A Wildlife Article from All-Creatures.org

Wild Horse Roundups and Removals are Failed Methods

FROM The Fund for Horses
April 2022

Wild Horse roundups and removals cause wild Horse populations to grow at higher than normal rates due to a biological phenomenon called 'compensatory reproduction.'

harassing wild Horses
Wild Horse Roundup image from American Widl Horse Campaign

Yesterday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its 2022 wild horse and burro statistics showing a population of 82,384 animals – a decline of less than 4,000 despite the roundup and removal of over 13,000 of the federally protected animals from the wild last year.

The agency’s press release also touts the removal of 50,000 wild horses from the range since 2018. Its own data, however, shows that there were 82,000 wild horses and burros on public lands in 2018, meaning that at best, the agency has maintained the population of these animals despite its goal of drastically slashing population numbers. Meanwhile, the BLM’’s continued focus on removals over the last four years has cost taxpayers $369 million and resulted in the stockpiling of the highest number of wild horses in history in off-range holding facilities.

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) charged that the new numbers prove this federal program is a fiscal and animal welfare disaster that continues to rely on costly, inhumane and ineffective roundups while ignoring scientifically recommended birth control as a humane and cost-effective solution.

“The vast majority of Americans want our iconic wild horses and burros protected on our Western public lands,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director for AWHC.”But the federal government continues to pursue the most inhumane, expensive, and least effective method for managing them: capture, removal, and warehousing of these wild free-roaming horses in taxpayer-funded holding facilities.”

AWHC points to a report commissioned by the BLM from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), entitled, “Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program,” which found that roundups and removals cause wild horse populations to grow at higher than normal rates due to a biological phenomenon called compensatory reproduction. The NAS recommended that the BLM pursue fertility control as an alternative to ineffective and costly roundups.

“The roundups are like a bandaid on a gunshot wound. They don’t work,” Roy continued. “The agency is on a treadmill that it will never get off without investing in fertility control to address reproduction humanely on the range.” 

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