BLM Amends Nevada Gather Plan

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has agreed to amend part of a contested plan to gather mustangs from herd management areas in central Nevada.

Under the plan the BLM would conduct three to four gathers over a six- to 10-year period from the Pancake Complex in order to reach appropriate management levels there. During the initial gather slated to begin on Jan. 12, the agency planned to remove approximately 800 to 1,000 of the estimated 2,200 mustangs residing in the Complex, including all the mustangs from the Jakes Walsh Herd Management Area. The plan also calls for increased fertility control use for mustang mares, the adjustment of herd sex ratios, and the castration of 200 wild stallions to create a nonbreeding herd of geldings.

On Dec. 14 a group of mustang welfare advocates and ecologists filed a federal lawsuit seeking a halt to the BLM's plan on grounds that it violates the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

Chris Hanefeld, BLM Nevada spokesman, said that on Dec. 21 the agency agreed to amend the plan in order to give the court time to rule on the merits of the case.

"We agreed that this January we will gather not more than 50% of the Jakes Walsh herd," Hanefeld said. "Also, we will not geld any horses this January."

On Dec. 22 the presiding judge in the case approved the agreement, Hanefeld said.

Katherine Meyer, the attorney who filed the complaint on the mustang welfare advocates' and ecologists' behalf said the agreement avoids additional court action while the court reviews the case.

"The agency's agreement to delay these radical management actions will avoid the need to seek an emergency injunction over the holidays," Meyer said.

Meanwhile, Hanefeld said the BLM will proceed with other aspects of the gather plan.

"We'll still gather the full number of excess horses--800 to 1,000--still implement the 60-40 sex ratio and apply the fertility control," Hanefeld said.

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.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More