The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently announced it intends to round up at least 22,000 wild horses and burros from taxpayer-funded public lands with a permanent removal of 19,000 of these national treasures.
Those being permanently removed will end up with the approximately 58,000 wild horses and burros already warehoused in various government holding facilities. This means that once again there will be more wild horses held in captivity than those still free on our Western public lands.
The BLM plans to gut wild horse populations to between 17,000-27,000 allowed to roam freely on roughly 27 million acres. Ironically, this proposed population range is less than when the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed unanimously by Congress to protect the horses as they were considered back then to be “fast disappearing.”
The BLM’s excuse now is that the devastating roundups are necessary to protect the environment. In reality, the wild horses and burros live on about 12% of the land that the BLM manages. Yet the BLM allows commercial livestock to vastly outnumber and out graze the horses and burros year after year. It is well known that livestock are a major cause of land degradation and contribute to climate change, but the powerful livestock/agriculture industry sends lobbyists to ensure elected officials never hear the truth. Their goal is to profit off taxpayer-funded public land usage for their own special interests (the same is true of the oil/gas and mining industries).
The BLM would rather continue to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on unnecessary roundups and warehousing of wild horses rather than to use the funds more productively — for example, improvement of environmental conditions by allocating funds for habitat restoration, overall land health, and to address climate change factors.