GOP Senators, Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, both of Utah, want to strike a regulation barring federal rangeland officials from euthanizing wild horses and burros.
Lee and Romney co-signed a letter to the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies under the Committee on Appropriations. GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska chairs the subcommittee while Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico serves as the ranking member.
“Western rangelands are in crisis. The current populations of wild horses and burros is devastating the land, negatively impacting other species living in the area, and prohibiting an effective multiple-use management of the land,” Lee and Romney wrote in a letter dated May 3, obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forestry Service (USFS), two agencies under the Interior department, are tasked with managing increasingly overpopulated wild horses and burros on federal land. Horse and burro populations are roughly triple what experts say the land can support.
“Removing this rider would greatly serve the health of both these animals and the rangeland,” Lee and Romney wrote. “Left unaddressed, the problem will only get worse, to the detriment of the environment and at the expense of the American taxpayer.”
The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 directs BLM and USFS personnel to “remove excess animals from the range so as to achieve appropriate management levels.” The BLM and USFS typically put animals up for adoption or inject them with contraception drugs to control the population. Neither strategy has proven effective at blunting the growing overpopulation.
The federal agencies routinely round up hundreds of horses and burros to stick in federal corrals or place them with private ranches that are paid to care for the animals. The strategy has removed many animals from the land, but at an immense cost to taxpayers. The BLM spent $48 million, nearly 60 percent of its budget, on maintaining holding facilities in 2017.
Source: The Daily Caller
Divisions over federal policy on wild horses and burros have come into sharp focus in the last two weeks after the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) announced a collaboration with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Return To Freedom, and pro-horse slaughter groups such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the American Farm Bureau Federation to convince the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to add $50 million to the Bureau of Land Management’s budget for management of the equids.
Specifically, the groups have called for the roundup of 15,000 – 20,000 horses and burros annually for as many as ten years, and for placement of these horses in government-funded holding facilities, perhaps in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Utah (on top of the 50,000 horses already in holding facilities).
They’ve called for a step-up of “growth suppression programs,” specifically targeting the individual horses and burros remaining after gathers in order to make sterilization or fertility control more practical.
Every reputable animal protection group – including all animal groups on both sides of this debate – opposes the slaughter of wild horses, and also pushed for federal legislation to stop the slaughter of any domesticated or wild horses or burros. And I have no doubt that the program staffers at the HSUS and the ASPCA advocating for this plan have a deep concern for horses and burros. They deserve our respect for their passion for animals. In this case, however, I think they’ve made the wrong judgment and negotiated a bad deal that puts horses and burros at risk. And the absence of a perfect plan in the alternative doesn’t make their plan any more acceptable
The best and most rationale step forward is to use this year’s appropriations cycle to require BLM expand its contraception programs and fund that expansion. If BLM demonstrates an ability to apply the fertility control strategy in a far larger number of Herd Management Areas, then it’s time to talk about a broader plan for managing horses and burros given the presence of a more trusted and reliable government agency.
Oppose The Path Forward, 10 Years to AML plan
For now, though, the wild horse and burro community is right to balk at a plan to gather and remove 45,000 – 60,000 wild horses and burros in the next three years. Advocates should speak up and call their federal lawmakers (202-225-3121), urging them to oppose this dangerous plan and focus funding on the contraception as the centerpiece of any future, more comprehensive management plan.
Source: Drovers, by Wayne Pacelle
Ejiao is the name of a traditional Chinese medicine that supposedly treats anemia, reproductive issues and insomnia – though the alleged medicinal properties are unproven. Nonetheless, it's an ingredient in tonics and face creams. Sales of the products are a multimillion dollar business. And it's quite literally killing the world's donkeys.
Millions of donkeys each year are slaughtered so manufacturers in China can boil the skins to extract the gelatin, which is used to make ejiao. According to a 2016 report from Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua, around 4 million donkey hides are needed each year to produce enough ejiao for the market in China, but the annual supply of donkeys from China is fewer than 1.8 million. To fill the gap, China is importing donkey skins from developing countries where there are populations of relatively cheap animals.
