Complaint Seeks Halt to Nevada Mustang Gather

A wild horse advocate hopes the federal court will prevent the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from completing a previously contested mustang gather on grounds that the round-up is inhumane.

Originally, the BLM had planned to begin gathering approximately 1,726 animals collectively from the Triple B, Maverick-Medicine, and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and the Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory, in Nevada on July 7. 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.

The gather was postponed after a complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada claiming that 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 may exhibit some use-related impact.

On July 15, U.S. District Court Judge Howard McKibben declined to prevent the gather, and on July 19 the 9th District Circuit Court declined to grant an emergency injunction to block the round-up. As a result, the gather began on July 20. It is scheduled to be completed later this month.

On Aug. 24, wild horse advocate Laura Leigh, vice president of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, filed a complaint and a companion temporary restraining order asking the U.S. District Court Nevada District to shop the gather on grounds that during round-ups animals in holding facilities lacking water, are inappropriately fed, and that helicopter pilots fly dangerously close to exhausted animals.

BLM Spokesman Tom Gorey declined comment on the lawsuit.

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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