(RENO) Today Iron County Commission Representative Dave Miller said that traps were being set to remove what he called “feral” horses. Iron county is asserting there are 2000 horses on BLM land and that 1700 need to be removed. Miller states that they were setting traps at water sources and would close gates on private property.
“We are working with the state brand inspector,” stated Miller “Horses with a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) brand are wild horses and will be available for adoption with the BLM. Horses with no brand, or that have a private brand, will go to auction.”
“Wild horses on BLM land have no brand unless they were previously trapped,” stated Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education “so can you explain that to me?”
Miller then said they would work with the BLM. He also stated that they are working with advocate groups and sanctuaries to place the wild horses but offered no names.
“BLM has been saying they have no funds to remove wild horses,” said Miller “When we heard that BLM was going to pay 2-5 million to remove Cliven Bundy’s cattle in Nevada we didn’t buy that excuse.”
“You do realize that Bundy’s cattle are not being removed with funds from the wild horse and burro program?” asked Leigh.
Miller acknowledged that fact but then stated that it showed “BLM has money.” The action by Iron County was not in support of Cliven Bundy but a response to BLM fiscal claims. However this is inconsistent with the “for every cow removed we will remove a wild horse” statements made by the County Commission.
“It is of utmost importance that BLM control this situation in Iron county,” stated Laura Leigh “The County Commissioner demonstrates very little knowledge of the wild horse and burro program and of wild horses yet attempts to speak as if he is an authority and the one in control. BLM needs to step in strongly and protect our American wild horses.”
Miller has been quoted in the press as claiming there are 2000 wild horses in Iron county. That statement is far from the truth.
In a conference call this afternoon Juan Palma, state lead for Utah BLM, Palma spoke with a handful of representatives of wild horse advocacy groups. Palma stated that only horses on private land would be removed. At this juncture BLM has received requests for about 27 wild horses to be removed.
Requests for voluntary reductions of livestock grazing Animal Unit Moths (AUMs), that determine the number of animals a livestock permittee can place on public land, were sent out within the last two months due to drought issues. Of the approximately 62 grazing allotments where requests made 28 of those touch or overlap a Herd Management Area (HMA).
“It is amazing to me that in years of drought that public land livestock permittees would refuse to reduce production,” said Leigh “Running 1000 head of cattle for six months would be devastating to a compromised range, 70 horses would not come near that type of impact in twelve months. We see it time and again. Instead of taking responsibility they blame the wild horses.”
The area of contention is in Utah’s Beaver and Iron County. Bible Springs, Four Mile and Sulphur Springs are in the “sights” of the Iron County Commission.
BLM says that they have people on the range and no wild horses will be removed from public land. BLM says they will be engaging in an Environmental Assessment in the near future to determine if any wild horses will be removed from public land.
Mr. Palma stated that any removal of wild horses would be done by BLM. No authorization has been given for the county or permittees to remove BLM horses, even if they have strayed off of public land. If any wild horses are removed they will be offered for adoption May 16th in Cedar City.
Removing wild horses from public land is prohibited punishable with a fine of up to $2,000 or imprisonment for up to a year, or both.
Wild Horse Education is watching this situation closely. We are awaiting an official update.
Categories: Wild Horse Education