Groups want answers after 16 wild horses were found shot to death in southeastern Utah

Craig Daily Press Staff
A wild horse rolls over on its back as the other horses look on Saturday, May 28, 2022, in the Sand Wash Basin in Moffat County. According to multiple animal rights groups, at least 16 wild horses have been found shot to death in San Juan County in southeastern, Utah.
Eli Pace/Craig Press

At least 16 horses were recently found shot dead in southeastern Utah, sparking multiple animal rights groups to condemn the killings and call for justice.

According to Animal Wellness Action, the Animal Wellness Foundation and the Center for a Humane Economy, mares and foals were among the wild horses killed on federal lands in San Juan County, Utah. San Juan County butts up against the Utah-Colorado border, extending from just south of Moab to the Utah-Arizona border.

As a result of the shootings, the animal rights groups are asking authorities to take swift action to find the person or people responsible. The groups say the horses’ bodies were discovered in varying stages of decomposition, indicating they were not all shot at the same time.

Additionally, the slain horses were found on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, but because the area is not designated as a wild horse herd management area, the animals are not protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which protects wild mustangs and burros from deliberate, unauthorized killings by private citizens or entities.

“The discovery of at least 16 dead horses in southern Utah is the latest in a pattern across the Western United States of mass killings of wild horses by unknown assailants, who appear to be acting with a brazen disregard for the law, and who could pose a serious threat to people and animals,” said Scott Beckstead of the Center for a Humane Economy in a statement. “The link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence is real, and any person capable of such depraved acts of cruelty should be considered a threat to the community at large.”

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