WHB Refresher

As the second half of the FY 2022 gather season ramps up, here are two provisions from the current statute to keep in mind as the action unfolds.

§1331. Wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands

§1332. “Range” means the amount of land necessary to sustain an existing herd or herds of wild free-roaming horses and burros, which does not exceed their known territorial limits, and which is devoted principally but not necessarily exclusively to their welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept for the public lands

The undefined concept of Appropriate Management Levels was not in the original statute, nor were there any provisions for privately owned livestock, yet today the land that remains is managed primarily for livestock and AMLs correspond to a tiny fraction of the available resources.


What you are seeing on the range could be described as lawlessness, yet the advocates are consumed with HMAPs, drilling and mining, and the Montana Solution.

One thought on “WHB Refresher

  1. removal of Non-excess animals…the legal application of words is essential. https://www.amazon.com/Blacks-Law…/dp/1731931611
    Post from the Federal Register
    317k17 k. Pasturage and Hay. Most Cited Cases West Douglas CASE
    Aug. 5, 2009.

    Background: Associations organized to protect wild horses and one equine veterinarian brought action against Bureau of Land Management (BLM), challenging the decision of BLM to remove all wild horses from the West Douglas Herd Area in Colorado. Parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.
    . Most succinctly on the issue of management in her MEMORANDUM OPINION ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, District Judge stated:
    “BLM’s authority to “manage” wild free-roaming horses and burros is expressly made subject to “the provisions of this chapter[,]” 16 U.S.C. § 1333(a), including the provision that “[i]t is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture….” Id.§ 1331. It would be anomalous to infer that by authorizing the custodian of the wild free-roaming horses and burros to “manage” them, Congress intended to permit the animals’ custodian to subvert the primary policy of the statute by capturing and removing from the wild the very animals that Congress sought to protect from being captured and removed from the wild. It is difficult to think of a “management activity” that is farther from a “minimal feasible level” than removal.

    Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did not have the inherent authority, within plain meaning of its management authority under Wild Horse Act, to remove entire herd of wild free-roaming horses that had not been determined to be “excess animals” and to place the horses in private adoption or long-term care, even though other wild horses would continue to remain in a nearby area within same geographic unit; upon removal, the removed herd would forever cease to be “wild” contrary to Congress’s intent to protect the horses from capture, management activities provided by the Act did not include any reference to the removal of non-excess animals, there was no detailed statutory procedure for removing non-excess animals, and Congress intended to eliminate any discretion to destroy non-excess animals when it repealed original provision of act providing that power and replaced it with provision speaking only to BLM’s authority to remove and destroy excess animals. Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, § 3(a), (b)(1), (b)(2)(A-C), 16 U.S.C.A. § 1333(a), (b)(1), (b)(2)(A-C).
    *88Valerie J. Stanley, Laurel, MD, Mara C. Hurwitt, Leboeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, LLP, Washington, DC, for Plaintiffs.

    more info @https://animallawcoalition.com/can-the-wild-horses-and…/
    September 26, 2009 Posted by russmead under Wild horses and burros

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