The unnecessary removal of wild horses has reached an alarming rate under the current administration. Thousands of horses have been and continue to be removed from their native range, and placed in short- and long-term holding facilities in the Midwest. Taxpayers pay tens of millions of dollars a year to warehouse horses who should be roaming free on public lands.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a plan supposedly to improve BLM’s management while saving tax dollars. Unfortunately, it involved spending more money ($43 million in the first year alone) to buy land to warehouse more horses. AWI opposed this plan and, thankfully, Congress rejected it. (Congress also cut off another misguided "solution," telling BLM that it could not use any funds to euthanize healthy, adoptable horses.)
A bipartisan letter signed by 52 members of Congress sent to Secretary Salazar questioned the recent tragic deaths of several wild horses and focused on the dire need for an independent analysis of the wild horse and burro program by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). AWI started the national call for an independent review of BLM’s practices regarding wild horses, and in one bit of good news, BLM has finally assented. In late August, BLM formally asked NAS to make an independent technical review of the Wild Horse and Burro Program to ensure that the agency is using the best science available in managing wild horses and burros on Western public rangelands. The proposed study would tentatively begin in January and take two years to complete. BLM, reprehensibly, has indicated the roundups will continue while the study goes on.