Friends of Animals (FoA) just obtained another remarkable victory for wild horses—the organization challenged one of the largest wild horse roundups in Wyoming’s Red Desert Complex and won.
In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) authorized the roundup and removal of 2,096 wild horses from the Lost Creek, Stewart Creek, Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain and Green Mountain Herd Management Areas in south central and central Wyoming. The agency’s decision also allowed the forced drugging with fertility control of some mares to be released back to the HMAs.
“Friends of Animals challenged the agency’s decision because, among other things, BLM failed to consider the impact of its decision on the unique Iberian genotype of these wild horse herds,” said Jennifer Best, associate attorney for FoA’s Wildlife Law Program. “Our lawsuit argued that BLM had committed to preserve this genotype and was legally required to consider how its decision would impact these distinct wild horses.”
The Court vacated and remanded BLM’s decision, meaning BLM cannot remove these horses until it goes back to analyze the potential impact of roundups on the special genotype of these horses and issues a new decision.
“BLM has committed in its Range Management Plans to engage in management practices, monitoring and analyses to help assure a sufficient prevalence of these historically important breeds,” noted Judge Nancy Freudenthal. “BLM should not ignore such promises during periodic gathers, risking the loss of significant genetic resources.”
“This case is part of FoA’s ongoing effort to ensure BLM follows through with its commitments to the public and to ensure that all wild animals receive the ethical consideration they deserve,” Best said. “These roundups would have separated many wild horses from their close-knit families and homes on the range, caused significant stress and likely would have resulted in some wild horse deaths.”
Friends of Animals, an international animal protection organization founded in 1957, advocates for the rights of animals, free-living and domestic around the world. www.friendsofanimals.org