Utah ranchers sue BLM, demand removal of wild horses

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Iron County rancher Matt Wood, one of the plaintiffs in a new federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management, talks about the number of wild horses on BLM land where he grazes his cattle northwest of Cedar City, Wednesday, April 23, 2014






Angered by the amount of money the BLM used to attempt to remove illegal cattle in Nevada, Utah ranchers now demand that over half of the wild horses in their area be removed – the total numbering around 1800. These horses live on the public land provided by law for them. The ranchers claim they are living on their private land. Funny how previously they did not use this claim…before it was just about their rights to have their cattle graze on public land. Anything to rid the area of wild horses. Now a lawsuit. If you were to only read the first half of the article, you would think the numbers of wild horses to far higher. After reading, be sure to comment on the original article as well as ours. Let your voice be heard! ~ HfH

From: The Salt Lake City Tribune
By: Kristen Moulton

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Iron County rancher Matt Wood, one of the plaintiffs in a new federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management, talks about the number of wild horses on BLM land where he grazes his cattle northwest of Cedar City, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Iron County rancher Matt Wood, one of the plaintiffs in a new federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management, talks about the number of wild horses on BLM land where he grazes his cattle northwest of Cedar City, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thirteen ranchers in southwestern and central Utah are asking a federal judge to order the Bureau of Land Management to control the burgeoning number of wild horses that share the range with their cattle and sheep.

A lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City names Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, BLM Director Neil Kornze and BLM Utah Director Juan Palma as defendants.

The ranchers, angry about BLM requests that they slash their herds (or the herds’ time on the range) in half, formed the Western Rangeland Conservation Association this winter, pooling their money to bring the lawsuit. The Utah Farm Bureau Federation along with Iron and Beaver counties also have pledged money to pay for the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges the BLM has failed to comply with the Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971 by not controlling the number of wild horses on BLM rangeland as well as on private and state lands.

The ranges are deteriorating as wildlife, horses and livestock compete for scarce grasses, brush and water, the ranchers say.

Horses have damaged range improvements made by ranchers, such as fences, springs and other water developments, the lawsuit says, and ranchers have had to haul extra water and feed to their animals as well as cut back on their grazing.

“Many plaintiffs have maintained their livelihoods via ranching operations for multiple generations. Due to economic limitations and the fact that the wild horses are federally protected, plaintiffs can do nothing to prevent damages to their private and the public rangelands,” the lawsuit says.

Mark Wintch, a rancher in the Wah Wah Valley west of Milford, is president of the rancher association. “We’re simply asking that they stay within their own management plan and quit abusing us,” Wintch said.

The BLM acknowledges there are 14,000 more wild horses in the West than the ecosystems can maintain, but pleads poverty in regards to doing anything about them.

The agency announced last year that it would not do roundups this year because it lacks the money, particularly for long-term pasturing of wild horses.

The BLM’s own target numbers for wild horses in the West is 26,000, but there are now nearly 40,000, the agency says on its website.

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AUTHOR: Posted by Habitat for Horses Calaway
8 Comments
  • Carla

    Sorry public land not ranchers!!

    May 2, 2014
  • Suzanne Dunham

    NOOOOO!!!! Remove the cattle!

    May 2, 2014
  • Ziggypope

    So what do we do now? It appears the BLM caved.

    May 2, 2014
  • Rose Weir

    The land doesn’t belong to you so deal with it. I have no pity for you. You took the wild animals home when you built yours. Get over yourself.

    May 2, 2014
  • barbara

    Is there any way we can form a national group with the former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and actor Robert Redford have agreed on a plan to manage thousands of wild horses.

    The Ex gov. Richardson has international connections of which Tribes and other cultures including euro Americans are looking to hook up with. Native American already have a corporate base. We could assist them in management and profit our non profits assist them to give the horses a home. The Native Americans are looking for new businesses and they will be receiving $money for settlement from the USA gov for discrimination suits.

    I am not a non for profit but it seems this would work well . Other organization could assist or build a northern Midwest western group. Equine therapy is a program assisting child welfare for tribes but they need to also do some higher investment decisions….

    Read more: http://www.koat.com/news/tribe-robert-redford-group-ok-wild-horses-plan/25758090#ixzz30a9n9i5w

    May 2, 2014
  • morgansinkc

    I’m so tired of the welfare ranchers leaching land from our Federally-protected wild Mustangs and burrows. They don’t seem to be embarrassed at all by their occupation. Most people would die a thousand deaths rather than be on public assistance like this.

    May 2, 2014
  • Jamie

    Lowlife freeloaders! You hardly feed Americans with your cattle. You are all greedy bastards! Get your cattle off our land. Leave our wild horses and burros alone!

    May 2, 2014
  • Debra

    I am sick of the welfare ranchers… Why do we subsidies these guys at a cost to us?? The horse treat the land better than these ranchers , who overgraze their cattle to benefit them. It is time to start charging them what land lease REALLY cost !!! Or get them the heck off the land !!!

    May 4, 2014