This holiday season, we have some good news to share with you . . . from progress on the legal front, to a major development in the fight to protect Arizona's cherished Salt River wild horses, to the rescue of 21 beautiful Virginia Range mustangs from slaughter! Thank you to all the AWHPC supporters who, through your actions and financial support, make this work possible!
- The AWHPC Team
Photograph of Wyoming Wild Horse Herd by Kimerlee Curyl
December 15, 2015
Fight for Wyoming Wild Horses Moves Forward
Our fight to hold the Bureau of Land Management accountable for its illegal rounding up of 1,263 wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard in the fall of 2014 continues. We recently filed our opening brief with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. We are challenging the lower court's decision to allow the BLM to subvert the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act by using a request from a landowner to remove horses from private lands as an excuse to permanently remove them from over two million acres of public lands as well. If allowed to stand, this ruling could place wild horses and burros across the West at the mercy of a few local property owners who want them gone. The legal issues at stake are so important that a group of distinguished environmental law professors has filed an Amicus brief in support of our position.
Meanwhile, the BLM is still accepting public comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) the agency produced to correct previous legal violations related to the Checkerboard roundup. If you have not yet done so, please submit your comments today. Let's take this opportunity to weigh in against the agency's audacious trouncing of federal law and in favor of an alternative that would return some of the captured Checkerboard horses to their rightful homes back on the range.
Last Friday, the U.S. Forest Service officially withdrew its notice to impound the beloved Salt River wild horses from the Tonto National Forest in Mesa, Arizona. The Forest Service now says it will work with private stakeholders to develop a management plan for these horses who have lived on the lower Salt River for more than a century. AWHPC is pleased to have played a role in this victory by providing political and grassroots support to our coalition partner, the wonderful Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, which is leading the charge to save these amazing horses. The Forest Service notice came just a week after the agency received a letter from Arizona's U.S. House delegation, spearheaded by Congressman Matt Salmon, acting on behalf of their constituents who want the Salt River horses protected. As AWHPC's Deniz Bolbol told a local newspaper, "This is a huge win for democracy. Arizona's political leaders, from the Governor to the Senators and the House delegation, all responded to their constituents' cry for help."
21 Virginia Range Horses: Saved From Slaughter!
It's going to be a very happy holiday for 21 Virginia Range mustangs who were captured by the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) and rescued under a cooperative agreement negotiated by AWHPC that allows us to purchase the horses before the NDA sends them to a slaughter auction! Very special thanks and gratitude goes to Madeleine Pickens and her Saving America's Mustangs/Mustang Monument in Nevada, and to Wayne Guest and his Bright Starts Rescue and Horse Sanctuary in Georgia for stepping up to provide a permanent home to these beautiful horses. Best of all, the family groups get to stay together! Thank you to all the AWHPC donors who provided the resources necessary to purchase these horses from the state and transport them to their new homes.
There is still time to order today and receive our 2016 calendar before Christmas. This is our first-ever calendar, and we are so grateful to our amazing photographer friends who donated their beautiful images that capture the majesty and grace of our beloved wild horses and burros. This is another great way to share your love for these animals with friends and family. Calendars ordered today or tomorrow will arrive by December 24.