Saturday, October 8, 2011

Feds Announce Plan to Remove Over 6,000 Wild Horses from Range over Next Five Months, Despite Agency’s Record Low Adoption Rate

American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

Published on Oct 8, 2011 – 8:59:56 AM
Yuba Net
By: American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC)
Washington, DC October 7, 2011 — The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), a national coalition of environmental, public interest, and humane organizations, today criticized the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for wasting tax dollars on the agency’s just announced plan to remove 6,309 wild horses and burros from public lands in the West over the next five months. The number of horses removed from the range will greatly exceed the adoption demand, which continues to plummet, as evidenced by the BLM’s preliminary wild horse adoption numbers. The adoption figures indicate that BLM is headed for a record-setting, all-time low in adoptions – under 2,000 for Fiscal Year 2011, which ended on September 30, 2011.
The BLM’s budget has spiraled out of control in recent years due to the agency’s continued massive removal of wild horses from public lands and warehousing of mustangs in taxpayer-funded holding facilities. Currently there are approximately 45,000 wild horses in government holding facilities compared to just 33,000 wild horses living free on public lands. Under the Obama Administration, the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program budget has increased more than 60 percent over the last four years. In addition, the BLM has come under increased scrutiny for the inhumane helicopter roundups, which cause horses and young foals to be run for miles in extreme temperatures and over rugged terrain.
“The BLM is misleading Congress and the public when it claims that it is reforming, because the agency continues to clear the land of mustangs to make room for commercial livestock grazing,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC Campaign. “The agency continues to remove wild horses from our public lands in mass numbers that greatly exceed adoption demand, resulting in the stockpiling of tens of thousands of horses in holding facilities at taxpayer expense. This mismanaged federal program is bankrupting American taxpayers and devastating our remaining wild horse herds.”
Roy noted that the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a fifth generation rancher, continues the Bush Administration’s practice of removing wild horses from public lands as a gift to the powerful cattlemen’s lobby, which views mustangs as competition for cheap, taxpayer-subsidized grazing.
Despite promised reform, the BLM announced earlier this year that it intends to remove 32,800 wild horses from the range over the next four years, a move that will boost the holding population to at least 53,000 horses.
Last year, at least 70,000 American citizens urged the Interior Department to stop removing massive numbers of wild horses from the public lands and to start managing them on the range with humane, cost-effective alternatives. One such alternative solution presented to the BLM involves adjusting forage allocations on public lands to accommodate current wild horse and burro population levels and managing mustang and burro population growth with fertility control. However, the agency has failed to implement this cost-saving option, planning instead to inoculate just 2,000, or approximately 13 percent, of the more than 15,000 mares that are estimated to be on the range. The BLM’s refusal to fully implement a humane on-the-range management solution perpetuates the agency’s unsustainable practice of removing wild horses from public lands and warehousing them in government holding facilities.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), supported by a coalition of over 40 organizations, is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. For more information visit

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