Friends of Animals has filed a preliminary injunction against the Bureau of Land Management to halt the roundup of 400 wild horses from the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area in Utah, which is set to begin as early as July 11, 2021.
FoA is currently involved in a lawsuit against the BLM’s multiple 10-year wild horse management plans, which conflict with the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971, and the Onaqui Mountain HMA is one of the HMAs involved in the lawsuit.
The BLM proposes to permanently remove 296 from the Onaqui Mountain HMA and forcibly drug 52 mares with a fertility pesticide, thus obliterating this beloved herd.
“BLM continues to ignore the evidence that wild horses belong on the Onaqui Mountain HMA—ripping them from the range disrupts the ecosystem and it’s cruel,” said Jennifer Best, assistant director for Friends of Animals Wildlife Law Program. “Furthermore, these unique wild horses are treasured by the local community as well as by the people from around the world who travel to view them. FoA believes that BLM is legally required to consider the input of the public, including experts on wild horses and ecology, before removing wild horses forever. We are asking a court to stop this roundup and allow these iconic animals to live wild and free so they can flourish in their own way.”
The injunction states that the BLM did not issue a formal decision that the removal of wild horses in July is necessary, nor did it analyze the impact of the proposed roundup as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. Instead, BLM relied on a decision issued on Dec. 14, 2018, and the corresponding NEPA analysis for its authority to remove wild horses. However, BLM never disclosed this proposed roundup in the 2018 Decision, nor did it disclose the 2021 roundup to the court.
The BLM established the appropriate management level within the Onaqui Mountain HMA at 159 wild horses. Meanwhile, in the Onaqui Mountain West allotment, 228 cattle are allowed to graze; and in the Onaqui Mountain East allotment, 299 are allowed to graze. In the nearby West Lookout Pass allotment, a staggering 8,736 sheep are allowed to graze.
You can read the injunction here.