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Intro: "A photographer appeared before the 9th Circuit on Monday to defend press freedoms against the federal agency that barred her from attending a roundup of wild horses in Nevada."

Wild horses, like these being 'gathered' near the Calico Mountains of Nevada, are periodically rounded-up by the Bureau of Land Management, 12/31/09. (Photo: Kurt Golgart/Bureau of Land Management)
Wild horses, like these being 'gathered' near the Calico Mountains of Nevada, are periodically rounded-up by the Bureau of Land Management, 12/31/09. (Photo: Kurt Golgart/Bureau of Land Management)

Feds Defend Press Limits on Wild Horse Roundup

By Dave Tartre, Courthouse News Service

14 January 12


photographer appeared before the 9th Circuit on Monday to defend press freedoms against the federal agency that barred her from attending a roundup of wild horses in Nevada.

Laura Leigh sued in September 2010 for a temporary restraining order that would stop the Bureau of Land Management from conducting a wild horse roundup in the Silver King Herd Management Area, which is about 150 miles north of Las Vegas in Lincoln County.

Leigh wanted to get close enough to take pictures of what is also called a horse gather, which the bureau organized under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which put the federal government in charge of the herds of feral horses that have roamed the west since they were brought centuries ago by Spanish conquistadors.

As the bureau refused to let Leigh access the roundup, citing public safety concerns, she claimed that the bar would prevent her from closely monitoring the bureau's methods. She also sought to prevent the use of helicopters to chase down stray horses.

After the roundup occurred, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks ruled that Leigh failed to show that she had been treated worse than other members of the media or "that the BLM has placed any specific barriers to her access to or observation of these specific gather activities."

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit seemed reluctant Monday to consider Leigh's First Amendment arguments.

"Why is this case not moot in light of the fact that the Silver King horse gathering is already complete?" Judge Milan Smith Jr. asked Leigh's attorney, Gordon Cowan of Reno, Nev.

Cowan replied that restrictions on access to government activities, such as the roundup on public land, are capable of repetition.

"This same conduct, denying the press or public access, happened before Silver King, during Silver King, and it happened after Silver King," Cowan said.

Leigh's appellate brief states that the bureau had prevented Leigh from observing public resources in a public place in retaliation for stories and pictures Leigh had published on the Internet that showed the agency in a bad light.

"Because the published material is controversial and portrays the government in an unfavorable light, the government's effective preclusion amounts to content-based censorship," Cowan wrote.

Justice Department attorney Nicholas DiMascio defended the trial court's finding, emphasizing that Leigh had the same access to the roundup as any member of the public. Such access was justly restricted because horses that are unaccustomed to people pose a significant dangers to onlookers, he added.

His brief also states that it might have hampered the government's goals to grant press access to the temporary corrals, since they might spook the horses and make them bolt before the roundup.

The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act protects wild horses on public land, but the horses reproduce at a rate that outpaces the land's ability to support them. Each year, the bureau uses cowboys, helicopters and portable corrals to capture some of the estimated 30,000 or more feral horses believed to range in Nevada and other western states. Then they are placed on trucks headed to ranches in Oklahoma and other points east where they are warehoused for life.

In a separate lawsuit Leigh filed in 2009, she noted that she has spent "countless time" researching the feral horses for a children's book. your social media marketing partner


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-11 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-14 10:07
". . . but the horses reproduce at a rate that outpaces the land's ability to support them."

That is a simple, cold, hard fact of life. However, the real motivation is horse competition with welfare ranchers running cattle on our land for next to nothing. The answer is to slaughter all domestic animals (including feral horses) and non-native flora on public lands; re-establish native flora and fauna and end all consumptive use of public lands. We could even pay the welfare ranchers to do it.
+17 # BenECoyote 2012-01-14 13:22
Why only domestic animals? Why not all invasive species? Oh yeah, cause human beings are not native to the Americas either. Even the ranchers would probably balk at that... lol
Invasive species are a problem, but the ranch/beef/shee p industry gets a free ride from the feds, wildlife suffers for it, and the feds help cover it up. Whether it's free roaming bison herds in Montana and Wyoming, or wild horses in Nevada, the federal government often oversteps the bounds of common sense or common welfare in order to coddle the ranchers.
+2 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-14 22:26
I agree with you about the ranchers. I specifically included "non-native flora" in my post, as well as a desire to re-establish all native flora and fauna. As to humans, well are native to the Americas. They wandered or paddled over (or both, depending on who you talk to) about 14,000 to 35,000 years ago (again, depending on who you talk to), during the Pleistocene, before domestication of species (original sin, if you talk to me ;-)).
-5 # John Locke 2012-01-15 20:16
Huck Mucus: your premise means that only Native Americans have a right to remain and all of us should be returned to europe from where our ancestors migrated from...I suspect you are not sane!
+2 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 22:16
John Locke: I said "As to humans, well [sic] are native to the Americas."

Most people believe Homo sapiens is a single species (some racists don't, but I marginalize racists). We migrated here, naturally, like other species, during the Pleistocene. Different species migrated back and forth during the various interstadials (sp?) with species going extinct on either side. Horses went extinct here, we arrived, all before domestication of species.

