Iron County Cattle Ranchers to feds: Remove wild horses or we will
The Private Cattle Barons have spoken. If the BLM does not bend to their will and remove the wild horses themselves, they will just go out round up the wild horses – killing them is not ruled out. Reading to the end of the article…this action is in response to the BLM rounding up the estray cattle in Nevada, not just due to the ongoing drought. The article does not state the numbers of cattle only the numbers of horses. Something needs to be done to protect the wild horses in Utah. ~ HfH
From: The Salt Lake Tribune
By: Brett Prettyman
Letter from Iron County commissioners gives Bureau of Land Management a Friday deadline to submit a plan.
Iron County commissioners have given the Bureau of Land Management an ultimatum: Come up with an immediate plan to remove hundreds of wild horses from the area or residents will do it themselves.
As drought damages rangelands in southwestern Utah, the overpopulation of wild horses is threatening livestock and wildlife, said Commissioner David Miller. In response, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wants to reduce the number of cattle allowed or “allotted” in grazing leases, Miller said.
“Inaction and no-management practices pose an imminent threat to ranchers who are being pushed to reduce their allotments by 50 percent thereby damaging the value of their private rights,” reads a March 30 letter signed by Miller and Iron County Sheriff Mark Gower.
Volunteers are ready, corrals are prepared and feed has been secured in case the BLM does not act promptly, Miller said.
The letter, addressed to BLM Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze, gives the federal agency until noon Friday to present a plan for removing horses by a “time acceptable to mitigate the threats and adverse conditions” in Iron County.
A BLM management plan says there should be 300 wild horses in the area, but the agency estimates there are 1,200 animals, Miller said.
“We will take whatever action we have to take to reduce those numbers immediately,” Miller said Thursday. “We expect the BLM to take that action. If they refuse we cannot wait until the range is destroyed.”
Calls to the BLM were not immediately returned.
The Associated Press reported in February that Joan Guilfoyle, chief of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Division, told her staff the $70 million program was headed for financial collapse unless “drastic changes” are made in the agency’s decades-old roundup policy.
She suggested suspending roundups until thousands of mustangs in federal corrals are sold or adopted, and recommended for the first time euthanizing wild horses on the range “as an act of mercy if animals decline to near-death condition as a result of declining water and forage resources.”
“There is the high probability that we will find some of the animals do need to be put down for humane reasons due to the poor forage conditions,” Miller said. “We intend to be compassionate and very much take a conservationist approach. We are all concerned that the habitat of the western range could be destroyed. Imagine the inhumane components of starving wild horses and wildlife.”
Iron County plans to temporarily keep the horses and hope they will be adopted, he said.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is aware of the conflict and has expressed his concern to Kornze, said spokeman Michael Mower.
Herbert “understands the frustration felt by West Desert ranchers who have been asked to dramatically curtail the size of their cattle herds while the wild horse herds continue to increase dramatically,” Mower said.