This week marked the 50 year anniversary of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Sadly, America’s wild horses and burros’ future is in grave jeopardy, in spite of becoming a federally protected species 50 years ago.
The decades-long fight by powerful and wealthy special interests to rid our public lands of these iconic animals has continued to this day. And too many in Congress have been grossly misled by profiteers who continue to exploit taxpayer-funded public lands for commercial and private gain.
President Nixon signed the Act into law on December 15, 1971 and indicated that only about 20,500 wild horses and burros remained on public lands. According to Nixon, “…competition for forage used by domestic livestock, construction of new roads and urban areas, and expansion of agricultural areas have reduced their numbers and sharply decreased the areas where they are free to roam.”
Today America’s wild horses and burros face unprecedented and massive roundups, proposals for dangerous sterilization methods and a continued elimination of millions of acres of lawfully designated wild horse and burro habitat.
It is up to the American people to fight back against commercial interests and continue to pressure elected officials to stand up for wild horses and burros in order to protect and preserve them as intended by the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.