RENO, NV (July 19, 2011) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management was given the green light on Tuesday to move ahead with a controversial horse roundup in Nevada when a federal appeals court lifted a temporary injunction blocking the gather of more than 1,700 mustangs.
An animal rights group, the Colorado-based Cloud Foundation, had sued to stop the roundup. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the group had failed to show it likely could prove during future hearings that the roundup is illegal and that removal of horses from federally protected public rangeland would cause irreparable harm.
Critics said another disappointing loss in federal court suggested Congress may have to pass a new law to protect the mustangs because the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act of 1971 doesn’t seem to be enforceable.
“We need a new law,” said Rachel Fazio, a lawyer for the Cloud Foundation who had won the temporary restraining order from a judge on the appellate court based on claims the proposed roundup was illegal.
“I think we really need to establish the fact that these animals need to be protected, need to be maintained unmolested by man. And that we mean it this time,” she told The Associated Press.
BLM spokeswoman Heather Emmons said the roundup that had been scheduled to begin last week would start on Wednesday in northeast Nevada near the Utah line — weather permitting — and continue for about six weeks.
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