The question of whether wild horse populations in Utahn should be rounded up and killed or sold into slaughter to control their numbers is an emotional one.
But even though Utah is a public land state – and while horse populations are a problem here – most Utahns still don’t want the wild horse, to some a symbol of the great American West, to be killed or sold for slaughter, a UtahPolicy.com poll shows.
Dan Jones & Associates finds:
-- That 51 percent of Utahns “strongly” or “somewhat” oppose euthanizing or slaughter of wild horses to control their populations.
-- 36 percent support that kind of control, while 14 percent don’t know.
Throughout the West, managers of public lands have periodically conducted roundups to control wild horse populations, with the animals then held in captivity, with the hope that some can be adopted out into private hands and protected that way.
There have even been attempts at forced birth control of wild herds.
But in some areas, the wild herds continue to damage the delicate desert-like environments.
Jones finds significant differences on euthanizing/slaughter solutions:
-- Younger Utahns are much more against these drastic solutions than do older Utahns.
-- Those 18-24 years old are very much against them – only 15 percent support such actions, while 69 percent oppose.
-- Those 25-34 years old are against those ideas, 21-62 percent.
-- But those 55-64 oppose killing/slaughter 55-34 percent.
-- And those over 65 years of age are split, 47 percent opposed to 43 percent in favor.
Men and women have vast differences on the subject on how to deal with wild horses:
-- Men actually favor killing/slaughter, 48-40 percent.
-- While women oppose the idea, 59-25 percent.
Those are significant statistical differences rarely seen in Utah public opinion surveys.
And then there are partisan political differences:
-- Utah Republicans are split over what to do with the wild horse populations, 43-43 percent.
-- Democrats are definitely in the “don’t kill” column, 64 percent against those solutions, with only 25 percent in favor.
-- Political independents also the oppose kill/slaughter option, 57-31 percent.
And not surprisingly, those in urban Salt Lake County – who may not see the problem up close – oppose the kill/slaughter option, 55-35 percent.
While those who live in Southern Utah favor the harsher option, kill and remove, 48 percent to 40 percent.
Jones polled 607 adults from May 31 to June 5. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percent.