Lawsuit And Preliminary Injunction Motion Filed To Protect Wild Horse Advocates’ First Amendment Rights

Yesterday, we filed suit—as well as a preliminary injunction request—against the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) to protect wild horse advocates’ First Amendment right to observe and document the government’s treatment of federally protected wild horses.  BLM is planning to conduct a series of highly invasive sterilization experiments on 225 wild mares in eastern Oregon, which the agency expects to contribute to its ongoing effort to sterilize many more wild horses on the public range—a plan that our firm has helped wild horse advocates successfully oppose in the past.  In an effort to reveal to the public the reality of the BLM’s inhumane treatment of these mares and to hold BLM publicly accountable for its plans to sterilize wild horses on the range, wild horse advocates requested access to observe and document the agency’s gruesome sterilization experiments.  However, providing only conclusory and unsubstantiated assertions, BLM denied any public access to observe its highly invasive, inhumane sterilization experiments.  Because the public and the press have a right to observe government activities under the First Amendment, BLM’s attempt to conduct these experiments behind closed doors is unconstitutional, and BLM’s denial of these wild horse advocates’ requests to observe these procedures is also arbitrary and capricious for various reasons.  Our clients are The Cloud Foundation, its founder and executive director and Emmy-award-winning wild horse documentarian Ginger Kathrens, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, and Deniz Bolbol, an employee of AWHPC with a long record of documenting BLM’s inhumane treatment of wild horses.  You can access the complaint here and the preliminary injunction here.