The nation’s leading wild horse advocacy organization, the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), has taken aim at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) new policy of paying people $1,000 to adopt a wild horse or burro from BLM holding facilities.
AWHC says the new plan will do nothing to solve the problem the agency has created by continuing to round up wild horses and burros from the Western range without implementing scientifically-recommended fertility control to reduce population growth rates for wild herds on the range.
For example, if the BLM achieves its goal of adopting out 5,000 horses this year, the new plan will cost taxpayers $5 million. Meanwhile, the agency intends to spend less than $150,000 on fertility control to actually reduce the number of wild horses requiring adoption after removal from the range.
“The BLM cannot adopt its way out of the situation it faces with the stockpiling of 50,000 horses in holding facilities, said Suzanne Roy, AWHC Executive Director. “The only way forward for the BLM is to focus resources on humane management of wild horses in the wild with fertility control that will also save taxpayers money.”
Roy called the new policy “another example of the BLM throwing good money after bad in its trainwreck of a wild horse program.”
AWHC also said the new plan was a terrible idea from an animal welfare perspective, predicting that it will result in more federally-protected wild horses and burros entering the slaughter pipeline by incentivizing people without the necessary skills and resources to adopt wild horses.
The BLM claims that the adoption incentive would "increase costs in the initial years, but it will quickly pay for itself by lowering off-range holding expenditures.” However, it does not acknowledge that roundups and removals will continue, adding thousands more horses and burros to holding facilities each year.
By contrast, In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences stated in its 18-month review of the BLM’s program that in the short term, more intensive management through fertility control for wild horses and burros would be expensive. However, “addressing the problem immediately with a long-term view is probably a more affordable option than continuing to remove horses to long-term holding facilities.” BLM currently spends less than 1% of its budget on humane and cost-effective fertility control, while spending 10% of its budget on the adoption of roughly 4,000 wild horses and burros each year.
The American Wild Horse Campaign is the nation’s leading wild horse protection organization, with more than 700,000 supporters and followers nationwide, including more than 2,000 New Mexico members.
Press release provided by Grace Kuhn - American Wild Horse Campaign