"The industrial scale at which these animals are being slaughtered is an issue of massive concern," says Simon Pope, rapid response manager at Donkey Sanctuary. "It's probably the biggest issue facing donkeys ever." This year Brooke of the United Kingdom became the latest international animal welfare group to condemn the donkey skins trade.
Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania are among the countries where the donkey population is threatened by voracious demand for their skins, according to animal welfare charities. The donkey population in Botswana, for example, has decreased 39 percent from 229,000 in 2014 to 142,000 in 2016, according to SPANA. In early 2018, SPANA staff in Mali reported that 2,000 donkeys were being sold for slaughter every week at the country's seven major livestock markets.
Dr. Matthew Stone, deputy director general, International Standards and Science, at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), believes the situation is worsening. Because of demand for ejiao, the legal and illegal trade of donkey products "has recently increased, causing major impacts on the rural livelihoods, donkey populations health and welfare and the environment worldwide," he says.
The problem is also spreading in countries such as Brazil.
"The industry is growing so fast that existing laws haven't caught up," says Pope of Donkey Sanctuary, who visited the country last fall. He interviewed people on the ground who told him that donkeys might be transported long distances for several days by truck and are given no food or water while they await slaughter in overcrowded pens.
Some of these donkeys are stolen from their owners, according to reports obtained by the animal rights groups. For example, 705 donkeys were stolen in Kajiado County, Kenya between December 2016 and March 2017, according to Brooke East Africa — as reported by donkey owners to the group's local partner organizations.
And while many donkeys are slaughtered in legal, government-sanctioned slaughterhouses, these stolen donkeys often end up in small-scale slaughterhouses, which kill them under inhumane conditions, according to a report from Donkey Sanctuary.
This kind of inhumane donkey slaughter is especially acute in Africa, the groups say, where China has a strong presence because of business ventures, such as building large infrastructure projects.
One of the pilfered animals belonged to Francis Dayou of Kenya, who owned a donkey that transported water in the town of Naivasha. In his community, "donkeys are very important," he says. People rely on them for transporting farm goods, people and water. But his donkey, named Master, was stolen in 2017.
That was "very painful," recalls Dayou. Without income from transporting water, he had difficulty paying his high school fees. He had to do lower-paying work: transporting goods with a wheelbarrow, odd jobs on construction sites. Dayou reported the theft to the police, but they couldn't trace the donkey. He's well aware of the donkey skins trade. "It should be closed straight away. All donkeys are being taken away," he says.
Even when owners willingly sell a spare donkey to make money, they may not realize the long-term impact on their livelihoods. With skins in such high demand, prices for donkeys have doubled, tripled or quadrupled so owners can't replace donkeys they have sold or buy new ones if their donkeys are stolen.
In Kenya, for example, prices jumped from $40 per animal to over $160 from February to August 2017
Breeding more donkeys is not a solution. With a 10-to-14 month period of gestation, the animals can't be bred fast enough to fulfill demands for ejiao. Donkeys are also prone to hyperlipemia, a stress-related condition that can cause them to drop dead or suffer spontaneous abortions.
"If you were going to breed an animal, donkeys wouldn't be top of most people's list," Pope of Donkey Sanctuary observes. So the charity is lobbying African governments to enforce existing restrictions on the skin trade. It also lobbied e-commerce website eBay, which agreed to stop selling ejiao products in Dec. 2017.
Other countries have put a halt to slaughter and export. In Zimbabwe, a slaughterhouse had proposed killing about 12,000 donkeys per year. "That would have equated to a loss of almost a tenth of the country's donkey population in just 12 months," estimates Dennis from SPANA. Those plans were halted in 2017. Botswana and Tanzania in 2017 followed Niger, which banned exports and restricted the skins trade in 2016.
In 2017, Uganda banned the trading of donkeys for slaughter and ordered closures of donkey slaughterhouses. The decision was reportedly due to the negative consequences on households that rely on donkeys to transport everything from water to harvested foods to be sold at market.
But such steps don't necessarily stop the trade. "In some cases, this has led to the emergence of a black market and an explosion in donkey thefts," says Dennis.
SPANA last year called for an immediate halt to the ejiao trade in Africa while its impact is assessed. It is working closely with a number of African governments to implement bans or restrictions on slaughtering donkeys and exporting donkey products.
