Wild Horse, Animal Welfare Advocates Sue to Halt Cruel, Unjustified, Secretive Round-Ups in Nevada

Wild Horse, Animal Welfare Advocates Sue to Halt Cruel, Unjustified, Secretive Round-Ups in Nevada

January 24, 2022
Animal Wellness Action contact:
Marty Irby, executive director
CANA Foundation contact:
Manda Kalimian, founder
Wild Horse Education contact:
Laura Leigh, president
Wild Horse, Animal Welfare Advocates Sue to Halt Cruel, Unjustified, Secretive Round-Ups in Nevada
Reno, Nevada – Friday, a coalition of wild horse and animal protection organizations filed suit in federal district court to halt the ongoing helicopter roundup operation by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the Pancake Complex in central Nevada. The action by Animal Wellness Action (AWA), CANA Foundation and Wild Horse Education (WHE) alleges that BLM has failed to take the necessary steps to “maintain a thriving ecological balance on the public lands” by conducting a Herd Management Area Plan as required by law before any removal of horses from ranges can occur. BLM has consistently ignored this legal mandate in its ongoing effort to rid America’s open ranges of wild horses across the country. 
The case also highlights the many problems arising from the BLM’s campaign of mass roundups that has resulted in hundreds of deaths and the placement of tens of thousands of federally protected horses and burros in barren BLM holding facilities at enormous expense to American taxpayers. It also seeks to force the agency to allow meaningful public observation of the roundup operations and access to the holding facilities where the animals are incarcerated after being removed from their rangeland home. 
“Using drought as a fig leaf for its illegal actions, the Bureau of Land Management is depopulating the West of its wild horses and burros herd by herd and burning through taxpayer dollars with their endless roundups and swelling holding facilities,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action. “It’s then allowing ranchers to pour cattle and sheep onto the land, making a mockery of their false claims about horse impacts on the range.”
The Pancake Complex roundup targets 2,030 wild horses for capture in a herd management area exceeding 1.1 million acres. The operation has already resulted in the deaths of at least 10 wild horses, including a young foal who was relentlessly chased by a BLM helicopter contractor after it snapped and broke its leg.
“The law recognizes the rightful place of wild horses and burros in the West, but the BLM treats them as interlopers,” said Manda Kalimian, founder of the CANA Foundation. “The prehistorical record shows that horses thrived on the continent for eons and the peer-reviewed science in our day shows that horses can revive our western grasslands at current densities.”
“Removal is not management,” said Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education (WHE). “Skipping management planning does not make a roundup plan magically become a management plan. This program remains unaccountable to the taxpayer and the public resource.”
WHE has been documenting the execution of the operation since it began on January 11. On the first day, a colt suffered a horrific broken leg and another young colt was run over and trampled in the trap corrals. In addition, heavily pregnant mares are being stampeded by low-flying helicopters over wet, slippery terrain as foaling season begins on the range.
A recurring theme in the helicopter roundups over the past year has been the efforts made by the BLM to prevent public observers from watching all aspects of the operations. It has been common for the agency to position observers up to two miles from the traps where the horses are captured, and to hide the traps behind hills and ridges. Once consigned to long-term holding facilities, most of which are on private property, many of the horses will never be seen again, and the concerned public may never know their fate. Many of the wild horses and burros end up in kill pens and slaughter auctions through the BLM sales and Adoption Incentive Program (AIP), which is routinely exploited by unscrupulous kill-buyers and their collaborators.
“Each day our team documents wild horses I have followed through generations. I will likely never see them again.” added Leigh, “We are losing one of the last large herds we have left. I am losing companions I have known for a very long time. This roundup tears my heart apart every single day.”
Docket number: Case 3:22-cv-00034 filed in Reno district court.

Comments 5

  1. I strongly encourage and support a consumer boycott of beef coming from any state where these practices exist. The grazing fees charged by BLM are absurdly low and amount to nothing more than American taxpayers subsidizing the profit margins of Western state environmental rapists. Federal land and the flora and fauna living there on belong equally to ALL Americans not just the local yokels living nearby. For the same reasons I do not buy beef or potatoes from Idaho and Montana because of those state’s wolf extermination programs. And IF CANA were serious about this issue you would go on the counteroffensive by starting a National and International boycott of USA beef…..One way to begin is by encouraging McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and other beef product outlets (and their customers) to get on board and certify that their beef products do not come from these areas. Until you do that your efforts are not the best use of your time, resources and credibility……..nor mine.

  2. This is my comment about all of y’all who wanted to take the land away from the wild horses overpowering rich people that think that the wild horses don’t matter they are they’re part of our history just like everything else from our past is our history and all of y’all keep wanting to erase our history erase it because y’all are ashamed to admit that y’all don’t know nothing y’all need to leave the wild horses where they’re at and stop trying to take them away from the being free

  3. Please end this! Our wild horses are the fabric of this country helped it to grow and prosper. These horses are national treasures. It is truly heartbreaking how man has decided greed over freedom for these horses. There was not a vote for us taxpayers if we wanted cows and sheep on millions of acres that belong to the US citizens the government and the BLM are doing what they want they are selfish, heartless and greed driven!

  4. I am totally with you on preserving our horses.
    Its dickensi got cruel. The former president has protections in order. Removal and killing is nit the answer. The blm is catering to ranchers where cattle and deep WILL DESTROY THE ECO SYSTEM.

  5. This is sickening greed
    Why is there laws to protect them
    But they clearly are not being protected they are being paid with tax payers money and then trying to adopt them out for pay and then b e ing sold to slaughter to be paid this is majority unacceptable and why is it they do not have to abide by the same laws as we do we get major fines and jail time for neglect of animals they have protection orders but being killed our country has gone to he’ll and a handbag someone needs to stop this and protect God’s Beautiful Creations this crime not being stopped gives people the ideal that the people who pay taxes and abide by the laws improvised should take the laws in thier own hands to protect these horses and burros that have no voice but they are so much smarter than we are they were all healthy and took care of themselves for years this is all over greed
    Please why should they lose thier lives ok they are not following rules and laws when they killing animals we recently had a big ordeal over black lives matter I believe was a target on racist bit the fact of matter is does not all life matter

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