ELKO — Two Nevada groups launched a lawsuit against the federal government, alleging mismanagement of wild horses has led to excessive damage on the land and to animals.

The Nevada Association of Counties and the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation filed suit regarding wild horse management Dec. 30, naming as defendants the U.S. Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, BLM Director Neil Kornze, BLM Assistant Director of Renewable Resources and Planning and BLM State Director Amy Leuders.

The plaintiffs accuse the feds of failing to comply with the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, which requires the BLM to “protect the natural ecological balance of all wildlife species which inhabit such lands, and to maintain a current inventory of wild free-roaming horses and burros on given areas of the public lands, and to remove excess animals,” the complaint states.

The BLM agrees that wild horses are exceeding the designated appropriate management levels. On its website, the BLM indicates there were more than 20,000 wild horses and burros in the state last fiscal year, but the maximum management level is set at about 12,700.

The BLM conducts horse gathers, in which wild horses are round up and sold for adoption. Horses repeatedly passed over for adoption are sent to ranches to live out their lives. But those long-term facilities are near capacity.

The plaintiffs argue the BLM should “destroy” horses that are deemed unadoptable.

The BLM maintains it will not sell wild horses or burros for slaughter.

In addition to damaging public land and tapping into private water rights, the BLM management practice is “first and foremost” detrimental to horses, according to the lawsuit.

“Free-roaming horse and burro herds in Nevada are frequently observed to be in malnourished condition, with the ribs and skeletal features of individual animals woefully on view and other signs of ill-health readily observable,” court documents state.

The plaintiffs use the word “wild” but clarifies their use of the word, explaining that it’s only for the purpose of being consistent with the law’s verbiage.

“(It) is not intended to indicate or agree that said animals are ‘wild animals’ in the technical or legal sense as they are not wild animals for such purposes, but are feral animals within the meaning of Nevada law and the law of most, if not all, states, particularly in Nevada water law or wild animal regulations,” the complaint states.

In 2011, the BLM was sued by horse advocates who argued the agency was in violation of the federal act because it needed to prove wild horses were a threat to “thriving natural ecological balance” before rounding up horses on the range, according to the Associated Press.

(48) comments

blpaints
blpaints

I'd like to know which of the horse hating agencies actually wrote this article, since it's filled with mostly lies. Someone hating our wild horses wrote this! Let's look at reality.....it's the MILLIONS of welfare cattle/sheep and mining and fracking that are destroying our public lands....not the wild horses. BOYCOTT BEEF!!

Tecoma 3

Yep, blpaints I agree with your comments. I live in rural Elko County and on a daily basis I see hundreds of cows destroying the land. What few horses I do see leave a small print on the land

It's up to all citizens to keep watch on our local elected officials. as they are slowly ambushing us. Our Elko County Commissioners just closed a County road for the mining industry can you imagine if the feds did this. Our Commissioners would have a snarling dueling fit. Hypocrisy at it's finest!

susanmeanslily
susanmeanslily

It is about time something was done to force the BLM to comply with the law. The 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act was meant to save these horses from extinction; it was never meant to have them overwhelm the land beyond its multi-use capacity. These horses need to share the land with wildlife, livestock grazing, timber production, mining, recreational and other uses. The BLM is responsible for the BALANCED MANAGEMENT of the public lands and resources, not to give into special interest groups.

Polopaula
Polopaula

The special interest groups are Cattle Ranchers, Frackers, Hunters, Timber Cutters. The wildlife and the wild horses coexist, & if predators were not killed to please hunters the laws of nature would make for safe numbers of all wildlife. Remember. The Wildlife including the horses belong to America.

Windhorse_49

Susan which "planet" do you live on? Or Math was not your favorite subject it looks like from this post. FYI It is Domestic livestock that overwhelm the "Public Land" they don't belong there, and they completely devastated the range. The wild horses are just the "scapegoats. The BLM does a "diligent" job at pleasing the rancher folks, they have been rounding up at least 30 000 WHs just in the past 3 yrs. (8-10000/year) Their math is flawed as well, their numbers just don't ad up.