Both SPANA and Donkey Sanctuary are training people to build fenced corrals for donkeys to secure the animals. Some people in Kenya are bringing donkeys into their huts at night and sleeping next to them to protect them, says Pope. Donkey Sanctuary is also helping to run workshops with local authorities and police to enforce bans on the illegal trade, track the underground trade and take action on reports of stolen donkeys.
Brooke is working with communities to raise awareness of the consequences of the skin trade. "We're making sure owners understand the life-time value of donkeys and the significant risk to livelihoods of sale for immediate income," says Whear. In 2017, Brooke East Africa invited more than 200 donkey welfare groups in Kenya to share ideas about reducing donkey thefts. They included lockable donkey shelters, solar powered security lights, guard dogs, and community surveillance hubs, though implementation depends on funding and resources.
Both SPANA and Donkey Sanctuary are training people on building fenced corrals for donkeys and securing the animals. Donkey Sanctuary is also helping to run workshops with local authorities and police to enforce bans, track the underground trade, and take action on reports of stolen donkeys. Some people in Kenya are bringing donkeys into their huts at night and sleeping next to them to protect them, notes Pope.
Tracking and stopping a booming and often illicit trade in Africa and South America is a huge task for relatively small animal welfare non-profits such as Donkey Sanctuary. "When the sanctuary was set up, we didn't think we'd ever be doing this kind of work," says Pope, who worked in anti-wildlife poaching in Namibia before joining Donkey Sanctuary. "We're horrified it's come to this. We've got to rise to the challenge. It's the biggest thing this organization has done and will do."
The AVMA recently joined a host of veterinary and animal welfare organizations in condemning the global trade in donkey skins as an inhumane industry that harms communities and threatens the species worldwide.
For centuries, people in China have treated dizziness and other medical conditions with "ejiao," an herbal remedy made with a gelatin obtained by boiling and stewing donkey skin.
Demand for ejiao has spiked dramatically during the past decade, so much so that China now imports donkey skins from around the world, including Brazil and Mexico, and poaching is common. With Africa as the epicenter of the donkey-skin trade, entire areas in West Africa have reported localized donkey extinctions, according to the World Veterinary Association.
The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization estimates China's population of donkeys has plummeted from roughly 11 million within recent years to approximately 5.4 million in 2016.
Although China's ejiao industry is investing in donkey breeding programs, consumer demand is not being met. Donkeys are poorly suited to intensive breeding practices because of long gestation periods, low fecundity, low success rates of artificial insemination, and high propensity to abortion and death secondary to stress, the WVA states.
At the Nov. 9, 2018, meeting of the AVMA Board of Directors, members approved a proposal from the Animal Welfare Committee and Committee on International Veterinary Affairs to endorse a statement from the American Association of Equine Practitioners condemning the donkey-skin trade. The AAEP statement reads as follows:
"The American Association of Equine Practitioners joins international equine welfare organizations in condemning the inhumane transport and killing of donkeys to satisfy the escalating global trade in donkey skins. It is estimated that a minimum of 1.8 million donkey skins are traded each year to create a substance known as ejiao, which is used in Chinese beauty products and traditional medicines.
"In addition to welfare concerns for the animals' treatment, this issue is especially devastating in developing countries where donkeys are essential to the livelihoods of millions of the world's poorest people. Families lose their income overnight because of donkey theft. Buying a new animal often is not an option due to rising market prices caused by depopulation. The loss of a donkey also jeopardizes transport of children to school and limits the growth of women in community-related roles.
"The AAEP supports the ongoing work of equine welfare organizations to end the inhumane treatment of donkeys affected by the trade in skins and is committed to creating awareness of this issue within the veterinary community in North America."
Dr. Margo Macpherson, AAEP immediate past president, said: "The AVMA's endorsement strengthens the position's impact in the global arena. We appreciate the AVMA's continued consideration of issues affecting the humane treatment of equids and willingness to work with the AAEP."
In the AVMA committees' proposal, they explain how the poaching of donkeys is increasing the risk of spreading diseases and is severely compromising the welfare of donkeys through poor handling, transportation, and slaughter techniques.
