By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A national opinion poll conducted last year has revealed that the majority of surveyed Americans oppose removing wild horses from public lands in southern Wyoming.
The Cloud Foundation, a national organization dedicated to protecting wild horses and burros on public lands, commissioned the national opinion poll that was conducted by The Harris Poll last summer.
The poll found that 69% of surveyed Americans oppose removing all wild horses from 1.5 million acres of public lands in southern Wyoming to accommodate the oil/gas and livestock industries.
“The vast majority of Americans oppose this government give-away of our public lands to the oil/gas and livestock industries,” said Dana Zarrello, executive director for the foundation. “The government is pushing the same old anti-wild horse PR campaign mythology by claiming wild horses and burros must be rounded up while they allow more livestock to continue to graze in the same areas. Private, commercial livestock must be the first animals removed in these Congressionally-designated wild horse and burro herd areas.”
More than 2,000 U.S. adult were surveyed and were told that if all wild horses were removed from southern Wyoming, it would amount to the removal of horses and burros from 40% of the public land set aside for the animals in the 1971 Wild Horse Act.
Most of the more than 3,500 horses removed would be kept in government holding for decades, while a number of them would be sold and likely end up at slaughter, the Cloud Foundation said.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comment on the removal of wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard, which includes the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, the Great Divide Basin, the White Mountains and Little Colorado Herd Management Areas, until 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
The release of the poll data coincided with the public comment period on the government proposal.
“Wild horses and burros are restricted to just 11% of public lands compared to livestock which is permitted on more than 60% of public lands,” said Lisa Friday, foundation board member. “Even in congressionally-designated wild horse and burro herd areas, livestock is given more than 80% of the forage compared to the 20% allocated to wild horses and burros. Wild horses are the poster child for this corporate greed and mismanagement of our public lands.”