For Immediate Release
Suzanne Roy, 919-697-9389, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ginger Kathrens, 719-633-3842, email@example.com
Federal Court Sanctions Gov’t Plans to Eliminate Wild Free-Roaming Horses from Wyoming Checkerboard
Wild Horse Advocates Vow to Continue Fight Against Plan to Reduce Wyoming’s Wild Free-Roaming Horse Population by 46%
Cheyenne, WY ( April 4, 2013) – A federal court in Wyoming has approved a consent decree between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA) that will wipe out wild free-roaming horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard, a two-million acre swath of public and private land in the southern part of the state.
The Consent Decree was vigorously opposed by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation and the International Society for the Preservation of Mustangs and Burros, which were granted intervenor status in the case. The intervenors were represented by the public interest law firm Meyer, Glitzenstein & Crystal.
“We are appalled that the court has put a seal of approval on the BLM’s plan to destroy some of Wyoming’s last remaining and most popular wild horse herds,” said Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC). “The court’s decision to prioritize the interests of the livestock industry over protection of wild horses is blatantly wrong from a legal perspective. We vow to fight with all legal means available the BLM’s unlawful plans to wipe out wild horses from the Wyoming checkerboard.”
“As a party to the original agreement that protected wild horses in this critical habitat area, we are devastated by this decision, which will have lasting impacts on wild horses in Wyoming,” said Karen Sussman, president of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB). “This continues the BLM’s trend of managing our wild horses to extinction.”
Sussman noted that since the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed in 1971, the BLM has eliminated wild horses from over 20 million acres of designated habitat and reduced the number of Herd Management Areas from 303 to 179 today.
“This is a sad day for wild horses in Wyoming, a state that ironically promotes its mustangs in the state’s ‘Roam Free’ tourism ads,” said Ginger Kathrens, director of The Cloud Foundation. “The sweetheart deal between the ranchers and the BLM was put into motion when the Interior Department invited RSGA to file the suit against it, so that the BLM could capitulate to the ranchers’ demands, and then claim it is under a ‘court order’ to remove the horses”
Kathrens recently photographed the Great Divide Basin wild horses, which are targeted for elimination under the consent decree. The backroom dealing involved in this case was recently exposed in an article on The Atlantic.com entitled, How the Department of Interior Sold Out America’s Wild Horses.
Also objecting to the consent decree was Lloyd Eisenhauer, a former BLM manager in the Rock Springs and Rawlins areas. Eisenhauer submitted a declaration for the intervenors stating the following with regard to the BLM’s plans to zero out the Great Divide Basin and Salt Wells herds:
“The BLM has no biological or ecological basis for zeroing out a herd of wild horses in an HMA that existed at the time the wild horse statute was passed in 1971 . . . [B]ecause the wild horses have a statutory right to be there, whereas livestock only have a privilege that can be revoked at any time by BLM, there also is no authority or precedent, to my knowledge, for the agency to zero out these two longstanding wild horse herds simply to appease private livestock grazers.”
Eisenhauer also called the BLM’s plan to convert the White Mountain wild horse population to non-reproducing a “slow motion zeroing out of this HMA” that is “inconsistent with any wild horse management approach I am familiar with that BLM has implemented on public lands.”
Under the now-court sanctioned consent decree, the BLM will move forward with a plan to reduce the maximum number of wild free-roaming horses allowed in the state of Wyoming by 46%, from 3,685 to 2,070. An additional 205-300 sterilized horses (castrated stallions and spayed mares) would be allowed to remain on the land.
Specifically, the consent decree outlines the BLM’s plans to:
· Zero out (entirely eliminate) wild horses from the Salt Wells and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas (HMAs);
· Sterilize wild horses in the White Mountain HMA, thus destroying the federally-protected wild free-roaming behaviors of the mustangs who are a popular tourist attraction
· Cut by more than half the number of wild horses in the famed Adobe Town Herd Management Area.
The consent decree settles a lawsuit, filed in July 2011 by the RSGA against the BLM, seeking removal of all wild horses from the private and public lands of the Wyoming checkerboard. The RSGA is the nation’s largest grazing association and grazes thousands of livestock on BLM lands in the checkerboard for tax-subsidized fees that are approximately 1/16th of market rate.
For more information on the case, please click here: http://wildhorsepreservation.org/media/federal-court-grants-wild-horse-groups%E2%80%99-request-intervene-grazing-association-lawsuit-aiming-0
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. AWHPC is a campaign founded and sponsored by Return to Freedom.
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.
International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, founded over 50 years ago, was instrumental in securing the enactment of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the landmark federal legislation that established protections for wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands in the West.
