Wild Horses Spared (For Now)

If you have been browsing Facebook, Twitter, or another social media site this week, you’ve undoubtedly seen the flurry of rumors regarding the scheduled slaughter of tens of thousands of wild horses in western American states. Fortunately, the sources of these rumors, including The Drudge Report and Fox News, are wrong. While the organized culling of wild mustang herds can and does occasionally occur, the Bureau of Land Management promises that it has no plans for an organized kill of wild horses this summer.

On September 9, The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board proffered its recommendation that the BLM euthanize a great number of wild horses that are currently cooling their hooves in holding pens and managed pastures in Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, and other western states. Many of the wild-roaming animals were collected and confined to make room for controversial cattle grazing on public lands, says Country Living magazine.

WIld horses will not be killed this summer
[Image via BLM | Flickr | CC by 2.0]

Within hours of the advisory board’s statement, animal rights groups responded with vigor and outrage. The following statement comes from Holly Hazard, senior vice president of Programs & Innovations with The Humane Society of the United States:

“The decision of the BLM advisory board to recommend the destruction of the 45,000 wild horses currently in holding facilities is a complete abdication of responsibility for their care.”

Tom Gorey is a spokesman for the BLM. In a public email revealed by Reuters on Wednesday, Gorey assured wild horse lovers that the bureau will “continue its current policy of caring for unadopted or unsold wild horses and burros” until further notice. Gorey also promised that the bureau will not sell or send any animals to slaughter houses. This comes as very good news to animal rights activists and others who are concerned about the magnificent wild mustangs of the American southwest.

The Bureau of Land Management is a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior. In response to the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board’s recommendation that a significant portion of the unadoptable wild horse population be euthanized, the BLM released the following public statement:

“The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is an independent panel comprised of members of the public that make recommendations to the Bureau of Land Management regarding its management of wild horses and burros. The BLM is committed to having healthy horses on healthy range lands. We will continue to care for and seek good homes for animals that have been removed from the range.

“The BLM does not and will not euthanize healthy animals. The agency continues to seek new and better tools for managing the nation’s quickly expanding population of wild horses. There are nearly 70,000 wild horses and burros on public lands in the West — three times the recommended level — and nearly 50,000 additional horses and burros that have been removed from the range and are available for adoption. The cost of caring for each animal that goes unadopted can be nearly $50,000.”

No wild horses will be killed this year, says BLM
[Image via BLM | Flickr | CC by 2.0]

Since Congress passed the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971, the BLM has adopted out nearly a quarter of a million wild horses and burros. Persons who wish to adopt a wild horse of their own will have the opportunity to do so when the BLM Battle Mountain District Office offers 20 or so Stone Cabin Gray yearlings and weanlings at the fairgrounds in Tonopah, Nevada, on September 24.

Potential wild horse adopters are advised to contact Shawna Richardson to submit an application prior to the adoption date. She can be reached at (775)635-4181 or (775)635-9642. To inquire about wild horse adoptions via email, send a note to s1richar@blm.gov.

[Featured image by BLM | Cropped and resized | CC by 2.0]