Advocacy Groups Threaten Legal Action Over BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting

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(Washington, D.C.) March 14, 2018…. The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) and The Cloud Foundation sent a formal letter today to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Acting Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Deputy Director Brian Steed, and Fred Woehl, Chair of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, advising them of statutory legal violations relating to yesterday's public notice of the March 27, 2018 meeting of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board in Salt Lake City.

The letter was issued by William A. Miller of Scottsdale, AZ, attorney for the groups. It states that the BLM failed to follow the legal requirements for public notification of the meetings of advisory committees by publication in the Federal Register and distribution to the media thirty (30) days in advance of a meeting.

“The BLM must give proper notice so that the public can have a voice on this issue that so many citizens care about,” said Miller. “This Board has been consistently out of step with the wishes of Americans, 80 percent of whom oppose the killing and slaughter of our wild horses. We will not stand by while this agency trounces federal law in order to restrict the voice of the people and ram through yet another morally bankrupt and unscientific recommendation to kill our American mustangs.”

AWHC and The Cloud Foundation -- whose Executive Director, Ginger Kathrens, is the humane advocacy representative on the Advisory Board and the sole member to cast "no" votes on proposals to slaughter tens of thousands of wild horses and burros -- are asking the agency to immediately rescind the Federal Register notice and reschedule the meeting in compliance with public notice requirements. If the BLM fails to take action to correct this violation, the groups say they are prepared to take legal action to compel the agency to do so and seek injunctive relief.

Background

In October, the citizen-based advisory board made a series of recommendations at its meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado. They included that the BLM remove over 46,000 wild horses from the range over the next three years to achieve the agency’s extinction-level population limits; destroy healthy “excess” wild horses and burros or sell them for slaughter, and phase out long-term holding pastures for wild horses over the next three years. 

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

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana. Cloud is the subject of Foundation founder Ginger Kathrens’ groundbreaking PBS/Nature documentaries.