A proposal by the Bureau of Land Management to remove more than 1,700 wild horses from a herd management area in Nevada has been upheld in Federal court.

Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sided against a coalition of wild horse advocacy groups that challenged the roundup. The groups argued that the BLM chose livestock over horses that were protected by the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

Judge Howell concluded that the agency did take a hard look at the environmental impact of the gather on the Caliente Complex in Nevada. Howell deemed the decision to remove the horses from the range as appropriate, both for the health of the public rangeland and the animals themselves.

Public Lands Council (PLC) Executive Director and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Executive Director of Natural Resources, Kaitlynn Glover, released the following statement in response to the ruling:

“Judge Howell’s ruling affirms the Bureau of Land Management’s responsibility and authority to manage these horse herds using science and the law. Across the West, horse populations far exceed their appropriate stocking rates, often by more than three times the ideal population sizes.”

“This lawsuit sought to undermine the very tenets of the multiple use mandate. The BLM is required by law not only to manage resources for optimal land health, but also for a variety of uses for the American public. In areas where these herds reside, the BLM is required to ensure these horses do not continue to degrade water and land health simply because they are overstocked. I know I speak on behalf of ranchers when I commend Judge Howell for recognizing that this suit was nothing more than an attempt to prioritize horses at the expense of the health of our natural resources.”

As of March 1, 2019, the wild horse and burro population on public lands was estimated at more than 88,000, which is more than triple the number of animals the land can sustainably support in conjunction with other legally mandated uses.

17 thoughts on “Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Wild Horse Gathers

  1. What are you going to do with them when you gather them up? The federal government won’t allow slaughter houses for horses . We need to reopen them. It would help the horse industry. Most people that adopt wild horses have no idea how to handle them. If they only could see how horses in Mexico are killed they would open our plants hear

    • Slaughter is never ok. It’s cruel regardless. Help the horse industry, by allowing associations like AQHA, get more $$ for registrations and that the end product of excessive breeding go to slaughter? How any registry could be pro-slaughter is beyond me! I will never allow my horses to go to slaughter!
      Most Americans don’t even eat horse!

  2. Thing to remember the packing houses didn’t close. The USDA shut down the funding for the Inspectors, which prevented the humane harvesting of feral equine.

    • Exactly, and when anyone wants to open an equine slaughter facility in the U.S. they are buried in litigation from horsey rights groups. It’s such crap

  3. I adopted 4 burros last year and they are the sweetest creatures I have ever encountered. Wild horses are a national treasure. It is their land and a better balance needs to be achieved between cattle leases and their need for adequate space. I’m a rancher so don’t think I am anti-livestock but we need to have a better balance.

  4. They are a burden on the range and the taxpayer, if people don’t want them slaughter then let them pay for keeping them not the taxpayer. Slaughter them and feed them to the homeless.

  5. I think the biggest issue is the impact to the range land. Horses are not native to the american range land, so without so kind of management it can have an irreversible effect. Same with cattle or sheep for that matter.
    What the answer is, not sure, but we need to figure it out soon.
    The loss of our range land should be our number one priority, without it we won’t be able to raise anything on that land.

  6. I live in Dayton Nevada, this is wild horse territory. Here horses and people co-exist. The horses here are in great condition, not starving, and the range land is in good shape. My perspective, this problem, if it even exists, is over stated. BLM has lied for years about amount of use by people and horses. They count the people who come to burning man to convince Congress they need more restrictions, personnel and controls. Burning man is restricted to playa where nothing grows and is fully controlled by promoters.

  7. Robert Johnston I beg to differ. I live in Carson City within 10 miles or so of you and have spent many hours walking the Pine Nut Range, McClellan Peak, and the Flowery/Virginia Ranges right out your backdoor. They have been severely damaged ecologically by overgrazing by horses. Many of these areas don’t even get grazed by cattle or sheep so that line of reasoning cannot be used as an excuse. I have a BS degree in Range Management and spent much of my career in range science so I hope you don’t blow me off as someone without knowledge on the subject. Get out of Dayton and walk miles around the mountains. Look at rangeland where no wildlife can co-exist with horses because the waterholes are stomped to death and there is no feed. And as far as humans and horses in this area co-existing if you call cars and motorcycles hitting horses on the highway and human beings being killed “co-existing” I guess you might be right.

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