Horse News

Utah Gains a Toehold in Wild Horse Control

By | The Salt Lake Tribune  (Unedited)

“This is a seriously bad precedence and waaaay dangerous for the last few wild horses that grace Utah’s public lands.  The article, below, is riddled with propaganda blaming a few handfuls of wild horses for overgrazing public lands when tens of thousands of welfare cattle destroy OUR land for the benefit and profit of private, welfare ranchers.  Once the biased states throw their two cents worth in the horses and burros won’t have a chance.  The war against those who rightfully and legally should live free on the range are instead beleaguered and harassed by special interests and the agencies that they have in their hip pocket.  The perversity of the situation is mind-boggling.” ~ R.T. 

…ranchers and other rural Utahns regard them (wild horses) as an invasive exotic species that no longer belongs on the range, which should be used for grazing…

(Al Hartmann | Tribune file photo) The BLM used helicopters to steer wild horses into holding pens last July in an effort to remove the animals from state trust lands at Blawn Wash about 35 miles southwest of Milford. Dozens of horses soon returned and Utah is now suing BLM, demanding the agency remove horses from its lands across the West Desert.

(Al Hartmann | Tribune file photo) The BLM used helicopters to steer wild horses into holding pens last July in an effort to remove the animals from state trust lands at Blawn Wash about 35 miles southwest of Milford. Dozens of horses soon returned and Utah is now suing BLM, demanding the agency remove horses from its lands across the West Desert.

The Bureau of Land Management has settled a lawsuit brought by Utah trust-lands officials over wild horse management, conceding greater influence to the state in deciding whether to remove “excess” horses from herds that roam over state trust lands in the midst of public lands.

BLM also promised to make “reasonable” efforts to clear two tracts of horses every other year.

Last year, the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, or SITLA, filed suit in U.S. District Court, alleging the BLM was failing in its duty to manage federally protected horses and burros, to the detriment of the state lands that are interspersed with the public lands administered by the BLM.

Some regard free-roaming mustangs, descendants of domestic horses that Spanish explorers released centuries ago, as icons of the West that symbolize a spirit of freedom. But ranchers and other rural Utahns regard them as an invasive exotic species that no longer belongs on the range, which should be used for grazing.

According to various lawsuits, non-native horses proliferate in the absence of predators and excessive numbers are depleting the range, displacing ranchers who hold grazing permits on public and state trust lands.

In a news release announcing the settlement last week, BLM vowed to do the things the agency, which manages 23 million acres in Utah, has long claimed it already does, namely collaborate with local stakeholders and protect resources.

The agreement “provides for a mutual commitment to work cooperatively to manage wild horses that have entered onto SITLA lands. The agencies will meet annually to identify priority removal areas, ensure environmental review, conduct aerial population surveys jointly and monitor rangeland resources and improvements.”

So what’s new?

“We have never [before] partnered up with the state of Utah to coordinate efforts to do that,” said Gus Warr, who directs the BLM’s wild horse program in Utah. He expects the BLM will authorize him to remove 50 horses a year in Utah, and under the new agreement, the state will help choose areas to receive priority attention.

The deal’s provision are subject to appropriations from Congress.

he 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act prohibits SITLA and other state agencies from unilaterally removing wild horses from trust lands. This law recognizes that horses “contribute to the diversity of life forms within the nation and enrich the lives of the American people,” and charges the BLM with managing these animals.

But ranchers and county commissioners have long complained the BLM allows horses free rein at the expense of grazing.

SITLA manages 3.4 million acres, most of them in checkerboard sections among seas of BLM lands, to raise revenue for Utah schools. Some 207,000 acres lie within Utah’s 19 Herd Management Areas.

Tensions over wild horses focus on a consolidated block of SITLA land in Iron and Beaver counties known as Blawn Wash, which sits outside any designated horse management area. Since 2000, the BLM has removed 550 horses in four roundups from this herd, which soon repopulates. Most recently, in the summer of 2014, the feds pulled all 143 horses they encountered.

Some of the gathered animals are adopted out, but most join thousands of other formerly free-roaming horses spending their lives in captivity at enormous expense to U.S. taxpayers. Federal law prohibits the killing of wild horses except for humanitarian purposes.

