More than 12,000 citizens submitted public comments opposing the agency’s plan to round up 3,000 mustangs and replace them with privately owned livestock
ROCK SPRINGS, WY (May 4, 2020)... More than 12,000 Americans have submitted comments opposing a U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plan that would remove more than 3,000 wild horses from 2.4 million acres of habitat in Wyoming at the whim of private livestock interests. The comment period on BLM’s proposal to amend its land use plans to authorize the wild horse eradication plan closed on April 30.
“This is the most sweeping attempt to destroy mustangs since the passage of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act back in 1971,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC). “The vast majority of Americans support preserving wild horses on our public land. We need to speak up to protect that interest, rather than let the BLM carry out the requests of private ranchers to free up more land for their cattle and sheep.”
The BLM’s plan would result in the loss of more 50 percent of Wyoming’s wild horse habitat and removal of nearly 40 percent of its wild horse population.
The area in question is “checkerboard” land (alternating public and private parcels) in four federally designated Herd Management Areas (HMAs). The public land parcels are managed by the BLM, while Occidental Petroleum and the financially powerful Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA) own the remaining parcels.
The RSGA’s members hold permits to graze their private livestock on the public lands for vastly below-market, taxpayer-subsidized grazing fees.
“The RSGA is insisting the horses be removed from ‘their’ land, but they own only a fifth of the land in question,” said Brieanah Schwartz, policy counsel for the AWHC. “The HMAs are owned by the public, and we shouldn’t turn them all over to privately-owned livestock.”
The BLM’s proposed action would “zero out” the Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin, and White Mountain Herd Management Areas, Schwartz said.
The Adobe Town HMA, meanwhile, would be reduced in size, and its wild horse population slashed by 40 percent, down to 225-450 horses “or less.” The population size of this remaining herd would be controlled via inhumane surgical sterilization. Additionally, all wild horses would be eliminated from the area of the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Viewing Loop, just off route 80, which was created by the City of Rock Springs to attract tourists to the area. More information on the plan and its effects at www.KeepWYWyld.com
About the American Wild Horse Campaign
The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is a national wild horse advocacy organization whose grassroots mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 50 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. Visit AmericanWildHorseCampaign.org for more information.