NOTE: I have been working my fanny off and things are going to intensify. Please be very patient with me if I can’t answer emails timely or return calls. Yes, there are two “organizations” represented here, but that is a framework. I am gathering info, researching, working on other issues of accountability on the ground, logging, editing, crafting documents and trying to keep the pulbic informed by writing the press releases and getting video up.
AND i do need your support. Without you this work does not exist. ~ Thank you. Laura
For Immediate Release: November 10, 2011
Contact: R.T. Fitch, President WHFF, 281-766-7566
Laura Leigh, Vice President WHFF, 800-974-3684
Litigation to Protect Wild Horses and Public Rights Intensifies
BLM Faces Multiple Legal Challenges
Litigation filed referencing First Amendment claims against the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Interior that addresses areas of discriminatory access, and access denied, to document the governments care or lack there of wild herds will be heard on January 9 in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This case began in 2010 and addresses repetitive conduct by the Defendants toward hiding actions from public scrutiny.
Plaintiff Leigh contends that the activities addressed in that case are ongoing to date. Leigh says “the games continue.”
“If government becomes committed to silencing those voices of opposition, or to hiding their actions to avoid opposition,” states Leigh’s attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno “we have truly entered into dangerous times.”
This case has been signed on through Amicus brief by both the Reporters Committee for a Free Press and the National Press Photographers Association. The outcome of this case may have far-reaching ramifications into the ability of the American Press to address issues that create controversial conversation in the public sphere.
In Leigh’s other ongoing action against the Agency, that has become known as the “Humane action” case, the BLM has published their reply to the Court.
The agency’s defense includes statements that challenge Leigh’s right to address the actions she witnessed (including a helicopter skid striking a horse), and the timeliness of her claim, yet fail to address any measures the Agency has taken to rectify the situations that cause such activity to occur.
“It is so absurd that an agency tasked with humane care of our wild herds by Congress has no standard of care and consequence for violation. Instead it is left up to a citizen to address the issue in a Courtroom,” said Leigh “And even after we gain a TRO (temporary restraining order) the agency still will argue my right to call them on inappropriate behavior instead of addressing it. It’s like dealing with a very naughty child.”
The Complaint filed by Leigh addresses conduct that was clearly demonstrated at the Triple B roundup earlier this year in eastern Nevada. The conduct addressed has been documented on many occasions at other operations by the agency.
“The amount of work required to obtain documentation and then format it into appropriate action to create meaningful change is incredible,” states Leigh “We are talking about two simple premises here: handle our horses with care and demonstrate accountability to the public. Why is this so difficult to accomplish within the agency tasked, and paid, to do exactly that?”
Leigh and her attorney will be filing their response to the Court before Thanksgiving.
“Leigh is working diligently in both field and research,” states equine author R.T. Fitch and President of WHFF “and the commitment of Ms. Leigh, WHFF and the American public to see this through to a positive outcome has never been stronger.”
Links of interest:
To support the work in the Field
To support litigation: you can tag contributions for the suit you want to support or give to the general fund
Horse hit with helicopter
Orphan and hotshot use
Foal chased and roped
Clips of denied or discriminatory Access