April 4, 2017
RENO, Nevada – On Monday, April 3, the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals held up a district court opinion against the Nevada Association of Counties and the Farm Bureau (NACO), that wanted wild horses removed broad scale and even destroyed in the state of Nevada. The programmatic challenge made by NACO is not allowed as a matter of law and the lower court ruling was expected to hold.
“If people believe that this victory is an indication that wild horses are winning some type of protection against the agenda of counties in the West they are sadly misinformed,” said Laura Leigh, President of Nevada based Wild Horse Education, “I know when you sit in another state behind a keyboard it really is easy to believe what you see on the internet. As that legal case sat in a court awaiting a ruling those agendas have run full force in the West and are greater than ever.”
Multiple avenues were engaged by the Nevada Association of Counties and the Farm Bureau (NACO). The political and procedural engagement included multiple maneuvers in land use planning and testimony to Congress in June of 2016 that was incredibly damaging to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wild horse program. The agenda contained in the NACO suit has run as part of a larger political campaign under the “Grass March” or “State’s Rights” label that includes a resumption of horse slaughter, domestic and wild, as a mainline item. A legislative landslide that threatens our wild horses and public land has resulted.
“It’s great fighting a suit in court you know can be defeated,” Leigh continued “But if the opposition is moving troops on the ground and you ignore them we lose the war.”
Last week, before leaving Nevada to join the new political team being assembled in DC, Nevada State Director John Ruhs addressed the State Legislature. He discussed a “pilot program.” The pilot program essentially creates an avenue for takeover of management of wild horses by ranchers. The program includes trapping, shipping and adoptions; a one stop, tax payer pays for all, gift.
“If we take the federal governments record on access and transparency into account, we have one helluva battle on the new horizon.” Leigh stated “This suit became no more than window dressing on a house of cards. The battle to protect our wild horses, to keep them public and safe from slaughter, rages on.”