Lawsuit Thwarts Wild Horse Castration Plan [AUDIO]
Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit say the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has withdrawn its plan to round up wild horses and castrate 177 stallions in southwestern Wyoming. Castration plan off the table:
"This week, the BLM told the judge and our attorneys that they were withdrawing that proposed action. They will not be moving forward with gelding, or castrating, stallions. And that they will be issuing a new decision record, with a new proposed action, by the end of the week."
Suzanne Roy, of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Ms. Roy says the BLM's plan to gather nearly 900 wild horses from the White Mountain and Little Colorado herd management areas has also been pushed back from its August 16th scheduled beginning to September 1st. The herd management areas cover an area between Rock Springs and La Barge.
Roundup pushed back a couple of weeks:
"The roundup has been postponed at least until September 1st. We have to wait and see what their new decision is, but we do expect that they're going to try and move forward with the roundup and the removal of most of the horses and returning a small number of female horses treated with fertility control and intact stallions to the range. Yet another decision record, this will be the third decision record they've issued for this particular action."
The other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Western Watersheds Project, wildlife photographer Carol Walker, and a Wyoming couple. Ms. Roy said it was the strength of their case that caused the BLM to change its plan to return castrated stallions back to the range.
Strength of their legal challenge:
"These are not easy cases to win for the wild horses, but our case is very strong, very strong with the declarations from the scientists and experts who spoke up and very strong on the law, so I just don't think the BLM wanted to move forward and have a bad decision on the record."
As for what's really going on, Roy has an opinion on that, too.
Eleven percent of all BLM lands, 10 western states:
"These herd management areas only comprise about 11 percent of BLM land, so we're talking about a very small portion of BLM lands that are set aside primarily as wild horse habitat, but even on that small percentage of land, the BLM gives away the majority of resources to privately owned livestock and makes the horses and wildlife split the rest."
According to an Associate Press report, the BLM released its revised plan today (Friday), which does include rounding up about 900 horses, keeping nearly 700, and the mares released back onto the range will be treated with a birth control vaccine.