35,000+ Citizens Submit Comments Opposing BLM Utah Roundup Proposed for July
Cedar City, UT (June 2, 2014)…. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has received a record number of public comments from over 35,000 individual citizens protesting a planned roundup of hundreds of wild horses from public lands in southwestern Utah, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) and its founding organization Return to Freedom announced today. The BLM is scheduling the roundup to appease a small but vocal group of ranchers in Iron and Beaver Counties who view mustangs as competition for taxpayer-subsidized grazing on public lands where wild horses live. According to the Congressional Research Service, the BLM charges ranchers grazing fees on public land that are approximately 1/12th of market rate.
“The government plans to spend tens of millions of tax dollars to round up federally protected wild horses in order to give a handful of ranchers cheap, below-market grazing on our public lands,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC director. “The problem is too many cows on our public lands, not too many wild horses. The solution is to stop giving away our public resources and start charging ranchers the going market rate for grazing their livestock on our public land.”
The comments were submitted in response to the BLM’s Environmental Assessment (EA) on the Bible Springs Complex Wild Horse Gather, the deadline for which closed Friday, May 30. Among the concerns raised by AWHPC and citizens in comments to the BLM:
“It’s disappointing that our government continues to manage our public lands for a handful of ranchers in Utah when tens of thousands of Americans are calling for a different approach,” said Neda DeMayo, President of Return to Freedom, AWHPC’s founding organization. “National polls show clearly that a majority of Americans support protecting wild horses on our Western public lands, while less than one-third want our public lands to be made available for private livestock grazing. Our public lands belong to all Americans and it’s high time the Obama Administration bring a democratic approach to managing these treasured public resources.”
According to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) statistics:
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.
Return to Freedom (RTF), is the founding and parent organization for the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. RTF is a national non-profit dedicated to wild horse preservation through sanctuary, education and conservation, and also operates the American Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, CA.
*Based on the BLM’s estimate that every horse removed from the range and not adopted costs $46,252