September 11th, 2013 by Jack Carone
For the first time in history, on August 29, the Ninth Circuit Court in Pasadena, CA, heard arguments about whether a wild horse and burro roundup was consistent with the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The roundup took place in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada) in 2010. The roundup removed about 1,700 (more than 70 percent) of the wild horses and burros from this range, most of whom are still held in confinement, while others have been adopted, sold or have died.
IDA is one of five plaintiffs in this groundbreaking lawsuit—an appeal hearing was held last week. IDA members and horse advocates from around the country packed the courtroom. The case addresses numerous issues, including whether the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was required to prepare an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act for the roundup, whether the Wild Horse Act provides meaningful protections for wild horses and burros, whether the BLM is permitted to remove wild horses without first establishing that wild horses are compromising range vegetation, and whether the practice of warehousing captured wild horses and burros in long-term holding facilities in the Midwest violates the law.
Thanks to everyone who attended the hearing! IDA will provide an update as soon as we hear the outcome.