I could very well be insane, but my argument is sound and UN-rebutted.
-6 # John Locke 2012-01-16 00:35
Huck: On the contary, your argument is full of holes...all humans are not native to the Americas. The indigenous people of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those people. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal people, and in the United States as Native Americans. They are commonly referred to as Indians, the rest are according to your world view, we should all be on a boat heading back to where our ancestors came from, stop trying to flair out of the hole you dug, you lose!
-1 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-16 08:57
Now you are grasping at straws, trying to save argumentative face after a public spanking. Check with any reputable scientist from any discipline and they will tell you that Homo Sapiens Sapiens is a single species. You stand corrected, though no doubt you fail to recognize it.
+15 # John Locke 2012-01-14 13:56
Its all about money The BLM has 18000 permits and leases held by ranchers who pay $1.35 a month for each animal "cattle" and some sheep, that is allowed to graze on BLM Land. So there is less room for the horses, and water holes are fenced off to block the horses access. Its all about the millions of dollars a month the BLM Receives from ranching...
+15 # RMDC 2012-01-14 19:55
This is really sad. What an unenlightened government we have in Washington. I've seen some of the wild horses and burros. They are beautiful. They are something we should treasure like the national parks and wilderness areas.

I don't believe the statement about horses reproducing too fast. The problem is the greed of cattle ranchers. These same greedy ranchers have eliminated all the wild buffalo, wolves, large cats, and so on. I say we eliminate the greedy ranchers. There is nothing beautiful about them.
0 # Smiley 2012-01-14 23:01
You don't have to worry about large cats. For 35 years I raised lambs on my 17 acres of meadow land in the coast range of Oregon. I only had to worry about coyotes and I found a Protective llama mamma who took care of them. Then the cougar population exploded. Last year Cougar put me out of business even taking sheep out of my barn with the radio going and a light on. I Was too small and far out for the state trapper to worry about. He was trapping about 6 cougars a week, some of them within the city limits of Corvallis (2, a mother and daughter, living under someones porch).
+5 # John Locke 2012-01-15 12:03
RMDC: Also remember Goldman Sachs & Co. through their wholly owned subsidiary, with no "solar" background has claims with the BLM on millions of BLM acres...., and of course NO wild Horses are able to roam free there either...and also BP Oil, "Ruby Pipeline" and the removal of the Calico wild horses, in Nevada... its more than just cattle and sheep its also corporate greed and bribery, GS and BP are deeply involved...
+6 # John Locke 2012-01-15 12:09
RMDC: the Ruby Pipeline, is a gigantic project to transport natural gas from Wyoming to Oregon while slicing through five separate herd areas. The 42 inch pipe would require a six foot trench nearly 700 miles long and a parallel, all-weather access road through land that has no roads.

The implications for horses and wildlife were obvious. The pipeline company, that was to develop the pipeline is El Paso Corporation,

In the documents they supplied to FERC, it talks about the removal of wild horses in the course of conducting their project. So why in the world would we not be surprised..., We should by now know there is always some financial motive, for some friend or financier of politicians... behing what our government does
+14 # MonikaCourtney 2012-01-14 20:01
The clever attempts of governmental agency BLM to keep the public out under the lame excuse of "safety issues" are a constant. Witnessing myself the uncooperative and arrogant attitude of agency employees during a stampede, I learned firsthand their priority was not safety, but keeping any "eyes" out who could document the violations, cruelty and unprofessional demeanor in the handling of all mustangs. Abuse has occured over and over again, inflicted by agency and helicopter contractor and has been exposed, which is not what they want. Americans do not know the horrors that go down on the range, and the constant cover ups and lies by BLM, the manipulating of facts and the increasing public pressure is a sore on their side.
We as the public have a right to be part and see. If a wrangler can be there, we can. Safety is only the guise they use to keep us out. The shocking footage of recent stampedes are no fabrication and BLM has violated any humane standards, promises of improvement have not been delivered and the horses' welfare is a tru concern. Hiding their covert operations away from the public and fighting the press just shows their corruption and clever attempt at deception, once again. Truth is, abuse and suffering take place, I have seen it myself. Safety is a convenient term used to win their ways, based on lies and deterring the truth. Shame on BLM and DiMascio for playing this game and abuse their power, once again, just because they can.
+14 # MonikaCourtney 2012-01-14 20:14
BLM does not want you to see helicopter adrenalin junkie pilots harassing and touching defenseless mustangs into exhaustion and collapse... or foals run to death by suffering extreme pain with hoof slough,literall y bones separating from hooves due to stampeding them along their panic stricken mothers...or stallions breaking their necks because of the unprofessional and oblivious handling by BLM'ers ? Or how about the injuries wild horses suffer being chased over cliffs or down rugged mountains over 12 miles at below freezing sub temp's ? No, that is not what they want you to see nor post on their website. But that is what eyes such as ours need to document because we are their only hope - the mustangs of this country are doomed under present mismanagement, which is geared to special interests, mining, drilling, cattle ranching. Empty promises by Director Abbey and repeat violations and unspeakable cruelty are the norm. Bad is the norm and it's time we end this mess. Americans deserve better,and the illegal round ups, junk science and lies within BLM must stop.
Americans wake up this is serious you have been fooled too long.Most herds are gone forever,the next one on the chopping block is Cloud's babies in Montana,caught in a retaliation act of BLM,who hates the public pressure and the expose of truth. Herds are healthy, range is in perfect condition and still, fairy tales of starvation, safety etc, clears the way for this crime inflicted by your government.
+11 # RnR 2012-01-14 20:26
One of those horses contributes more to this country than the entire Bureau of Land Management. The land could support the horses if the ranchers were forced to keep their cattle off of public lands. How about the massacres of wild herds? Any action taken there?
-5 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-14 22:08
The horses don't belong there any more than the cattle do. One cow displaces two and one half elk, in elk country. I don't know about the horses vs antelope, bison, elk, etc. in their respective areas, but it has to be something along the same lines.

