Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has appealed a federal court decision to dismiss a case alleging that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) failed to manage wild horses appropriately in that state.
Last fall, the BLM began removing wild horses from the Checkerboard—a part of the range where private, federal, and state lands intermingle—to comply with a consent decree between the bureau and owners of livestock that also graze the rangelands. Wyoming subsequently filed suit against the Department of the Interior and the BLM alleging that the gather was illegal and asked the courts to order the BLM to manage the state’s wild horses according to the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Some wild horse advocates asked the court to dismiss the case on grounds that a favorable ruling would promote the removal of all wild horses from Wyoming’s ranges.
The case was dismissed. However, on June 19, Michael J. McGrady, Wyoming’s senior assistant attorney general, filed notice that the state would appeal the decision of dismiss. In a written statement, Mead said the appeal was filed because the BLM has still not managed the Wyoming wild horse population appropriately.
“Mismanagement of the herds can have adverse consequences for the range and other species which share that habitat,” he said. “The BLM's approach fails to comply with the applicable law.”
Tony Brown, BLM spokesman, declined comment on the pending litigation.
However, American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign Director Suzanne Roy believes Mead's appeal is intended to benefit ranchers in the state.
“Fewer than 4,500 wild horses remain in the entire state of Wyoming on 3.6 million acres, while hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep graze on 18 million acres of public lands in the state,” she said. “Governor Mead should stop wasting tax dollars on meritless lawsuits to help ranchers in their quest to remove more mustangs from the range so they can graze more livestock on our public lands.”
The appeal remains pending.
Originally Published by the Horse: http://wildhor.se/1Cqs1lh