Poaching continues to spread, the recommendation continues, and the AAEP representative to the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee has expressed the AAEP's concerns that the donkey skin trade will reach the United States in the future. This is especially concerning because of the country's vulnerable population of wild burros in Western states.
The WVA has called for a halt of the trade in donkey skins until its impact can be assessed and shown to be both humane for donkeys and sustainable for the communities that depend on them.
Source: American Veterinary Medical Association
In Africa, donkeys work carrying loads of goods and water for people. But in China, African donkeys are a source for a trendy, supposedly medicinal product, and the animals are losing their skins, and lives, for it.
At donkey slaughterhouses, workers kill and skin donkeys, then dump their bodies in a pile or bury them. They take the skins and boil them down, extracting the gelatin from them to make it into a product called ejiao, which has the consistency of thick Jell-O. China buys ejiao, which has traditionally be used for it's supposed blood-circulation benefits, but recently has been marketed as a general wellness product. In the last decade, traditional Chinese medicine company Dong-e-e-jiao, has aggressively marketed their donkey-gelatin product, processing a million of the animals per year.
The effectiveness of ejiao as a treatment for blood circulation and cancer has not been established in comparison to standard medicine.
Workers hold a donkey's hide before curing at a licensed slaughterhouse specialized in donkeys in Baringo, on February 28, 2017. The emergence of the global trade in donkey hide attributed mainly to the rise of China's middle class and an increased perception of the medicinal efficacy of a gelatin derived after boiling the hides, that is a key ingredient in a medicine called 'ejiao' has raised the price and the rate of slaughter of the animal. TONY KARUMBA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Chinese-owned donkey slaughterhouses are springing up in Africa to meet the demand for ejiao. Slaughterhouse owners say that they are providing income to people who want to sell their unwanted animals, but veterinarians insist that the collection and processing of these animals represent an animal welfare nightmare, according to the report. The article also cites donkey owners who claim that their animals have been stolen and killed for their skin.
In April, the animal welfare charity Brooke reported that almost 1,000 donkeys had been stolen in Kenya from December 2016 to April 2017, and the increasing price for donkeys means that people who lose their animals can't afford to replace them. With no animals to assist in ferrying goods, the incomes of people who depended on donkeys have plummeted.
The welfare of the processed animals is in question, and the Kenyan Veterinary Association has protested the industry. National Geographic reported in September an account from a representative of the South African SPCA, who reported that 70 donkeys waiting to be skinned in a corral was the worst animal welfare violation she had ever seen. Emaciated donkeys picked through trash, some too weak to stand, many infected with herpes. Donkeys don't often carry pregnancies to term under stress, and the representative found 19 aborted donkey fetuses on the ground.
In response to concerns of animal theft and the plummeting donkey population, several countries have banned the export of donkey products to China, including Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal, according to a BBC article published in October. Kenya also brings in animals from other countries to slaughter.
But legal trade from Kenya and underground trade in illegal countries continues, according to the National Geographic investigation. Once made into products that are legal to sell, animal parts are difficult to trace, and it's nearly impossible to tell if a processed item sold in a store or on the Internet was once a beloved, working family pet.
The Bureau of Land Management spends about $50 million a year to house and feed more than 46,000 wild horses and burros in corrals. Another 73,000 of the animals roam freely across the western states, producing foals and grazing on public lands that conservationists and federal officials say are quickly deteriorating.
It’s an escalating equine-population problem, and the fiscal 2018 budget President Trump proposed this week suggests a solution: using “humane euthanasia and unrestricted sale of certain excess animals.”
The change could lead to sales of wild horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada, as well as to the culling of herds, to address what the bureau calls an “unsustainable” situation. But it has been condemned by horse and other animal advocacy groups, some of which have consistently resisted efforts to impose limits on an icon of the American West that has been federally protected since 1971.
The Trump proposal notes that the BLM’s wild horse and burro budget has quadrupled since 2000, from $20.4 million then to $80.4 million in 2017, and that most of the money goes to care for animals that reside in taxpayer-funded corrals. The proposed budget anticipates saving $10 million annually by selling some of those animals and by reducing roundups and horse and burro birth-control programs.
