Sunday, October 9, 2011

Federal Judge Orders BLM to “Answer” Wild Horse Inhumane Charges

Straight from the Horse's Heart
For Immediate Release: October 9, 2011

R.T. Fitch, President WHFF, 281-766-7566
Laura Leigh, Vice President WHFF, 800-974-3684
Allegations documented in striking video

HOUSTON, (WHFF) – On October  6th, 2011 the Honorable Judge Howard McKibben ordered that the Motion for Injunctive Relief in the matter Laura Leigh v. Ken Salazar addressing “Humane Treatment” be answered.

The matter addresses alleged inhumane conduct at Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wild horse roundups. Late in August the parties met in a Federal Courtroom in Reno Nevada. There Judge McKibben granted Plaintiff a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to pilot conduct demonstrated at the Triple B roundup in Eastern Nevada.
Included in documentation presented to the Court was video footage taken by Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education (WHE) and Vice President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF), that showed a BLM contracted helicopter pilot coming into contact with a horse and his aircraft. That footage was considered so intense that it was deemed to be age-restricted based on “inappropriate” content by YouTube. (
At the hearing for the TRO Judge McKibben left the matter for Injunctive Relief open stating that the ruling would stand identical unless new information is presented to the Court. The Complaint itself is left active.
“At the Barren Valley Roundup in Oregon BLM did all they could to restrict the ability to assess pilot conduct,” stated Leigh “ yet every indication was observed that identical conduct continued. There were finally two runs (one day) where I was restricted, yet was able to catch seconds of the push and I saw the pilot, again, come in close proximity to the ground, the trap and the horses.”
Leigh returned to Reno (before heading out to the roundup again) and amended the Complaint to include the documentation she had of pilot conduct, conduct at holding, the lack of an upcoming roundup schedule and still no written humane handling protocol or consequence.
“It is amazing that an agency that will claim to care about the horses has no real standard for accountability for handling of animals,” states Leigh “Instead it is left up to arbitrary whim that has no consequence. That’s not how you handle something you care about.”
Since the Complaint was amended BLM announced an “internal” investigation into “alleged” activity  at Triple B. There was an internal investigation into the same type of conduct at the Antelope roundup that cleared the contractor and blamed “telephoto distortion” and “angles” of photographs. The outcome of this “investigation” is expected on October 12.
Since the Complaint was amended BLM has now issued it’s roundup schedule.
“Do we dare hope that the BLM will issue a handling protocol with accountability to avoid scrutiny of the Court?” asks R.T. Fitch, equine author and co-founder/President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF), “After all it would seem to be standard operating procedure.”
According to the briefing schedule set by Judge McKibben the case for Relief could be heard before the Court by the end of next month.

Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is a registered, Texas non-profit corporation with 501c3 status pending.  WHFF puts people between America’s wild equids and extinction through targeted litigation against governmental agencies whose documented agendas include the eradication of wild horse and burros from public, federal and state lands. WHFF is funded exclusively through the generosity of the American public.

Click (HERE) to download Release


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