[A federal roundup of wild horses in Nevada was scheduled to resume Thursday and to continue through this weekend despite nearly two dozen animal deaths since it began.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says three of the deaths were due to injury and 18 due to severe dehydration following a drought.
Horse activist Laura Leigh, whose lawsuit put a temporary halt to the roundup July 14, blames the deaths on the BLM, which she says allowed the horses to become dehydrated and held the roundup during the hottest season of the year.
"This is foaling season, it could have been done earlier, it could have been done last fall," Leigh says. "This is not following the mandate to manage and protect our horses. It 's just wrong."
She and other activists also complain that the BLM has blocked them from observing the roundups to control the flow of images and public opinion.
The BLM will escort up to 20 members of the media and the public to observe roundup operation today and Saturday for the first time since the roundup began July 10.
The BLM says the roundup of wild horses is a necessity because the mustang population is growing so fast that horses are running out of food and harming the native land and wildlife. Agency estimates show 38,000 mustangs and burros roam 10 Western states; half are in Nevada.
Leigh and other activists say the agency is moving the animals to clear the way for livestock grazing and energy interests.
Elliot Katz, founder of In Defense of Animals, which filed a separate lawsuit, says wild horses are a low priority
References: Dorell, O. (7/29/2010). Federal roundup of wild horses resumes in Nevada. Retrieved from http://http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-07-22-wild-horses_N.htm FindLaw. (June 08, 1995). United States Court of Appeals,Federal Circuit, FALLINI v. UNITED STATES. Retrieved from http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-federal-circuit/1336480.html FindLaw. (June 17, 1976 Decided). U.S. Supreme Court, KLEPPE v. NEW MEXICO, 426 U.S. 529 (1976). Retrieved from http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin-getcase.pl?court=us&vol=426&invol=529