SCI Helps Secure Victory in Calif., Nev. Wild Horse Gather Case

Wild Horse Gather
SCI Helps Secure Victory in Calif., Nev. Wild Horse Gather Case
Safari Club International
Safari Club International

Washington –-( Safari Club International (SCI) defeated the animal rights group In Defense of Animals in a major court battle over management of feral populations of horses in accordance with federal law.

On November 15, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California rejected the horse groups’ claims that the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) gather of the excess wild horses and burros violated federal law.

The case focused on the Twin Peaks Horse Management Area (HMA), located on the northern border of California and Nevada. The BLM conducted the gather during August and September 2010, after SCI joined the BLM in defeating the horse groups’ emergency request to halt the gather.

Before the gather, the horse and burro populations on the Twin Peaks Horse Management Area (HMA) were approximately four times higher than scientifically established appropriate management levels. The excess horses and burros were damaging the ecosystem and harming resident wildlife, including game mammals and birds.

Without management action to lower the horse numbers, these detrimental ecosystem impacts would only escalate. The overpopulation problems at the Twin Peaks HMA are symptomatic of conditions on public lands throughout the American West. SCI and other conservation advocates are working on strategies and regulatory policies to rationally address the problems.

“For the third time in a wild horse case, SCI has represented the interests of hunters in this thorny issue,” said John Whipple, President of Safari Club International. “The BLM must take action when horses threaten to seriously degrade the range and harm other wildlife, including game animals and birds. As ardent hunter-conservationists, we cannot allow horse zealots to use the courts to foist their single-minded agenda on land managers in the West.”

“We are extremely pleased that the court has upheld BLM’s ability in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area to responsibly manage horse populations based on sound science. Responsible herd management is a vital component to the health and sustainability of our land and wildlife habitat for the future,” stated Gene Schmidt, President, National Association of Conservation Districts.

“As it has done in other wild horse cases, SCI intervened as a party to defend the gather and subsequent relocation of the excess horses and burros to long-term holding facilities. SCI would like to thank all of our coalition colleagues who advocate for ecosystem wide conservation goals on public lands,” concluded Whipple.

Wild Horse Gather from The Intermountain News on Vimeo.

In ruling against the plaintiffs, the Court heavily relied on an argument made solely by SCI to reject one of the horse groups’ primary legal claims. SCI’s briefs and arguments at the hearing on the case enhanced the excellent defense offered by the BLM and its attorneys. The plaintiffs now have 60 days to decide whether to appeal their loss to the Ninth Circuit.

Contact: Nelson Freeman
Nelson Freeman
Safari Club International – D.C.
501 2nd St, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Office: 202-543-8733
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william huard

"As hunter-conservationists"- that's a joke right?

william huard

SCI is no friend of wildlife. They oppose all forms of animal cruelty legislation……They hate predators and promote the "myth" that trophy hunting helps wildlife populations….Just look at the African Lion as an example…..these people are bloodthirsty degenerates period….They care about kiling….the rarer the animal the better- and the more they covet it…..Now if only they opposed "non native" cattle grazing on public lands that completely destroy ecosystems…..

Maggie Frazier

Well, reading this article & watching this video certainly is enlightening, isnt it? The really interesting part was watching the helicopter "nudge" the young palomino horse. I have to admit this is the lowest-key roundup I've ever seen – altho I imagine the video might just have been a little edited. I agree – Safari Club Int. is a group of HUNTERS – not people who are interested in helping wildlife unless they can shoot it…. 800,000 acres? And its not enough acreage for 900 horses? Whoever decided in the SCI's favor had their head somewhere it shouldnt be. This… Read more »

Christie Finn

The Safari Club needs to get behind the wild horses and burros. Their presence on the land keeps the entire nation involved with what is happening on public lands. The presence of these wild horses are all that stand between the people and those who seek to take the land of the people. Or perhaps the Safari Club is on the side of those who seek to take America’s private property from them. Ranchers and hunters have worried that they are too small a number to get enough attention from the rest of the nation regarding the actions of environmentalists… Read more »

sandra longley

Safari "club" is a group of hunters in search of a "hunting preserve" at taxpayers expense..period..wheras "we" wild horse advocates equally want to preserve public lands for use of all americans and ALL wildlife. Safari Club brings home body parts and heads to commemorate their visits to public lands..whereas we bring home photos of wild horses still living in peaceful co-existence with other wildlife

David Rocco

This is really upsetting to a lot of people that are in favor of the Wild Horses that roam the lands. One bit of info I came across: The Twin Peaks HMA is reported to be around 800,000 acres and they want to remove 700 or so horses claiming they damage the area. That would give each horse approx 1,000 acres to roam on. Now you show me where the cattle are at in the HMA. What we need is more people that are against these people to keep writing the President and their local politicians and keep complaining about… Read more »

Barbara Leonard

Pretty obvious that not only BLM, but also SCI need to be prosecuted and RUN OUT OF THIS COUNTRY. SCI….protecting BLM…..what a joke!


So SCI helps blm circumvent laws and violate mandate of protection & preservation for these wild equid using taxpayer dollars against the taxpayers? commendable. If you had any knowledge on the issue you would learn that wild equines are native keystone species that benefit game species by propagating native grass species, consume wildfire fuel, help build the soil and retain moisture which is vital in these arid ecosystems, break ice in winter thereby providing water source for other species. Your beef should be with the cattle "zealots" who are causing desertification, damage/contamination to riparian zones, obstruction of migrations, and loss… Read more »

Kathleen Hayden

In order to determine the number to determine excess horses in balance with other wildlife and livestock, the numbers of deer, elk, antelope, cattle and sheep must be disclosed. Its a math equation. Under the wildlife public trust doctrine, wildlife are free roaming, yet Wildlife horse and burro herds are restricted from their migratory ranges. The ruling should be appealed.

Linda Hanick

Oh yes! State Wildlife Depts. and Wildlife organizations are enemies of the wild horses. At the last Advisory Board meeting, it was stated that if there were a choice of sage grouse or wild horses, then sage grouse would win out. Be aware!


wow, I had no idea horses were harming small game and birds! I thought horses would be good for the habitat by not digesting seeds and re-distributing the seeds as the horses traveled.I am curious, since the article didn't mention the mode of harm, horses did to the game and birds. I know it can't be by rifle or shotgun or do they? I always thought it was the cattle that is so destructive since they digest habitat seeds, not re-distributing them. I also thought the cattle destroy the riparian habitat since they will sit, chewing their cud,for long periods… Read more »