Tension growing between ranchers, mustang backers

Tension growing between ranchers, mustang backers

April 6th, 2014 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

Two young wild horses play while grazing in Reno, Nev., in this 2010 file photo Wild horse protection advocates say the government is rounding up too many mustangs while allowing livestock to feed at taxpayer expense on the same rangeland scientists say is being overgrazed.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

RENO, Nev. - Tensions are growing on the range in a turf battle that has been simmering for decades over one of the icons of the American West and scant forage on arid, high desert lands from Nevada to Wyoming.

Wild-horse protection advocates say the government is rounding up too many mustangs while allowing livestock to overgraze, but ranchers say not enough horses are being gathered.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management agreed Friday to remove horses from the range in southwest Utah after commissioners in Iron County threatened to take matters into their own hands.

In Nevada, the federal agency on Saturday began seizing about 500 cattle from longtime rancher Cliven Bundy that it says are trespassing on public land southwest of Mesquite.

Bureau of Land Management officials confirm they intend to confiscate the cattle as a last resort in a 20-year-old dispute. They won't discuss the details.