Mustang roundup lawsuit gets legs

District court judge tosses Interior Department’s motion to dismiss

Wild-horse activists were issued a big win last week when a district court judge issued a ruling that will allow a lawsuit over Northern California roundups to move forward.

On Wednesday (April 20) Judge Morrison C. England Jr., of the U.S. Eastern District of California, rejected the U.S. Department of the Interior’s motion to dismiss a suit brought forth by In Defense of Animals and other mustang advocates. The lawsuit challenges the removal of 1,579 wild horses and 159 burros from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area, a 798,000-acre area in Lassen County and Washoe County, Nev., managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The roundup took place last August and September. The plaintiffs allege BLM keeps the numbers of horses and burros on the land to fewer than 1,000, while simultaneously allowing four times more commercial cattle and seven times more sheep to graze the region.