Windhorse_49

The Wild Horses are nearing extinction, there is less now then it was when the Law was passed to "protect" them. Of course they trusted the "Chickens to the Fox to guard them"! that is the problem!

Lainie
Lainie

And you are proslaughter to arent you? And a cattle person too I bet!

Lainie
Lainie

The BLM has always been pro cattle and pro special interest. They won't stop till there are NO WILD HORSES left. That's why they sold over 1,500 wild horses for $10 a head to Salazar's family friend Tom Davis ....a kill buyer who ships to mexico. LYING BASTARDS!

Hiking

So what is the solution to all of the horses? If there are too many then what do we do with them? I have seen no solutions on either side.

Polopaula
Polopaula

With cattle and sheep outnumbering wild horses and burros more than 100 to 1...the horses are not the problem. The wild ones belong to the people of the US.The cattle are private and the American taxpayers subsidize their existence on public lands. Put the cows back on the private land. Make the welfare rich ranchers reduce herds that their private land feed and water. Let the horses have the land that was granted to them in 1971. It has been reduced to less than 1/5 of what was granted. Solved

Chicorey

Well, as much as I agree that the BLM is really mis-managing the WILD horses & burros - I honestly don't think eradicating them is the answer. I assume the Farm Bureau is not alone in wanting the horses & burros gone. Of course if they manage to eliminate the horses & burros then they get more grazing allotments and the fracking element of the Nevada Assn. of Counties just wants the land to drill - baby - drill. Its a shame these cattlemen don't wake up & realize the next obstacle is COWS.

DEBoyd
DEBoyd

Your point might have some credibility (I actually mostly agree about the cattle part) if you didn't ruin it with the envirowako throwaway about fracking. Whatever issues fracking might have with groundwater pollution, which is to say none so far, its footprint on the range is so microscopic as to be more comparable to campers and hunters than ranchers. Now, if you want to discuss the tens of thousands of acres that Harry Reids solar projects are irretrievably destroying you can count me in.

TakodasDad
TakodasDad

“Free-roaming horse and burro herds in Nevada are frequently observed to be in malnourished condition, with the ribs and skeletal features of individual animals woefully on view and other signs of ill-health readily observable,” Photos prove this false. Occasionally one or two specimens show up along with a healthy group which could be 'chronic wasting disease'. Prions are being studied now to determine if other wildlife could be spreading them.

skyshrink
skyshrink

It is bizarre that we still have domestic livestock on public lands in the West more than 40 years since we put men on the Moon. Western public lands host only 3-4% of all cattle in the U.S. Most are raised on private land. Public lands should be cleansed of domestic livestock and left to higher and better purposes, including being a home for wild horses. Wild horses and burros are icons of the Wild West. As long as we glorify cowboys and ranchers, we should do the same for horses and burros

Stephanie
Stephanie

Please to dear mother nature leave these WILD horses alone you greedy bastards. WHY must we feel to print ourselves in everything natural and free on this earth? Morally this is not right and financially NOT EVERYTHING has to benefit us in some way shape or form! Why can't we just leave things where they lie, LITERALLY! Animals were here first, their homes and their HABITAT is EVERYWHERE why can people not accept that? You want to shoo away everything that lifts a foot to you people!! Stop!!

DEBoyd
DEBoyd

Just who is this "mother nature" and why does she have any say in the matter than we do? Other than some neo-pagan nonsense what is it about humans that we don't qualify as animals too?

Stephanie
Stephanie

Horses aren't the problem yet you point the finger at cows now too? I hope you people don't think we should kill cows off just as much because that doesn't justify ANYTHING! Seriously? What ever happened to good will towards animals!? Does common sense go out the window when it comes to matters of animals who have even more of every right to be there than us?

