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Herriman • Federal wild-horse managers at a 70-acre holding area here, under scrutiny since an advocacy group posted video of allegedly inhumane conditions, say several site visits this week have vindicated their practices.
A would-be horse adopter who went to the site March 15shared video from her visit with the Cloud Foundation, which posted a critical report on YouTube. The video gained attention last weekend, and, on Monday, several nonprofit and government animal-welfare officials visited the Salt Lake Regional Wild Horse & Burro Center.
Bureau of Land Management investigators were on site Thursday interviewing staff members for a report they plan to complete Friday.
Verbally, the Humane Society of Utah and county animal control agents both said everything looked "OK," center manager Jared Redington said.
"We don't have anything to hide," Redington said. "The facility is here to educate and show off these horses." The idea is to get them adopted.
Some of the horses in the lower pens, where they are kept for vaccination or feeding regimens, sank in mud as they ran Thursday afternoon. Redington said it's unavoidable in springtime here, after snowfall. He acknowledged it was muddier when the video was shot, but said mounds of manure like one that a horse appeared to be lying in on the video actually were pushed away from the animals at their manger.
A narrator for the video says the horses are in a "urine-soaked quagmire of mud and manure." She also remarks on a horse's shoulder laceration a wound that was largely healed by Thursday but that Redington said appeared purple in the video because of an antibiotic ointment.
"When they are captured and incarcerated," the video narrator says, "America's wild horses and burros lose what they value most: their freedom and families. They should not also be forced to suffer the abuse we see in this video report."
Representatives of the Cloud Foundation did not respond Thursday to requests for comment.
Humane Society of Utah investigator John Fox confirmed that he visited the center Monday and found no violations of animal-cruelty laws. He said wet conditions are to be expected this time of year, and the animals appeared to be in good health.
View the video