The use of euthanasia and sales to manage the population is not a new idea: The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act permits the interior secretary to remove older and unadoptable animals by those methods. But for much of the past three decades, Congress has used annual appropriations bill riders to prohibit the killing of healthy animals or “sale that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products.” While it is unclear whether lawmakers would now be willing to lift the prohibition, an aide on the House Appropriations Committee said the request would be considered.
Although the last U.S. horse slaughterhouse closed in 2007, meat processing plants in Mexico and Canada slaughter tens of thousands of domestic American horses each year for export to Europe and Asia. And despite the congressional ban, some wild horses sold to private buyers have been slaughtered anyway. In November 2015, federal investigators found that a Colorado rancher to whom the government had sold 1,794 mustangs turned around and sold them to slaughterhouses in Mexico.
As the wild horses and burros, which have no natural predators, have increased in numbers, officials and conservation groups say they have depleted the amount of forage food and water available to native species in the West. That, in turn, has increased the risk of widespread starvation and thirst among these herds and wild animals on public lands.
Wild horse advocates counter that the bureau is pandering to ranchers who view the horses as competition on public range land also used for cattle grazing.
Meanwhile, adoptions by the public — the bureau’s primary program for reducing the population in government corrals — have not increased with the population. Last year, 2,912 wild horses and burros were adopted, up from 2,583 in 2012, according to agency figures.
The budget proposal comes eight months after the bureau’s wild horse and burro advisory board, a volunteer body that makes no binding decisions, sparked an uproar among wild horse advocates by recommending euthanasia or sales for the animals. Subsequent false reports about a looming government plan to kill 45,000 wild horses prompted the BLM, then under the Obama administration, to say it “does not and will not euthanize healthy animals.”
Some board members said their recommendation was made, in part, to shock Congress into doing something about a problem they believe is spiraling out of control.
“All these horses in long-term holding are eating up 60 percent of the wild horse and burro budget. Other things can’t be done well or thoroughly because we’re feeding a lot of stockpiled horses that no one wants,” Julie Weikel, a large-animal veterinarian on the advisory committee, said in an interview this week. “I fully expect a full-court press from the advocates to put the rider back on. But I assure you that will not solve the problem.”
The question of how to address the problem appeared on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s radar not long after he was confirmed. According to his personal schedule, he held a video call on the topic on March 24 with the BLM’s acting director, Michael Nedd, and several other senior officials.
For more than 40 years, past administrations have tried but failed to control the animals’ numbers. In 2009, then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar proposed that the U.S. government spend roughly $96 million to buy land in the Midwest and East to create two preserves that could each support 3,600 horses. He also suggested that federal officials partner with nonprofit organizations and other private groups to create five additional preserves, so that 25,000 animals would be living on preserves within five years. The government also would aggressively sterilize the horses and burros to keep them from reproducing.
At the time of Salazar’s proposal, about 37,000 horses and burros were roaming and another 32,000 were in holding pens. But the money did not materialize, and the number of animals on public range lands increased sharply. It now is about three times more than officials say is sustainable.
Some animal advocacy groups say the BLM has not proactively pursued horse and burro birth control, though other activist groups have sued the agency over the use of injectable contraception and the spaying of mares. In a statement this week, Matt Bershadker, president and chief executive of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the animals could be “humanely” managed with fertility control, but the BLM “would rather make these innocent animals pay for draconian budget cuts with their very lives.”
Weikel said she hopes Trump’s budget proposal prompts Congress to consider lifting its usual rider. Considering the proposal, along with the advisory board’s recommendation, “maybe thoughtful people…would realize we have a true problem out there. And we are not using all the tools.” In addition to euthanasia and sales, she said, permanent sterilization should be utilized more.
In a statement, the BLM said its goal “is always to find good homes for the thousands of wild horses and burros gathered from overpopulated herds on our country’s public lands.” It continued, “With an expanded suite of management tools, the BLM can strengthen its efforts to reverse the declining health of our nation’s wild horse and burro herds and manage the public lands on which they and so many other species depend.”
