CAES FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST BLM
TODAY, JANUARY 13, 2020 CAES FILED A LAWSUIT AGAINST BURNS BLM IN OREGON FOR THEFT AND FRAUD AMONG OTHER THINGS.
CAES HAS BEEN FOLLOWING THE SITUATION OF AN ILLEGAL GATHER, AND REMOVAL OF NEARLY 900 ANIMALS FROM THE WARM SPRINGS HMA IN OREGON SINCE 2018. DESPITE CONTINUAL CHANGES TO THE PLANS FOR THESE WILD HORSES AND BURROS BLM STILL HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO DIG THEMSELVES OUT OF A LEGAL QUAGMIRE THEY CREATED.
Below is an excerpt from the case filed today with the Interior Board of Land Appeals, a court that deals specifically with cases relating to federal land management
In 2018 BLM, Burns District in Oregon initiated a scoping letter asking for input on plans to do cruel and illegal spay sterilization experiments on wild, pregnant mares from the Warm Springs herd. CAES has been involved since then. And when they decided to try and move forward with that plan we stopped it. BLM cannot perform the experiments because the Animal Welfare Act regulations have rules for experimenting on wildlife, and the one BLM cannot workaround is the fact that the experiments must be done in an aseptic (sterile)environment. They have tried twice, and both times have had to ask the court to vacate and remand their decision, stating they no longer plan to do the sterilizations.
BLM decided to use a rarely used exception to start the gather of those horses before we could even file against the plan. This is where the BLM issues the final decision to do something and they state the action is “effective upon issuance.” It was not however stated in their decision, and the conditions stated for using that emergency status are those that are not covered under conditions for a determination of “effective upon issuance”, making the gather illegal. However, before that could be ruled on BLM requested the order from the court to cancel their plans. The court issued that without resolving what would happen with the nearly 900 animals it had already gathered and removed.
BLM has tried 2 plans since then to not put all the animals back out, siting fake emergency conditions in the area, including drought. We exposed this as a lie with that part of eastern Oregon, not in drought condition per the National Weather Service, and in fact, pointed out that the county even had higher than normal precipitation in 2019. Yet BLM is holding to their claim that water sources are drying up.
We have accused them of either outright lying or of covering up problems created by over 6,000 cattle on the HMA. This also applies to their claims of horses creating a decline to sage grouse habitat conditions or populations on the HMA. The census maps of where horses were spotted do not show horses on the sage grouse habitat areas.
We had an entire table on “The Numbers” which we submitted in the lawsuit. There were so many documents that stated different numbers of horses gathered, horses released, and other statistics they report, and they were just not matching up. The more we dug into this, the more the numbers were different, and the more apparent it was that BLM has stolen horses from the public that owns these wild horses. Where are the horses? There are not nearly as many documented or at the holding facility as BLM claimed in the FOIA documents we received. And we even fond 3 horses, one from Warm Springs and 2 from the Kiger HMA that the BLM paperwork shows were released, but there they stood, in mud and feces, in a holding pen. One South Steens HMA horse was listed as sold, and she stood there as well.
We asked the court to stop BLM from removing another horse from this facility until they can provide evidence for the whereabouts of every horse. And we don’t just want a chart that lists where they supposedly are, we want adoption contracts and sales receipt! We want to know they have not shipped them to slaughter. We want to know if ANY horse was actually released back to Warm Springs as they claim.
Additionally, BLM contracted pilot claimed there were 25-30 animals left on the Warm Springs HMA after the gather. BLM’s Lisa Grant put out a final gather report claiming that there were 30 horses AND 30 burros. We doubted that claim then, and we sure it was a lie when the final gather summary from Sun J’s pilot was removed from the BLM website.
To add insult to injury BLM now claims that the aerial survey, which is unpublished, done in June of 2019, found 149 animals on the HMA. They claim they were all horses to justify not returning anymore than 12 horses. However, notice that they first claim 149 animals…then say 149 horses…are there now NO burros? And how would the horses have grown from 30 to 149 in just 8 months time? Horses rarely have more than one foal and are pregnant for 11 months. Should we be calling the media for miracles happening? Or is BLM lying?
The American public has been waking up to the fact that we have a very big problem with corruption, accountability, collusion and truth when it comes to our government. And CAES knows the only way to fight this is in the courts.
Here’s a slide show of more photos taken by our 4 member team that braved the pass over the Cascade Mountain range to go find some truth and document these horses that are not yet missing from the holding facility in Hines, Oregon.
You will notice some of the photos are not taken to get a beautiful photo of the entire horse, but our mission was to get tag numbers so we could compare them with the tag numbers on the FOIA documents we received.
There were people there from Mustang Millions who were taken right into the pens to view the horses up close. However, we were told we did not have that privilege because we were not approved adopters. This was another illegal act by BLM to give preferential treatment to people who seek to take horses and make profits over advocates who are there to document, while all of us own these native, natural resources, and the law does not give the BLM the right to discriminate.
But CAES knows we have the right to sue them, and that is what we did today. we want to know where the Warm Springs horses are, and we want them returned to the HMA. BLM is NOT above the law.
As always if you want to support the work we do we encourage you to make a donation to CAES to help us continue to do this important work protecting our heritage. Our horses need our voices. You can make a donation to CAES by mailing a check to:
PO Box 115
Drain, Oregon 97435
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CAES is a national 501c3 dedicated to the protection of all equines wild and domestic. We are a true grassroots advocacy with members all over the nation and no paid staff. Every dime we get from generous donors like you goes to our fight for the horses. we and the horses thank you.