Onaqui roundup ends with 307 horses headed for adoption

This story is so heartbreaking to report. Perhaps you have already heard about it and grieving like we are. We have always loathed BLM tactics in decimating American wild horse herds. This cruel and unnecessary roundup of the Onaqui herd takes the BLM’s behaviour to a whole new level of debauchery, chicanery and destruction. It is diabolical.

All the while the so-called head of the Department of Interior looks the other way, just like many before her, even though she has reportedly been flooded with requests for help. She is totally useless. A figurehead. A puppet. The powers that be in Washington D.C. always make sure we have absolutely no one to appeal to when it comes to our wild ones, presidency after presidency, regardless of party. We are beyond sick and tired of it. —Editor.

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THE SALT LAKE CITY TRIBUNE | Brian Maffly reporting  | July 20, 2021

Open quote

“The Bureau of Land Management concluded its controversial roundup of the Onaqui herd a week early Sunday, after pulling 435 horses from public lands in Tooele County.”

“Over a five-day span beginning July 14, helicopters operated by a private contractor herded horses off the public range into pens with dozens of activists watching and photographing from a distant hillside. While horse roundups occur several times a year across the West, horse advocates blasted the Onaqui gather because these free-roaming animals are considered “a national treasure,” beloved by horse lovers around the world.”

“Foals accounted for 47, or 11%, of the gathered horses, the BLM reported, although activists believe the BLM inflated the foal count. The BLM defines foals as young horses born since Jan. 1.”

“The agency acknowledged that one horse died in the roundup, and another was released for an undisclosed reason. A young mare suffered a broken ankle after getting kicked as horses were crowded into a pen, according to BLM spokeswoman Lisa Reid, and had to be euthanized.”

“An official also acknowledged most horses taken off the range exhibited fairly good body conditions, contrary to earlier reports that many Onaqui horses were suffering from lack of water and forage due to overpopulation and drought.”

“The next Utah roundup is scheduled to begin Aug. 1, when the BLM plans to remove 295 horses from the Conger herd that roams the western reaches of Millard County.”

“Free-roaming wild horses and burros, which are descended from domesticated equines brought to the West by Spanish explorers and Anglo settlers centuries ago, have been protected under federal law since 1971. It is the BLM’s job to manage these animals, whose populations can double every six years in the absence of predators and legal hunting.”

“To keep horse numbers in check, the agency relies on periodic roundups, over the objections of advocates who believe the horses belong on the range. These advocates accuse the BLM of pandering to the livestock industry and ignoring or discounting less costly, more humane solutions, such as using non-invasive fertility control treatments.”

“Such treatments have been administered to about 60 Onaqui mares that were taken off the range last week.”


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These roundups are totally unnecessary. The BLM is off the chain. They removed a major portion of the Onaqui herd, administered fertility treatment to a large group of mares and returned them. This is calculated decimation. Not to be argumentative, but we do not believe this is about the public land’s welfare ranchers and their ruinous cattle. Not this time. We have a very strong sense that something else is afoot.

Tuesday’s Horse © Fund for Horses

Featured Image: (Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) A helicopter rounds up wild horses near Utah’s Onaqui Mountains on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. The controversial roundup ended on Sunday, July 18, 2021, with the gathering of 435 horses, 126 of which will be returned to the range.

2 thoughts on “Onaqui roundup ends with 307 horses headed for adoption”

  1. These roundups are definitely distressing as is the lack of government response to those of us who are largely opposed to this form of management of our wild horses and burros. Thank you for continuing to report on these situations. More folks need to know what is happening on US public lands- lands that collectively belong to all US citizens.

    Liked by 2 people

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