Hello Supporter, April 26, 2011
Groundbreaking Legal Decision Could Give Wild Horses Their Day in Court
Judge Rejects Interior Department's Motion to Dismiss Suit Over Twin Peaks Roundup
In a decision that may have far-reaching implications, Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. of the United States District Court, Eastern District of California, rejected the U.S. Department of Interior’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the roundup and removal of nearly 1,579 wild horses and 159 burros from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA) in northeastern California last year.
Judge England also ruled that the plaintiffs – In Defense of Animals (IDA), DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary, local resident and wild horse enthusiast Linda Hay and ecologist Chad Hanson, Ph.D.– have standing to challenge the action and that the case is not moot, despite the fact that the roundup has already taken place. In past wild horse roundup litigation, courts have dismissed claims as moot because the roundups had already ended. This has prevented the actual merits of the cases from being heard or ruled upon.
Congratulations to pro bono, environmental attorney Rachel Fazio and all of the plaintiffs for this big step forward in the Twin Peaks lawsuit.
More information about the court's ruling is available: IDA press release, AP news article and the Courthouse News Service article.
BLM Acknowledges "Unacceptable" Conditions at Utah Holding Facility
Agency Begins Removal of Horses from Knee-High Mud and Manure-Filled Pens
Earlier this month, AWHPC coalition partner The Cloud Foundation exposed the deplorable conditions at the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) holding facility outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Based on the eyewitness account of Lisa Friday, a wild horse adopter, this YouTube video resulted in extensive media coverage exposing the unacceptable conditions in which recently-captured mustangs were forced to live.
The BLM acted quickly as a result of this public exposure, sending in a review team that acknowledged the facility was never intended to warehouse horses year round and recommended that "a sufficient number of horses be moved out of the facility as soon as possible so as to provide for the well-being of the horses." The BLM began moving horses out of the mud and manure-filled pens this week to other facilities. At least 100 have been shipped to a holding facility at Gunnison Prison in Utah, which is open to the public only by appointment.
The BLM's internal review team report and the video showing the inexcusable conditions are available here.
AWHPC Founding Sponsor Advocacy Sponsor
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. Supported by a coalition of over 40 organizations, its grassroots campaign seeks:
* A suspension of roundups in all but verifiable emergency situations while the entire BLM wild horse program undergoes objective and scientific review;
* Higher Appropriate Management Levels (AML) for wild horses on those rangelands designated for them;
* Implementation of in-the-wild management, which would keep wild horses on the range and save taxpayers millions of dollars annually by avoiding the mass removal and stockpiling wild horses in government holding facilities.
You are subscribed to the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign's email list. You can unsubscribe here.
Also of Note...
PBS Airs Nature Program's Cloud Series This Week
Check for Broadcast Dates & Times in Your Area
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ginger Kathren's Cloud series is airing this week on PBS stations across the country. For years, Ginger's films about the wild stallion Cloud and the other wild horses of the Pryor Mountain Range in the Northern Rockies have inspired millions of people to care about America's mustangs.
Click here to check for air dates & times in your area.
Also, please take a minute to let PBS Nature know that you would like to see more episodes of the Cloud series. It's important for PBS to hear from viewers who appreciate these films, which teach about the importance of freedom and family to wild horses.
Actress Wendie Malick Speaks Up for Wild Horses
Wendie Malick is known for her roles in various television shows, but did you know that Wendie is a strong advocate for wild horses as well? Wendie takes her love for our cherished mustangs everywhere she goes. She is scheduled to produce and star in a Hallmark made-for-TV movie about wild horse Annie, based on Deanne Stillman's book, "Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West."
Last week, the Congressional newspaper The Hill asked Wendie what issue she would address if she had five minutes to speak with President Obama ...we think you'll like her answer as much as we did. (Hint: They are majestic and wild.)
Read Wendie's interview with The Hill here.