Cheyenne, Wyo. – Return to Freedom, The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation, and photographers Carol Walker and Kimerlee Curyl today filed a motion for a Preliminary Injuction/Temporary Restraining Order in U.S. District in Wyoming to block the Bureau of Land Management from conducting the roundup and removal of 500 wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard.
The agency has informed the plaintiffs that it intends to begin the roundup in the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas on Oct. 18.
“The BLM is treating over one million acres of public land in the Checkerboard as private land, and is proceeding to eradicate wild horses from these public lands at the request of private livestock grazing interests,” said Bill Eubanks of Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP, which is representing the plaintiffs.
“This unprecedented action is illegal and the subject of a pending appeal at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. We believe the court must enjoin BLM from proceeding with this roundup at least until the Tenth Circuit has ruled on this precedent-setting issue that has implications for wild horses across the West.”
On Monday, October 3, the groups filed the lawsuit challenging the roundup. It is the latest chapter in an ongoing legal battle over the BLM’s plan to eradicate wild horses from a two million acre area of public and private land at the request of the Rock Springs Grazing Association. The RSGA owns or leases the private land blocks in the Checkerboard and views wild horses as competition for taxpayer subsidized livestock grazing on the public lands in the area.
On Sept. 19, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the plaintiffs’ appeal of a lawsuit challenging the 2014 BLM Checkerboard roundup in which 1,263 wild horses were rounded up by helicopters and removed from the range.
At issue in both cases is the legality of the BLM’s reliance on a request from private landowners to remove wild horses from private lands as an excuse to eradicate them from the public lands in the area as well.