Wednesday, September 2, 2009

U.S. judge OKs roundup of wild horses

From USA Today

A federal judge has cleared the way for a government roundup of about 190 wild horses along the Montana-Wyoming border.

Two Colorado-based advocacy groups went to court to stop the culling of the herd, saying it's one of the most genetically pure herds of Spanish colonial horses in the United States. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan rejected their request for an injunction.

The helicopter roundup, delayed since Monday, begins tomorrow at the 38,000-acre Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. Operated by the Bureau of Land Management, it was the first nationally designated home for wild horses.

The entire herd will be captured; 70 adults and their foals will be put up for adoption. The remainder will be freed after mares are given a contraceptive vaccine.

The BLM has more information on the wild herd and efforts to control the population.

Sept. 26 is designated National Wild Horse Adoption Day. More on that here.

One of the groups that oppose the roundup, The Cloud Foundation, is critical of the contractor hired by the BLM. It writes that contractor Dave Cattoor of Maybell, Colo., "was indicted by a federal grand jury and pled guilty to illegally hunting wild horses, aiding and abetting in 1992. He rounded up protected American mustangs, corralled into pens, loaded them into trucks, and hauled them to a slaughter house in Texas where they lost their lives."

The group states that since 2000, the BLM and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have paid Cattoor more than $13.4 million to round up wild horses. Read some testimonials about Cattoor and his work.

The Cloud Foundation and its allies argued unsuccessfully in court that such roundups violate the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

(Wild horses fighting in June 2008 on the Pryor Mountain National Wild Horse Range along the Montana-Wyoming border. Photo by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.)

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