Overpopulated wild horses cause concern in western rangeland


The National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition has submitted public testimony to the Bureau of Land Management on the current state of our nation’s western rangelands. 

The NHBRMC is made up of 18 national organizations and 10 million strong, ranging from sportsmen, livestock growers,  state and local governments, resource management specialists, and professional land managers.  The group is concerned with the management of horses and burros in a commonsense and ecologically-sound way. In an effort to create change, they have called for action. 

According to the public testimony, the current horse and burro population is three times more than what the land can support, and will only increase if no change is made. The men and women of the NHBRMC depend upon our nation’s vast natural resources for both economic and quality of life purposes, and are becoming increasingly more concerned with the ability of this landscape to support a wild horse and burro population for future generations.

Overpopulation of horses and burros continues to threaten the health of our rangelands and negatively impacts the multiple-use of these public lands. To ensure healthy rangelands for future generations, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board should:

  1. 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 amourepont of time, and
  2. encourage the BLM and the United States Forest Service (USFS) to increase the number of animals removed from the range in order to restore and protect rangeland habitats, and
  3. 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.

“We understand that the recent recommendations were not easy ones to make, but are critical and were undertaken only after careful review of the dire situation facing the wild horse and burro herds, native wildlife, and our public rangelands. Because it reflects original Congressional intent and will help resolve the current wild horse and burro overpopulation crisis, our Coalition supports the Advisory Board’s recommendations. 

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