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

WHEREAS the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) “Wild” Horse and Burro Program (“WH&B”) 2015 statistics are:

  • The public rangelands have a carrying capacity of about 26,500 horses/burros
  • An estimated 58,000 horses/burros currently inhabit these rangelands
  • Currently 46,500 horses/burros are in holding facilities
  • The horse population increases on an average of 20% per year
  • BLM has stopped removing excess horses from these rangelands, except when required by court orders and for emergency purposes (e.g., horse dying of thirst, horse hit on a highway, etc.)

Program Expenditures: (based on information provided to the CO BLM WH&B Advisory Board)

  • FY 2012: $74 million spent, including $43 million in holding facility costs
  • FY 2013: $76.1 million spent, including $46.2 million in holding facility costs
  • FY 2014: $80 million spent, including $47.8+ million in holding facility costs

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 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).


  • 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, and
  • In order to reach AML, BLM must gather and remove all excess (those above the AML) horses and burros and (only) then begin implementing an effective fertility control program 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 without limitation 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.

Adopted 4/3/2009

Amended 9/11/2015

 (Formerly NR-09-2)


Resolution in PDF Format