Court Rules Against Sterilizing Entire Wild Horse Herd

In a major victory for federally protected wild horses and their public land habitat in Idaho, the District of Idaho on Friday held that the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) poorly considered decision to sterilize an entire wild horse herd was arbitrary and capricious and in violation of federal law. Our clients—the American Wild Horse Campaign, Return to Freedom, the Cloud Foundation, and Virginia Hudson—challenged the BLM’s decision to sterilize the entire Saylor Creek herd of wild horses, because the BLM had failed to consider authoritative scientific information showing that sterilization causes serious damage to wild horses’ behavior and herd dynamics. The court agreed, holding in our clients’ favor on virtually all of our legal claims. In particular, the court found that the BLM failed to consider scientific information that the agency itself had commissioned, and had failed to consider how its decision conflicts with the agency’s duties to maintain viable herds of wild horses and to preserve horses’ free-roaming behaviors. You can read the ruling here.