Congressman Speaks Up for Wild Horses & Burros

Adding more wild horses (and burros) to overcrowded holding facilities is not the answer to a humane, functional and fiscally responsible wild horse program.

U.S. House Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) has called for a suspension of wild horse and burro roundups, “until appropriate range assessments have been completed, animal welfare concerns have been addressed, and a robust fertility control vaccine plan has been implemented.”

In his letter addressed to both Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Tracy Stone-Manning, Representative Cohen stated that the BLM’s Fiscal Year 2022 plan to capture 22,000 wild horses and burros and permanently remove 19,000 from the range “puts the welfare of these animals in danger and marks a huge step backward for the program.”

Cohen’s letter went on to state the following facts:

— “These removals are undoubtedly part of the BLM’s controversial plan, ‘Report to Congress: An Analysis of Achieving a Sustainable Wild Horse and Burro Program.”

— “The May 2020 removal plan is unsustainable and comes at great risk to the animals and taxpayers. It merely continues what BLM has always done—removing horses and burros and confining them in holding facilities—but at an accelerated rate.”

— And while Cohen appreciates the agency’s plan to treat 2,300 mares with fertility control this year, “the vaccine program must be much more robust in order to obtain positive results, achieve management goals, and avoid compensatory reproduction.”

Additionally, Congressman Cohen’s letter mentions that:

— New range assessments are needed to assess the carrying capacity of the land;

— Wild horses should receive a fairer allocation of resources; and

— Because of concerns about wild horse deaths during roundups, he suggested installing cameras in helicopters and at trap pens, as well as increasing the space allocated to wild horses in crowded short-term holding facilities.

Roundups and Removal to Holding Facilities:

Warehousing thousands more horses in government holding facilities when hay costs have risen 35-45% is both an irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars and cruel to the horses. The BLM has the ability to relocate captured herds to more natural and cost-effective pastureland which Congress has supported.