During a tuesday morning conference call with U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Bureau of Land Management ( BLM ) announced it would reverse it's decision to geld stallions from the legally contested roundup of wild horses in Wyoming's Little Colorado and White Mountain herd management areas.
BLM's original mid June decision record called for the creation of a non-reproducing herd by releasing only castrated stallions and mares that were spayed on-the-range, a procedure thought to be highly dangerous by many experts. The decision was modified a few days later to cancel the spaying of mares and create a "minimally reproducing" herd.
A July lawsuit filed by the Western Watershed Project and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, et al alleges violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and the Administrative Procedures Act. A long list of expert testimony describing the harmful effects of irreversible procedures such as gelding and spaying was added to the lawsuit just last week.
Sixty-four members of Congress issued a letter to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar with a copy sent to BLM Director, Bob Abbey, urging the use of immuno-contraception as a means of population control rather than the irreversible procedure of spaying and gelding
" By galloping ahead with this destructive plan, the BLM ignored over 10,000 public comments and the opinion of experts who warned of the irreparable harm that would be inflicted on these wild horse populations, the the agency could not ignore a federal lawsuit," said Suzanne Roy, Campaign Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign... It's a shame that citizens must turn to the courts to force this agency to respect and uphold federal law."
BLM has agreed to delay the previously scheduled August roundup until until September. A modified record of decision is expected later this week. Any effect on future actions involving the lawsuit are unclear at this time.
Tom Gorey, BLM's Washington D.C. spokesman, stated, "The BLM has informed the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that the Bureau plans to withdraw it's modified White/Mountain/Little Colorado gather-and -treatment decision of June 22, 2011. Our goal is to issue a new modified decision by Friday, August 5, 2011."