For immediate release
Legal victory stops illegal USFS Gather Agreement that was sending horses into alleged kill buyers hands
RENO, NV. (September 26, 2013)–Protect Mustangs, the California nonprofit, dedicated to protecting native wild horses and Citizens Against Equine Slaughter (CAES), the Oregon nonprofit, won their lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (USFS). The groups fought for public transparency and to halt the government’s two-year roundup agreement.
The United States Forest Service and the Fort McDermitt Tribe signed a Gather Agreement on May 30, 2013, which directed taxpayer dollars and federal personnel to illegally roundup unbranded, wild, free-roaming horses on Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest lands and tribal lands until May 31, 2015.
However, as a direct result of the complaint and injunction filed by Protect Mustangs and CAES, the USDA Forest Service terminated the Gather Agreement on September 3, 2013.
The groups specifically requested the court order “the USFS and the BLM to withdraw the Notice and 2013 Horse Gather Agreement until such time as the agency demonstrates to this Court that it has adequately complied with the law.” Instead of litigating the legality of the Gather Agreement, the USFS did exactly what the two groups requested and terminated the Agreement.
“The McDermitt nightmare was the first of what could have been two solid years of heinous roundups authorized by the USFS Gather Agreement,” says Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “We are grateful the lawsuit resulted in the Forest Service terminating the agreement because so many horses were ending up in kill-buyers hands. Many were saved by equine welfare groups but sadly a lot of horses ended up allegedly slaughtered.”
“It’s unfortunate the first McDermitt roundup wasn’t stopped before horses were sold at auction, but we’re glad we got rid of the underlying Agreement that made the McDermitt roundups possible and authorized an undisclosed number of similar roundups until May of 2015,” explains Dr.Lester Castro Friedlander, DVM, president of Citizens Against Equine Slaughter.
Academy Award-winner and member of Protect Mustangs, Michael Blake (Dances with Wolves), stated in his declaration that he received “great inspiration watching wild horses roaming free in Nevada”. He believes if they are rounded up, removed, killed or slaughtered he would suffer harm by loosing that inspiration. Blake is pleased the two year roundup agreement was terminated.
Protect Mustangs is a nonprofit organization devoted to protecting native wild horses. Their mission is to educate the public about the indigenous wild horse, protect and research American wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.
Citizens Against Equine Slaughter is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of America’s wild and domestic horses.
Protect Mustangs and Citizens Against Equine Slaughter were represented in this case by Jones Law Firm of Reno, Nevada and Beckett Law Office of Ashland, Oregon.
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Anne Novak, 415-531-8454, Anne@ProtectMustangs.org
Jordan Beckett, 541-510-0333. firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos, interviews and video available upon request