PLNR-09-3-Horses & Burros, Management of “Wild”

Whereas the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) “Wild” Horse and Burro Program (“WH&B”) March 2020 statistics are:

  • The public rangelands identified for management of “wild” horses and burros have a carrying capacity of about 26,500 horses/burros
  • An estimated 95,000 horses/burros currently inhabit these rangelands
  • 51,000 horses/burros (5/21) are in holding facilities costing American taxpayers over $57 million per year.
  • The horse population increases on an average of 20% per year. Twenty percent of 95,000 is 19,000 additional H&B per year. BLM would need to remove a minimum of 19,000 per year just to maintain the current overpopulation.
  • BLM has removed an average of 10,000 horses from the range annually over the past three years.
  • 2020 adoptions and sales totaled 4,713 H&B.
  • Approximately 735 mares are treated with fertility control in 2020.

Whereas BLM WH&B Program Expenditures are: (based on BLM Program-data website accessed 6/18/21)

  • FY 2016: $78.0 million spent, including $49.4 million in holding facility costs
  • FY 2017: $82.5 million spent, including $48.6 million in holding facility costs
  • FY 2018: $81.2 million spent, including $49.8 million in holding facility costs
  • FY 2019: $80.6 million spent, including $57.6 million in holding facility costs
  • FY 2020: $101.5 million spent, including $57.0 million in holding facility costs

WHEREAS The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act Of 1971 (WFRHBA) begins: “Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West”, and

WHEREAS all free-roaming equids in the U.S. are feral, the subset designated by the WFRHBA have the legal protections of ‘wild horses and burros, and

WHEREAS the excess population of wild horses and burros continues to require the federal government to spend excessive amounts of taxpayer dollars to manage and maintain these animals, and

WHEREAS overpopulation of wild horses and burros causes degradation of our public rangelands on which the horses, wildlife, livestock, humans, and all multiple-uses depend, and

WHEREAS drought exacerbates the impacts of excess horses on the range, and

WHEREAS the federal agencies have not been successful in managing the horse and burro populations according to the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (Act).

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Club 20 supports:

  • The federal government being required to manage wild horse and burro populations within Appropriate Management Levels (AML) which can be sustained within the carrying capacity of the public rangelands designated for their use,
  • In order to reach AML, BLM must gather and remove all excess (those above the AML) horses and burros and then begin implementing an effective fertility control program, including sterilization, to reduce the number of horses that will need to be removed in future years, and
  • Utilizing helicopters, bait and trap, and assisted roping to humanely remove the excess horses from the range, and that the federal government should not expend additional resources to maintain excess wild horses and burros, and
  •  That excess animals be offered for adoption, but if they are not adopted in a reasonable amount of time and in an efficient manner, the excess animals should be sold or humanely euthanized, and
  • Products from euthanized excess animals be marketed domestically or internationally to offset the costs of maintaining healthy wild horse and burro populations on the public rangelands, and previously-closed horse processing facilities should be reopened to accommodate these processing needs, and
  • The Act being amended to allow the respective States and/or Recognized Indian Tribes voluntarily accept the management of the animals within their boundaries while adhering to all other aspects of the Act itself, and
  • Hauling water to “wild” horses ONLY for the purpose of gathering and removing excess horses.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Club 20 opposes lawsuits against BLM to prevent the removal of excess horses from the range.

Adopted 4/3/2009

Amended 9/11/2015

Amended 9/10/2021

(Formerly NR-09-2)

Resolution in PDF Format