Salt Lake City, Utah (December 14, 2018)...The American Wild Horse Campaign today issued the following statement in response to the BLM's announcement that it intends to round up and remove 465 wild horses from the Onaqui Herd Management Area in Utah early next year.
"The BLM's decision to round up and remove 91 percent of the existing population of wild horses in the Onaqui Herd Management Area (HMA) in Utah is inhumane and fiscally irresponsible, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
This is one of the most popular and accessible wild horse herds in the West and there is no reason that the BLM cannot manage these American mustangs in their designated habitat on our public lands. The Onaqui wild horses should not pay the price for the BLM's failure to adequately use scientifically proven birth control to humanely manage this federally-protected wild horse population. By modestly reducing extensive commercial cattle and sheep grazing in this public lands area, the BLM could accommodate the current number of Onaqui horses and reduce the herd size over time through a robust fertility control program. AWHC has offered to assist the BLM with the remote darting of horses with the PZP immunocontraceptive vaccine and help fund the fertility control program, but the BLM has not accepted this offer of a public private partnership for the management of this cherished herd.
The Onaqui mustangs are beloved by citizens throughout the world and provide an important ecotourism resource for the Tooele, Utah area. The BLM's plan to round up and remove 465 Onaqui horses will rob these iconic symbols of the American West of their freedom and tear apart the wild horse families that people all over the world have come to know and love. This roundup will generate massive public opposition, which the BLM could avoid by cancelling the roundup in favor of a humane and sustainable long term wild horse management plan."
The Onaqui HMA is a 321-square-mile public lands area on which the BLM allows just 121-210 wild horses while authorizing hundreds of privately owned cattle and sheep to graze the same area.
The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is a national wild horse advocacy organization whose grassroots mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.