Ranchers Move Against Wild Horses in Utah

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UPDATE: On July 11, 2017, the U.S. District Court in Utah dismissed the ranchers' case. 

Early in April of 2014, Iron County Utah commissioners and ranchers gave the BLM an ultimatium: Come up with an immediate plan to remove wild horses from the area or residents will do it themselves. As drought damages rangelands in the west, ranchers are scapegoating federally protected wild horses for the damage of the range when in reality millions of cattle are permitted to graze on our public lands.

Read our strongly worded letter to the Iron County, Utah Board of Commissioners and the Utah BLM

On April 30, 2014, these ranchers filed suit against the BLM, seeking removal of hundreds of horses from public lands in the area. Herd Management Areas targeted include: Bible Springs, Four Mile, Frisco, Muddy Creek, Swasey, Sulphur, Choke Cherry, Blawn Wash.

Between July 28, 2014 and August 5, 2014, the BLM conducted a roundup in the Bible Springs Complex, removing 143 wild horses from the Blawn Wash HMA and 36 wild horses from outside the Sulphur Spring HMA.

On September 5, 2014, the U.S. District Court - District of Utah granted AWHPC, The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, wild horse adopter and advocate Lisa Friday and photographer John Steele were granted the right to intervene in the lawsuit. 

In April 2014, Judge Dee Bensen rejectd our motion for judgement on the pleadings. The goverment subsequently entered into settlement talks with the plaintiffs, but they could not come to an agreement so the case proceeded on its merits. 

Oral arguments in the case took place on April 11, 2017 at U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, with Judge Jill Parrish presiding. Judge Parrish took the case under advisement and her ruling is pending. 

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