New York, NY (October 15, 2010)—A New York Federal District Court Judge will consider a request on October 20 to stop the federal government’s roundup and removal of Colorado’s North Piceance wild horse herd. Second-string contractors,hired by the BLM, already have killed one mare who attempted to escape with her baby. They roped her, choked her down, kicked her and then dragged her into the trailer. Yesterday the mare was shot. An application for a Temporary Restraining Order/Preliminary Injunction was filed yesterday by the plaintiffs, Habitat for Horses, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The Cloud Foundation, Toni and Don Moore, DVM in order to stop the roundup. This legal action is co-funded by Habitat for Horses Advisory Council and the ASPCA.
“The wild horses already rounded up need to be returned to the range now. The BLM must take responsibility for the violent treatment and death of the Colorado mare and the hundreds of mustang deaths this year alone,” asserts Cloud Foundation Director, Ginger Kathrens.
A hearing has been scheduled in the U.S. District Court in New York City for October 20th where the BLM will be required to defend its North Piceance roundup which is in violation of multiple federal laws .
Wild horses and burros are now mismanaged at levels far below genetic viability across the West, contrary to the guidelines in BLM’s own management handbook. The BLM selectively uses and repeatedly distorts the actual number of wild horses and burros on the range while dismissing their most effective natural predator—the mountain lion—as non-existent. Wild horses are a return-native species to North America and add to the biodiversity of our public lands, improving their ecosystem. There are currently more than 40,000 wild horses and burros in government holding and BLM continues with plans to roundup and remove more than 11,000 this fiscal year. The herds are often replaced with energy development and welfare cattle. More than 100 herds have been completely eliminated since the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, along with the theft of more than 24 million acres of land designated for their use.
54 members of Congress asked the BLM to cease roundups in July, joining the call for an immediate moratorium on roundups. A congressionally-requested National Academy of Sciences investigation will begin early in 2011 but will come too late for thousands of wild horses and burros without an immediate halt to the taxpayer-funded roundups.
Kathrens continues, “In my opinion the BLM has lost the privilege of managing America’s wild horses and burros. It is time to create a new Bureau that works to sustain and protect our celebrated herds—not eradicate them.”
(Update: two more wild horses were killed in the North Piceance roundup on Friday, Oct. 15, a three year old mare and a 7-month old foal. More details from the Associated Press article online here)