Cross-posted from The Deseret News
Written by JOHN HOLLENHORST
BUTTERFIELD CANYON (Apr. 25, 2011) — More than 100 wild horses have a new home at the Utah State Prison in Gunnison. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management moved the captured mustangs to a BLM corral at the prison after the agency’s Butterfield Canyon facility near Herriman drew national criticism.
The move of 108 horses doesn’t mean the BLM is taking any blame. Agency officials insist the horses are well-treated and the criticism — triggered by a video of muddy corrals that was posted on YouTube — is unfounded.
However, the agency does plan to move another 100 horses next week, cutting overall numbers at Butterfield Canyon by almost half, while employees work to clear mud from the facility.
“We’ve always had mud issues, but not like this year’s,” said Jared Redington, who manages the corrals for the BLM. “The reason we shipped those horses out was to make a little more room here at the facility.”
Periodically in recent weeks, workers have used bulldozing equipment to clear mud away and create dry spaces. Reducing the number of horses will make that task more efficient.
“With all the rain that’s projected we’re going to have,” Redington said, “we thought it was best to move those horses out of the facility to give us a little more room so we can rotate the horses into drier pens.”
The controversy began on March 15 when a potential horse adopter named Lisa Friday visited the facility. Concerned by what she saw at the muddy facility, she recorded video that was later posted on YouTube by the Cloud Foundation, a wild-horse protection group. On the video, a narrator says, “Lisa was unprepared for what she saw, animals that had no dry place to lay down, or those that had trouble walking in a urine-soaked quagmire of mud and manure.” Then, as a scene unfolds showing a motionless mare lying on the ground, Friday herself is heard on the video, saying, “That horse has been laying down since we got here. Hasn’t moved.”
The video generated fierce criticism of the BLM, but Redington said it’s misleading.
“Yes, there was some things in there where they didn’t tell the whole story,” Redington said. “But that’s their given right to come out and look at the facility. But what the video doesn’t show is the straw that we have out for the horses. And where the mare was actually laying down was on dry ground.” Continue reading >>