April 1, 2011
The wild horse population is out of control and, without implementing solutions to reduce the reproduction rate, increase adoption or otherwise dispose of excess horses, the program will continue to be a burden on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), ranchers and natural resources on our federal lands. Overpopulation of horse and burro herds is continuing to cause serious problems, including overgrazing, environmental damage and even starvation.
This is one of the statements made by the Public Lands Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the American Sheep Industry Association in a letter to Secretary of Interior Salazar. The groups were providing comments on Salazar's recent proposal, "BLM's Proposed Strategy for Future Management of America's Wild Horses and Burros," for the Wild Horse and Burro Program.
The most important piece to bringing the wild horse and burro program back into alignment with the intentions of Congress, continued the commenters, is to reduce the reproduction rate of the herd to equal the adoption/sale demand. There are many tools available to achieve this goal and more are being developed. The department should not take any options off the table. Increased fertility control and division by sex on the range and streamlined adoption or sale (with no restrictions on title) are central in managing the program effectively.