On March 12, 2015, the U.S. District Court in Nevada Judge Miranda Du granted a motion by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), author Terri Farley and photographer Mark Terrell to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) and local ranchers against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeking the removal of thousands of wild horses from public lands and the sale for slaughter of wild horses warehoused in government holding facilities.
"This frivolous bid by cattlemen to roundup and slaughter Americaâs iconic wild horses to clear the public lands for commercial livestock grazing has now been soundly rejected by the federal court,â said Suzanne Roy, director of AWHPC.
Â© 2015 by Kersti Nebelsiek
The motion was granted âwith prejudice,â which means it cannot be amended or refilled. Judge Du ordered the Clerk âto enter judgment in favor of Federal Defendants and Defendant-Intervenors American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Terri Farley, Mark Terrell, and Laura Leigh.â
âWe are pleased that the Court declined to allow these grazing interests to use the judicial system to revamp the priorities of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burros Act â to protect wild horses on the public lands as much as possible,â said Katherine Meyer of Meyer, Glitzenstein & Crystal, which represented AWHPC, Ms. Farley and Mr. Terrell in the case.
âThis frivolous bid by cattlemen to roundup and slaughter Americaâs iconic wild horses to clear the public lands for commercial livestock grazing has now been soundly rejected by the federal court,â said Suzanne Roy, director of AWHPC. âPublic lands management must reflect American values for wild horse and burro protection. The days of preferential treatment of ranchers who receive taxpayer subsidies to graze private livestock on public lands must come to an end.â
Filed on behalf of Nevada ranchers, who graze their private cattle and sheep on American public lands that they lease at well-below market rates, the NACO lawsuit sought to compel the BLM to immediately round up and remove more than 6,000 wild horses from Nevada public lands, conduct wild horse and burro roundups every two months in the state, and to âauction, sell or otherwise dispose ofâ the 50,000 wild horses and burros currently stockpiled in government warehousing facilities.
According to AWHPC, the NACO lawsuit was part of a broader strategy by ranchers to use the courts to compel the BLM to remove an increasing number of wild horses from public lands and sell captured wild horses for slaughter. AWHPC has been granted the right to intervene in similar lawsuits in Utah and Wyoming.
National opinion polls indicate that 80 percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter, 72 percent support protecting wild horses on public lands, while just 29 percent want public lands used for livestock grazing.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 60 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.
Terri Farley is a full-time author who lives in the Reno area and spends a significant amount of time observing wild horses, both on the range and in the holding facilities. She is the author of the Phantom Stallion book series, which has sold over a million copies worldwide and is currently working on a new book, Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them, scheduled to be released in the Spring of 2015.
Mark Terrell owns the Dayton-based Wild Horses of Nevada Photography. He is a nationally known wild horse photographer and operator of tours that provide visitors with the opportunity to view, experience, and photograph the wild horses of Nevada.