News broke recently that the Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board had recommended euthanizing 45,000 wild horses and burros being held in government holding facilities throughout the United States.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has since responded to the public outcry, and wants to clarify that they do not intend the kill these animals. Jason Lutterman who handles public affairs on behalf of the Wild Horse and Burrow Program said: “It was the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, an independent panel made up of members from the public, that made the recommendation to the BLM, and we have since stated that we will not be euthanizing any healthy horses or selling without a limitation that they go to good homes – i.e., not slaughter.

“Though our capacity to gather excess horses from the range is only about 3,500 a year, we will continue to manage the growth of herds as best as possible to protect their habitat and the health of the horses themselves.

“We do use birth-controls where possible, in herds where the horses are more used to humans and, thus, remote darters are able to get closer to the animals, but, as the National Academy of Sciences stated in their 2013 report, there is “no highly effective, easily delivered, and affordable fertility-control methods [available]. ” It’s not feasible to use a one-year effective birth control in herds that are comprise of thousands of animals that roam over hundreds of thousands of acres.

“The BLM launched in 2015 a research initiative to develop better, longer-lasting fertility-control options and we hope to soon have more tools in our toolbox for managing wild horses and burros that rely less on removing excess animals from the range and adding to our off-range population.

“We will continue to care for the unadopted wild horses and burros in our off-range corrals and pastures as we try to place them into good homes.”

According to the BLM website, the BLM manages, protects and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (as amended by Congress in 1976, 1978, 1996, and 2004). This law authorizes the BLM to remove excess wild horses and burros from the range to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands. The BLM also manages the nation’s public lands for multiple uses, in accordance with the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act. The Bureau manages wild horses and burros as part of this multiple-use mandate.

For more information about the Wild Horse and Burro Program, click here.