2010 BLM wild horse gathers start early
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2010:
RENO–The most aggressive year of Bureau of Land Management
wild horse captures since the passage of the 1971 Wild Free-Ranging
Horse & Burro Protection Act started early, with a first gather
apparently timed to try to evade activist notice.
Explained Martin Griffith of Associated Press, “The roundup
of 217 horses and burros along the Nevada-California border ended the
day before a BLM advisory board ignored advocates’ request for a
moratorium on such gathers. It also began shortly after the BLM
postponed a nearby roundup of thousands of wild horses in Nevada
because of a lawsuit.”
“The latest roundup had been scheduled to take place next
summer,” BLM officials told Griffith, “but was moved up at the
last minute and conducted from November 30 to December 6, about 120
miles north of Reno. Lack of advance notice prevented advocates from
filing an appeal with the Interior Board of Land Appeals.”
The larger Nevada gather was postponed after In Defense of
Animals applied for a preliminary injunction against it. U.S.
District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman denied the injunction request
on December 23, 2009.
Some activists perceived encouragement in a part of
Friedman’s ruling which concluded that the BLM practice of trucking
tens of thousands of wild horses to captivity far from their home
ranges may violate the Wild Free-Ranging Horse & Burro Protection Act.
However, Friedman found that the Act appears to be violated
not by removing wild horses from the range, as horse advocates
contend, but because it forbids the BLM “to relocate wild
free-roaming horses or burros to areas of the public lands where they
do not presently exist.”
The BLM, already holding about 31,000 wild horses, plans to
capture another 7,163 this winter, plus 4,395 later in 2010.