The Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday announced $1,000 incentives for qualified adopters of captured wild horses and burros.
For each animal, qualified adopters will receive $500 within 60 days of the adoption date, then another $500 within 60 days after the adopter receives the title, according to a press release. Adopters normally receive the horse or burro’s title one year after the adoption date. Adoption fees will remain $25.
Potential adopters are required to complete an application providing they can feed and provide humane care. Adopters are prohibited from selling adopted animals or destroying them without BLM authorization, except as an act of mercy, among other limitations, or face a penalty of up to a $2,000 fine, a year in prison, or both.
The BLM says it is establishing the incentive program as “part of the BLM’s efforts to confront a growing over-population of wild horses and burros on fragile rangelands and in off-range holding facilities, which cost taxpayers nearly $50 million every year to maintain.”
As of January 2019, the number of wild horses and burros in holding corrals and leased pastures had climbed to 50,935. BLM has not yet released its on-range population estimate for 2019, but its estimate stood at 66,976 wild horses and 14,975 burros in March 2018. That was before the foaling season and roundups that saw the capture and removal of 11,472 wild horses and burros from the range — the largest number since 2002.
In 2007, BLM was within 1,000 of its own “Appropriate Management Level,” but the agency has failed to invest as much as 4% of its Wild Horse & Burro Program in fertility control. As a consequence, an ever-greater number of wild horses and burros living out their lives in holding facilities at taxpayer expense.