated herds" in the Calico Complex. The judge said that, according to BLM, a spring roundup could result in more injuries for the wild horses.

This ruling does not end the case. With this ruling, judge rejected the motion for a preliminary injunction to keep the status quo pending a final decision. It is a serious warning to BLM that the judge does not think its policy of keeping wild horses in long term holding facilities, is legal. But, unfortunately, unless BLM takes the judge's advice, the Calico roundup will proceed on Dec. 28.

At this point, the best course of action is to call on President Barack Obama and BLM to stop the roundups. Urge Congress to take action, too, and demand a stop to these roundups! Go here to find out how you can join the call for a moratorium on BLM roundups of wild horses and burros.

Calico Round-up not Stopped by Lawsuit

Associated Press article:

IDA press release from Makendra:

In Defense of Animals, 3010 Kerner Blvd., San Rafael, CAFor Immediate
ReleaseContacts: William J. Spriggs, Esq., 202 452 6051; Suzanne Roy,
919-697-9389Lawsuit to Protect Wild Horses Continues Despite Denial of
Injunction Against Massive Roundup Advocates Call on President Obama to Give
America¹s Wild Horses a Christmas Reprieve Washington, DC (December 23,
2009). . . . Wild horse advocates today celebrated a partial victory as U.S.
District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman ordered a lawsuit challenging a Bureau
of Land Management roundup of thousands of wild horses in Nevada forward,
but denied a preliminary injunction to stop the removal of horses, which is
scheduled to begin December 28. Judge Friedman¹s 25-page decision indicates
that he found merit in IDA¹s argument that the BLM¹s practice of stockpiling
tens of thousands of horses in long-term holding facilities in the Midwest
is not authorized by law, and invited both parties to expedite briefing on
that issue. Advocates are now calling on President Obama to give the horses
a holiday reprieve after filing complaints with the Department of Interior
and White House Office of Environmental Quality (CEQ) alleging multiple
violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). ³The President
should order a halt to this roundup until the legality of the long-term
holding facilities is determined. The BLM itself says this is not an
emergency roundup, so there would be no harm in waiting for adjudication of
this enormously important issue,² said William J. Spriggs, of Buchanan,
Ingersoll & Rooney, which filed the case on behalf of IDA, ecologist Craig
Downer and noted children's author Terri Farley. ³We are on strong ground in
charging that the BLM's policy of stockpiling tens of thousands of horses in
the Midwest, off their rightful Western ranges, is contrary to law, the
intent of Congress and the will of the American people,² Mr. Spriggs
concluded. Meanwhile, IDA is turning to the Administration in an effort to
save the wild horses living in the Calico Mountains Complex which is
comprised of more than 500 million acres in northwestern Nevada. Beginning
December 28, the BLM intends to wipe out 80-90 percent of the estimated
3,000 horses there
by stampeding them with helicopters over dangerous winter
terrain into capture pens, then loading them on to trucks bound for
government holding facilities in Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Just
four years ago, the BLM rounded up more than two thousand wild horses in
Calico in the winter of 2004-2005 and shipped 1,623 horses to short- and
long-term holding. ³This is a Christmastime appeal to President Obama on
behalf of America's wild horses,² said Elliot M. Katz, DVM, IDA President.
³While the President is enjoying the holidays with his lovely family, In
Defense of Animals asks him to think of the horse families who are about to
be torn apart forever in the BLM roundup. With the stroke of a pen, he can
stop the terror that is about to befall the majestic wild horses of the
Calico Mountains in Nevada.² IDA is asking the Administration to halt the
roundup, charging that the BLM violated NEPA by failing to adequately assess
the environmental impacts of its massive wild horse capture plan. Over
10,000 public comments were submitted in opposition to the Calico roundup,
which the BLM has stated will cost taxpayers $1.7 million. Despite promising
to deliver change, the Obama Administration has continued the Bush
Administration's policy of removing tens of thousands of wild horses from
their rightful Western ranges, often to make room for increased grazing of
privately-owned livestock on public lands. The BLM currently warehouses
33,000 wild horses in government holding facilities ­ the legality of which
Judge Friedman has just questioned ­ yet intends to round up and remove
12,000 more horses a year from the West for the next three years. After that
time, the number of wild horses held captive in zoo-like conditions will far
exceed those left in the wild. # # #In Defense of Animals is an
international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif.
dedicated to protecting animals' rights, welfare, and habitat through
education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in Mumbai, India,
Cameroon, Africa, and rural Mississippi

