Thursday, December 24, 2009

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

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