A total of 1,254 wild horses have been captured and seven killed in the Bureau of Land Management’s ongoing helicopter roundup in southwest Wyoming.
The worst may still be yet to come: BLM’s largest-ever roundup is scheduled to drag on for months, into February of next year, with 3,500 wild horses (more than 40 percent of the state’s wild horses) removed from their home ranges at a cost of more than $1.2 million — plus tens of millions more in taxpayer costs for the lifetime care of captured horses in off-range facilities.
The roundup is setting the stage for a plan to zero-out two wild horse Herd Management Areas, manage the herd on a third HMA as non-reproducing, and sharply reduce the number of wild horses on a fourth.
A proposed Resource Management Plan amendment would remove 2.4 million acres – an 87% reduction – from wild horse use in southwest Wyoming and allow management tools that are dangerous, inhumane, unproven, costly (surgical sterilization of mares), ineffective (sex-ratio skewing) or that do not have a fully understood effect on wild herds (gelding stallions).
BLM is amending the Resource Management Plan to comply with the terms of a consent decree it entered into in 2013 with the Rock Springs Grazing Association, which represents livestock ranchers in Wyoming’s Checkerboard, an area of alternating blocks of public and private land.
BLM’s preferred option amounts to blatant bias in favor of private livestock and hunting interests over federally protected wild horses. The agency must not let a local grazing association monopolize public land or dictate the management of federally protected wild horses.
BLM should halt the roundup and pursue other possible long-term solutions more in keeping with the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act. These could include scaling up a program of safe, proven and humane fertility control, an effort that would help lead to stabilization and a decrease, where necessary, of wild horse populations, with fewer horses ending up in already overcrowded off-range holding facilities at great taxpayer expense.
Please join us in calling on BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and President Joe Biden to stop the Wyoming wild horse wipeout.