An agreement between the United States Forest Service and the Fort McDermitt Tribe for the gathering of unbranded wild horses has been terminated following a legal challenge.
The organisation, Protect Mustangs, says the decision stops an agreement that was sending horses into the hands of alleged kill buyers.
The lawsuit challenging the agreement was taken by California-based Protect Mustangs and Oregon-based Citizens Against Equine Slaughter against the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service (USFS).
The Forest Service and the Fort McDermitt Tribe signed the gather agreement on May 30 this year, which the non-profit plaintiffs asserted directed taxpayer dollars and federal personnel to illegally roundup unbranded, wild, free-roaming horses in Nevada on Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest lands and tribal lands until May 31, 2015.
They said that as a direct result of the complaint and injunction bid, the Forest Service terminated the gather agreement on September 3.
The groups specifically requested the court order the Forest Service and the bureau to can the gather agreement until such time as the agency demonstrated to the Court that it had adequately complied with the law.
The group said that instead of litigating the legality of the gather agreement, the Forest Service terminated the agreement.
“The McDermitt nightmare was the first of what could have been two solid years of heinous roundups authorized by the USFS gather agreement,” said Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs.
“We are grateful the lawsuit resulted in the Forest Service terminating the agreement because so many horses were ending up in kill-buyers hands. Many were saved by equine welfare groups, but sadly a lot of horses ended up allegedly slaughtered.”
Dr Lester Castro Friedlander, president of Citizens Against Equine Slaughter, said: “It’s unfortunate the first McDermitt roundup wasn’t stopped before horses were sold at auction, but we’re glad we got rid of the underlying agreement that made the McDermitt roundups possible and authorized an undisclosed number of similar roundups until May of 2015.”