Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation on Friday called on the Biden administration and Congress to press the Bureau of Land Management to use a proposed funding increase to solidify the infrastructure necessary to immediately begin implementing a robust and sustainable program of safe, proven and humane fertility control for wild horses and burros on the range.
The president on Friday released a budget proposal that includes a $35 million increase for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, to $152.6 million.
“The Bureau of Land Management needs to stop kicking the can down the road. It can no longer use the excuse that it lacks the resources needed to implement available, proven safe andhumane fertility control immediately, so that the agency’s decades-long practice of capture, removal andwarehousing of America’s wild horses can be brought to an end,” said Neda DeMayo, president of RTF. “Congress must hold the agency accountable for doing so.”
RTF expressed extreme disappointment that guiding language for BLM’s budget unfairly blames wild horses and burros for degrading landscapes in the West. The BLM estimated in 2020 that there were more than 95,000 wild horses and burros on the range – a number dwarfed by privately owned cattle and sheep, even on land set aside for wild horses and burros.
“We appreciate the Biden administration’s focus on climate change, but federally protected wild horses cannot be unfairly scapegoated,” DeMayo said. “There are many factors, many of them far more numerous, including energy projects, privately-owned cattle and sheep, and other human uses, impacting our public lands.”
“The agency wastes tax dollars pursuing removals in Herd Management Areas where the horses are easily trackable and known by photographers and local enthusiasts, when in fact these are the very herds where on-range fertility control programs could be most successful,” DeMayo added. “Ranges like Onaqui, Sand Wash Basin andSalt Wells, to name a few, are exactly where population growth can be managed by existing fertility control methods.”