Source: The Washington Post
On Nov 18, 2004, the United States Senate passed by Unanimous Consent, to officially designate December 13th as National Day of the Horse. The founding intent was to encourage people to be mindful of the contribution of horses to the economy, history, and character of the United States.
As horse lovers and enthusiasts, please take time today to celebrate equines! In addition to taking your horse on a special ride or taking a fresh bag of carrots to your local horse rescue, you can also show your devotion and appreciation by helping both domestic and wild horses with your advocacy.
Click Here to learn more about how you can TAKE ACTION on the many important horse issues. And don't forget to share the information with your friends, family and colleagues. Horses need as many voices as possible to help protect them!
Text of The National Day of the Horse: U.S. Senate Resolution 452
The third wild horse ecosanctuary in the United States for off-range care of excess wild horses and burros will be located seven miles north of Lander, the Bureau of Land Management announced today. The new ecosanctuary would be operated on the 900-acre Double D Ranch, located seven miles north of Lander and would initially hold up to 100 horses, with the first horses arriving as early as the spring of 2015. The ranch is within the Wind River Indian Reservation.The ranch is located to the east of U.S. Highway 287 and east and south the Blue Sky Highway (WYO 132) between Plunkett Road and the Ethete intersection.
The BLM’s Lander Field Office issued a Decision Record, resulting from an Environmental Assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act, that addresses comments from the public and adjacent landowners. The Environmental Assessment can be accessed at www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/documents/lfo/ecosanctuary.html. The Decision Record, which finds no significant environmental impacts from the ecosanctuary, initiates a 30-day appeal period during which the public may express comments.
The ecosanctuary would be run by Dwayne and Denise Oldham, who own and lease portions of the Double D Ranch. It would be the second BLM-private ecosanctuary to be located in Wyoming; a 290-horse ranch is already operated by Richard and Jana Wilson on the 4,000-acre Deerwood Ranch near Centennial, Wyoming. A third ecosanctuary, known as the Mowdy Ranch, operated by Clay and Kit Mowdy, holds 153 horses on 1,280 acres and is located 12 miles northeast of Coalgate, Oklahoma, in the southeastern part of the state.
“This advances our efforts to improve the BLM’s management of and care for America’s wild horses and burros,” said BLM Director Neil Kornze. “Although the challenges facing our Wild Horse and Burro Program remain formidable, every step forward moves us closer to our goal of more effective and efficient stewardship of wild horses and burros, both on and off the range.”
“The Lander Field Office has worked closely with the Oldhams to ensure that proper care will be provided for the wild horses and to address the concerns of neighboring landowners,” said BLM Lander Field Manager Rick Vander Voet. “We look forward to a long, successful partnership with the Double D Ranch.”
The wild horse ecosanctuaries, which must be publicly accessible with a potential for ecotourism, help the BLM feed and care for excess wild horses that have been removed from overpopulated herds roaming Western public rangelands. The BLM enters in partnership agreements with the ecosanctuary operators, who are reimbursed at a funding level comparable to what the agency pays ranchers to care for wild horses on long-term pastures in the Midwest. The partnership agreement requires that any profits from tourism activities at the ecosanctuary must be used to defray operating costs, thus saving taxpayer dollars.
Long-term plans under the BLM-Double D partnership agreement include a learning/visitor information center, tours, gift shop, and campground. The Double D Ranch plans to invite the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and the Northern Arapahoe Tribe of the Wind River Reservation to partner in running the learning center, which will interpret Native American culture and the historic role of the horse. The Wind River Visitors Council, Lander Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Lander support the ecosanctuary and would help promote public visitation to it.
The BLM estimates that 49,209 wild horses and burros are roaming on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states, based on the latest data available, compiled as of March 1, 2014. Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years. As a result, the BLM, as part of its management of public rangeland resources, must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control herd sizes.
The estimated current free-roaming population exceeds by more than 22,500 the number that the BLM has determined can exist in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses. The maximum appropriate management level (AML) is approximately 26,684.
Off the range, as of November 2014, there were 48,447 other wild horses and burros fed and cared for at short-term corrals and long-term pastures, which compares to the BLM’s total holding capacity of 50,153. All wild horses and burros in holding, like those roaming Western public rangelands, are protected under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, as amended.
