Issues and Answers for Managing Wild Horses and Burros
Under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is charged with the duty to protect and manage wild horses and burros and public land. As of March 1, 2016, more than 67,000 wild horses and burros are roaming western public rangelands—well over the Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 26,715 set by the BLM. While herds consistently double in size every four years, coupled with the dramatic decrease in adoptions, the current program is not on a sustainable path. With 46,000 horses and burros already in off-range corrals and pastures, the BLM will spend more than a billion dollars to care for and feed these animals over the remainder of their lives. The BLM must update its management practices for the health of the animals, the rangeland and the increasingly unsustainable cost to the American Taxpayer. The BLM can reach AML utilizing minimally invasive sterilization techniques coupled with establishing minimally reproducing herds on the range.