FoA to present ‘Can the law save America’s wild horses?’ at prestigious Environmental Law Conference

From March 5-8, thousands of activists, attorneys, students, scientists and community members from more than 50 countries around the globe will converge in Eugene, Ore., to participate in the 33rd annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) and share their ideas, experience and expertise. 

And Friends of Animals will be among the attendees as the organization was invited to lead a panel discussion on March 7 entitled “Can the Law Save America’s Wild Horses?” The panel will examine the scientific, legal and political implications of protecting wild horses in America and provide insight into FoA’s legal petition to get wild horses listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. 

The session will also explore how climate change is taking its toll on western public lands. For example, more than 15 years of drought has devastated habitat from California to Wyoming. While many species in the west are impacted, little attention has been given to wild horses. Drought has placed America’s dwindling wild horse population—less than 41,000 according to the Bureau of Land Management, however likely much less as the agency tends to inflate wild horse numbers to justify removing them—in direct competition with the hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep seeking to graze on public grasslands. The result has been proposals to round up and remove many, if not all, of the remaining herds, or forcefully drug mares with the fertility control pesticide PZP. 

The overall theme of this year’s conference is “Changing Currents” and expresses an awareness that the physical currents of our planet are shifting and that we must alter our hu­man patterns to adapt for a better future. Actions of the past set in motion the drastic changes we are experiencing today. At the same time, our actions today will deeply affect our world’s future. This year’s confer­ence will provide an opportunity to challenge each other and discuss solutions and strategies for how we may move forward in confronting the world of today with an eye towards tomorrow’s reality.

Among the keynote speakers are author and environmentalist Bill Mckibben, His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages. He is founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement.

Widely renowned independent journalist, Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, is also a keynote speaker. 

Goodman is dedicated to reporting issues that corporate media chooses to ignore or marginalize. Her work informs activists and the public with critical intelligence about the array of environmental crises of today. In her words, Democracy Now! fills a “huge niche” created by mainstream media’s “knowing so little about so much.” Democracy Now! regularly covers issues related to climate change and the climate movement.

As an investigative journalist, Goodman produced the documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria’s Oil Dictatorship about a conflict between the military and protestors of Nigeria and Chevron’s environmental and human rights abuses.

For more information about PIELC, visit this website.