Warr said aerial surveys indicate 75 to 100 horses continue to live on Blawn Wash. Under the agreement, BLM will remove up to 150 horses from Blawn and surrounding lands and up to 50 horses and burros affecting the McKay Flat grazing allotment in the Muddy Creek Herd Management Area in 2016. Both areas will be hit with repeat roundups every other year…(CONTINUED)

22 replies »

  1. Oregon standoff now represents the inability of Ranchers to comprehend right way and wrong way and actually removes their validity. Sadly people in togas while gun-toting making demands and spewing out incorrect facts and data show the lack of proper information they have. Utah for 10 years has been on Worst Animal Welfare List of US states in t ghost e top 5 Worst. This alone should have told the Judicial system they Lack the ability and knowledge to make such decisions. The fact is if they continue down this path Salt Creek Horses are heading that way as well. Lawsuits tostop micromanaging wild horses and putting them in the hands of the Worst Animal Welfare states hands for oversight needs overturned. Theres also the issue of what and qualifies to make these decisions with NO expirience in handling large numbers of horses. Again I smell pro slaughter divide and conquer agenda which no longer can be ignored but needs fought against. The rate they claim removal should occur really makes no sense since its a rate set for Random as needed ares. If theres MASSIVE numbers then why Only 50 to remove in non specified areas as needed. That detail alone should get this idea thrown out. If theres thousands of horses too many then 50 a year is nothing…a Judge should see right through this facade. Please stand up and stop this garbage. Site Oregon standoff and The history of Utah as the Worst state to care for any living creature let alone micromanaging herds they have NI expirience in. Dont let proslaughter get a toe in the door. As for AZ salt creek needs reviewed immediately. Decisions are going to be made and we have to take action not have a reaction too late. File against the State of Utah and stop this. The BLM excuses are all over the map. They have no solutions because they are CREATING the problems. Bear in mind proslaughter have been visiting regularly the BLM facilities. While speaking names invokes negativity we can no longer afford to Ignore them Anymore.


  2. The BLM could careless about the ranchers and their cattle it is just the steps the BLM is taking to rid the land of all wild horses wild burrors and yes even the ranchers

    Reason is that the land is rich in minerals and uranium

    Uranium that Hillary Clinton while Sec of State sold 20% to Russia

    Russia owns 20% of America’s uranium

    Uraium One

    Until you stop looking at all ranchers as your enemy and realize your true enemy is the BLM you may just be fighting an unfortunately losing battle

    The losers in this case are the horses and burrors

    Dig a bit deeper…see the true facts know your true enemy…


    • The BLM lies about everything regarding the wild horses. If there is a herd of 300, they will claim there are 900 and the land can only support 600. Then they will round up 300, and effectively zero out the herd. The Mustangs will either end up in long term holding at taxpayer expense or go to slaughter. The taxpayer also pays most of the expenses of cattle grazing permits.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The cattle lobby supports the BLM, they pour big money into politics. You are correct that they are being used as they will be kicked off the land when there are no more protected species of any kind left and the land will be given to big energy. Meanwhile the ranchers are guilty just like the guy who drives the getaway car in a bank robbery is guilty.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There is more to the story but here is part of it:
    The Blawn Wash is still a Wild Horse and Burro Herd Area.
    BLM Acres: 35,747
    Total Acres: 62,787
    Acres Transferred from BLM: 19,210
    By regulation, the BLM recognizes three types of management areas for wild horses – herd management areas (“HMAs”), herd areas, (“HAs”), and Wild Horse Territories (“WHT”). An HMA is an area “established for the maintenance of wild horse and burro herds.” 43 C.F.R. § 4710.3-1. An HA is any “geographic area identified as having been used by a [wild horse or burro] herd as its habitat in 1971” when the WH&BA was enacted.

    Regardless if the BLM previously decided to allow administration of a portion of the Blawn Wash Herd Area to the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), the 1971 unanimously passed Congressional Wild Horse and Burro Act gave the principal usage of that land to the Wild Horses and Burros. By law, wild horses must be allowed to remain and use the resources on their legal land. This is still public (federal) land designated to the protection of the wild horses and burros and the land belongs to the American people, regardless of any “agreements” regarding “control” that BLM made with SITLA – the 1971 Congressional wild Horse and Burro Act prevails. It is the law.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Investigative Report of Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse Buyer
    Date Posted to Web: October 23, 2015

    Click to access WildHorseBuyer_Public.pdf

    Agent’s Note: Our review of BLM records disclosed that during the same timeframe that the marketing specialist sold BLM horses to Davis, BLM OLE was investigating two men in Utah that acquired BLM horses by falsely stating that they would not resell them or transport them to slaughter. The two men were indicted by the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah and pleaded guilty


    • Reading this crap really enforces how corrupt this agency is! (or it would if I didnt already know that). These people wouldnt last 10 minutes in an actual business situation. Obviously, the 2 men in Utah didnt have any bureaucratic “pull” like the BLM employees!

