Our southern California TCF Board Member, Anni Williams, attended the Twin Peaks hearing yesterday. Here is her summary of the proceedings. As an aside, Anni was with me when Cloud tottered out of the trees when he was just a few hours old! I’m so glad she was able to attend this important event.
Anni just added in our most recent phone conversation about the hearing, that there were Native Americans present in full tribal dress supporting the wild horses.
Report from Anni Williams, TCF Board Member:
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals listened on Thursday, August 29th, to arguments regarding the Twin Peaks lawsuit … and the hearing was well worth attending! Over 65 wild horse advocates jammed the small courtroom to hear IDA/DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary attorney, Rachel Fazio, challenge BLM actions in the recent gather of 1500 wild horses and 160 burros from the Twin Peaks range. I was proud to sit among the impressive group of advocates who showed tremendous restraint as the BLM attorney offered weak arguments in defense of the “criteria” or lack thereof for removal. When one of the three judges on the bench asked the BLM attorney, “Who pays for holding the horses after roundups?” advocates audibly snickered and were cautioned not to interrupt the speaker again. We were biting our tongues during the entire BLM presentation in light of seemingly poor preparation and complete lack of supporting evidence. (Two men argued the BLM case but I was unable to hear the names of the speakers.)
While all three judges appeared to be limited in their knowledge of BLM history or even current responsibilities and actions, two judges out of the three asked some very probing and relevant questions of both parties. The BLM attorney implied but did not provide evidence that “riparian damage” and damage to Indian artifacts justified the removals.