Source: County 10
The Bureau of Land Management will collect burros in the Pahrump Valley community near the Johnnie Herd Management Area. The food/water bait gather corrals could be in place for several days to several months, depending on the burros’ movements through the area.
Goal of Gather
Collect, remove and adopt up to 40 wild burros that are outside of the Johnnie Herd Management Area. These burros pose safety hazards along State Route 160, side roads in the Pahrump Valley, and have caused private property damage in the valley.
Details of the Gather
The capture method will be temporary bait gather corrals consisting of a series of corral panels, hay and water and will take place on private land where wild burros have been causing property damage. The gather is being accomplished through a volunteer agreement with the private land owners.
Due to the lack of holding space for wild horses and burros, the Pahrump Field Office will facilitate private, local adoptions of as many burros as possible and look at additional adoptions through placement into the Humane Society for the United States Platero Project burro gentling and training program. Individuals interested in adopting these burros must complete an adoption application and meet the BLM requirements to adopt. Click Here to learn more about BLM's adoption program.
The burros are being gathered because they pose a safety hazard along State Route 160, side roads in the Pahrump Valley, and have caused private property damage in the Valley. Six individuals have contacted BLM directly regarding the wild burro issues in the Pahrump Valley in the last month.
Since October of 2010, at least five burros in the Johnnie Herd Management Area were killed or had to be euthanized due to vehicle collisions. There have been no reported human injuries or fatalities related to these accidents at this time. “These particular burros are habituated to being in the Pahrump Valley and they have stopped foraging and moving throughout the Johnnie Herd Management Area,” said Krystal Johnson, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist. “They have lost their normal wild characteristics and have become public safety hazards and are causing issues on private land.”
The BLM is planning to collect approximately 30-40 burros from the Pahrump Valley area, utilizing temporary bait gather corrals consisting of a series of corral panels, hay and water and will take place on private land where wild burros have been causing property damage. The burros will be available for adoption after gather operations end. The timing of this collection is important, as burro-vehicle accidents and private land owner issues usually increase during the fall as the weather begins cooling off.
The public is reminded that feeding wild horses and burros is dangerous as wild animals can be unpredictable. Feeding also affects the animals’ behavior and can be hazardous to their overall health and safety. The Pahrump Field Office will facilitate private, local adoptions of as many burros as possible and look at additional adoptions through placement into the Humane Society for the United States Platero Project burro gentling and training program. Individuals interested in adopting these burros must complete an adoption application and meet the BLM requirements to adopt.
Source: BLM News Release
December 2nd marks the beginning of "Giving Tuesday", an international campaign of giving back. There are many ways to give back to equines, including donating to rescue organizations and volunteering. Another valuable way to express gratitude for horses and burros is to TAKE ACTION and advocate for their protection and welfare.
There are important bills pending in Congress that are vital to the protection of equines, including legislation regarding Horse Slaughter, Horse Soring, Horse Transportation Safety, and Regulating Doping in the Horse Racing industry.
Please take the time to lend your voice to equines and contact your legislators! Click Here for the Action Alerts you can participate in. And take an extra step and share these issues with your friends, family, and colleagues!
Any equine rescue group will tell you, volunteers are priceless! Find a rescue organization with a mission you believe in and help their efforts. Helping out a horse / burro rescue doesn’t have to mean mucking stalls—you can help organizations remotely from the comfort of your home. Ask rescue groups how you can contribute your skills and talents, such as administrative or social media assistance.
Non-profit rescue groups rely on the generosity of equine lovers! Donating any amount of money helps organizations cover the cost of caring for the animals and keeps their operations running. Expenses for rescues include hay, supplemental feed, medical care, farrier work, and transport. Groups that are involved with cruelty seizures often incur exorbitant costs for treating animals that need extensive rehabilitation.
Donating, volunteering, and advocating are acts of kindness--and a necessity to help keep horses & burros well cared for and protected. On Giving Tuesday and all year round, THANK YOU to all those that spend their time and resources helping equines.
~ © Horses For Life Foundation ~