For Immediate Release
Court Grants Wild Horse Advocates Right to Intervene in State of Wyoming Anti-Mustang Lawsuit
Cheyenne, WY (January 7, 2014) . . . On Monday, January 5, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming granted a motion by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, and wild horse photographers Carol Walker and Kimerlee Curyl to intervene in a State of Wyoming lawsuit against the U.S Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over wild horse management. The lawsuit seeks the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands in Wyoming, a state in which fewer than 2,500 wild horses remain.
“Our clients wanted to intervene in the case to defend wild horses from the pro-ranching special interests and their allies in state government. Our clients’ goal is to prevent the federal government from acceding to their claims that the horses must be removed from the public lands to protect the private livestock that are allowed to graze on the same lands,” said Caitlin Zittkowski, of Meyer, Glitzenstein and Crystal, the Washington-DC based law firm that is representing the groups and individuals intervening in the case.
Last year, the BLM settled a similar legal attack by pro-ranching interests in Wyoming, agreeing to decimate nearly half of the state’s remaining wild horse population. This settlement was then used to justify the blatantly illegal roundup of 1,263 wild horses from three Herd Management Areas in Wyoming last fall, an action that is the subject of active litigation filed by the same organizations and individuals.
Under the current Administration, the BLM has rounded up so many wild horses that the number of mustangs stockpiled in government warehouses (nearly 50,000) now exceeds the number that remain free in the wild (under 40,000).
Statewide, Wyoming’s wild horse population levels are far below the high Appropriate Management Level of 3,722 wild horses, a number established by land use plans throughout the state.
The advocates maintain that the governor’s decision to expend public resources on a lawsuit against the BLM is ironic for a state with so few wild horses remaining, and one that promotes wild horses in tourism videos that tout Wyoming as a state that remains untamed, wild and free.
In Wyoming, wild horse numbers are dwarfed by the number of livestock grazing on public lands at taxpayer expense. Fewer than 2,500 wild horses remain on just 3.2 million acres of public rangeland, while hundreds of thousands of livestock graze 18 million acres of public land in the state. Put another way, wild horses are present in Wyoming on just 2 percent of the BLM land grazed by livestock.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 50 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.
The Cloud Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana. Cloud is the subject of Foundation founder Ginger Kathrens’ groundbreaking PBS/Nature documentaries.
Return to Freedom (RTF) is a national non-profit dedicated to wild horse preservation through sanctuary, education and conservation, and also operates the American Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, CA. It is also AWHPC’s founding organization.
Carol Walker and Kimerlee Curyl are renowned wild horse photographers who regularly photograph the wild horses of the Adobe Town, Great Divide Basin and Salt Wells Creek HMAs. Carol Walker is also a board member for the Wild Horse Freedom Federation.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, John Steele, and Lisa Friday are being represented by the public interest Washington D.C. law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal.
Thank you for this wonderful news! I sure hope they prevail!
Having made 2 trips to the western states to see the wild horses I believe Wyoming is not helping its image by the inhumane way they are treating our heritage, the wild horses. After weeks of traveling and looking wherever horses were supposed to be, we saw one band of 7 in the Wild horse loop, and about 15 in Red Canyon. I do not believe there are as many as stated roaming free. I hope the court will uphold the rights of these animals.
I want to say THANK YOU!!! To all the hard work for all these non-profit organizations, photographers, advocates, etc for fighting to preserve these wild lands, their wildlife animals and in specially the wild horses and burros. Those who are the symbol of this Country and belongs to these lands.
Great News! I hope other people who works for the government understand the importance of all of this and understand that leaving these horses and burros in their own habitat won’t cost any peny to the people of this country and bring enormous benefits to the lands.
Instead to spend money we will get more from the turism that the Wild Horses are going to bring more and more every year.