Phoenix law firm FR Law Group files a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Forest Service on behalf of client, the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, alleging multiple violations of federal law as the U.S. Forest Service once again seeks to capture and permanently remove horses from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
The International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB) is the oldest wild horse and burro organization in the United States. Along with its first president, Wild Horse Annie, the ISPMB was instrumental in securing and implementing the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Although the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was meant to protect and preserve these much beloved historic symbols of the West, the U.S. Forest Service is currently planning for the capture and permanent removal of horses living on the Apache National Forest claiming that these horses are not Wild and Free-Roaming horses rather they are “unauthorized livestock”. This classification effectively strips the horses of significant legal protections and makes it more convenient for the Forest Service to get rid of the horses and relieve themselves of their attendant management responsibilities. The ISPMB challenges the assertion that these horses are “unauthorized livestock” and further alleges, through their lawsuit, that the U.S. Forest Service has failed to historically or presently survey, provide for, or manage the horses found on the Apache National Forest lands. If the planned horse removal proceeds, the U.S. Forest Service will be allowed to offer the horses for public sale, including sales to buyers in locations where horse slaughter is legal.
The lawsuit alleges violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, and the Administrative Procedures Act. It also seeks a declaration that the unbranded unclaimed horses living on the Apache National Forest are Wild Free-Roaming horses entitled to protection under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
Attorney Troy Froderman of FR Law Group, PLLC is representing ISPMB.
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