RENO, Nev. (AP) — A federal judge says the government shutdown is not a good enough reason to postpone a hearing in Reno Thursday in a fight between the Interior Department and wild horse advocates over hundreds of mustangs gathered from a wildlife refuge on the Nevada-Oregon line.
Justice Department lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Miranda Du for a stay in the proceedings until Congress restores both agencies' appropriations.
Horse advocates claim it's a ploy to keep them from securing a court order to stop the shipment of animals to a Mississippi contractor they say has a history of reselling them for slaughter.
The judge didn't address that claim, but ruled the critics have a right to argue their First Amendment right to have access to the horses to ensure their safety before shipment.
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