Federal Court Lifts Restraining Order on Sale of Wild Horses
148 Unbranded Horses Captured by Ft. McDermitt Tribe May Be Sold for Slaughter
Reno, NV (August 21, 20013) Today in U.S. District Court in Reno, Judge Miranda Du lifted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) barring the sale of unbranded wild horses captured by the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Tribe under an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. The horses were removed from public and tribal lands in northern Nevada and shipped to a slaughter auction in Fallon.
Judge Du issued the TRO Friday, in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), a national coalition, in conjunction with its founding organization Return to Freedom, The Cloud Foundation, the Western Watersheds Project and Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education.
AWHPC issued the following statement in response to the ruling:
“We are saddened by Judge Du’s ruling because it means the tribe can sell these wild horses for slaughter. While we respect the Judge’s process, we are disappointed at the actions of the federal government, which is absolutely complicit in this debacle.
The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have egregiously failed to protect wild horses on federal lands surrounding a protected Herd Management Area. Just because a wild horse wanders outside a designated Herd Management Areas, it does not, under the law, lose federal protections. Yet that is exactly what happened here. This is how America’s wild horses can end up at slaughter.
This was a back room deal from the start to launder wild horses for slaughter. The government had a blanket agreement to turn over all horses – branded and unbranded – to the tribe, thus sentencing many of them to slaughter. When exposed, the feds backed out, yet the roundup proceeded.
The fate of these 148 wild horses is in now in the hands of the tribe, which just sold over 300 horses at the slaughter auction last Saturday. Approximately 150 of those horses were purchased by local residents and rescue groups. Sadly the remaining horses were purchased by kill buyers."