They are introduced, feral animals and there is no original Spanish Mustang blood out there. Those horses and burros are all slick stock from ranches, many of them recent from the last 150 years or less.

They DO over populate the range and even if we shot all the cattle, the horses would take their place, without wolves, to the detriment of the native flora and fauna.

I'm no friend of the welfare ranchers and their sheep and cattle, but I'm no friend of their horses either. The horse deal is all a bunch of romantic BS that has nothing to do with protecting the land; same as the Marlboro Man.

Where is the outcry about the native animals displaced by these horses and burros?
+6 # MonikaCourtney 2012-01-14 23:40
Biased dispositions and oblivion to facts have puzzled many who prefer real science to propagated myths - one wonders if the special interest propaganda has infiltrated to a point where misinformation and half truths need rebuked. What are your bases to dismiss legitimate profuse evidence, when historic facts,DNA findings increased acknowledgement s/tributes within the scientific community proof otherwise, such as below ?
Kirkpatrick, J.F., and P.M. Fazio. Revised January 2010. Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife. The Science and Conservation Center, ZooMontana, Billings. 8 pages (Intro below link).
This supports previous observations that an animal has to be physically present at a site to leave its DNA traces behind in the sediments, and thus why its DNA is not expected to be found in each layer (12, 13). Interestingly, mtDNA of mammoth and horse could be obtained from a single layer dated to between ≈10,500 and 7,600 yr BP (Fig. 1).
+4 # MonikaCourtney 2012-01-14 23:47
Comparison with the Fossil Record.
Currently, the youngest macrofossil ages for mammoth and horse north of the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets in northwestern North America are 11,500 ± 160 and 12,480 ± 80 14C yr BP, respectively(4) .These correspond to calibrated (calendar year)age ranges of 13,100–13,710 and 14,180–14,960 yr BP at the 95% confidence interval. The recovery of mammoth and horse DNA from the 10,500- to 7,600-year-old sediments suggests that both species survived in interior Alaska for at least 2,600 and 3,700 years longer, respectively, than established from macrofossil surveys north of the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets.No,it does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out. It only takes what we learned from past experience and what true science is teaching us.We know the corrupt self-serve interests are running the show. The horses are scapegoated commodities in a market of greed, deception and lies.Wild mustangs and burros could live just fine and do not overpopulate the Western range.In reality, BLM has NO accurate current inventory only highly inflated numbers. Had the special interests/subsi dized cattle ranchers, livestock compensation programs not taken over the West, wild mustangs and burros could play out their role as it is meant to be, enhancing the eco-system on the range which is exactly what they do.
+5 # MonikaCourtney 2012-01-14 23:53
Whilst we pay millions to subsidize livestock grazing on public lands, federal grazing permittees are allowed under dubious federal policy to collateralize their grazing permits/leases to finance their public lands grazing operations.BLM has documented more than $ 1.1billion in liens on BLM grazing permits/leases in 11 western states.Approx.3 00 ranch operations have taken more than $450 million in loans on Forest Service grazing permits.In Supreme court documents,the State Bank of Southern Utah confirmed financial institutions hold $10 billion in loans/related credit transactions to the public land ranching industry, with the grazing privileges alone worth approx. $ 1 billion. ! On top of that,about $ 8 million is dedicated to killing "predators" to protect livestock grazing on federal lands. - Number of predators Wildlife Services killed in 16 western states: (2007) 71,196 - Wildlife Services spent more than $ 61 Million to control wildlife, more than $ 18 million was spent to protect "agriculture" from animal damage. - Percent of Wildlife Services predator control budget to protect livestock on public lands: 75 %
- Percent of predator control budget PAID BY RANCHERS : 1 % The balance is out of whack, simple.At present,a healthy multiple use of public rangelands is non-existent due to special interests and above. The ecological balance of all wildlife could be achieved,if BLM would ever reform its program,apply real science and work with available unbiased expers.
+4 # MonikaCourtney 2012-01-15 00:03
Restoring protections as included in the 1971 Act,updating existing laws to protect wild horses by RE-opening public lands to them thus decreasing numbers in captivity,is one step.Over 22 million acres have been taken from their federally protected range, BLM has yet to justify the loss of habitat.Returni ng healthy wild horses/burros in holding to available acres of public land designated for THEIR USE in 1971,or adding equivalent western public lands supporting federal grazing permit buybacks to reduce livestock grazing / reanalyze appropriate management levels for HMA's to allow self-sustaining , genetically-via ble herds to exist - should be primary focus. Hire unbiased experts with mustangs' welfare and best interest at heart. BLM has mismanaged since decades,still unable to correct the shortcomings of the GAO reports of 1990,1991, 2008. Plenty of solutions are on the table. BLM fails to give real answers,refuses to communicate in a transparent manner about solutions presented,and focuses only on a long-term detrimental close out strategy of all herds instead of promoting wild horses in their rightful habitat. BLM lacks to acknowledge the mustangs' magnificent contribution to this country, its history and to educate the public on their role.Shifting focus on eco-tourism to boost the Western economy, as an integral part of the natural system of public lands has yet to occur.No enormous subsidies would be needed as is the case with the public land's livestock industry.
-6 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 10:06
Your posts suffer from two specific failures in reasoning. But let’s clear one thing up first: Your rant about politics, money and power is not responsive to my argument and it demonstrates your propensity to do, in rhetoric, exactly what you accuse the opposition of doing. Your points about the BLM, etc. have already been stipulated to, so let's not try to bootstrap the rest of your argument off of those proceedings, shall we?

