NEW YORKThe ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) has filed suit in United States District Court, Southern District of New York, against U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to challenge the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) illegal roundup of the Piceance-North Douglas Herd, one of America’s federally protected wild horse herds. Along with equine protection groups, Habitat for Horses and the Cloud Foundation, the ASPCA is seeking an immediate injunction against the planned removal of the entire wild horse herd in Colo. on October 11.
“The BLM is systematically driving America’s wild horses to extinction,” said Matt Bershadker, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty. “They have continued to increase their efforts to remove these horses from public land legally designated for their use despite intense public outcry. The ASPCA decided to take legal action against the BLM’s inhumane and fiscally irresponsible policies before a national treasure is completely eradicated.”
The BLM continues to violate the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which was passed to protect wild horses and burros from capture and preserve the land used by them. More than 19 million acres originally designated for their use have slowly been whittled away for cattle grazing, making them both the victim and target for removal. The use of helicopters to run the terrified horses over miles of scorching desert has resulted in serious injuries and several horse deaths throughout the summer, as well as one-half or more of the wild horse population languishing in long-term holding pens. The ASPCA is calling for an immediate reintroduction of wild horses onto federal lands previously designated for their use, as well as greater transparency in the benefits cattlemen have derived from BLM policies.
The BLM’s ongoing policy of eliminating entire herds without due consideration of the extreme nature of this conduct and its impact on the rangeland also violates the National Environmental Protection Act. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has been authorized by the BLM to determine accurate population sizes and appropriate herd management levels, and the ASPCA is seeking a complete moratorium on all future roundups until NAS publishes their findings.
For more information on the BLM’s mismanagement of America’s wild horses, please visit www.aspca.org.