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Foundation says it will fight on for Calico horses

May 26, 2010

by Laurie Dixon

The Cloud Foundation says it will continue to push for the release of the nearly 2000 wild horses herded from northern Nevada, despite the dismissal of a court case challenging the controversial muster.

On May 16, visitors to the Fallon holding pens found injured horses and photographed a starving, emaciated colt among the 2100 mustangs. The young colt had clearly been struggling for days and was not placed in a hospital pen with his mother. Advocates alerted Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff to the colt's poor condition. After the facility closed the only veterinarian, responsible for the care of over 3000 horses at two BLM facilities, was called in and euthanized the colt. © Elyse Gardner
The foundation has advocated strongly for the horses taken from the Calico complex, but its supporters suffered a blow this week when Judge Paul Friedman dismissed a case brought against the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management by In Defense of Animals, wildlife ecologist and Cloud Foundation Board Member Craig Downer, and author Terri Farley.

The case was dismissed on the basis of the standing of the plaintiffs and mootness - the horses had already been removed from the range.

The foundation said it would continue to push for the return to the wild of the Calico horses, now in holding pens.

To date, about 90 horses have died and 40 or more mares suffered spontaneous late-term abortions in holding pens in Fallon, Nevada.

"The case remains that these horses need to be turned back out onto their designated range. After the suffering they continue to endure they deserve no less," says Ginger Kathrens, who is director of the Cloud Foundation.

"We're asking the public to write the president. It is time for an executive order to be handed down to place an immediate moratorium on roundups.

"The public is speaking clearly - they want their wild horses protected on our public lands and this ruling does nothing to change this unified appeal."

Horses in a holding pen in Nevada. © Craig Downer
The foundation thanked the law firm of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, who worked for free on the case.

Judge Friedman's decision did not address the merits of the argument, only the plaintiffs' lack of standing.

Additionally, the judge ruled that the arguments against the roundup methods were moot as the roundup/removal operation had already taken place.

"I'm heartsick that Judge Friedman didn't rule in favour of the Calico horses, but it's important to note that he dismissed the case on a technicality, not on the merits of the case," said one of the plaintiffs, Farley.

"This lawsuit shone the light of public scrutiny on the bureau's abuse of the mustang. Those of us who had our eyes opened will never look away."



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