Wild Horse Advocates Head to Court To Stop U.S. Forest Service Assault Against California Horses

Tomorrow: Oral Arguments in DC Circuit Appellate Court to Protect Last Significant USFS Wild Horse Territory in California

WASHINGTON, DC – January 10, 2017 – Tomorrow, on January 11, 2017, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Return to Freedom and California resident Carla Bowers will make oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in their lawsuit to stop the U.S. Forest Service from taking actions that will negatively impact some of California’s last significant wild horse herds. The Forest Service is pushing to eliminate tens of thousands of acres of critical wild horse territory and rounding up and removing up to 80% of the wild horses living in the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory in northeast California’s Modoc National Forest. Last year, a lower District Court failed to acknowledge the Plaintiffs’ complaint that the Forest Service’s decision violates federal animal protection and environmental laws and unlawfully prioritizes ranchers and privately-owned livestock above federally protected wild horses. The plaintiffs are represented by the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) with co-counsel from David Zaft of the Los Angeles-based law firm Caldwell Leslie and William Eubanks of the D.C. public interest environmental law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks.

When:   January 11, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.

Where: E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse, 333 Constitution Ave NW, Courtroom 31

             Washington, DC 20001 - Judges Tatel, Millett, Wilkins

What:  Oral Arguments – Case No. 15-5332 American Wild Horse Preservation v. Thomas Vilsack

Devil’s Garden is officially designated as wild horse territory managed by the Forest Service (a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture), which has been the homeland of wild horses since the 1800s. In August 2013, the Forest Service authorized a decision that will eliminate more than 23,000 acres of prime wild horse territory and reduce the wild horse population by 80%–yet failed to study the impact of privately-owned cows and sheep who graze in the Devil’s Garden and outnumber wild horses by as much as eight times. In 2016, the Forest Service began to implement its plan by removing more than 200 wild horses from Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit aldf.org.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is a national wild horse advocacy organization whose grassroots mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations. AWHPC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.

Return to Freedom (RTF), is a national non-profit dedicated to wild horse preservation through sanctuary, education and conservation, and also operates the American Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, CA.

Copies of the lawsuit are available upon request.


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