WHY ARE AMERICAN WILD HORSES IN DANGER?
100 years ago an estimated two million mustangs roamed the Western ranges of the United States. But today there are fewer than 90,000, and the government, through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), continues to reduce the herds even further. In fact, the BLM is seeking to achieve what they consider to be an "Appropriate Management Level" (AML) of only 27,000 horses — approximately the same number that was considered a threat to their extinction right before The Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 was passed into law.
There are now more than 50,000 horses in BLM holding facilities. The agency spends over 60% of the wild horse and burro program’s annual budget ($82 million) to care for them, all paid for by the U.S. taxpayers.
In 1971 Congress passed the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, designed to preserve and protect our horses as a living symbol of America. In its declaration of policy, Congress stated:
"It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands."
However, the animals the BLM is mandated to protect are instead being eradicated — with some herds being wiped out completely, only to be corralled in long-term government holding facilities.
WILD HORSE AND BURRO FACTS
■ Private Livestock outnumbers Wild Horses and Burros on public land by at least 50 to 1
■ 70% of the BLM budget is spent on mustang round-ups and stockpiling, while only 6% is spent on fertility control and keeping horses on the range.
■ Feeding wild horses in government holding facilities cost the American taxpayer $100,000 every day.
■ Taxpayer-funded livestock grazing on public lands costs over $132 million a year.
Driven by profits, the livestock, mining and other extractive industries think of wild horses as pests, and aggressively lobby at the state and federal levels to have them removed from the public lands they're legally entitled to under the statutes of the 1971 Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. The horses are constantly under threat through invasive "management" methods, including accelerated roundups, sterilization, and even lethal culling. However, there are humane alternatives available — including the use of safe and efficacious fertility control, porcine zona pellucida (PZP).
For more news on wild horses and burros, including free-roaming horses on tribal lands facing the risk of round-ups and slaughter, CLICK HERE.