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Federal judge allows wild horse roundups in Northern Nevada

RENO – A federal judge has agreed to let the U.S. Bureau of Land Management resume the roundup of dozens of wild mustangs in Northern Nevada but said she remains concerned about critics’ complaints the agency is treating the animals inhumanely.

U.S District Judge Miranda Du explained Thursday she was granting the government’s request to lift an emergency injunction that halted the roundup last week because opponents had failed to prove the agency lacked authority to remove the mustangs from the high desert near the Idaho line.

The judge said she intended to issue a formal order today but hadn’t decided yet if it was necessary to include specific restrictions to ensure the roundup is conducted humanely after BLM wranglers were recently captured on video repeatedly shocking mustangs with electric prods and in one case chasing several into a barbed wire fence with a helicopter.

“I will craft the order to ensure the matter is conducted in a humane manner,” Du said at the conclusion of a two-hour hearing, adding she hadn’t determined yet if BLM’s actions constituted inhumane treatment under the law.

She told BLM’s lawyer from the Justice Department that the agency could resume the roundup first thing Friday even if her order hasn’t been formalized by then but cautioned, “you’re taking the risk the methods you use could be prohibited in the order.”

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