I.G.H.A. / HorseAid's Bureau of Land Management News

Latest BLM Press Release (Utah)

Bureau of Land Management, Utah State Office, P.O. Box 45155, Salt Lake City, Utah 84145
(5/20/98) Contact: Don Banks or Glenn Foreman. Release: Immediately (801) 539-4021

UTAH -- Results have just come in from the first group of wild horses being tested for the possible presence of a contagious horse disease from a herd on BLM lands in the Uintah Basin. The news is all good. Thirty horses tested for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) and thirty negative results back from the State lab.

Today's negative Coggins tests, released earlier this afternoon from the state approved laboratory in Salt Lake City, comes from horses gathered by the BLM last Thursday in the Tabyago unit of the Hill Creek herd, a remote area of table-top mesas and deeply incised canyons located 25 niles southwest of Ouray, Utah.

Vernal District Field Office Manager, Dave Howell, who is responsible for management of the wild horses in this area, is optimistic that the vast majority of tests will come up negative and he will soon be releasing horses back out on their home range.

While optimistic, Howell did not want to minimize the potential threat of EIA, not only to wild horse herds, but to the $293 million domestic horse industry in Utah.

"We need to get an accurate account of the possible spread and severity of the situation. We're committed to following through on the State Veterinarian's request to ensure the future health of wild and domestic horse populations in the Uintah Basin,' said Howell.

Once tests are completed in the Tabyago unit, crews are expected to move to the nearby Agency Draw unit of the Hill Creek herd, and then the Bonanza herd. Decisions regarding the testing of the Winter Ridge herd for EIA will be made after State Veterinarian, Dr Michael Marshall has had a chance to review previous test results from the area.

Everyone agrees that we only want to do what is necessary to determine whether or not we have an EIA problem." said Howell.

Our plan, carefully worked out between the State Veterinarian and other equine experts, incorporates special precautions into the gather to protect new born and young foals. By proceeding as proposed, we believe we are taking the most prudent course to address the EIA issue while attempting to minimize disruption to the wild horses," he said.

Results from thirty more horses, gathered yesterday from the same area; are expected tomorrow.

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