Now, your biased dispositions and oblivion to facts have puzzled many like me who prefer real science to propagated myths and your posts are evidence that special interest propaganda has infiltrated to a point where misinformation and half truths need rebuked.

There is no doubt horses were here in the Pleistocene. But they went EXTINCT. Overkill, over chill or over ill; it does not matter (although there is a dearth of evidence for human hunting of horses in North America, unlike the evidence for Bison, Mammoth, etc.). The fact is, horses were NOT a viable, living species in North America in the Holocene, most particularly in the high desert country of Nevada and Idaho.
+2 # John Locke 2012-01-15 12:32
Huck Mucus: You need to be educated, you are so far afield that you can't even think logically...Wil d horses were reintroduced into the US by Columbus in 1493, who imported them from Spain... Cortez brought more over around 1519... wild horses are actually feral horses...from once domistaked horses, many farmers turned their horses free during depressions, which we seem to have often, and they joined the wild herds and inter bred... they are an important link with our history and that of the Native American heritage...and they have a right to remain free, like all life forms...
0 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 13:09
You be surprised to know my level of education (and experience) on this particular subject, but rather than go into that, or cite others, I try to argue on my own two feet.

You are guilty of the same thing MonikaCourtney is guilty of: You combine stipulated points with an illogical conclusion. First, Columbus did NOT import wild horses from Spain as you said. He introduced domestic horses from Spain. Second, I agree with your history lesson. That is precisely the history lesson laid out in MY posts, with which, by the way, Monika disagrees. So at least you and I agree the horses are NOT indigenous, native animals to North America.

However, you then make a leap that such horses are an important link with our history and Native American heritage. And that they have a "right" to remain free, like all life forms. If that were the case, then the same could be said of the cattle and sheep and cheat grass and Zebra Muscles and Small Pox and need I go on? Should feral Long Horn Cattle have the same rights?

Humans, and the animals and plants and etc. which they brought with them are a pox upon the land. Go ask the California Desert Bighorn Sheep about the horses. The Pronghorn, the Merriam's Elk (extinct) and, again, need I go on?

Since we agree horses are not native, you should address the impact they have on the animals and plants that ARE; our truly important heritage.
-4 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 10:07
DNA, mc or otherwise, remains in sediments where those bones are found, including animals from the Miocene. Bones and DNA are often found outside of the strata in which they were first laid. That does not mean they were present here during the Holocene. I noticed you failed to mention any evidence of any actual horse bones, or evidence of humans having hunted them. Are you saying the Paiute of central Nevada were killing and eating, or riding, or forget that; are you saying they were even *seeing* horses and burros in 1491? Where is your evidence for that? In fact, where are all the Indians on this theory of pre-1491 horses?

Where is your evidence that the DNA of the Pleistocene animals is identical with the DNA of the European stock which is on the range today?

The WFRHBA is a sentimental joke and it poses a harm to the environment which is at least equal to the harm posed by the ranchers and BLM, which we BOTH agree are a problem. Those animals are just like crested wheat, cheat grass, tumble weeds, Russian thistle, and all the other invasive, non-native garbage that we’ve brought to this country and around the world, creating some kind of mono-planet to the detriment of true environmental diversity.
+1 # John Locke 2012-01-15 12:19
Huck Mucus: You are way off the maek here... There is generally NO need to remove any of the Mustangs, take into consideration that the animals are prey animals and mountain lions control herd size as well as death from other matters like age.... but for the BLM allowing the ranchers to fence off their water access they would be fine. My wife donates her time to take care of 35 Wild Mustangs, that were adopted from the BLM... I am very familiar with these animals and they are very, very intellignet! They deserve to live free...
-2 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 13:18
No, John Locke, you are way off the mark here. The need to remove the horses is the same need used to justify removal of cattle.

I own two of them myself, only mine were from Duck Valley where the Indians go out and shoot the studs every five years or so and release registered Quarter Horse studs to boost the blood line.

Lions don't make a dent in the horse population. The only ones they kill are the ones that are dying already, from thirst and starvation and cold.

Most of the water sources in Idaho and Nevada are on private property (that's why it was homesteaded in the first place) and most of the ones on BLM are MAN-MADE, for cattle. Exclosures are fenced to protect the water source and native flora and fauna and cows don't have a secret password that horses don't have.

In other words, that land (Nevada and Idaho) is NOT set up for large herbivores and has not been since the Pleistocene. Bison did not even run that country in the Holocene, with the Shoshone going east to hunt on the Plains.

