Ranchers Move Against Wild Horses in Utah

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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 2016, the BLM settled this case with the plaintiffs by agreeing to conduct reviews under the Wild Horse Act and NEPA but maintaining its full authority and discretion to make determinations regarding whether excess horses are present on the HMAs in question, whether the horses should be removed and when they should be removed. 

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