Update On Nevada Horses

The Fund for Animals and the Doris Day Animal League sent a joint letter to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials and the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) charging that a planned round up of more than 800 wild horses from Crescent Valley would be in violation of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WHBA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). "If the BLM participates in a round up of these horses as currently planned, it will be playing a direct role in sending wild horses to slaughter in violation of federal law," said Andrea Lococo, Rocky Mountain Coordinator of The Fund for Animals.

The horses are currently living on land used as a ranch by Mary and Carrie Dann of the West Shoshone tribe, but the BLM has obtained a court ruling stating that the land is public. While some of the horses bear the brand of the Dann Ranch, the BLM maintains that the horses are trespassing and most are unclaimed or "estray" and subject to removal. However, the WHBA specifically defines "wild horses" as "all unbranded and unclaimed horses on public lands in the United States." The WHBA permits removal of "excess animals" from public land only where it is necessary to maintain a "thriving ecological balance" on the range, and it expressly forbids the BLM from sending wild horses to slaughter.

After rounding up the more than 800 horses, the BLM then plans to turn all the unbranded horses over to the NDA for disposition. "While the NDA has contacted several wild horse organizations to buy the horses at $50 per head, it is clear that any horses not adopted will be picked up by a livestock buyer and sold to slaughter," said Lococo.

"The Doris Day Animal League and The Fund are asking the BLM to waive the $50 fee for each horse and to pay their transport costs to sanctuaries," said Liz Clancy Lyons, Director of Special Projects of the Doris Day Animal League. "That way they will avoid any possible WHBA violations and the horses will be saved from slaughter. If the round up is to continue, The League and The Fund are prepared to explore all options available to us to ensure BLM's compliance with federal law."

Meyer and Glitzenstein, a Washington, D.C.-based public interest law firm, sent the letter to the agencies on behalf of The Fund for Animals and the Doris Day Animal League.

A copy of the six-page letter is available by clicking here.

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