That land is NOT set up by nature for cattle OR horses. That is a biological fact.
0 # John Locke 2012-01-15 20:03
Huck Mucus: You are not only wrong again, but I suspect you are deliberately placing false information here, and I wonder what your motive is...the water holes are Primarily on BLM property leased to the ranchers, and fenced off by them for the cattle, there are also water holes that the horses have access to...and "NO INDIAN" would EVER shoot a wild horse!!! as a matter of fact it is against the law...I don't know why you attempt to put propaganda here but I won't let you get by with it, your comment is a bad attempt to misstate facts and far from reality...
-3 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 22:30
As to Indians (and ranchers, for that matter; not that the two are always different) never shooting BLM horses, you don't know what the hell you are talking about. Yes, it is against the law. And your point? LOL! I think you haven't spent much time in country. You sound pretty academic to me.
0 # John Locke 2012-01-16 00:39
Huck: I am very familiar with the two main tribes in Arizone, and those in Nevada, as we deliver food and clothing to them... and I know how Indians feel about animals...THERE IS NO WAY an Indian would shoot a horse... Stop your non-sence your outed...
-1 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-16 17:42
Don't pretend to know how all Indians feel about animals. Don't pretend to know there is no way an Indian would shoot a horse. It's like your analysis of the species, Homo Sapiens: it's racist.
-2 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 22:45
I think I lost a post so I'll try again and if it double posts, I'll delete it. Anyway, let me educate you. Ranchers don't lease BLM land and fence it off. They lease AUM grazing rights on public land. In order to do so, they must have appurtenant private ranch land (otherwise, you and I could bid the leases for the benefit of the horses). Those private lands were homesteaded and were, logically, the most fertile, watered, bottom lands. Those are fenced off from horses and they are private. The ranchers and the BLM then built stock ponds, retention areas, windmills, diversions and etc. on the public lands. Sure, there are some natural watering holes on public land, but most are man made. To the extent those areas are fenced off, they are called "exclosures" and they are designed to keep cows out and prevent erosion, protecting the are FROM cows. The only other fences are drift fences, which can be walked around. There is so much I could go on about, under FLPMA and the TGA and etc. but suffice it to say, you don't know what you are talking about.
0 # John Locke 2012-01-16 00:47
Huch: you like to play with words, when they mean the same thing, but lets play this out for the readers... Ranchers in fact DO LEASE BLM LAND, and pay a grazing fee of $1.35 per head, and they have fenced off portions of the land.... how do I know, I have interviewed BLM Representatives , and was told why the horses are blocked from water, I specifically requested to know why... the Ranchers fence it off for their cattle... Some of the water IS on the Rancher's property but much is not....The BLM does not interfere because of the money...Now you can rant all you want... I think this discussion has come to an end...
-3 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-16 09:06
When I was working, it was $2.35 an AUM, but that does not matter. An AUM is an Animal Unit/Month. An animal unit is a cow/calf unit. You are wrong. They lease grazing rights but the public is still free to hunt, fish, hike and recreate all over that land and the ranchers do not have exclusive use thereof.

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. I can lead John Locke to knowledge but I can't make him think.
+9 # LisaLeBlanc 2012-01-15 01:50
Regardless of how some may feel about wild equines vs. everything else, the whole point of the article was the denial of Laura Leigh's 1st Amendment Rights as a journalist. This article paints her as a fluffy pony-hugger when, in fact, she is a legitimate journalist as well as a wild equine advocate. She has witnessed, documented & reported on more roundups (from the eagle's nest, a mile away) in the last year than any BLM agent or government contractor. And it falls on the Public to watch and report, especially when things go wrong. The article isn't about the essential wrongness of how our Public lands are administered to. It's about not allowing Ms. Leigh to observe in a manner that will best serve these animals and their treatment. The horses & burros from these roundups - most of them are gone. Many of them were so poorly handled during the roundups, they died or had to be killed because of their injuries. Without observation & reports on these processes - and not only by Ms. Leigh - the injuries & deaths will be much worse; it is in the nature of the government to misbehave when no one's watching. Her only fault is not being employed by a major publication. If she were a reporter for the Los Angeles Times or CBS, then this case would have been a non-starter. Because those news outlets tend to report what's pretty, dirty, socially acceptable & government friendly, not necessarily what's true or important. It isn't about public safety. It's about the Bureau's image.
0 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 10:46
No doubt they don't want the public to see what goes on. 99% of the public would be very upset. Then again, 99% of the public thinks heat comes from the radiator and food comes from the grocery store. 99% of the public, if they knew, would pave a road with good intentions. I say open the process up, let this lady in, and let the paving begin.
+2 # FayeJones 2012-01-15 14:00
[quote name="Huck Mucus"]No doubt they don't want the public to see what goes on.. let the paving begin/quote]

No one is looking to pave a road, we are looking for the bogus excuses to stop and access to the roundups, as well as short and long term holding to begin.

If the BLM has nothing to hide, then why are they hiding?
-1 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 15:21
You missed the metaphor. The BLM has a lot to hide. And supporters of the WFRHBA are paving a road to hell with good intentions.
+2 # FayeJones 2012-01-15 16:33
Quoting Huck Mucus:
You missed the metaphor. The BLM has a lot to hide. And supporters of the WFRHBA are paving a road to hell with good intentions.

I didn't miss the metaphor. I just didn't think it was clever enough to repeat it in total. You, however, missed the irony.

I'm glad you agree that the BLM has a lot to hide.

