State Intervenes in Challenge of Utah Gather Plans

The state recently filed a motion to intervene in a case brought by Friend of Animals against the BLM disputing four of the agency’s management plans that affect wild horses in six HMAs, including Muddy Creek and Onaqui Mountain.

The plans authorize fertility control and roundups over ten-year periods, eliminating public input and oversight, according to a column in The Salt Lake Tribune.

Western Horse Watchers believes the focus is wrong and rejects the statement about oil, gas and mineral extraction projects damaging the environment and contributing to climate change.  While those activities may have an effect on wild horses, it is small compared to the impact of public-lands ranching.

Gather plans don’t change the land-use plans, they enforce them.  By minimizing AMLs and shifting most of the resources to livestock operators, they drive the roundups and other resource enforcement actions, including

  • Fertility control
  • Sex ratio skewing
  • Sterilization
  • Euthanasia

Why not target the land-use plans and the policies and regulations that support them?

Some have been around for over 20 years.  Why don’t they come up for public review on a regular basis or have sunset provisions that necessitate their reauthorizations?

One thought on “State Intervenes in Challenge of Utah Gather Plans

  1. The evolution of wild equids has resulted in herds that have been subjected, adapted, and survived the harshest of environments and predators. But can they survive the biggest threat of all…a government with an extinguishment agenda of America’s Protected Icon?
    Even before the 1971 passage of the Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act, Land Use regulations provided for the conservation, preservation, and restoration of cultural historic Resources. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/culturallandscapes/understand-cl.htm. After the passage of the 1971 Act courts have expounded on resource management provisions to ensure the living genetic and cultural value of wild equids for future generations.
    By 2015 The concerns in this article go beyond the scope of historic properties as defined by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and include living cultures and their values as reflected by the environments within which their beliefs systems are based. NHPA is amongst the agencies that adamantly refuse to acknowledge wild equids as a historic and cultural Native American property. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/environmental-practice/article/perspectives-from-the-field-integrating-cultural-impact-assessments-into-environmental-analysis/D52F3CA95D7D714903A9E97BB594019F.

    In 1976 The wildlife issue was settled in Kleppe v New Mexico followed by FLPMA.( https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/43/1702)
    The wild horse/burro as a ”property issue “ was addressed in 1984 in US v Hughes when
    The court affirmed a conviction for converting government property and violating the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act against a defendant who sold for slaughter horses that had been rounded up from the public lands and lent under the Adopt-a-Horse Program….
    He was convicted for conversion of government property under Sec 641, a theft provision that requires a showing that the defendant knowingly converted property of the United States. Conversion of the protected inventory/property after capture takes many forms that are prohibited. See https://www.animallaw.info/case/united-states-v-hughes. More (https://elr.info/litigation/10/20955/united-states-v-hughes#:~:text=United%20States%20v,a-Horse%20Program…. United States v. Hughes
    In 1986 Mt. States v Hodel found that “In structure and purpose, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act is nothing more than a land-use regulation enacted by Congress to ensure the survival of a particular species of wildlife.” https://www.animallaw.info/case/mountain-states-legal-foundation-v-hodel
    Subsequently, In Defense of Animals, v. U.S. Dept. Interior, #12-17804, May 12, 2014) the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also recognized wild horses as native species, explaining that BLM “establishes Appropriate Management Levels(AMLs)for populations of native species – including wild horses, burros, and other wildlife – and introduced animals, such as livestock
    One out of every 10 acres of wildlife habitat in the United States is managed by the BLM National System of Public lands – approximately 245 million acres (380,000 square miles) in 23 states. Add the inventory of county and state multiple-use habitat designations and wildlife preserves to the plethora of quantifiable public landscapes available for wildlife relocation/rewilding ( i.e distinct population segments) Wild equids are included by operation of law and qualify for relocation HMA habitats; designated as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), managed by the Bureau of Land Management under FLPMA. https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/signed_so_3356.pdf

    Signed in 2017 This order specifies that DOI bureaus prioritize “active habitat-management projects and funding that contribute to achieving wildlife population objectives” and to “review and use the best available science or other relevant projects to avoid or minimize potential negative impacts on wildlife.”
    Advocates and elected officials need to be educated that these laws supersede extraction policies that have created an entire cottage industry whom the taxpayer has rallied against.

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