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Contrary to what this NBC piece says, many advocates are in agreement about key components of humanely managing the wild horse and burro population — on the range — without resorting to slaughter or using taxpayer money to shoot healthy horses.
Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation and other advocates have long called for redirecting money spent on capturing and holding wild horses toward available solutions that do not include the needless slaughter of healthy equines promised our protection.
These include not only using safe, proven fertility control but revisiting population targets, based on a fair interpretation of multiple-use land management; providing incentives for ranchers who reduce livestock grazing in wild horse Herd Management Areas; increasing range stewardship, including much-needed water source restoration; and relocating horses, but only if truly necessary.
In 2008, BLM was very close to achieving their desired population target and still they did not implement an effective fertility control program that has proven 91-98% successful in various programs.
A 2013 National Academy of Sciences report identified fertility control as an effective tool for managing the wild horse population while blaming BLM’s system of capture and removal for promoting population growth. An economic model published that same year in the peer-reviewed Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine found that the BLM could attain its management goals within 12 years by using fertility control.
Shooting healthy wild horses at taxpayer expense or selling them out the back door, where they wind up slaughtered in Canada or Mexico, would contradict the will of Congress and the American people — but that would be the likely end result of proposals included in the president’s 2018 budget proposal.