DEBoyd
DEBoyd

And exactly why would they have more right to be there than us?

HoldYourHorses

The arrogance and greed of some peoeple is ASTOUNDING. They run their cows on PUBLIC land, for an incredibly low fee, they TREMENDOUSLY over-graze their cattle- to increase their PROFIT, and then have the nerve to blame the wild horses for the damage to the land. This is NOT what ranching is supposed to be about.

This suit is a WASTE of OUR (taxpayers) MONEY- adding insult to injury.

(By the way, I grew up on a family ranch- the right kind of ranch- OWNED, not LOANED!)

Mulelady52

It seems like such an easy Solution to get rid of the wild horses. Okay, Then what do you do about the sheep and the cattle that graze the land down to the bare roots?
Just something to think about but, then again out government doesn't
Use logical thinking.

LMamaG

I absolutely agree with you blpaints! Our national heritage is being stolen from us and they are the scapegoats for the BLM and the special interest groups! It is the cattle and sheep who are overgrazing the land----not the horses! Yes, they are outnumbered by 100--1 by the cattle and sheep! They are being driven out of their homes, their familiy units being destroyed. Now the government wants to open up slaughterhouses again and we know for what purpose! Stand up for our wild ones!

GETRIDOFBLM
GETRIDOFBLM

The BLM has had someone in their pockets since its existence. Time to get rid of them.. Crooked Government bureaucracy! Cattlemen need to keep their livestock on their land. Cows graze differently than horses and ruin land over periods of time sheep also. Natural selection would take care of excess horses if the Wildlife people would stop over hunting of their natural enemies. Wolves, Cougars, and even Bears prey on old young and infirm animals. Drought also. NONE but old, sick were thin.

Hiking

So of all the comments it would appear that the sides are polarized. Always to put the blame on someone else. So what is the solution to all of the horses? If there are too many then what do we do with them? I have seen no solutions on either side.

DEBoyd
DEBoyd

Actually it's not as polarized as it seems. Note that most here are new and have never made more than the single post they made on this topic. These posts are by the same person using multiple screen names to make it appear like simply everyone is opposed to ranchers. It's a common tactic.

JadeH22

The bottomline is "our government officials" do whatever big business tells them to. The horses don't generate extra income for them (like they are paid by the lobbyists for supporting fracking, mining, and other projects that are destroying the earth. The horses are just in their way, they ignore the "will of the people," and WE THE PEOPLE continue to put up with it. They just ignore the laws they expect us to follow like good little sheep! I am so ashamed of my country right now!

Jacob D Johnston
Jacob D Johnston

Cattlemen, big-game hunters and other special interest groups pay the BLM to leas the land. So, when millions of cattle, livestock and big game raised for hunting are overgrazing and damaging the range, the BLM blames a few thousand wild horses and rounds them all up, tears family bands apart and shoves them all in filthy, overcrowded pens for long-term storage.

Jacob D Johnston
Jacob D Johnston

When livestock owners complain about predators, like wolves and cougars eating their livestock, the government hires hunters to kill them off and the BLM uses the lack of natural predators as another excuse for more wild horse roundups. They even allow farmers and ranchers to put up fences that block wild horses from reaching natural water sources and the more rich parts of the range. Then the BLM claims they have to remove horse herds, because they're starving and/or have no water.

MarybethDevlin

There is no wild-horse excess, just the illusion of one, created by BLM. The seeming intent is to justify removing wild horses so that cattle-numbers can stay the same. BLM uses many ploys, such as: BLM counts cattle and horses differently. A cow and her calf--the pair--count as one head, but a mare and her foal count as two head. BLM's guesstimated number of unborn foals--embryos, fetuses--also count to show an excess. But when the unborn are miscarried or foals die, they stay in BLM's census.

Susan carter
Susan carter

http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2012/05/14/livestock%E2%80%99s-heavy-hooves-impair-one-third-of-blm-rangelands/


Tecoma 3

Susan Carter I checked out your link. I found it compelling, Thanks for posting it.

