New BLM Policy Focus: 'Compassion' for Wild Horses

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RENO, Nev. (AP) - The Bureau of Land Management is issuing new policy directives emphasizing "compassion and concern" for wild horses on federal lands in the West, in response to alleged abuse during roundups of thousands of mustangs in recent years.

U.S. laws protecting wild horses since the 1970s require the government to treat them humanely when culling overpopulated herds to reduce harm to public rangeland.

But BLM officials say a series of new internal policy memos issued Friday will better protect free-roaming horses and burros by centralizing oversight and stepping up daily reports at individual gathers across 12 Western states.

Among other things, helicopter contractors will have to take extra care not to separate slower, newborn animals from their mothers during roundup stampedes.