BTW, if you have studied this, you must know that the BLM's APHIS cleanses the land of predators for the livestock (not for the wild horses) and that the BLM manages over 235 million acres, which only 26 million allotted to wild horses, with more HMA's being zeroed out every year. Sooner than later, there won't be enough wild horses left for you to complain about.
-2 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 17:41
No doubt "clever" is your standard for rebuttal; like romance is your standard for environmental science. The irony you missed was your own defense of a pox on the environment (paving the way to hell with your good intentions).
I know the BLM has a lot to hide, and they do a good job hiding it. In fact, having not only studied this, but having represented numerous environmental groups defending public lands (both BLM and USFS), I know the biggest thing they hide is their own IN-HOUSE experts in biology who know the Nevada desert is not cut out for cattle or horses. These biologist must slip opinions under our doors at midnight, knowing their research get's "edited" by their political superiors for the benefit of the ranching community.
Nevertheless, the legitimate environmental biologists know the range (we are talking about Nevada, not Wyoming or Montana) is harmed by all large grazing herbivores, including horses.
Regarding your spiel about predator killing, please, unlike some folks, take yes for an answer. I've got no truck with your analysis.
As to the acreage, that is irrelevant. BLM should base management on site-specific environmental concerns, not arbitrary numbers or romance.
Bring back all native flora and fauna (or proxies if they aren't already extinct; wolves, elk, etc.) and get rid of horses, burros, cattle, sheep, goats.
If you want them, then do as you would have the ranchers do: run them on your own land.
0 # John Locke 2012-01-15 20:11
Huck Mucus: The pox on the environment is Man...are you suggesting we eliminate man? ...You claim to have represented numerous environment groups, are you an attorney?... because I have a real law degree. and I find your logic appalling and misplaced...and your arguments superficial at best...
0 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 22:36
Yes, I am an attorney. I practiced environmental, public lands, and administrative law, primarily federal court litigation, in Idaho, for ten years, much of it pro bono. That doesn't include the work I did while in school. I've also done a lot of other things relevant to this conversation but I despise argumentum ad vericundium so enough of that. You think my arguments are superficial? You want case citations and blue booking? Then go to court. This is a discussion board and I'm rolling your socks without that.

Yes, man is a pox but because of the shit he does, like supporting invasive species such as horses.
-2 # John Locke 2012-01-16 00:54
Huck, Its hard to believe with your manner of speach that you really have a law degree, but to be honest, I have litigated smark asses like you before. My background is Constitutional, Law, Civil Rights, and I practiced, Con Law Administrative law mainly before the SEC, and also general Civil law with an emphisis on Jurisdictional issues, and I still find your position full of crap, and especially your post about Indians shooting horses... Have a good life, I have wasted enought time on you...
-1 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-16 09:11
So basically, you just stipulated that you have NO experience in my area of expertise, which also happens to be related to the subject matter at hand?

I will take your arguments under advisement and render my decision at my earliest convenience. Or not.

I am back in session: John Locke, you lose. Fees and costs to me. LOL!
-1 # FayeJones 2012-01-16 13:44
[quote name="Huck Mucus"]No doubt "clever" is your standard for rebuttal; like romance is your standard for environmental science. The irony you missed was your own defense of a pox on the environment (paving the way to hell with your good intentions)."

Seriously, you were trying to be clever with your metaphor, which I got the first time. Now, it seems you're just being cranky as it didn't get the homage you feel it is due.

"I know the BLM has a lot to hide, and they do a good job hiding it. In fact, having not only studied this, but having represented numerous environmental groups defending public lands (both BLM and USFS), I know the biggest thing they hide is their own IN-HOUSE experts in biology who know the Nevada desert is not cut out for cattle or horses."

Are you winning any of these cases for your clients? And which ones are they? I'd like to make sure I don't renew my memberships.

"Regarding your spiel about predator killing, please, unlike some folks, take yes for an answer."

I would hardly call one sentence a spiel.

"If you want them, then do as you would have the ranchers do: run them on your own land."

Well it is public land we are talking about, so you really don't get to say what goes on there any more than I do. It's the lies, deception and cronyism that is the subject matter at hand.
-2 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-16 17:37
Metaphors are not intended to be clever. But there is no sense in me trying to educate you on their purpose. The record speaks for itself and it's clear what you are doing.

The cases I worked on are over. However, if you run from science then you might as well quit all the environmental groups that rely on it, since they don't fit your romantic desires and fantasies about wild horses running free.

Your spiel was two sentances (one very long), and comprised the majority of your post.

It IS public land we are talking about, and it IS the lies, deception and cronyism that is the subject matter at hand. It's coming from both the cattle ranchers and the horse people, while the environmentalis ts and the science and the biology and the ecosystem diversity and the extinction of native species are left out in the cold. The cattle and the horses are two sides of the same coin (hopefully that doesn't offend your view of "clever").
+6 # FayeJones 2012-01-15 09:27
Lisa, thank you for bringing comments back to the point, which is an arrogant government denying access to its operations on the thin excuse that a observer or two standing quietly with a camera is going to spook these horses more than the noise and dust from a helicopter hunting them like a predator.

Additionally, the BLM does let some friendly news organizations get much closer to the roundup action than Ms. Leigh, often while Ms. Leigh and other advocates are left a mile away trying to get a vantage point to see anything.

And once the horses have just been gathered, wranglers walk around snapping sticks with plastic bags, hittie horses with cattle prods, slamming gates, so tell me a horse is going to ignore all this and focus on an observor standing quietly a hundred feet away. Really??

