Wild Horse Advocates File Appeal in Pryor Mountain Case

A group of wild horse advocates have appealed a U.S. District Court decision to dismiss their lawsuit challenging Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) management of wild horses on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. The advocates say the agencies' management techniques threaten the horses' survival.

In their 2010 lawsuit, the Cloud Foundation, Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), and Carol Walker, director of field documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, alleged that a BLM and USFS plan to construct a two-mile-long fence along the Montana-Wyoming border violated the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 because it denied the Mustangs access to traditional grazing areas. The BLM and USFS sought the case's dismissal.

Cloud Foundation spokeswoman Paula Todd King said the Cloud Foundation, FRER, and Walker filed an appeal of the court's dismissal decision on April 23 in the District of Columbia Circuit Court. The appeal alleges the fence endangers the wild horse herd's genetic variability.

No one from the BLM was available for comment.

Ginger Kathrens, founder and executive director of the Cloud Foundation, said the Pryor Mountain herd is the oldest in the west. The herd is believed to be descended from Spanish colonial horses, Kathrens said.

"The fence threatens the survival of the Pryor Mountain wild horse herd by eliminating thousands of acres of vital late summer and fall grazing,” Kathrens said. “(And) obviously with fewer horses on the range, the chances increase that individuals will be more closely related than if the herd were larger.”

The case remains pending.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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