BLM drafting new wild horse & burro management plan, likely to include euthanasia

Today E&E News reports that the Bureau of Land Management is currently in the process of internally reviewing a new management plan for wild horses and burros. 

Amber Cargile, the BLM's Acting National Spokeswoman, said that until the report is finalized, she cannot speculate on the contents. But sources told reporter Scott Streater that the plan will at least broach the subject of allowing the BLM to more easily transfer wild horses and burros removed from federal rangelands to other government agencies, and to consider lifting restrictions on the 'limited’ use of euthanasia.

While nothing new should happen until October 2018 because of the protections in the Omnibus bill that passed last week, this means the BLM is actively working to promote their "overpopulation" and "dire situation" myths to our lawmakers. We must remind our lawmakers that BLM cries 'overpopulation' about the wrong species. Livestock dominate and destroy public lands, while many wild horse herds are not even large enough to be considered genetically viable. We will not allow healthy wild horses and burros to be killed under any circumstances!


- The estimated 75,000 wild horses and burros on public lands are absolutely dwarfed by the millions of head of private livestock overgrazing our public lands.

- The BLM's "Appropriate Management Level" of 26,715 horses and burros a) is to make room for more livestock and b) does not allow for genetically viable herds.

- While the wild horses and burros in holding cost $50 million annually, private livestock grazing on public lands costs taxpayers $144 million with a net loss of at least $123 million per year, according to the Government Accountability Office.

- We do not trust that the current staff of the BLM, led by Brian Steed who is a former staffer for pro-horse-slaughter Congressman Chris Stewart, will come up with a humane, science-based, or fair management plan for these animals.

- More than 100 organizations have signed on to a Unified Statement on the management of wild horses and burros, providing humane, science-based solutions for wild horse and burro management that do not include "euthanasia."

Call 202-224-3121 & follow the prompts to speak with your lawmakers!

This gives all of us who support wild horses and burros on public lands a very clear due date. BLM cannot implement any new management plans until the Omnibus budget bill expires at the beginning of FY2019. That said, we have no assurance that they won't start taking action on a new plan now, regardless of the legality of their actions. We must remain alert and watchful.

It is critically important that we speak up now to remind our lawmakers that we won't back down on protecting our wild horses and burros.

Kayah Swanson