      Liked by 1 person

    • From the report:
      “Davis opined that in selling him so many loads of horses, BLM had to know that the horses would end up at a slaughterhouse.”

      “When interviewed, a WH&B senior advisor said that in 2011, he and the marketing specialist called Davis to ask him why he wanted more horses and what he planned to do with them. The senior advisor said Davis reassured them that he was not reselling the horses and claimed that he transported them to wealthy friends who wanted the horses for their property and a tax break. The senior advisor believed Davis to be credible. The senior advisor acknowledged that he did not verify Davis’ story by obtaining the names of the wealthy individuals…”
      BLM WH&B senior advisor: Dean Bolsted

      “The marketing specialist said she never had any reason to doubt the information
      on Davis’ applications, even after he refused to tell her who he sold the horses to because he did not want BLM to “hone” in on his market.”
      BLM WH&B marketing specialist: Sally Spencer.


  5. We are in need of putting these horses on the Endangered Species list in order to save them. Please call the White House 202)456-1111


  6. BLM Settles Utah Horse Round-Up Lawsuit
    Feb 16, 2016
    Associated Press

    The Bureau of Land Management has settled a lawsuit over wild horse management brought by Utah trust-lands officials.

    The Salt Lake Tribune reports that BLM has agreed that the state should have greater influence in deciding whether to remove wild horses from the herds that roam state trust lands. The agency has also promised to make reasonable efforts to clear two tracts of horses every other year.

    The Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration sued BLM last year, arguing that it was failing in its duty to manage federal protected horses and burros. SITLA argued that the animals were harming the state lands interspersed with BLM-administered public lands.

    Ranchers say the horses are proliferating in the absence of predators, overrunning grazing land.


  7. They can’t have it both ways….
    IF “they” are allowed to remove Federally Protected Wild Horses & Burros from their Legal Herd Management Areas in Utah,
    then also remove Federal Funding

    Utah depends too much on federal funds, auditor warns
    By Lisa Riley Roche | Posted Dec 4th, 2013

    SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State Auditor John Dougall included a warning about the state’s dependency on money from Washington, D.C., in issuing the latest annual audit of federal spending.

    “Given the recent partial shutdown and the budget turmoil in Congress, Utahns should consider the concerns raised by such a significant amount of funding dependent on a single source with such fiscal dysfunction,” Dougall said.
    Federal funds are expected to once again be the largest single source of revenue in Gov. Gary Herbert’s nearly $13 billion spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1, 2014, scheduled to be released Wednesday.
    “All I’m trying to do here is flag that we’re heavily dependent on them,” Dougall said of the federal government. “We know they have serious budget problems. Wake up, folks.”

    A member of the Legislature for 10 years before being elected auditor in 2012, Dougall said he hopes to reinforce efforts already underway to reduce the state’s reliance on federal funds.


  8. “In reality, SITLA contributes just 1-2% of the public schools’ budget.
    What do SITLA’s choices actually give the residents of Utah?”

    We’ve Moved Our Vigil to SITLA!
    Posted on October 21, 2015 by Utah Tar Sands Resistance

    BREAKING: Utah Tar Sands Resistance has moved our protest vigil to SITLA, the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, located in downtown Salt Lake City!


  9. Koch brothers money implicated in wolf bison and wild horse persecution
    February 16, 2016

    The story ‘Koch Bros caught funding Bundy land seizure movement’ broke on February 12th, and the assertions are chilling. Is this the hidden piece of the puzzle? Is this why efforts are consistently blocked when trying to stop the brutal slaughter of our wolves, bison, wild horses and other imperiled species and places? The attempt to seize public lands and block designation of wilderness areas, refuges and National Monuments is bad enough, but could they also be covertly blocking endangered species designations or enforcement? Could they in fact be instrumental in facilitating the removal of America’s native wildlife from public lands, in favor of mining, drilling, logging, hunting and ranching interests?

