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National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Approves New Management Recommendations

BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board approves a suite of recommendations on horse and burro management for the BLM

October 9 – 11, 2018 – The panel, which is composed of nine members representing a wide array of interests, voted to recommend that the BLM use nonlethal management options for wild horse and burro population control purposes where possible, including fertility control and increased adoptions. These recommendations represent a change in direction from the panel’s 2016 vote encouraging the agency to employ lethal management strategies to bring horse and burro populations in line with Appropriate Management Levels (AML). The panel also encouraged the BLM to phase out long-term holding over the next three years, and to create funding mechanisms to maximize adoptions and/or sales of horses and burro, both domestically and internationally.

In advance of the meeting, the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition (Coalition) submitted written testimony encouraging the Board to advance a number of recommendations to the BLM, including:

  • Re-emphasize its previous recommendations that encourage the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to implement the management tools needed to achieve ecologically-sustainable wild horse and burro populations within a reasonable amount of time.

  • Encourage the BLM and United States Forest Service to increase the number of animals removed from the range in order to restore and protect rangeland habitats.

  • Strategically apply sterilization and fertility control drugs on herds once populations are at management goals, where such methods are deemed effective and cost-efficient by scientific evaluation.

Excess horses and burros have a significant, negative impact on western rangelands and the wildlife and communities that depend upon them. Horse and burro populations on public lands and facilities have grown from 25,000 in 1971 to over 129,000 in 2018, greatly exceeding AML. The majority of feral horses and burros – about 82,000 – range freely on public land, while 48,000 are maintained in government-run corrals and pastures, costing taxpayers approximately $82 million per year.

For more information on wild horse and burro impacts, please visit the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition’s website.

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