|Laura Leigh on the job.|
Wild Horse Education (WHE) through its founder Laura Leigh has been documenting in film, dialog and photographs the persistent and flagrant inhumane treatment by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of America's Wild Horses during roundups, I call "Kidnappings" at, among other places, the Owyhee Complex in Northern Nevada for more than 3 years.
Isn't it ironic that the agency charged with insuring humane treatment and management of America's Wild Horses is in fact obviously and repeatedly "Inhumane" in their own actions ... So much so that last week, Federal Judge Miranda Du issued an emergency restraining order in a legal action filed by WHE in Reno Federal District Court against conduct at the BLM wild horse roundup operation in northern Nevada.
|Terrified horses trample a horse|
The order states: "Defendants shall immediately cease and halt all wild horse gathers at the Owyhee Complex, including the one currently ongoing at the Owyhee Horse Management Area (HMA), and the BLM shall not transport horses from the Owyhee HMA, until the court has had an opportunity to hear this matter."
Being a horse advocate I write often about the good horses do to help people and the good that people do to help horses. It is most difficult for me to understand how people supposedly there to oversee the well being of America's Wild Horses can commit the atrocities Laura has caught on film ... Such as running horses into barbed wire, routine hotshotting, crowding them in pens so forcefully they break their legs and trample foals, running frenzied horses in freezing temps and harassment with helicopters to the point of ramming them with the helicopter skids.
|Horses fleeing helicopter get tangled in barbed wire|
The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued last week by Federal Judge Miranda Du will at least temporarily protect from such savagery the horses at Owyhee.
“I can tell you that the effort to obtain the documentation and craft these cases is monumental,” Laura Leigh stated “It really does seem insane to have to fight for a humane care standard with an agency tasked by Congress to manage animals humanely. That said, I will sleep better tonight knowing the wild horses at Owyhee are not being stampeded this weekend."
In the past forty years BLM, the agency tasked with managing these protected American heritage animals on federal land, has failed to implement any humane treatment standard for animal care and handling.
Every day this TRO is in effect is a day that the horses are not harassed, injured and possibly killed. If successful, this lawsuit, the third active suit WHE has against BLM, will probably force BLM to enact an enforceable humane treatment standard for the wild horses in the Owyhee Complex for the next ten years ... This in turn will most likely result in an equivalent standard of conduct being required for ALL BLM roundups. The only way to change BLM from the outside is to get a federal judge to rule against them. The judges can only rule on actions; they can’t just say, “BLM you have to go implement this policy.” So the public has to bring several actions to demonstrate a trend. With enough TROs and enough public pressure, BLM will have to change.
|That's steam from hard run terrified horses.|
Each win Wild Horse Education has in court sets a legal precedent and sets case law, establishing the framework to discuss and bring cases on other issues as well, such as appropriate management levels (AMLs) and the advisability of managing these animals on the range rather than "Kidnapping" them off of it. So eventually, in court Wild Horse Education could effect an end to the roundups.
"WHE now has four TROs, one injunction, three active cases in federal court, and a win in the Ninth circuit court against BLM. No other group has won against BLM and no other group has the kind of standing Wild Horse Education has. That standing is directly the result of the actions of founder and president of Wild Horse Education Laura Leigh, who has, for the past 3 years, basically lived on the road, following, investigating and documenting BLM roundups and holding facilities." States Marta Williams, Director Public Relations WHE.
|Steam from hot, terrified horses running .|
"Canned letter writing does nothing. If people are filling out a canned letter and thinking it is useful … BLM counts it as one letter, even if 10,000 people filled it out. The only way to get a letter to count is to copy it, redo the first paragraph and send from your own email. Letters, faxes, calls and protests are essential, but not enough to create change, as we have seen. We have to bring BLM to task in court since Congress is in collusion and will not respond to the public. This is why what WHE is doing is crucial and the only way we will get lasting change for the wild horses and burros." Advises Marta Williams.
We here at the Coffee Clutch celebrate the valiant, selfless efforts of all at the WHE. Thank you and keep up the hard work. The horses are counting on you and all the volunteers!
LINKS OF INTEREST-
Wild Horse Education website - Please have a look and see how you might help. http://wildhorseeducation.org/
Current video of Owyhee wild horse roundup very compelling Please Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK6WM1-xmv4