WYOMING (ABC4) – The American Wild Horse Campaign is alleging that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has placed unlawful restrictions on the public viewing of the largest federal wild horse roundup in history.

The AWHC has alleged that the BLM Wyoming has moved the public observation area at a distance that blocks the public’s view of the capture operation which they say violates the public’s First Amendment right to observe the federal operation.

“BLM Wyoming is blocking meaningful observation of the massive Wyoming wild horse roundup by placing the public over a mile away from the capture site and in positions where viewing is blocked by terrain,” said Brieanah Scwhartz, AWHC Litigation and Policy Counsel who sent the letter to the BLM.  “Such unnecessary restrictions violate our First Amendment rights to meaningfully observe this government operation and the BLM’s treatment of these federally protected wild mustangs.” 

AWHC is also insisting that BLM require all helicopter roundup contractors to install cameras on their aircraft to create public transparency and independent oversight for the 90% of the capture stampede that occurs out of public view, the organization said in a press release.

According to the press release, the AWHC has field representatives on the ground to document roundups occurring in the West. The group is concerned that the crackdown on public observation in Wyoming is related to the controversy over the helicopter contractor’s conduct of recent roundups in Nevada and Colorado, including foals (horses under the age of 1) being left on the range alone after their mothers were captured. 

The Wyoming roundup is currently taking place in the Great Divide Basin Herd Management Area on public and private land northwest of Rock Springs. It’s part of a massive capture operation of more than 4,000 federally-protected wild horses from a 3.4 million acre land area known as the Wyoming Checkerboard and is expected to continue into February.