A panel of experts chosen to spend two years generating the definitive study on wild horse management in the West is kicking up controversy before it even gets out of the chute.

Mustang protection advocates contend the committee charged with solving a conundrum that has eluded consensus for decades is stacked with allies of the livestock industry who won’t give the horses a fair shake.

The panel’s 14 members were picked by the National Academy of Sciences, an independent organization chartered by Congress to advise the government on science. Their first meeting is set for Thursday in Reno.

The American Wild Horse Protection Campaign, Cloud Foundation and others say several of the appointees are outspoken defenders of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s current management strategy that relies on “mass wild horse roundups and removals at the expense of on-the-range management strategies.'”