9th Circuit Court to Hear Ranchers’ Appeal for Massive Wild Horse Roundups in Nevada

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San Francisco, CA (March 13, 2017) … On Tuesday morning, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit of San Francisco will hear oral arguments for a legal appeal relating to a lawsuit filed by Nevada ranching interests seeking mass wild horse roundups and the slaughter of federally-protected animals for slaughter.

What: Oral arguments before 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on rancher lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeking mass wild horse roundups.

When: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 9 a.m.

Where: Courtroom 3, 3rd Floor Rm. 307, James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse, 95 7th Street, San Francisco

In Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) v. U.S. Department of the Interior, NACO and the Nevada Farm Bureau contend that the BLM is legally required to remove wild horses and burros from public lands as soon as their populations exceed the BLM’s arbitrarily established population limits, known as “appropriate” management levels, or AMLs. Just last year, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected this legal argument in a lawsuit filed by the State of Wyoming against the BLM.

Filed on behalf of Nevada ranchers who graze their private cattle and sheep on American public lands that they lease at well-below market rates, the lawsuit seeks to compel the BLM to immediately round up and remove more than 6,000 wild horses from Nevada public lands, conduct wild horse and burro roundups every two months in the state, and “auction, sell or otherwise dispose of” the approximately 50,000 wild horses and burros currently stockpiled in government warehousing facilities.

On April 3, 2014, the U.S. District Court District of Nevada granted the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), along with renowned author and Nevada resident Terri Farley, and nationally acclaimed wild horse photographer Mark Terrell, the right to intervene in the lawsuit.  A month later, AWHC, Ms. Farley, and Mr. Terrell filed a motion to dismiss the case based on its lack of legal merit and the plaintiffs' lack of standing to bring the case in the first place.  And, on March 12, 2015, the court granted their motion, dismissing the case "with prejudice," meaning that the case cannot be amended or re-filed.

NACO and the Farm Bureau appealed the lower court’s decision to the Ninth Circuit.

Tomorrow’s hearing is the latest round of legal battles that involves Nevada ranchers, the BLM, and the AWHC and its partners.

“This lawsuit is yet another baseless legal assault on federally protected wild horses and burros by ranchers who view these national icons as competition for cheap, taxpayer-subsidized grazing on our public lands.” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the AWHC. “We are hopeful that that 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will join the 10th Circuit in affirming that the ranchers’ legal claims lack legal merit. The law of the land and the will of the American people demand protection and humane treatment of these iconic animals.”
The public interest environmental law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP is continuing to represent the AWHC and its partners.

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), is a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.

Terri Farley is a full-time author who lives in the Reno area and spends a significant amount of time observing wild horses, both on the range and in the holding facilities. She is the author of the Phantom Stallion book series, which has sold over a million copies worldwide and is currently working on a new book, Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them, scheduled to be released in the Spring of 2015.

Mark Terrell owns the Dayton-based Wild Horses of Nevada Photography. He is a nationally known wild horse photographer and operator of tours that provide visitors with the opportunity to view, experience, and photograph the wild horses of Nevada.