DEBoyd
DEBoyd

I found it just what it is - a self-serving propaganda site for the promotion of radical enviromentalist public employees and their causes at the expense of everyone else.

Tecoma 3

Nevada Association of Counties and the farm bureau want LESS or NO horses on the land. The makers of the lawsuit are WOLF'S in sheep's clothes.

The Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) was founded in 1924 and is a nonpartisan, nonprofit corporation. The membership is composed of Nevada's county government officials and represents all seventeen Nevada counties.

The taxpayers of Nevada fund this association and this lawsuit. Check out there web site. http://www.nvnaco.org/

Nevada Willis
Nevada Willis

I get suspicious when attorneys know so little about a case that they can't even cite things like the Act correctly. Example: There is no language that describes "natural ecological balance." It states "thriving ecological balance." The difference may be petty but pushing that issue could bring new focus on the impacts of domestic livestock and livestock operations on thriving ecology in an action that will likely do little if anything to substantially change BLM's wild horse management.

ShutMDown
ShutMDown

This is not an "animal welfare" issue. Nor is it an "environmental" issue. This is a MONEY issue. The people who care about the wild horses are never in a position to help them. Those with the power to make things right continue to fail the horses and the American people who want to protect them. It is all about profit and profiteers. We forget that the United States was once a great country. Now it's just a Mad Max movie of a fallen society scrambling to selfishly grab all they can.

Tecoma 3

It scares me that you just might be right ShutMDown

Redd

This subject has been going on for over 40 years. They have been trying to get rid of the wild horses and burros so that their cattle and big game has all the land necessary for them to flourish...And the government has aloud them to do this...My question is this ----Baby Boomers that know what a REAL Steak taste like, is the taste the same ???? I can say for sure that its not the same taste for me...And I eat steak very little---taste like cardboard to me...How about everyone else?????

Redd

This subject has been a problem for over 40 years

Redd

This subject has been stirring for over 40 years...The government has been trying to get rid of the wild horses and burros for that long...I know from experience. They want the land for the cattle and big game that needs the land to flourish on...Let me ask this question/ Baby Boomers when was the last time you had a wonderful tasting steak??? I know for a fact that the steaks you get now DO NOT taste like they did 40 years ago.....Personally they taste like cardboard/why eat it!!!!!!

DEBoyd
DEBoyd

EDFP has been punked. Note how the writing style and points in all the posts here is the same. These dozen never before posters are the same person using multiple screen names to make it appear like simply everyone is opposed to ranchers.

Chad Smith
Chad Smith

I've seen that quite a bit here.

DEBoyd
DEBoyd

It's a shame too. Lots of good sparing :) goes on here that can be very informative. Hate to see it killed off.

Happymedium1

It is easier to prove the damage the cattle do to the natural habitat than the horses. And, after all the mustangs do have the legal right to be there. Why must it be all or nothing? Can there be no middle ground on this issue? It is hard for me to understand the eagerness in which these organizations have to destroy part of our American heritage. These are America's horses. It seems WE, the American People, may have a case against these organizations.

DEBoyd
DEBoyd

And the beat goes on.

Tejas 454
Tejas 454

Actually These are not indigenous or native horse at all. They originate from Spain.

Iridemyhorse

ranchers want to take care of lands as much as everyone else. Trying to work with the BLM on this issue is not working, so litigation has become the only way to make everyone listen. Ranchers are not horse haters, do not have an abundance of cattle or sheep, and pay for the use of the said lands.

DEBoyd
DEBoyd

Ad on.

Susan carter
Susan carter

Pay1.35 per month, per cow/calf pair, when a private-land rate would be 16.00$ per month? 8 million cows compared to 40,000 horses on public land? Please.

RubyStandingDeer
RubyStandingDeer

Screw the cattle! Bring back the BUFFALO! Allow the horses their rightful place. HORSES do not damage the land.

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