ENTERPRISE, Utah (Reuters) - A Utah county, angry over the destruction of federal rangeland that ranchers use to graze cattle, has started a bid to round up federally protected wild horses it blames for the problem in the latest dustup over land management in the U.S. West.
Close to 2,000 wild horses are roaming southern Utah's Iron County, well over the 300 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has dubbed as appropriate for the rural area's nine designated herd management zones, County Commissioner David Miller said.
County officials complain the burgeoning herd is destroying vegetation crucial to ranchers who pay to graze their cattle on the land, and who have already been asked to reduce their herds to cope with an anticipated drought.
Wild horse preservation groups say any attempt to remove the horses would be a federal crime.
Be it noted, horses are not native to the Southwest USA. They are European imports. They are supposed to be getting managed, as in culled, by the BLM. That's the BLM's job and reason for existence. Theoretically. So why isn't the job getting done in Iron County Utah? This is where it gets funny.
Wild horses have not been culled due to budget constraints, according to Utah BLM officials, who say their herds grow by roughly 20 percent per year.
Yes, budget constraints. No money, so sad. Meanwhile in Nevada the BLM is burning a million bucks a day to collect a few cattle and play army in the bush. I think a million bucks a day is probably a fair estimate of what it takes to pay for 200+ heavily armed and armored cops, cop vehicles, multiple helicopters, plus contractors and their heavy equipment to manage the cattle that were collected. Oh, plus a fortified, fenced "command post" and a bunch of other crap that we probably will never know about.
Here's a thought. If you deliberately let the wild horse population grow too large, and they start eating everything in sight, plus there's a drought, you can shut down ranching on public land completely.