FoA’s Civil Disobedience Action for Wild Horses

FoA’s Civil Disobedience Action for Wild Horses

For Immediate Release
Sept. 19, 2014
Edita Birnkrant, Campaigns Director, Friends of Animals 917.940.2725edita@friendsofanimals.org
Mike Harris, Director, FoA’s Wildlife Law Program 720.949.7791michaelharris@friendsofanimals.org

FoA’s Civil Disobedience Action for Wild Horses

Monday, Sept 22, 10:30 a.m. Rock Springs, Wyoming—Press Advised to Call for Embargoed Details

In Wyoming 179 wild horses have been ripped from their families and rounded up this week—three have died as a result — due to the Bureau of Land Management’s criminal reign of terror, and hundreds more are set to be brutally removed off the land and imprisoned in barren holding facilities where many are then “adopted” and end up in slaughterhouses.  Friends of Animals has had enough of the agency stealing horses from public lands and will organize a protest/civil disobedience action 10:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 22, in Rock Springs at a location to be disclosed to media upon request.

Edita Birnkrant, Friends of Animals’ Campaign Director says, “We refuse to allow the BLM to operate without disruption while these sadistic roundups are occurring, so we’re showing up at a location we will disclose early Monday morning to loudly protest and do civil disobedience actions that will make it impossible for BLM staff to ignore. Our actions and resistance will represent the millions of Americans disgusted at the obscene actions the BLM is committing against wild horses, all to benefit cattle ranchers who want all wild horses dead. We will have a bullhorn, lots of surprises in store for the BLM employees committing crimes against wild horses. We’re taking our outrage to the scene of these crimes and to those directly responsible—the BLM.” 

This week also marked the deadline for when U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had to respond to Friends of Animals’ petition to list North American wild horses on public lands as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the best hope for the survival of wild horses in Wyoming and other states since the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (WHBA), which was passed in 1971, has failed to protect our wild horses.

“In light of BLM’s intention to virtually wipe-out Wyoming’s remaining wild horse population, the time is now for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to our petition to place these animals on the list of endangered or threatened species,” said FoA’s Wildlife Law Program Director Michael Harris.

“With one agency—the BLM—already failing the horses, we ask USFWS to treat the situation in Wyoming as an emergency requiring immediate action. And given the strong evidence that wild horses are a distinct population of a reintroduced North American native species, they clearly deserve our protection.”

While such crimes have been going on for years, the roundups in Wyoming are particularly egregious as they will eliminate almost all wild horses from Wyoming.  The BLM intends to round up 800 horses from the Checkerboard Herd Management Area in Wyoming after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied an emergency motion by wild horse advocates to stop the roundups.

“The BLM and cattle and sheep ranchers are responsible for the crimes currently being committed against wild horses,” said Birnkrant. “The BLM has renounced its duty to protect wild horses and burros in favor of acting solely in the interests of those whose hatred and intolerance of wild horses fuels the roundups—ranchers. 

“The heartless roundups occurring right now in Wyoming are ripping families of wild horses apart, terrorizing them with helicopter chases, separating foals from their mothers and imprisoning them in squalid holding facilities where their fates are unknown and where horses can be sent to slaughterhouses,” Birnkrant said. “If FoA doesn’t get a timely response to our Endangered Species Act petition from Sally Jewell, we will immediately pursue our legal options in court. There is no more time left for America’s wild horses.”

For more details about the protest, call Edita Birnkrant at 917.940.2725 or email Edita@friendsofanimals.org.

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