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What’s the US Bureau of Land Management’s plan to reduce the population of wild mustangs and burros to a number the over-grazed ranges can sustain?
By: Horse Media Group | 3 weeks ago
After repeated requests, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was unable to justify the originally quoted $5 billion cost to manage the wild mustangs and burros. As per publicly available information, BLM is currently spending $80 million on housing and caring for the horses and burros. A further $35 million has been requested, which could bring the total funding to $115 million per year, and $1.7 billion over 15 years.
The acting head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, William Perry Pendley, has said it will take $5 billion dollars and 15 years to control the overpopulation of wild horses on federal lands in the western United States. The current population of 88,000 mustangs and burros, the majority of which reside in Nevada, needs to be reduced to 27,000 ‒ a number the over-grazed ranges can reasonably sustain.
To kickstart the initiative, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $35 million in September to support the implementation of a comprehensive package of humane and non-lethal management strategies for wild horses and burros on federal range lands. The effort is supported by a new coalition of animal welfare advocates and ranchers including the Humane Society of the United States, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The funds are part of a $35.8 billion Interior Department appropriation bill which provides funding to address National Park maintenance backlogs and environmental and conservation programs, although it is not known when the full Senate will vote on the measure. The monies would be used to pay for additional staff to carry out roundups in densely-populated, for fertility control measures, and to move horses currently in short-term holding pens to larger, more humane pastures...
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