Washington, D.C. - Safari Club International (SCI) has successfully defended the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) efforts to manage destructive wild horses in northwest Nevada. Plaintiffs, including an animal rights group, had launched baseless attacks on BLM's management practices in a federal lawsuit. On May 24, 2010 the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, based on arguments provided by SCI, dismissed the lawsuit, finding that none of the plaintiffs had "standing" to sue.
The horse numbers on the Calico Mountain Complex were three to four times higher than established management levels and the excess horses are causing damage to the ecosystem and harming resident wildlife, including game mammals and birds. The animal rights group "In Defense of Animals," and two individuals sued the BLM to stop the planned gathering of the excess horses at the Calico Complex, and the subsequent transfer of the horses to long-term holding facilities.
SCI President Larry Rudolph said "Once again, SCI has successfully stepped in to advance the interests of hunters advocating for sustainable management of all species. When herds reach population levels at which they seriously degrade the habitat and harm not only game species, but all kinds of wildlife, it is time for the BLM to take action. Unfortunately, single-minded zealots try to stop these management efforts. When the hunters and outdoor enthusiasts of Nevada called, SCI helped make a real difference. This case is more proof that SCI truly is First for Hunters."
The Calico Mountain Complex is but one of many areas in the West facing similar wild horse overpopulation problems. The BLM is trying to address these problems by gathering horses and putting them up for adoption, as envisioned by the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. Those horses not adopted must be sent to long-term facilities because Congress has removed funding for euthanasia and the commercial sale of excess horses, although the practices are authorized by the Wild Horses Act.
From the beginning of its involvement in the case to a recent oral argument, SCI maintained that the plaintiffs had failed to prove their right to sue. In the end, the Court agreed with SCI and dismissed the case. The plaintiffs now have 60 days to decide whether to appeal the court's decision.
SCI-First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI's approximately 190 Chapters represent all 50 of the United States as well as 106 other countries. SCI's proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page www.safariclub.org or call (520) 620-1220 for more information.