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mustangs and Trail Riding....Good Combination

Mustang Heritage Foundation and the American Competitive Trail Horse Association create mutual support and sponsorship…

“That’s about the only way I can describe what we’ve done” states Tom Scrima of ACTHA. “The Mustang Heritage Foundation and ACTHA have created a relationship that promotes both organizations while increasing Competitive Trail Ride Challenges (CTC’s) and fundraising opportunities for Mustang trainers.

“The mission of the Mustang Heritage Foundation is to increase adoption of wild horses” states Patti Colbert, Executive director of the MHF. “ACTHA is focused on providing support for the abandoned and unwanted horses. With the Foundation and ACTHA working together, we can positively impact the lives of horses in so many ways.”

Together the way it works is MHF has hundreds of their trainers all across the USA. MHF will give them the opportunity to become ACTHA ride hosts, or as ACTHA calls their local ride managers AFFILIATES. An affiliate holds ACTHA’s Competitive Trail Challenges, CTC’s©, all over the nation. Hundreds of rides happen every year from coast to coast giving wonderful prizes and recognition to the riders on America’s great unsung hero’s…The Great American Trail Horse. Riders can ride unique trails for pleasure or to be judged on various natural skill challenges along the way. Affiliates earn money at each of these local events, sometimes as much as $4,000. But there’s a lot of work and expertise that goes into the effort!

The rides are a one day affair and allow participants to ride locally and often on private lands not normally accessible to them. Sponsors lavish prizes and awards to these representatives of the largest sector of the horse industry….the trail rider!

“ACTHA donates up to 50% of its proceeds to horse charities…what better charity than the MHF!?” states Karen VanGetson, co-founder of ACTHA. The MHF is one of our favorite charities and we want to do more for them. Getting their trainers involved is a natural for us. To begin with we’re dealing with accomplished horse trainers who have knowledge of what it’s all about. These are dedicated professionals, many working a day job to support their passion, horses! What a great way for them to earn extra money while training that next winner of a MUSTANG MAKEOVER! They can use the money for their training expenses or for any cause they wish.”

ACTHA takes the modest fees they charge to bring the whole thing together and donates like mad to charities and non-profits. “Indeed in our first year of going national we and our wonderful affiliates raised over $100,000 for worthwhile rescues and non-profits!” states Carrie Scrima ACTHA’s other co-founder. “We plan to ear mark a substantial percentage of the funds received from the MHF trainer’s rides and give it to the MHF to carry on their wonderful work”.

“Not JUST a trail horse anymore!” is ACTHA’s motto…who ever thought this unsung hero would be raising big bucks for their less fortunate brothers and sisters who find themselves in a really bad situation?

“ Between the MHF and ACTHA we are fighting horse hunger and neglect one horse at a time and we won’t stop until every horse makes its way through this world humanely…PERIOD” states Patti Colbert and Tom Scrima… “Our work has just begun but we are confident it’s the beginning of the end of suffering for all unwanted horses. Millions of dollars as well as assistance to the major organizations trying to lobby and help those brave souls taking in horses for rehabiliatation will be donated by our two organizations, of that we are very confident.”