And the government black out continues at private facilities paid for by your tax dollars to deny access, limited viewing at short term holding and a complete lack of documentation and access to horses in long term holding. This is your government out of control, arrogant and denying access by the press under the First Amendment. It sets a dangerous precedent and quite simply you should be up in arms over this, if nothing else.
+4 # thunderbucks 2012-01-15 10:51
This immediately brings to my mind The Nazi Regime; The Nazi Government endeavored to unite the nation in support of their policies through the extensive use of propaganda. A number of agencies were set up whose duty was to control and influence the press, radio, films, publishing firms, etc., in Germany!
The inhumane treatment that takes place during these so called “Horse Gathers” is clearly something our Government does not want known (a mirrored Nazi movement to control public opinion)! Someday soon if this is not stopped, our children and our grandchildren will only be able to read about these magnificent animals in a history book.
Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, in charge of the Bureau of Land Management, heritage is that he grew of on a ranch in Colorado and his family has farmed and ranched on land in what is now New Mexico and Colorado since the 16th century, if that says anything.
The Feds’ have no right to limit the press as to what they are allowed to witness and report regarding the pretense of safety. Clearly this is BS, if this is the case, why is the press allowed to report back to us on the front lines of hostage situations, natural disasters, war, etc!
+5 # 125411 2012-01-15 12:02
Keep focused! This legal case was specifically about any member of the public's right to witness the rounding up of publically owned and protected wild horses, on public land, by the BLM who, by-the-way, work for the public! To be kept a mile away from the trap sites for supposed 'saftey reasons' is the issue here. A young boy, appearing to be 4-5 years old, was filmed, standing alone, a yard or two away from the fence that the horses stampeded past. Obviously, he didn't just wonder in there...he was brought by one of the adults to watch the horses. So to keep a photo journalist a mile out appears very suspicious! What are they hiding? They put up tarps and pull up large trucks between the horses and the cameras, especially when something is going terribly wrong and the horses are being injured, etc.. Their own Public Relations people have radioed to the wranglers to STOP roundups that are becoming abusive and they,themselves , have been ignored. THAT is what this law suit is all about...the publics access to the care and handling of the protected wild horses.
0 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 13:26
True enough. My sister used to wrangle them for the BLM north of Rock Springs, WY, back in the 1980s. We would go watch all the time. I have 8mm footage. There is NO legitimate "safety" reason for keeping the press or public out. The only reason to keep them out is the same reason people don't film what goes on in slaughter houses, where you get your meat and your leather: The handling of large, half-ton animals with their own brain is a brutal, exhausting and tough process to do; people who are used to having it all done for them also find it brutal, exhausting and tough to watch.

Edited to add: I think the cameras should be let in and I think people should watch. I think it would be good for them.
+2 # LisaLeBlanc 2012-01-15 12:04
The Public is allowed to 'participate' in the preliminary processes that illustrate 'purpose & need' for roundups to occur. During Public scoping, individuals or entities can submit reasons why they do or don't support a roundup. While there is an appearance of allowance, the comments that disagree with the documents are picked apart - citing ancient policy or science that is no longer relevant - while those comments that agree are naturally met with appreciation.
Since the BLM has no issues with removing wild equines, repeatedly asserting their power over those decisions, it's curious how a smattering of individuals excercising a right to observe a government action are perceived as enemies of the state. The First Amendment not only covers Freedom of the Press but Freedom of Assembly:
"...the right of the people to peaceably assemble ...for anything else connected with the powers or duties of the National Government, is an attribute of national citizenship, and, as such, under protection of, and guaranteed by, the United States."
Perhaps this is also open to interpretation.
Ms. Leigh and others are attempting to excercise both.
There is nothing about roundups that should be construed as national security under the guise Public safety; the decisions to round up have been made. The Bureau should have a vested interest in demanding safe, humane handling during those roundups.
+2 # LisaLeBlanc 2012-01-15 12:42
If the Bureau feels it's image is being sullied, it's policies and protocols hindered by visual documentation & reporting by Ms. Leigh & others, it doesn't suffer simply because it's being documented. It's suffering because of the actions themselves.
And while some may bristle at the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act itself, the Act isn't a list of suggestions; it has every bit as much importance as the Clean Water Act or the Fair Housing Act. It is a promulgation of Law. And one of the last Acts passed unanimously, not by overwhelming majority.
Since it's inception, more effort has been expended trivializing, amending or bastardizing the Act than has been spent enforcing it.
Since the ordinary citizen is unable to effect enforcement, it falls on them observe, document & report. When Federal employees do this, it's called whistle-blowing . When citizens do it, it should be called oversight.
I challenge everyone who reads this article to attend a roundup. Live for a moment what Ms. Leigh and others live every day. You may or may not see some of what Ms. Leigh has documented but you will understand the entire lack of 'fluff' involved, when you attend a briefing that automatically levels suspicion your way; when you are sequestered, more often than not, with armed BLM Law Enforcement a mile or more from the trap site; when you see the results of the roundup on the animals themselves then realize it could (and should) have been conducted very differently.
-2 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-15 14:43
Quoting LisaLeBlanc:

I challenge everyone who reads this article to attend a roundup. Live for a moment what Ms. Leigh and others live every day.

I challenge everyone who eats meat or uses leather to kill their own food, gut it, skin it, quarter it, butcher it and cook it. And not just a quick, clean bullet to the head. I mean a struggle with a beast, for life, and death. Live for a moment what predators and prey live every day.

