Contested Mustang Gather Postponed

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has postponed a Nevada mustang gather that is at the center of a lawsuit brought by a group of wild horse advocates last week.

On July 7 the BLM was slated to begin gathering more than 1,700 animals collectively from the Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in Nevada and the Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory in Nevada. The ranges should have a combined herd population of between 472 and 889 animals, according to the agency. The agency said the gather is necessary to reduce herd populations so that forage and water resources at each HMA are sufficient to sustain the animals residing there.

On June 29 the Cloud Foundation, a Colorado-based wild horse advocacy group, along with ecologist Craig Downer and Lorna Moffat, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Nevada claiming the BLM failed to demonstrate that the animals threaten the thriving natural ecological balance of the ranges or that the mustangs are responsible for range areas that might exhibit some use-related impact. The complaint asks the court to halt the gather until or unless the BLM fully complies with National Environmental Policy requirements to consider all reasonable alternatives to removing the animals to reduce use impact on the ranges. A preliminary hearing on the complaint is slated for July 14.

On Tuesday (July 5), the BLM announced it would delay the start of the gather until after the preliminary hearing takes place. The gather is now slated to begin July 16, said agency Spokesman Chris Hanefeld.

Attorney Rachel Fazio, who is representing the plaintiffs in the court action, said she would like to see the gather postponed even further into the future: "It is my understanding that the BLM elected to delay the start of the roundup in order to facilitate the Court's consideration of plaintiffs' requested injunction on a less constricted schedule than review of a temporary restraining order would have allowed."

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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