This week photojournalist Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education filed another Brief in the ongoing fight to get BLM (Bureau of Land Management) to create a meaningful standard of care for the wild horses and burros that Congress mandated them to protect. In the 40 years that the Wild Horse and Burro program has existed under the BLM no standard of care has been created with disastrous consequence.
This action began with the Court granting a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in August of 2011 against the Agency. This action came after Leigh’s lens captured conduct that included lack of water, dragging animals by the neck, hotshot use and a helicopter apparently coming in contact with an exhausted animal.
The conduct was later admitted to by the agency in an investigation called the “Triple B Team Review.”
The new filing by Leigh’s Reno attorney, Gordon Cowan, came after asking the Court permission to move the action forward. Permission was granted based on precedent set in another case brought by Wild Horse Education and Cowan.
The government attorney’s are fighting Leigh’s Motion. The argument is based simply on the assertion that they are fighting her Ninth Circuit, First Amendment, win that set the precedent.
In the current brief Cowan rights “ The ruling in Leigh v. Salazar, 668 F.3d 1126 (9th Cir. 2012) stands as precedence unless or until the appellate court reverses itself. “
Nowhere in the government’s argument against Leigh do they address her assertions. According to BLM math, they will be required to do another operation at Triple B in the very near future. They do not argue her assertion that the care standard is needed. They do not argue her assertion that the offending conduct occurred.
“This is typical of the legal strategy employed by the agency,” said Leigh “They never address the real issue at hand only create assertions that the issues can not be addressed.”
Leigh, through her attorney, has attempted to initiate conversations to rectify the issues. To date BLM has refused to engage.
Wild Horse Education is a Nevada non-profit supporting documentation and distribution of information for sensible change for America’s wild horses and burros. To support the legal challenges and continued documentation visit: WildHorseEducation.org
Links of interest:
The entire BLM Triple B Team Review is no longer available online but an Analysis of the report, including extensive quotes, can be read here:
Youtubes of interest:
Year in review, 2011, montage: