Organizations Sue BLM Over Wild Horse Treatment - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Organizations Sue BLM Over Wild Horse Treatment

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Two Nevada organizations have sued the federal government, alleging mismanagement of wild horses has led to excessive damage to rangelands and the animals themselves.

The Nevada Farm Bureau Federation and the Nevada Association of Counties named Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the Interior Department and the Bureau of Land Management as defendants in their lawsuit filed Dec. 30 in U.S. District Court.

The Elko Daily Free Press reports the groups argue the BLM should "destroy" horses that are deemed unadoptable. The BLM has opposed the sale of horses for slaughter.

The agency has removed nearly 100,000 horses from the Western range over the last decade, citing a federal law that requires the protection of "the natural ecological balance" on public lands and the removal of "excess" horses.

BLM spokeswoman Celia Boddington declined to comment yesterday on the suit. (AP)

NEVADA FARM BUREAU STATEMENT ON WILD HORSE & BURRO LAWSUIT

"On December 30, 2013, Nevada Farm Bureau Federation (NVFB) joined the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) in a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the management of Nevada's wild horses & burros. The lawsuit seeks an order for the DOI and BLM to comply with the requirements of the Wild Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

"Nevada Farm Bureau policy advocates for the proper management of wild horses and burros. The overpopulation of wild horses and burros in Nevada has severe impacts on both the health of the horses as well as the ecological health and sustainability of Nevada's rangelands.

"This lawsuit aims to have the BLM manage the overpopulation of wild horses and burros as set forth in the Wild Horse & Burro Act of 1971, which states that the Secretary of the Interior shall manage wild free-roaming horses and burros in a manner that is designed to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on public lands.  The BLM is charged with the task of setting Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) and is required by federal law to manage wild horse and burro populations.

"Wild horses and burros have long been an integral part of the landscape and heritage of Nevada. Nevada has the highest percentage of public lands and in return Nevada has the highest population of wild horses and burros. This lawsuit is aimed at protecting Nevada's rangelands, protecting the state's limited natural resources and ultimately protecting the horses. As a result of the overpopulation of wild horses and burros there are examples of degradation of natural springs and riparian areas, unhealthy or dying horses, and negative effects on native wildlife and vegetation."

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