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American Horse Protection Ass'n v. Kleppe

Citation: 6 ELR 20802
No. No. 76-1455, (D.D.C., 09/09/1976)

The court declares the proposed wild horse roundup near Challis, Idaho to be illegal and permanently enjoins the roundup until all requirements of NEPA and the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act have been followed. The court finds that defendants violated the Wild Horse Act in two respects: first, the proposed roundup would violate § 3(b) of the Act, which requires "humane" disposal of excess animals, because there were no plans for professional veterinary assistance at the roundup; secondly, the Act mandates that management of the wild herds be carried out at the "minimum feasible level," but BLM failed to consider an alternative plan that would have been a less drastic means of population control. Furthermore, because BLM is under court order to draw up an environmental impact statement on the livestock grazing plans for the Challis Region, Natural Resources Defense Council v. Morton, 388 F. Supp. 829, 5 ELR 20327 (D.D.C. 1974), the roundup should not proceed because it would foreclose consideration in the impact statement of an alternative use pattern, which would have restricted livestock grazing in certain areas to allow larger numbers of wild horses in those areas. In addition, the court concludes that the proposed roundup is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion under the two laws, because the data on which BLM based its Challis Wild Horse Management Plan is incomplete, and undisputed testimony contradicted the Plan's conclusions.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Robert C. McCandless
Bernard Fensterwald, Jr.
Russell J. Gaspar
Fensterwald & McCandless
1707 H St., NW
Washington DC 20006
(202) 223-8440

Murdaugh Stuart Madden
2100 L St., NW
Washington DC 20037
(202) 833-3360

Roger Kindler
Humane Society of the United States
2100 L St., NW
Washington DC 20037
(202) 452-1100

Counsel for Defendants
John E. Lindskold
Department of Justice
Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-2654

James Coda
Office of the Solicitor
Department of the Interior
Washington DC 20240
(202) 743-4444