Horse News

ADVOCATES ASK FEDERAL COURT TO DISMISS UTAH RANCHERS’ ANTI-MUSTANG LAWSUIT

“Their lawsuit is an attempt to elevate ranchers’ private interests in grazing livestock on public lands above the public’s interest in preserving wild horses and the government’s mandatory duty to protect them.”

Last month's destruction of Wyoming's Adobe Town herd by the BLM ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Last month’s destruction of Wyoming’s Adobe Town herd by the BLM ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (October 22, 2014)…. Today, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, Utah photographer John Steele and wild horse advocate and adopter Lisa Friday filed a motion requesting the federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Western Rangeland Conservation Association and Utah ranchers against the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the U.S. District Court in Utah. In August, the court granted the advocates’ motion to intervene in the lawsuit, which seeks to compel the government to remove wild horses from public and private lands.

“This lawsuit was filed by livestock owners that view wild horses as competition for below-market, taxpayer-subsidized grazing on public lands,” said Caitlin Zittkowski, attorney for Meyer, Glitzenstein and Crystal, the firm representing the advocates. “Their lawsuit is an attempt to elevate ranchers’ private interests in grazing livestock on public lands above the public’s interest in preserving wild horses and the government’s mandatory duty to protect them.”

“The ranchers’ lawsuit lacks legal merit, and we are asking the court to reject its claims without delay,” Zittkowski concluded.

The case was filed by ranchers who graze livestock on public lands in southwestern Utah. It seeks removal of hundreds of wild horses from the Frisco, Four Mile, Bible Springs, Sulphur, Muddy Creek, and North Hills Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and the Blawn Wash Herd Are (HA). In response, the government has informed the court that wild horses are not damaging rangelands in this area and that it has made no determination that “excess” wild horses exist in the HMAs and HA in question.

The lawsuit is part of a broader push from anti-wild horse private, commercial ranching interests to compel the BLM to remove an increasing number of wild horses from public lands and sell captured wild horses for slaughter. Ranchers in Nevada and Wyoming have also recently sued the BLM, and the agency has a history of quickly capitulating to their demands, regardless of the legal merits of the cases. In Wyoming, the government just completed a massive roundup of more than 1,200 wild horses as part of a settlement of a lawsuit that the Interior Department itself invited ranchers to file against the agency.

In Utah, under pressure from ranchers, the BLM rounded up 173 wild horses from the Blawn Wash HA in July. Utah ranchers put forward the false claim that wild horses are overpopulating the range, despite the fact that livestock graze on 22 million acres of land in the state, while wild horses are restricted to just 2.1 million acres. There are fewer than 4,000 wild horses on BLM land in Utah, compared to hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep.

National opinion polls indicate that 72 percent of the public supports protecting wild horses on public lands, while just 29 percent wants public lands used for livestock grazing.

14 replies »

  1. What the agency’s are trying to accomplish is idiotic!! YES, The Wild Mustang’s ARE a National Treasure and need to be Protected by our government NOT to privledged private parties!! Not to mention the Heritage Wild Mustangs of the USA!. What has been done so far looks very much like”animal cruelty” to me! Disbanding mustang family’s, frightening them , bad conditions in corrals, some die, herded into crowded pens , trucked out to auctions.They lose weight , are hurt in this process and Spirits are broken.. Holding in pens for years. !! Mustangs deserve to be FREE & Wild , do not harm any grazing land, are national treasures. They are part of the USA heritage. Mustangs have taken care of themselves for hundreds of years! Keep them FREE! They are intelligent, beautiful, proud beings!! The government BLM wants to tame them & get rid of them for their own Greed & Money!! LEAVE THE MUSTANGS ALONE! OR GIVE them good area’s to live away from oil fracking, water drilling, wind generators. This is Insane.

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  2. Won’t BLM cave again? It “worked” in WY, so why not try it here? Honest to God all these bickering is wearing on me.

    BLM seems so corrupt and yet no one can stop this freight train. Isn’t this what Hitler did? Step by step…and then one day all the people in his military took over and wants freak out nuts.

    I see so much similarity between what Hitler did and what our government is doing. I wish I had a magic wand to fix this mess. I don’t. And my Congressman while he signed onto the SAFE Act he is in fact an animal hater.

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  3. I am so pleased to see this action by AWPC and other advocates. Thank you for taking a stand. This whole annex our public lands to the highest dollar thing has got to go. These horses cannot be replaced, once they are gone they are gone. Is this the America you signed up for?

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  4. BLM may buckle to ranchers/energy companies’ demands, but they succeeded in getting advocates to agree to the use of PZP which has been refuted until now. BLM did this without taking a meaningful count of wild horse populations. Not only does the chemical wreak havoc among horse families, but there are out of season births that can be killers for both mare and foal. One advocate still maintains that PZP can be harmful to young fillies/mares who are continuously treated, as they can become permanently sterile. But that’s what BLM wants isn’t it?

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    • Chris, you’re right about the BLM wanting to sterilize the wild horses, and more than one advocate know that consecutive doses of PZP will cause sterility. It can vary with individuals. Is is supposed to be reversible but I think that would vary also.

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  5. The “private domestic livestock for private/corporate profit” mentality is illegal when used in conjunction with legally designated wild horse and burro publicly owned land. If a ranch owner cannot manage his own land and livestock sufficiently enough to provide the lifestyle he wants, then that is proof that he is an incompetent ranch manager and he deserves the results of his deficient management. BLM is not in the cattle and sheep business and is not authorized to be promoting private for-profit ranchers.

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    • It is Sue. I am praying the government is finally listening to the people somewhat. This article is perfect and explains the dynamics between the BLM and the cattle ranchers perfectly as well as pointing out the mandatory laws to protect the Wild Horses. There are no laws in place to protect welfare cattle and look how much land they have – land they really belongs to the Wild Horses and us.

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    • It’s about darn time!! they woke up to using common sense about this. They all need to see for themselves!!! They want ot do things same as usual. The times are NOT same as usual!! Thank you so much.

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  6. The BLM/Utah wants to remove the wild horses because they infringe on welfare cattle grazing. Welfare cattle represents profits – wild horses represents loss. It’s that simple. When I write my Congressman FACTS they don’t respond. Everyone is riding on the ticket there is an over population of wild horses and they aren’t sustainable. What is overpopulated is the welfare cattle. And if 26,000 wild horses aren’t sustainable in million of acres of land it’s because the welfare cattle have it all to graze. The ratio is approximately 60 welfare cattle to 1 wild horse.

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    • The worst is of course the outlook for the Wild Horses and Burros, but the outlook for the state of the land which is being overgrazed by the cattle and sheep is truly bad. The livestock destroys the grasses and does not reseed leaving our ranges devastated with little hope they can ever be restored. Horses and burros have maintained these ranges for centuries and now the greed of man via the overgrazing of their private livestock is painting a disastrous future for our plains.

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      • So true Elaine and so said. Livestock defacate in the water – the horses do not. Greed and they have become the scapegoat in this political game. I am so proud of the American people fighting to save our horses. That they are smart and do not believe this propaganda the Dept of Interior:BLM is spewing at us.

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