    Ah, now things are starting to make sense No matter how many signatures, letters and phone calls are submitted by citizens, unpopular environmental, wildlife and land-use legislation gets railroaded through anyway. No wonder iconic and nationally-cherished wolves can’t catch a break, no matter how much scientific and peer-reviewed evidence is submitted on their behalf. No wonder America’s iconic bison, in the world’s most important, continually free-roaming, migratory and genetically-imperiled Yellowstone herd, are still being routinely rounded up and slaughtered while the state caters to the cattle industry. No wonder that, despite the Wild, Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the nation’s beloved and iconic wild horses are still cruelly rounded up and sold to kill buyers, who will ship them across the border to meet horrifying deaths in Mexican slaughterhouses. Against that kind of money, our voices, our rights, our country and our innocent wildlife don’t stand a chance.

    Utah state representative Ken Ivory, and has forged an alliance with groups and individuals who have militia ties and share extreme anti-government ideologies.”


  10. So the article clearly states these Blawn Wash lies outside any designated horse areas, but within a checkerboard of state and BLM lands. Case law is quite clear that the BLM has no requirement to keep horses off private lands, only that they have to remove them if requested once they trespass. Why isn’t the State of Utah required to fence Blawn Wash to keep wild horses out? If they are leasing grazing and other rights to raise money for the state, it seems logical they could use some of these funds to fence their property. I’m not sure if Utah is a fence out state, but if so, this common practice should be enforced.

    Here’s something from Utah fencing law:

    4-25-8. Owner liable for trespass of animals — Exception — Intervention by county representative (1) The owner of
    any neat cattle, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, or swine that trespasses upon the premises of another person, except in cases where the premises are not enclosed by a lawful fence in a county or municipality which has adopted a fence ordinance, is liable in a civil action to the owner or occupant of the premises for any damage inflicted by the trespass.


  11. Utah ‘snake oil salesman’ Rep. Ken Ivory accused of fraud for hitting up counties in three states for public lands fight donations
    By BRIAN MAFFLY | The Salt Lake Tribune
    First Published Jun 01 2015

    This is not the first time Utah Rep. Ken Ivory has been accused of selling “snake oil.” But now his critics are calling him a crook.

    In formal complaints filed Monday in three states, a watchdog group alleges Ivory, a West Jordan Republican, uses phony facts and arguments to scam local governments into giving taxpayer dollars to American Lands Council (ALC), the nonprofit he started in 2012 to champion the transfer of Western public lands to states.

    The complaints focus on Ivory’s practice of traveling the West, promoting land transfers to county commissioners and conservative groups and signing them up as dues-paying members of ALC.


  12. UTAH
    From Wild Horse Tourist

    “My first sighting of these mustangs occurred in February 2015, a few days before the BLM removed about 100 horses from this location”

    Sulphur Herd Management Area – North

    This is a very special herd. Some of the purest descendants of a genetic line tracing back to the steeds of the Spanish Conquistadors roam this HMA. Although some crossbreeding with other free-roaming breeds has undoubtedly occurred over the centuries, members of this herd still exhibit the hallmark coloration and physical attributes of their Iberian ancestors.
    Learn more about the history of these prized mustangs here:

    The Sulphur Herd Management Area (aka Sulphur Springs HMA), stretches along the Utah-Nevada border, spanning the entire western margin of Beaver County and extending a few miles north and south into Millard and Iron Counties. Access to northern viewing areas is relatively easy from Highway 21, about forty-five minutes west of Milford.

    My first sighting of these mustangs occurred in February 2015, a few days before the BLM removed about 100 horses from this location. Prior to this gather, the BLM estimated the Sulphur herd population at 830 horses. The photos below were taken during that visit.


  13. Totally disastrous… Now the only thing that will be left in Utah will be cow turds and parasite ranchers living off artifical subsidies that protect their outdated, retrograde lifestyle… At this pace there will be no horses left in 15 years or less… but we will have plenty of m*rons like Bundy and that Iron county sheriff that wanted to shoot wild horses firing squad style.

    If history is of any use… Spain did precisely privatize public lands in the 19th century and it turned out to be a total economical and ecological disaster… with the elites acquiring most of the lands to increase their power grab on society and resulting in the extinction of many species in that part of Europe:


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