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Federal judge orders BLM to Provide FoA info about Oregon wild horses

March 24, 2017 | wild horse


Last week a federal judge in Portland, Oregon granted a request by Friends of Animals (FoA) to undertake questioning of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials in the form of interrogatories and depositions regarding an “emergency removal” the agency undertook on the Three Fingers Horse Management Area (HMA) in eastern Oregon. As a result of a brush fire that impacted the northern portion of this HMA, BLM removed 150 horses without complying with federal law, and refused any request by FoA to put the horses back now that the land is recovering from the fire. 


This is a huge first step toward stopping BLM from claiming that emergency situations require that horses be permanently removed from the wild. FoA intends to demonstrate that BLM can use less permanent and severe means of protecting horses from threats—measures that will keep horses wild.


Specifically, the judge has ordered BLM to comply with requests from FoA to determine whether: (1) the removed horses can be returned to the Three Fingers HMA after post-fire restoration has been completed; (2) unburned portions of the HMA can support additional horses; (3) fencing is a viable alternative to removal to protect the fire-damaged areas from wild horses; and (4) supplemental food and water can be provided to keep wild horses from returning to the fire damaged areas. 


When it comes to wild horses on Western public lands, BLM has a woeful history of complying with federal laws intended to protect these amazing animals. Since FoA commenced a legal campaign in January 2015 to protect America’s wild horses, BLM has engaged in dozens of illegal roundups, resulting in thousands of horses being violently removed from the wild and placed in BLM-run detention centers. Through legal action, FoA has successfully stopped such roundups in Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming and Montana, and we have additional lawsuits making way through the federal courts involving horses in Colorado, Utah and Oregon. Sadly, each time we prevail in court, BLM comes up with a new way to avoid complying with the federal Free-roaming, Wild Horse and Burro Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.


The most widely-used method of avoiding these laws is through the use of so-called “Emergency Action.” Since summer of 2016, BLM has engaged in numerous wild horse round-ups by claiming some sort of imminent threat to the horses, usually due to the horses coming to close to roads or suffering from lack of food. While in some cases risks are present to the horses, the fact of the matter is that BLM is merely using the situation as an excuse to permanently remove horses from the land without complying with the law.


How do we know this? Because in each and every case that BLM has declared an “emergency” it the agency has not once considered any solution short of permanent removal. FoA has repeatedly asked BLM why it cannot take less drastic measures to protect the horses, such as providing supplemental food, using fencing to protect the horses, or even using temporary removals until the emergency is abated. Every time BLM refuses to consider any option short of permanently subjecting the horses to confinement in dreadful holding facilities. 


FoA is happy to announce that we are a step closer to ending this illegal practice by BLM.




On Feb. 3, 1999, President Clinton created E. O. 13112, The Invasive Species Act. Though the EO mentions President Carter's EO 11987, The Exoctic Organisms Act of May 24, 1977 and the Lacy Act of 1900, a law to protect exotic birds from harrassment and death & does not encourage the destructive of birds whose fancy feathers were used to decorate hats. So it is fundamentally illogical to use a law whose original intention intended to protect exotic birds to destroy over 300 species of flora and fauna, some of which are actually native such as wild horses and burros, species whose ancestors roamed all over North America even into S. America once South America joined onto NA.

The origin of "native species good; non-native species bad" is, not surprisingly Nazi Germany. Hitler's second in command was a biologist. He and several others came up what was known as The Reich landscape law to rid Germany of non-native plants and replace them w: native.

President Carter told FWS that he did not want the law to apply to already established species, but as early as 1979 Southeastern Dovision of the NPS in Atlanta wrote NC Governor James B. Hunt instructing him to remove all feral
Livestock and horses from Cape Lookout National Park. Gov. Hunt responded that the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Emvironment considered the horses native b/c they were present before the English settlers arrived in area. Gov.
Hunt told NPS that he would not remove any animals from the park until NPS came up with a plan for all the animals that lived in the Park. This was only two years later than EO 11987 was put into place, based on dubious use of the Lacey Act as precedent.

One has to understand that none of the documents used by federal agencies & their NGO partners to try to make a case that horses are not native had any sources sited along with their research though they could easily enough found articles, books, & other documentation that most of horse's adaptations through the most recent 55 or 60 million years had occurred in N. America. There a few times horse ancestors or horse migrated for refugia, but what scientists thought was amazing is that horse always finds her way back.
In the lat1980's, the US and its UN partners were drafting Article 8 (h) to prevent, control and eradicate alien species to the extent it was possible. Surprisingly, for all his enthusian about environmental issues, President George Herbert Walker Bush refused to sign the treaty simply saying that the treaty would destroy economy. He didn't get into the fact that alien species included livestock, pets like cats & dogs as well as native horses & burros.

Since western horses & burros should have still
been protected by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Jorse and Burro Act, they should not have affected by EX 11987. And since President Bush had refused to sign the 1992 Convention of Biological Diversity, this story could have stopped here but it didn't. There is more of you are interested.FRj

So glad to hear this about Oregon and being able through FOIA to get the greater truth through secret documents! WAy to go FOA! So true how they only thinly disguise their contempt for the wild horses and plot to eliminate them!!! This is SO VERY WRONG!!!!!

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