For more information on The Mustang Heritage Foundation go to;

For more information on ACTHA go to;

Tom Scrima


Friday, November 27, 2009

Wild Horses & Burros Available for Adoption in Winchester, CA

U.S. Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management
News Release

For Immediate Release: Nov. 24, 2009 CA-CDD-10-18
Contact: David Briery, (951) 697-5220 or Steve Razo, (951) 697-5217

Wild Horses and Burros Available for Adoption in Winchester
Strength, endurance, and spirit are qualities embodied in wild horses and burros that roam America’s rangelands. These living legends are available for adoption at Winchester Wild West Arena in Winchester, Calif. on Dec. 5, 2009, through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program. The mustangs and burros were gathered from public lands in California and Nevada, have been wormed and vaccinated, and are in excellent health. Spectators are welcome.
Animals arrive at noon on Friday December 4, and potential adopters may view the mustangs and burros from 1 to 5 p.m. An excellent media opportunity exists at noon when the animals arrive and unload. Approved adopters will receive a lottery number, which is required to participate in the lottery adoption Saturday morning starting at 9 a.m. The lottery adoption provides all adopters an equal opportunity to adopt the animal of their choice. BLM staff will approve adoption applications from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.
The adoption fee is $125.00 per animal. Animals not selected during the lottery adoption will be available for adoption on a first come, first served basis for the remainder of Saturday. Adoption fees may be paid by cash, check, or credit card.
Qualified adopters must be 18 years old, have adequate facilities, the financial means to care for the animal(s), and would have some experience training or raising a horse or burro. Adopters also must be a resident of the United States and have no convictions for inhumane treatment of animals. Qualified individuals with the proper facilities may adopt up to four animals.
The process is called an “adoption” because BLM retains title to the animal for one year after the adoption. During the year, a BLM compliance officer or designated representative will visit each adopter to ensure the animal is being cared for and has a good home. During this time adopters cannot sell their adopted animal. Adopters must notify BLM if the animal is moved.
After the first year, adopters may apply for title. BLM will pass title of the animal if all the stipulations of the adoption agreement have been met. The animal becomes the private property of the adopter only after BLM transfers title, which completes the adoption process.
Directions to Winchester Arena: from Interstate 215 exit S.H. 74 East; turn south on S.H. 79 S./ Winchester Road; turn west on 9th Street to 32150 S. Grand Ave. For more information about the Winchester adoption or the Bureau's Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program, contact BLM toll free at 866-4MUSTANGS or visit

visit our website
California Desert District Office – 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lawsuit Filed Giving Mustangs 28-day Reprieve

Nevada Mustangs Given 28-Day Reprieve

IDA Lawsuit Postpones Huge Wild Horse Roundup

Washington, DC (November 24, 2009) - The U.S. Department of Justice announced tonight that the massive roundup and removal of thousands of horses from public land in northwestern Nevada will be delayed until December 28 as a direct result of the filing of a lawsuit by In Defense of Animals and renowned ecologist Craig Downer on November 23.

Tomorrow, IDA and Mr. Downer plan to file a motion for a permanent injunction, with supporting affidavits from horse experts and eyewitnesses to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) roundups. The motion will ask Judge Paul L. Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop the roundup altogether.

The roundup and removal of 80-90 percent of the estimated 3,055 wild horses living in the BLM's Calico Mountain Complex was originally scheduled to begin December 1. The BLM has received over 10,000 public comments in opposition to the roundup.

"We welcome this moratorium on the capture and inhumane treatment of the Calico horses," said William Spriggs, Esq. of Buchanan, Ingersoll and Rooney, pro bono attorney for IDA and Mr. Downer. "The BLM plan for a massive helicopter roundup of these horses is entirely illegal."

"We are confident that the court will agree that America's wild horses are protected by law from BLM’s plan to indiscriminately chase and stampede them into corrals for indeterminate warehousing away from their established habitat," he said. "The magnificent wild horses and burros of the American West are an important part of our national heritage and must be preserved."

The Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act, passed unanimously by Congress in 1971, designated America's wild horses and burros as "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West," specifying they "shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death … [and that] to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of public lands.”

Since 1971, the BLM has removed over 270,000 horses from their Western home ranges and taken away nearly 20 million acres of wild horse habitat. Only 37,000 wild horses and burros remain on public lands in the West. By contrast, millions of cattle graze our public lands. Thirty-two thousand wild horses who have been removed from the range are already held in government holding facilities, and the BLM intends to round up 12,000 more horses in FY 2010.


In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitat through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in Mumbai, India, Cameroon, Africa, and rural Mississippi.

Vicki | A Voice for Our Horses

Equine Welfare Alliance