A Utah legislator has introduced a resolution demanding the federal government either control wild horse herd population growth or relinquish federal jurisdiction of the animals by repealing the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971.
The act protects wild horses and places them under Bureau of Land Management (BLM) jurisdiction. Currently, more than 67, 000 animals reside on ranges in 10 Western states, including Utah. Another 45,000 horses reside in holding facilities operated by the BLM.
Introduced into the Utah State Legislature on Feb. 22 by Representative Ken Ivory, House Concurrent Resolution 22 claims wild horse herds have routinely overpopulated Utah’s ranges and the herds, ever-increasing in population, have damaged the rangeland’s ecology by reducing forage and other resources for wildlife and livestock that share the habitat.
It also maintains that since the BLM has failed to effectively control herd growth, the agency should preserve horse and burro populations by either completely fulfilling the mandate of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act or by relinquishing federal control of the animals.”
“The Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein, calls on President Donald J. Trump and the United States Congress to repeal the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and grant authority and resources to the states to manage feral horse and burro populations within their respective jurisdictions,” the resolution said.
Under the Resolution, steps to preserve herd populations would include permanently sterilizing young male horses.
No one from the BLM was available for comment.
Meanwhile, Suzanne Roy, executive director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, does not believe the proposal aligns with what most Americans think about preserving wild horses.
“Responding to an overwhelming outcry from the American people, Congress unanimously passed the Wild Horse and Burro Act nearly 46 years ago in order to protect these iconic American treasures on federal public lands, but it's clear that the state legislators pushing the resolution want to take over management of federally-protected wild horses and slaughter these iconic animals,” she opined. “These legislators are totally out of step with the will of the American people, which overwhelmingly oppose horse slaughter and want to protect wild horses and burros on our public lands.”
The resolution remains pending in the Utah House