Appealing the Federal Decision to Eliminate Wild Horses
LARKSPUR, Colo., September 9, 2015
Front Range Equine Rescue, a nonprofit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses, announced today it has appealed the federal decision to eliminate the population of wild horses in the West Douglas Herd Area of northwest Colorado.
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to remove all wild horses from this sensitive region over the next three years, which FRER contends is a violation of federal law. FRER has begun the appeal process with the Interior Board of Land Appeals – focusing its efforts to protect wild horses on public lands on the Board and its review process.
According to the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the BLM has a mandate to protect the health and welfare of all wild horse herds on public lands. FRER says the Act protects these horses from unwarranted elimination, and that removing the entire herd from its native rangeland will also cause catastrophic loss of genetic diversity in the herd management areas surrounding the WDHA, which over time causes herd health problems.
“The BLM is intent on removing an entire herd, but both the language and spirit of the Wild Horse Act protect wild horses from elimination,” said Hilary Wood, President of FRER. “This irreversible action will permanently alter the natural diversity of the range and damage herd health in the adjacent areas that are also under the BLM’s management.”
“The WDHA has long been a battleground as horse advocates took to the courts to block individual BLM roundups, but even if successful, these lawsuits do not address the long-range issue of the BLM’s plan to wipe out the WDHA population in the next three years,” said FRER’s attorney Bruce Wagman. “Filing our appeal, before the BLM has eliminated the herds, will protect this historic herd once and for all.“
The BLM plans to begin eliminating horses in the WDHA with a roundup of approximately 167 horses as soon as this month. This leaves approximately 200 horses in the region, which the BLM intends to remove in the upcoming years. After the BLM contractor’s low-flying helicopters round up the herds, they will be put in BLM holding facilities, and available for adoption or sale at auction.