By Horse Back Magazine
RENO, (Wild Horse Education) – ) The wild horse and burro advocacy group, Wild Horse Education (WHE) filed today in Reno federal court to stop the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from hiding their actions from the public during a removal operation in Western Nevada that could begin any day. Wild Horse Education founder and President Laura Leigh has an ongoing case in federal court against inhumane conduct at the very area the BLM now intends to remove animals from in a total blackout to press and public observation.
In August 2011 at Triple B Complex roundup, the Wild Horse Education president and principle researcher observed a BLM contractor make contact with an exhausted horse with the skid of a flying helicopter, repeatedly operating its helicopter dangerously close to animal on multiple occasions, unnecessarily chasing wild horses in the wrong direction from traps, repeatedly fracturing family bands of horses, repeatedly chasing horses over miles of terrain unnecessarily, depriving captured horses of sufficient amounts of water, driving young, unweaned foals miles beyond what is healthy for the newborn horses among other conduct. The court granted a temporary restraining order and later a preliminary injunction to pilot conduct, the first in the history of federal management of wild horses by the BLM.
In the ongoing case the BLM is refusing to disclose documents requested by Leigh’s attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno, that disclose exact numbers of animal deaths (including foals), veterinary reports on injuries, disposition of animals and documents associated with BLM’s “Triple B Review” that admitted to the alleged conduct. Now BLM plans to hide all capture, handling and transport of animals in an unprecedented bait and water trap operation in the Triple B Complex. Furthermore BLM has added the Antelope Valley to the operation where BLM removed animals in winter 2011 and fall of 2012. This area is intended to be part of an “eco sanctuary” project where BLM has not completed public review.
“The BLM can not be allowed to avoid public scrutiny in an area that is already under intense scrutiny by stripping the First Amendment,” stated Leigh “This is an absolute outrage.”
In addition to the lack of public observation, BLM personnel are expected to only view 25 percent of all operations. BLM states that humane care and transparency are a priority for their program.
Todays filing included a request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) that asks the court to halt activities in the area until the underlying case, that has already been in the courts for two years, can be heard.