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Sean D. Reyes
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Judge Rules in BLM/Wild Horse Lawsuit

July 20, 2022

The Utah Attorney General’s Office has achieved a crucial step forward in a significant legal case involving wild horses on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in our State.

A Washington D.C. District Court judge has granted the State’s Motion to Intervene in Friends of Animals v. BLM. The plaintiffs, Friends of Animals, are claiming that BLM violated federal law in gathering excess wild horses in the west desert, which is the home to thousands of wild horses and other wildlife. The BLM has been struggling to balance the resources (e.g., food and water) between a sharp growth in the wild horse population, as well as our Sage Grouse, Mule Deer and Pronghorn Sheep, which all use the same resources and are struggling to survive.

The State argues that it has an obligation to protect and manage all wildlife in the state, including wildlife on federal land. The Federal Judge agreed by granting the Motion to Intervene, saying the state does have the authority to protect and manage all wildlife in the state, including wildlife on federal land, and that it has standing to intervene on the side of BLM.

The next step will be a hearing for Summary Judgement.

You can find Utah’s Motion to Intervene here and the Reply Memo here. For more information about wild horses in Utah, visit this Utah Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office webpage or this BLM webpage.