Wild horse advocates battle federal government over increased roundups

Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 5:40 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is increasing the number of wild horses rounded up across the west because of extreme drought conditions. But horse advocates are pushing back.

“The Bureau of Land Management, the agency that is charged with managing wild horses and burros, uses helicopter stampedes as the primary way that they quote-on-quote manage wild horse populations and they are extremely inhumane,” said American Wild Horse Campaign Communications Director Grace Kuhn.

BLM plans to remove 22,000 animals from their range and 9,556 will be removed from Nevada. Most of these horses and burros will be put up for adoption.

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) and several other horse advocate organizations have filled lawsuits against BLM. Many of them are against roundups and the current adoption program (AIP). These advocates want increased fertility treatment.

BLM responded earlier in the month saying they would “nearly double” the number of animals treated with fertility control compared to last year.

Overall, they plan to release 2,300 wild horses and burros back into the wild after being treated.

But the AWHC says BLM should be doing more.

“They will treat 2,300 animals and while we appreciate the increase, that is not enough,” Kuhn said.

The AWHC is partnered with the State of Nevada and their volunteers have treated 4,000 wild horses with fertility control at the Virginia Range.

“In under three years, we’ve already reduced the foaling rate, the number of foals born, by over 40 percent,” Kuhn said.

The organization hopes that they can expand to partner with BLM or at the least encourage, increased fertility control efforts.

The last round up in Nevada is going on right now about 30 miles west of Ely in what is known as the Pancake Complex.

BLM faced another lawsuit there over the death of 13 horses. Advocates claimed the government was “needlessly and recklessly” killing the animals.

But a federal judge ruled in favor of BLM just days ago and the round up is proceeding.

Due to foaling season, BLM will stop gathering up wild horses at the end of February. The round up near Ely is the last of this year.

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