SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Actress Katherine Heigl, known for her role as Izzie in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and numerous movies, is among those calling on the Department of the Interior to protect Onaqui wild horses in western Utah.
Heigl, along with Animal Wellness Action, the Animal Wellness Foundation, and the Center for a Humane Economy, are asking Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to stop the round-up and removal of about 80% of the wild horses.
As part of their effort, you will see billboards through Utah featuring Heigl, a Summit County resident, calling on the federal government to leave the horses to roam.
“With their historic place on the public lands of Utah, the Onaqui horses are living treasures that contribute to the beauty of the Great Basin Desert, as well as the economic vitality of nearby communities,” says Heigl, who keeps horses at her ranch in the Kamas Valley. “Instead of cruel helicopter roundups, I call on the Bureau of Land Management to leave the Onaqui horses on the land, manage them humanely with fertility control, and limit livestock grazing to protect the ecosystem.”
Officials say the roundup is scheduled to begin in July and will result in 300 to 400 of the 500 horses being permanently removed from their Herd Management Area.
The wild horses are said to be descended from horses used by pioneers and native tribes in the late 1800s and are known for their ability to thrive in the harsh environment of the Great Basin Desert in western Utah.