Wild Horse Advocates Seek Nevada Lawsuit Dismissal

Wild Horse Advocates Seek Nevada Lawsuit Dismissal

The lawsuit asks the BLM to remove horses from rangelands in order to protect the ranges' ecologic balance.

Photo: Thinkstock

A group of wild horse advocates has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Nevada Association of Counties and the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation asking the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to remove horses from public and private rangelands in order to protect the ranges' ecologic balance.

The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 federally protects wild horse and burro herds residing on Western rangelands and places them under the BLM's jurisdiction. The BLM website indicates that more than 20,000 wild horses and burros in resided in Nevada during the last fiscal year; the BLM says Nevada's maximum management level is about 12,700.

The lawsuit, filed in January, alleges that the BLM violated the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act because the agency failed to remove “excess” horses from the Nevada rangelands. The complaint, filed on behalf of Nevada ranchers who graze their livestock on the same ranges, claims that the BLM's failure to remove the animals resulted in damage to the ranges' ecological integrity and threatening the ranchers' livelihoods.

Suzanne Roy, director of American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), said the court granted a request by the AWHPC, author Terri Farley, and wild horse photographer Mark Terrell to intervene in the case on April 3. And on May 29, the AWHPC, Farley, and Terrell filed a motion asking the court dismiss the case on grounds that the lawsuit lacks legal basis for its action, Roy said.

“The lawsuit lacks merit and is the latest attempt by ranchers to create a legal facade to give the BLM an excuse to cave in to their interests and remove more mustangs,” Roy said.

No one from the either Nevada Association of Counties or the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation was available for comment on the motion to dismiss.

Tom Gorey, BLM spokesman, declined comment on the case.

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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