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BLM Wild Horses Plan: Kill, Sell 44,000 to Protect Grasslands

Image: BLM Wild Horses Plan: Kill, Sell 44,000 to Protect Grasslands

Wild horses run in western Utah's Dugway range. (AP Photo/Salt Lake Tribune, Al Hartmann)

By    |   Wednesday, 14 Sep 2016 07:16 AM

A BLM wild horse proposal to kill or sell more than 44,000 of them to protect Western grasslands from overgrazing has been met with anger by animal rights activists.

The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board made the recommendation to the Bureau of Land Management last week after viewing trampled Nevada grasslands, said the Arizona Republic. The board recommended wild horses and burros on the land be rounded up for range management.

Horses and burros that are later deemed to be unadoptable should be sold "without limitations" or "destroyed in the most humane manner possible," the board suggested.

The BLM has more than 44,000 horses and more than 1,000 burros in off-range pastures and corrals, said Fox News. "Unadoptable" horses and burros are typically at least five years old, making them less attractive for purchase.

The decision to cull the wild horse and burro population was not being done to make more room for cattle grazing on public rangelands, the BLM said

"The removal of wild horses and burros from public rangelands is carried out to ensure rangeland health, in accordance with land-use plans that are developed in an open, public process," the bureau said. "These land-use plans are the means by which the BLM carries out its core mission, which is to manage the land for multiple uses while protecting the land's resources."

The Humane Society bashed the advisory board's recommendation, calling it a "complete abdication of responsibility for their care."

"Alternatives to this proposal have been ignored for over 20 years," the society said. "The HSUS stands ready to implement these alternatives at any time. Over the past 20 years, the BLM has maintained round-up and removal as a primary management strategy for wild horse and burro populations on America's western rangelands – an effort which has led to a financially unsustainable Wild Horse and Burro Program."

"By focusing massive efforts on removing horses and burros from the range, without treating those horses remaining on the range with any form of fertility control to limit population growth, holding facilities throughout the United States have become overburdened."

"They're dying of old age in captivity," said Robert Cole, an Idaho veterinarian and an advisory board member. "That's not fair, either."

BLM officials told the Republic they haven't taken a position on the board's proposal.

If the bureau agrees with the recommendation, it would have to operate within a congressional budget amendment prohibiting funds for sales of horse to companies that could slaughter them.

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A BLM wild horse proposal to kill or sell more than 44,000 of them to protect Western grasslands from overgrazing has been met with anger by animal rights activists.
blm, wild horses, grasslands
416
2016-16-14
Wednesday, 14 Sep 2016 07:16 AM
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