Federal Judge Curbs Use of Electric Prods In Wild Horse Roundup



BLM wranglers have been given OK to continue round up of wild mustangs near Idaho-Nevada border.
  • BLM wranglers have been given the OK to continue rounding up wild mustangs near the Idaho-Nevada border.

The U.S. government was given the all-clear Thursday to resume its roundup of dozens of wild mustangs near the Idaho-Nevada border, but not without restrictions.

Wranglers were cautioned to limit their use of electric cattle prods and take other steps to ensure the animals are treated humanely. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du nixed the routine use of so-called "hot shot" electrical prods, used to expedite movement of horses through gathering and loading chutes. The judge said the prods could only be used "as necessary to ensure the safety and security of the horses."

Laura Leigh, a photographer and director of Wild Horse Education, had shown the judge a video of wranglers repeatedly shocking horses in a loading chute, during a Nov. 30 roundup.

"Three years of running this grueling marathon from range to courtroom to gain an honest conversation about the inhumane handling of an American treasure, " Leigh told the Associated Press. "And we now have the very first specific language toward actually gaining the first humane care standard."

The Bureau of Land Management had argued that the herd in the Owyhee Horse Management Area is too large to be sustained given lingering drought. The agency has warned that some of the animals could die if they aren't removed before spring.

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