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Suzanne Roy, Director
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign
Absolute bull. WHO WANTS THE LAND THAT THESE MARVELOUS ANIMALS OCCUPY? AND WHAT DO THEY WANT IT FOR? There is some hidden agenda here!
It is a not so hidden agenda – the ranchers want the land for their sheep and cattle, oil companies for drilling and fracking, and even land for wind farms…..and the wild horses are the ones that lose.
apparently the white house does not give a hoot about the horses.
and the blm is just making money on those horses. the roundups are costing taxpayers millions. and what happens after they are in the short term holding facilities.? makes me cringe to think they will be no more. doesn’t wyoming and the people have a say. only one judge can say it is ok for the horses to be taken.
perhaps calls to the judge are in order.
anyone have his number.?
Very sad that these ranchers can influence Washington to eliminate these beautiful horses that have been on these lands for generations. Elininating the Indian off their own land wasn’t enough.I thought these public lands belonged to ALL Americans, not just ranchers and their herd of cattle.
I have very little funds left (don’t worry I have lots of food and all the bills have paid). But I’m willing to put forth another ten dollars to appeal this. Whether that be the state Supreme Court or US–this MUST BE APPEALED! This is sheer and utter cow manure!
For any rancher reading this YOU are the reason I’m working on being vegetarian. I’m not there yet. But YOUR insane hatred of the wild horses is the driving force behind my decision. I never thought in a billion years I’d eat vegetables willingly much less be buying them!
Milk has been easy. I LOVE almond milk. Milk and cream for ice cream? That’s one got me still. And cheese. Can you feel the financial woes yet? I’m certain you will, between more and more advocates turning vegetarian and once the USDA gets off their lazy hind ends and tests our meat. I’m certain we will be told that our food is as contaminated as Europe is and maybe worse.
Dinner tonight at my house–stir fry. Potatoes, onions, carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, sausage/plain (mix)TVP. No cow at my house!
I am SO disappointed in the Ranchers. The land DOESN’T just belong to JUST them. The land is PUBLIC land and belongs to US, the Public. As such, it is supposed to be protected!! Let’s take it back!!! If you aren’t outraged by the blatant disregard for what was intended when the laws were written, you should be!! Laws are written for a reason. To protect rights, environment, etc. These cattlemen are greedy. Not satisfied to share they want it ALL. They are the reason these laws were written. The writers knew they had to write the laws because a certain minority couldn’t be trusted to do the right thing by the environment and the animals who reside there. How sad it will be when our children and grandchildren will be deprived of the Mustangs and other wildlife with all the rich heritage and iconoclastic history of the United States because of a minority of ranchers over lands THEY DO NOT OWN!!! As taxpayers, we should be outraged and fighting for the wildlife and lands these people are attempting to control. Please, join me. I urge you to immediately write and call your federal legislators and the President. Tell them this abuse will NOT be tolerated!! Urge them to sponsor and support the SAFE Act. This is important and we cannot wait.
Carol, I’ve read about Wild Horse Education and saw their videos. Do you work in cooperation with them? I know they file lawsuits to stop the inhumane round-ups.
Wild Horse Education is Laura Leigh’s organization. I actually work with The Cloud Foundation and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, both those organizations are involved in several lawsuits to save wild horses, and they often work together, as they have done in the RSGA v the BLM lawsuit.
I grew up on a old dairy farm, we had horses and cattle, funny how they did not mind sharing the land they were on. This is an outrage to want to kill something so beautiful and free. I will no longer eat any meat, these rancher’s and others who want the land for money should be get close to God soon.
This is nothing but a power grab by Rock Springs Grazing Assoc., which is controlled by a small group, primarily one family who controls a great deal in the area. Land has always represented power in the West, nothing less and nothing more. Diminishing the wild horses is just an insignificant casualty, nothing of any importance, to their grab. When the state BLM director, Don Simpson, was asked in Rock Springs about fencing off the checkerboard area, he responded that would take millions of dollars. And how much will it cost to round up hoses and care for them for the rest of their lives? There is no logic in this whatsoever.
This is so wrong.
want to donate, but want it to go to a legal fund which I have seen listed before. Help, anyone?
