#Animal Welfare
Bureau of Land Management
United States of America


AOL News:
Plan To Euthanize Horses Spurs Debate

RENO, Nev. (July 7) - Animal rights activists and ranchers are clashing over a federal proposal to euthanize wild horses as a way to deal with their surplus numbers.

Horse advocates will mount a campaign against the proposal announced late last month by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for the Animal Welfare Institute based in Washington, D.C.

Federal officials said they're faced with tough choices because wild horses have overpopulated public lands in the West and they no longer can afford to care for the number of animals that have been rounded up.

But Heyde maintained the agency is seeking a "magic bullet" for budget problems caused after it began rounding up the mustangs at an unprecedented rate in recent years.

He said the roundups left too many horses for the public to adopt, requiring the agency to contract for more private long-term holding facilities.

The proposal "is killing pure and simple to balance the books for an agency whose reckless management has caused immeasurable harm to a national treasure at considerable cost to the American taxpayer," Heyde said.

Ron Cerri, of the Rebel Creek Ranch in Orovada and president-elect of the Nevada Cattlemen's Association, said ranchers would prefer horses be adopted but euthanasia may be necessary to keep their numbers down.

"Unfortunately, it's something they'll have to consider," Cerri said. "I don't know of another solution."

Cerri criticized the federal agency's proposal to stop roundups of wild horses to save money. Ranchers view mustangs as competition for forage on the range.

"That would be really unfortunate," he said. "We're starting to get close to what's called `appropriate management levels' of wild horses on the range. If we stop the roundups, that number will blow up again."

There are an estimated 33,000 wild horses in 10 Western states. About half of those are in Nevada.

The agency has set a target appropriate management level of horses at 27,000. About another 30,000 horses are in holding facilities, where most are made available for adoption.

Last year about $22 million of the entire horse program's $39 million budget was spent on holding horses in agency pens. Next year the costs are projected to grow to $26 million with an overall budget that is being trimmed to $37 million.

Lacy Dalton, president and co-founder of the Let 'Em Run Foundation horse advocacy group, urged the agency to consider alternative solutions.

They include efforts to step up birth control and legislation to provide tax breaks to large landowners willing to let horses roam on their property, she said.

"The American people have spoken - they want to preserve these wild horses," said Dalton.

"They are symbolic of the wildness and freedom and independent spirit of the West. We need to find ways to save them without being a burden on taxpayers," she added.

Agency officials said they stepped up the roundups in recent years because of ongoing drought that has left dwindling forage and water for the mustangs. Horse advocates insist the action was taken to placate ranchers.

The Bureau of Land Management's announcement marked the first time the agency publicly has discussed the possibility of putting surplus animals to death. Congress unanimously passed the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to protect the animals.



It is September now yet I have heard nothing back from the BLM. I have gotten in cotnact with some personal connections to equine groups to see if there is any news. So please KEEP SIGNING!

ATTENTION: Bureau of Land Management
SUBJECT: Euthanization of Wild Horses

FROM: Save Wild Horses program/concerned peoples

Wild horses have undergone many large events over the past few years including the recent success story of all United States slaughter houses being shut down. But the current unfolding news of BLM’s plan to euthanize wild horses in the West sparks activists and concerned horse enthusiasts to stand up.

We understand that the overpopulation of wild horses seems to only have one solution; killing. But we are concerned for these beautiful wild creatures and would like to sound off and ask you please change your plans if not put them on permanent hold.

Wild horses tell the story of our country, from representing the old West and its settlement, to Native American, and even their being tamed to provide companions to many people all over the world. Horses were a valuable part of history, even farmers depending on them to help till the land or travel many miles. Mustangs carried Lewis and Clark through their expeditions. Famous horse trained Monty Roberts even took away knowledge from wild Mustang herds and incorporated it into his training techniques.

We who sign express our concern, and agree we will openly speak out any plans we have to help settle the issue of overpopulation.

I, the author of this petition, would personally like to put out an idea. Create government-sponsored/ran sanctuaries across the Western states (or wherever a wild herd causing problems may reside). Monitor the conditions and land, but other than that leave not much human contact (no collection for slaughter, no poaching/hunting). If they overpopulate then round them up to be adopted by good homes and promote your program of wild horse adoption more. Consider the fact that horses in the wild struggle as it is to survive, so that alone would decline the numbers minus human interaction. Weather, resources, herd claiming (stallions challenging each other) and predators all playing a vital part in that struggle.

Please take into consideration our words, and PLEASE consider an alternative. We are very concerned for the welfare of the wild horses and see that there are other ways besides killing to help the problem. Thank you for viewing this message and understanding the issue we see in this.

Save Wild Horses program and concerned peoples

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The Save Wild Horses- Euthanization of Wild Horses petition to Bureau of Land Management was written by Cheyenne Givens and is in the category Animal Welfare at GoPetition.