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<The BLM has set up a toll-free number for those interested in buying a wild horse or burro, 1-800-710-7597.  Interested groups or individuals may also contact the Bureau at a new e-mail address regarding the purchase of wild horses and burros: wildhorse@blm.gov. >


 

First Wild Horses Sold Under New Law
 


WASHINGTON, DC, March 2, 2005 (ENS) -
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has carried out its first sale of wild horses ­ 200 mares to a Wyoming company - under legislation passed by Congress in December as a rider on the Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

The new sale authority directs the BLM to offer for sale those wild horses and burros that are more than 10 years old or have been unsuccessfully offered for adoption at least three times. The agency estimates that about 8,400 animals are affected by the new law. ³As we implement the new sale-authority legislation passed by Congress, we are committed to finding long-term care for these wild horses and burros,² said BLM Director Kathleen Clarke. ³We are working to place as many of these animals as we can in good homes, and we are appealing to wild horse advocacy groups, Indian Tribes, and humane organizations, as well as the general public, to help us in this effort.²

The 200 mares were sold to Wild Horses Wyoming, LLC, a southeastern Wyoming company committed to protecting wild horses. Ron Hawkins, ranch operations partner in the Wyoming company, said, ³I'm very pleased and proud that Wild Horses Wyoming is the BLMıs first buyer of wild horses under the legislation recently passed by Congress. Our company is committed to the long-term care of these historic animals, and I urge the public to support us in our efforts to ensure good homes for those horses facing an uncertain future under the new law.² Wild horse and burro protection groups fear that wild horses, protected since 1971 under federal law, may be sold for processing into meat.

The Wild Horse and Burros Freedom Alliance says the BLM fails to mention that "these horses were unnecessarily removed from their rightful range due to pressure from special interest groups who run private commercial operations on our public lands (cattle, oil)." "Less than three percent of the beef consumed in the U.S. comes from animals raised on public lands," the group says, pointing out that, "Ranchers are charged only $1.81 per month to graze a cow and calf on our public lands. That's less than it costs to feed a hamster."

The BLM says, "The cost of holding and caring for wild horses and burros in both short- and long-term facilities is projected to be about $20 million in Fiscal Year 2005, which will be more than half of what the agency expects to spend on the wild horse and burro program in the current fiscal year. The cost of caring for and feeding a wild horse in a long-term facility is about $465 per animal per year." There are about 37,000 wild horses and burros roaming on public lands managed by the BLM in 10 Western states, the agency says. "Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes on the range can double about every five years. As a result, the current free-roaming population exceeds by some 9,000 the number that BLM-managed rangelands can sustain."

But the Wild Horse Sanctuary, a horse protection organization, says, "We are told that 37,000 wild horses are all that the designated Herd Management Areas (HMA's) of land will support. Yet, over six million cattle and sheep graze hundreds of millions of acres of public land in 10 western states." "There is plenty of room on your public land to release the 14,000 wild horses now being held in 'long term' facilities. These are the horses that face certain slaughter under Sec. 142," the Wild Horse Sanctuary says.

The group suggests that older mares be injected with long-term PZP vaccine (for more info go to pzpinfo.org) to prevent further reproduction. In 1971,when the Wild Horse & Burro Act was passed, there were 303 herd areas where wild horses and burros roamed. Now there are only 184, and the Wild Horse and Burros Freedom Alliance says that number is steadily declining "due to zeroing out policies of the BLM."

The BLM has set up a toll-free number for those interested in buying a wild horse or burro, 1-800-710-7597.   Interested groups or individuals may also contact the Bureau at a new e-mail address regarding the purchase of wild horses and burros: wildhorse@blm.gov.

   
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2005. All Rights Reserved.
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