Don't just say grace before you eat: live in grace with what you eat.

The further people get from their food, the more inclined they are to extend romantic sympathies and denial into areas of legislation like the WFRHBA; and the more likely they are to stop chiseling the leg of the deer with their teeth; and the more likely they are to refuse to let their teeth be chiseled by the leg of the deer. The more likely it is that the whole environment loses.

Let Ms. Leigh in. But let's go with her, everywhere, lest we become like the cattle we eat: Fat, stupid, bawling, shit-smeared, fly-covered, hormone/steroid /antibiotic infested, lazy, weak parasites on the Earth, who take all and contribute nothing, with our silly sentiments about the sanctity of life and antiseptic death.
+2 # Margowolf 2012-01-15 15:31
Thanks to Lisa and Monika for telling the truth.

This case is not over. It may end where it is or go on. This case is important to journalists and the public for our right to bear witness and to know what goes on not only in the instance of wild horses in roundups, short and long term holding and records of sale authority horses bought who have disappeared. This case will be extremely important if it is lost because it will take with it a chunk of our freedom and undermine our 1st Amendment Rights. If this case is won we will possibly see more transparence and access to all our captured wild horses and the records that will tell us the fate of thousands. This case is still 'present tense'.
+1 # Lisa N 2012-01-16 10:25
I am so sick of hearing "feral" horses. Science has already proven that the modern horse evolved in N.America and fossil evidence PROVES they have been here all along. Yes, some DNA goes back to Spanish horses, some rancher's horses mixed in there but the point is: THESE HORSES ARE NOT INVASIVE BUT NATIVE SPECIES. In fact, without the horses propagating native grasses this land would be void of forage long ago. Since cattle do not propagate anything they are causing desertification (Read the GAO reports). Here's a recent article that sums up the damage domestic livestock do to these fragile slow-growing desert crusts:
Not only is the land being destroyed by cattle/sheep but THEY HAVE CONTAMINATED ALMOST ALL SURFACE WATER ON PUBLIC LANDS.
There are over 7 million cattle "welfare" grazing on MY PUBLIC land and less than 10,000 wild mustangs left in 10 states. The government has spent millions executing over 71,000 natural predators to protect those precious welfare cattle/sheep. The horses ARE ENDANGERED SPECIES, not over-populated. The cows are over-populated so let's slaughter them and leave the mustangs alone. When/if the mustangs numbers recover to genetically viable levels, then let's talk humane management.
-2 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-16 18:14
You are correct about everything except this:

1. Science has proven the horses have NOT been here all along;
2. The horses do the same damage to riparian areas, soils and vegetation as do cattle;
3. *These* horses are nowhere an endangered species (especially if you use your own definition in your first paragraph).
+4 # earthladyj 2012-01-16 11:45
The BLM and Ken Salazar are corrupt!!! They have rounded up 46,000 of our heritage, the wild horses and burros costing the taxpayers 1.5 million and 1,500 a day to warehouse them. They are now sending some to slaughter. And for what? You guessed it... big corporate ranchers!! They want to make room for cattle because the ranchers want cheap public land and to hell with what the taxpayers want. Salazar has a shoot-on-sight order for the wolves and has delisted the polar bear, the sage-grouse and the tortoise. He should RESIGN!!!!!
-1 # John Locke 2012-01-17 16:46
earthladyj: if you have evidence that some are being sent to slaughter, I would like to see is against Federal law to send these animals to slaughter, Nevada tried to do that by having the animals transferred to state authority...and was stopped...
0 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-17 18:53
I think it is still illegal to send BLM horses to slaughter. However, I believe, on November 18th, 2011, Congress did lift the general ban on the slaughter of other horses.

I ain't never et horse, but I gots 2000 pounds of French Steak out back fer when the Zombies take over.
+1 # Huck Mucus 2012-01-17 20:07
P.S. A quick Google search brought up the "Burn's Amendment" which purportedly allows the sale without conditions of horses over 10 years old, or with three unsuccessful adoption attempts (meaning they can go to slaughter). Don't know if that is law or not, and don't know if this is what earthladyj is talking about.
+1 # FayeJones 2012-01-19 13:22
Quoting Huck Mucus:
P.S. A quick Google search brought up the "Burn's Amendment" which purportedly allows the sale without conditions of horses over 10 years old, or with three unsuccessful adoption attempts (meaning they can go to slaughter). Don't know if that is law or not, and don't know if this is what earthladyj is talking about.

I'm not sure exactly sure what earthlady is talking about either, but there was a recent seizure of mustangs from a known Kill buyer in Texas

and PEER review from 1997. It's dated, but the concerns are the same then as now ...

and you are correct about the Burns Amendment. It allows for the sale of mustangs to slaughter however the public opinion is against it so the BLM said they won't sell them to slaughter, or knowingly sell them to someone who sells to slaughter, (wink and a nod on that one) but part of the problem is that the BLM denies access to the public to their long term holding facilities (except for select viewing opportunities) , so who really knows how many horses are actually warehoused in the mid west and how many are "missing."
+3 # Lisa N 2012-01-16 13:58
earthladyj: I agree with your comment except that 1.5 million is way out of whack. each roundup costs taxpayers almost $2million. We the taxpayers, subsidize these welfare ranchers $500 million annually. Salazar should be indicted, prosecuted, & imprisoned.

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