Conflict Between Livestock and Horses Plays Out at Heber WHT

The White Mountain Independent of Show Low, AZ posted an article this morning about the Heber WHT that actually mentions livestock on lands used by the horses!

“One of the primary complaints expressed by the ranchers is that the Heber horses are in competition with their cattle for food, water and resources.”

One of the ranchers interviewed for the story said the horses should be managed with permits just like cattle.

“Go through the process and set up payments for your range fees with Forest Service for your allotment.  Then put all of those horses on there and have at it.”

Interesting idea.  Permits could be put up for auction.  The going rate for livestock grazing is $1.41 per AUM.  If a wild horse advocacy group offered $5 per AUM to graze wild horses, would the BLM be obligated to accept it?  Would ranchers be willing to pay $25 per AUM or $50 per AUM or more?

BLM said earlier this week (on Day 2 of the WHB Advisory Board meeting) that the cost of caring for a horse in off-range pastures is $2 per day.  That’s roughly $60 per AUM.

Another rancher used an analogy to explain why the current management approach for the WHT isn’t working and hasn’t for years:

“Consider that you and I were neighbors and we had a piece of property and it was fenced off.  And then I had 50 dogs running on my property and there’s a hole in my fence and all of my dogs go over onto your property.  Does that mean that you should take care of those dogs now?”

What he seems to forget is that the property doesn’t belong to him and a law was passed in 1971 to protect those dogs.

RELATED: Advocates Hauling Water to Heber WHT.

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