Last September, Friends of Animals filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell challenging the decision to roundup and remove all horses from an area in northwest Colorado.
Friends of Animals’ has since sought to have the Court to submit a declaration from Dr. Bruce Nock on the traumatic effect of BLM’s roundups and the long-term health consequences to wild horses that may result from the stress of these events. Although the Court did not allow Friends of Animals to introduce his declaration, the good news is Court said it has enough information to determine whether BLM neglected to look at the physical, behavioral, and social impacts on wild horses from using helicopter drive trapping or helicopter-assisted roping to gather and remove them.
So Friends of Animals is moving forward with the case and will file a motion on the merits of the case this Friday.
This case is especially near and dear to our hearts at Friends of Animals as we adopted a foal who had survived a particularly violent, frightening, inhumane helicopter roundup of 167 wild horses from the West Douglas Herd Area in Colorado also in September. The BLM had once again contracted with Sun J Livestock, which historically has been abusive during its helicopter roundups—running the wild horses past their point of exhaustion, rushing them into the traps and leaving foals behind.
While being ripped from her family was devastating—her mom and band stallion outran the helicopters—at least Moxie’s life was spared during the West Douglas Herd roundup. Others weren’t so lucky. During the assault, another foal was killed by the BLM after it broke its leg fleeing from helicopters, and an older wild horse suffered a broken neck after it fell while being loaded onto a trailer headed for BLM holding prisons and was trampled by another wild horse.
“The Bureau of Land Management has never really publically examined the emotional, physical or social impacts to wild horses subjected to helicopter roundups on federal public lands,” said Michael Harris, director of Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program. “Coloradans should demand they do so before some of our last wild horses are subjected to such devastating physical and emotional pain.”
Today Moxie is thriving at our sanctuary in Texas and she will soon be introduced to wild horses Comanche and Bindi, who were also adopted by FoA last fall, so they can form a new band that will never be ripped apart by the BLM.