Lawsuit seeks to stop Pine Nut horse round-up

Wild horse advocates said Monday they will file a federal court lawsuit in hopes of stopping a round-up planned for this week in the Pine Nut Herd Management Area.

In the complaint, Friends of Animals and Protect Mustangs are seeking an injunction to prevent the round-up, saying the Bureau of Land Management failed to more carefully consider the effects of the fertility drug PZP on wild horses.

According to the bureau, the plan is to round up all 332 horses living in the area and release 132 of them after the mares had been treated with the drug.

According to the lawsuit, the drug alters social behavior among wild horse bands. It cites a 2010 paper by Cassandra Nunez claiming that the drug destabilizes bands of wild horses, because mares don’t get pregnant and stray from the herd. The lawsuit also claims PZP has significant effects on horse fertility beyond its effective life.

The BLM claims the round-up is necessary because there are too many horses on the range and that their presence is degrading the habitat of bistate sage grouse, which is up for listing as an endangered species.

Elko attorney Jennifer Spencer is representing the two non-profit groups.


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