Feds’ Utah horse sterilizations draw two lawsuits alleging inhumane treatment

By Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune

December 12, 2020

Two separate lawsuits were filed Thursday over a wild horse roundup in Utah, alleging the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to surgically sterilize some of the mares is inhumane, unnecessary and a violation of federal law.

Government Abandons Plan to Subject Wild Horses in Utah to Controversial Sterilization Surgeries

Government Abandons Plan to Subject Wild Horses in Utah to Controversial Sterilization Surgeries

American Wild Horse Campaign declares victory for the third time in 5-year legal effort to block procedure

AWHC Active FOIA Litigation: Fighting for transparency in wild horse management

(March 31, 2021) The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was enacted to “permit access to official information long shielded unnecessarily from public view” by creating a “right to secure such information from possibly unwilling official hands.” Dept't of Air Force v. Rose, 425 U.S. 352, 361 (1976). 

“[D]isclosure, not secrecy, is the dominant objective of the Act.” John Doe Agency v. John Doe Corp., 493 U.S. 146, 152 (1989).

Our History Opposing Surgical Sterilization for Wild Mares

(March 3, 2021) Over the last four years, AWHC and its coalition partners filed successful litigation to block three previous attempts by the BLM to perform a controversial surgical procedure on wild mares in Oregon. The agency has now turned its sights on wild mares in Utah. In response, AWHC teamed up with Utah citizen and state wild horse expert Robert Hammer of to file suit to stop the BLM’s latest plan. 

Lawsuit Filed to Stop “Barbaric” Wild Horse Sterilization Surgeries

WASHINGTON, DC (December 11, 2020) —The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) and Utah citizen Robert Hammer filed suit Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Department of the Interior to stop the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from performing risky and inhumane surgical sterilization surgeries on federally-protected wild mares (female horses) recently rounded up in Utah.

Antelope/Triple B 10-Year Plan Litigation

At the end of 2017, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a final plan to reduce the breeding population of wild horses in both the Antelope and Triple B Complexes in Nevada to near extinction levels – 227 in Antelope and 272 in Triple B – by gelding 50% of the returned stallions, skewing the sex ratio of these wild horse populations to 60% male/40% female, and treating all the returned mares with fertility control, either PZP or GonaCon, a vaccine that the National Academy of Sciences said required further research before implementation on wild horse herds.

AWHC Defending Wild Horses in Court Against Rancher Attacks

(July 2, 2020) Our litigation not only involves direct challenges to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service management plans. We also intervene in lawsuits where ranching interests have sued the government to compel the removal of wild horses from their home ranges. Here are two examples of open cases where we intervened against ranchers and to protect the freedom of wild horses on our public lands.

Beaver County Utah Intervention Litigation

Victory for Devil’s Garden Wild Horses, Following Lawsuit

The American Wild Horse Campaign and the Animal Legal Defense Fund continue work to ensure wild horses’ safety

SAN FRANCISCO (March 27, 2020)… Today, the American Wild Horse Campaign, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and local advocate Carla Bowers are dismissing a high-profile lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service) over the federal government’s plan to sell wild horses captured from the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory in northeast California’s Modoc National Forest for slaughter.

Litigation Update: Halting BLM Spay Experiments

By Brieanah Schwartz, AWHC Policy Counsel

(March 20, 2020) One of the more egregious plans the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released for “management” of wild horses is the ovariectomy via colpotomy experiments. Here is a brief history on how AWHC and our coalition partners have been integral in stopping these cruel experiments from being performed on wild mares from the Warm Spings Herd Management Area (HMA).

About Our Lawsuit: Beaver County Utah Calls for Removal of Mustangs

On February 6, 2017, Plaintiff, Beaver County, Utah, filed a complaint seeking to compel the BLM to remove all excess wild horses from the Sulphur Herd Management Area (HMA). This request seeks to eliminate hundreds of federally-protected wild horses from the HMA in order to reduce the competition for limited resources on the range and ensure that ranchers’ continued access to public lands for grazing domestic livestock.