Photo taken at Return to Freedom's San Luis Obispo, Calif., satellite sanctuary by Tony Stromberg.
The Bureau of Land Management has failed to scale up the use of available safe, proven and humane fertility control for more than 20 years despite calls from the public and from Congress. Further delay will only serve to perpetuate the inhumane, costly practice of capture and removal that has gone on for nearly five decades.
Because of rising taxpayer costs and increasing numbers of wild horses and burros both on the range and in government holding, Congress in 2017 came closer than at any time since the passage of the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act to allowing BLM to sell wild horses without restriction (to slaughter) or euthanize them. As climatic changes increasingly impact the sensitive ecosystems within our public land ranges and special interests profiting from the use of our public land resources face economic uncertainty, it is critical that we remain diligent in presenting viable non-lethal solutions to manage wild horse and burro populations in the West for our federally protected herds.
Population modeling by ecologists has shown how different management paradigms affect wild horse populations. Immediately using available fertility control vaccines (while longer-lasting vaccines are being developed) on the range alongside removals is the only way to catch up with herd growth and stabilize BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, enabling the phase-out of roundups and muting calls for the use of lethal management tools.
Join us in urging Congress to press BLM on the implementation of safe, proven and humane fertility control, public-private partnerships that increase fertility control darting and herd monitoring, and range restoration projects.