Here is the Cloud Foundation’s legal fund: http://www.thecloudfoundation.org/about-us/donate/310-mustang-legal-fund
The wildhorses have hit rock bottom…the only thing that is going to save them is an all out revolt against that disgusting practices of the BLM and the ranchers and their greed. This has been going on for too many years…stop the destruction of the wildhorse families…PROTEST…even if it means Jail for many wildhorse advocates…these criminals must be stopped…it will definitely create a stir at the White House if this is no longer toterated by us ordinary folk. The wildhorses belong to all of us and not the BLM, ranchers, oilmen, lumberjacks, and we have a right to say where they are allowed to live…this conspiracy has to end…NOW…I know that where I live if they were going to decimate a herd I would gladly go to jail knowing I had stood up to them…how many of us can they lock-up…I know these are just words but what the HELL has worked in the past? They make the rules and it is high time the rules are broken….screw them all.
I could not agree more … with all of you! Frustrated out of my mind that a LAW on the books since 1971 (Wild Horse and Burro Act) can be ignored in favor of grazing “permits” and all of these other “deals.” The Department of the Interior, its Secretary, and its BLM are a disgrace to the president’s cabinet and to this nation. Someone needs to listen to the equine experts whose advice on management has been and continues to be ignored by BLM, while they recklessly waste tax-payers’ money for their friends in the livestock industry, just to name one. How can this all be happening, amid the continued efforts and calls from citizens to do otherwise? Who has the President’s ear? Who can help? We need a breakthrough somewhere, and fast.
I may only be 16 and still in high school but as a believer in freedom and equality I am outraged. I’m currently doing a research paper on wild horses being captured and their history in America. Little did I know the situation was this big. Horses are my passion and it has always been my dream to move to a state where I can get a house in the mountains and look off in the distance and see a herd of wild horses. And no that dream is being threatened! How would those ranchers feel if someone swooped into their home and made them leave?! It’s not fair the wild horses were the ones who conquered and discovered America they were the first to be here nobody has the right to take their home away from them!
I Think this is complete bull crap. these horses are not doing anything to have to be killed. they are welcome to be free just like us. having their own rights. they deserve to live on this earth just like us. I am against this greatly and wish it would stop. there is no reason the ranchers cant have farms with sheep a fence is a fence the horses wont get in the way. if it was going to be a problem they should have never let horses free a long time ago where it deveopled to become WILD horses running free. There is plenty of land for people to do what they want there without having to kill the herds. it wouldnt be any diff if people were in the way and were killed because people wanted more room for their own stuff everything on this planet deserves to live
Sounds to me the BLM is a little money hungry and wants to get rid of the horses so they can make more money off the ranchers. It’s a sad day when we take history away from the people. There is nothing more beautiful than to see a large herd of horses running and playing. Why does America want to destroy that? You know they will all go to slaughter. This is not right!!! Government has become so scary anymore.
Greed is the rot of all evil. Give these horses their home back!!!!!
I am not sure I have the stomach for this sort of thing because I just read the news and cry. I am a vegetarian for the obvious reasons and do sign ‘No Fracking’ petitons but feel so helpless when it comes to the horses. The open ranges where horses and antelope can be free should never be lost. Horses are truly majestic animals and it is so painful to think that WY is letting this happen. I have a vacation home in WY and drive from IL and think the open ranges should never be taken for granted. I come from the East and there is nothing open. I reluctantly believe that culling a heard is maybe necessary but not the complete destruction! It is just so wrong and I feel this action will truly destroy the beauty and compassion of our nation. People can be so evil it makes me terrible sad. Thank you for trying to help and for making people aware.
I was literally in tears when I saw this on the news this morning. This is a testiment to what our country, our world has come to. These kind of people have run-out and killed our Native American Indians in the name of greed so why would they even think twice about these animals. I’m sick of these people thinking that money is everything. A life of freedom and peace is worth more that all the money in the world. There is plenty of land to go around for all the animals to graze in peace and harmony. Unlike these greedy people, I’m sure the animals would be graceful enough to share the thousands, and thousands of acres. There is always a better solution or alternative to cruel and inhumane treatment. I don’t know how these people can sleep at night. They are heartless and evil. Criminals! Our government isn’t much better as long as they allow this cruel and inhumane treatment of these beautiful and majestic creatures to continue. I’d rather see the horses and burro live out their lives naturally whatever the cost is. Yes, they die out in the wild and it’s sad but, at least it’s not at the cruel hand of a human and I’m sure the horses feel the same way. It’s the natural order. We should only intervene in order to help them if they are suffering and need to be put down in a humane manner but other than that we should not disrupt their lives in such a negative way. God put us on this earth to care for it and it’s many beautiful creatures. We are failing them on a huge scale because we are up against these awful monsters. May God give us strength we need to win this fight…to protect these helpless, innocent animals against this undue pain and agony that is being inflicted upon them. It is our duty. We owe it to them and ourselves.
Run free, my love…run free.