Cruel or necessary? The true cost of wild horse roundups
By Lisa Myers and Michael Austin
Read more at: NBC News
This recent roundup ended a season of wild horse “gathers” in which the government captured and removed thousands of mustangs from nearly 32 million acres of public land in 10 Western states.
Afterward, the Bureau of Land Management reported new numbers likely to shock many Americans unfamiliar with the economics and politics surrounding the roundups: A record number of wild horses – almost 50,000 – are now living in captivity, far more than the 32,000 left on the range.
Both critics and supporters of the roundups agree on one thing: the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program is “out of control” and heading for crisis. With adoption rates falling, its cost has doubled in a decade to $78 million this year. Even the government acknowledges “the current path is not sustainable for the animals, the environment or the taxpayer.”
“The roundups are devastating for the wild horses, being terrorized by helicopters and stampeded for miles,” said Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, one of several groups fighting the roundup program. “It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t work. It costs taxpayers money. It costs horses their freedom, sometimes their lives. It’s insanity.”
Read more at: NBC News
Wild horses relax and graze in the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range in south-central Montana on July 16, 2004, in an image provided by the Bureau of Land Management.
A BLM contract helicopter chases and then hovers directly over a wild horse during the Wassuck roundup, southwest of Yerington, Nev., on Oct. 5. This image was provided by the activist group Wild Horse Education.
Wild horses line up for a drink in the Sand Wash Herd Management Area in northwestern Colorado. This undated image was provided by a wild horse activist group.
A mare nuzzles her newborn foal on the day of its birth, at the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range in Montana in July 2010. This image was provided by a wild horse activist group
Wild horses slam into each other and against a steel fence in the close confinement of the BLM trap at the Barren Valley roundup in Nevada in September 2011. This image was provided by a wild horse activist group.
A charcoal and tan mare at the BLM Palomino Valley National Adoption Center near Reno, Nev. Older horses like this are often passed over and usually spend the rest of their lives in long-term holding pastures. This image was provided by a wild horse activist group.