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The federal government would kill 44,000 wild horses and 1,000 wild burros on federal land under a recommendation from the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board.
The horses and burros are being kept in pens after being taken off the range by the BLM. The Bureau periodically rounds up horses and burros and allows them to be adopted, and those that cannot be adopted are kept in pens in the desert.
The advisory board recommended that the BLM euthanize those horses and burros that cannot be adopted and are over five years old. The board, which has no actual authority, recommended euthanasia because the animals are being kept in what it called overcrowded corrals under terrible conditions.
“This is not a reasonable quality of existence they’re in,” Sue McDonnell, an equine behaviorist who sits on the board, told The Huffington Post. “They’re basically in dry lot pens, there’s no natural vegetation. It’s not the way anyone would keep their horses.”
Too Many Horses
The board made the recommendation after turning down a proposal to use a birth control drug called PZP on the horses and burros. McDonnell believes that plan was unworkable.
Wild horses and burros are a major problem in the West. The BLM has been trying to control herds that damage ranchers’ grazing lands by rounding the horses up and allowing them to be adopted. But the BLM says not enough people are adopting them.
The BLM has “placed more than 230,000 wild horses and burros into private care” since 1971, according to the bureau’s website.
Euthanasia may not even be legal; federal law bars the BLM from killing wild horses or selling them to slaughter houses. There are currently around 67,027 wild horses and burros in the US. The herd is doubling every four years, The Christian Science Monitor reported.
The base adoption fee is $125.
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