Historic Wild Horse First Amendment Case Filed Against Feds
Advocate Challenges BLM Covert Wild Mustang Operations
brief can be read at Horseback Magazine Here
HOUSTON, (WHFF) – On June 30, 2011 the last reply brief was filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the landmark First Amendment case for the public’s “right to know” in matters of government action; these actions do not relate to issues of national security, military secrets or pan-handling on the White House lawn but solely speak to the meaningful access to assess and track wild horses and burros from range through holding and the hands-on management of those herds by a government agency.
“As a journalist and representative of equine welfare agencies I travel to roundups and holding facilities with the express purpose of documenting individual animals from range through the system.
The condition of horses coming off the range at Silver King could not be properly assessed. Wild Horses captured from Silver King ARE STILL in the system.
I was NOT able to track them like I did horses from Calico. I am STILL not able to track them. Horses from upcoming roundups cannot be tracked and their condition reported to the public.
I am extremely frustrated that I cannot fulfill my full obligations to the public and the horses.”
There is an expressed expectation that Leigh will continue to be frustrated in the quest to properly assess condition of horses removed from the range, the protocol of capture, the number of horses captured and the condition of these horses as they move through the system.
“The public has a right to be informed of actions by its government, guaranteed by the Constitution,” states Leigh’s noted attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno, NV “the government cannot be allowed to evade review through cessation of an action where there is every expectation the conduct will continue.”
“This case is bigger than many people understand” explains R.T. Fitch, author and President of WHFF, “The dialogue is reaching an audience much larger than our supportive wild equine advocate community. This case has been joined by the Reporters Committee for a Free Press and the National Press Photographers Association. The American public at large is beginning to understand the broad sweeping outrages of this issue.”
Award winning equine photographer Terry Fitch added, “Working as Chief Photographer for Horseback Magazine I have continually been denied appropriate access at wild horse stampedes. The government and their contractors go to great lengths to ensure that the free press and American public cannot see what is actually happening to the last of our wild equines.”
WHFF is funding the legal operations of this action while Ms. Leigh’s field work is supported by Wild Horse Education (WHE).
Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is a registered, Texas non-profit corporation with 501c3 status pending. WHFF puts people between America’s wild equids and extinction through targeted litigation against governmental agencies whose documented agendas include the eradication of wild horse and burros from public, federal and state lands.