Euthanasia considered for wild horse control

Freedom New Mexico

At its June 30 meeting in Reno, Nev. The Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board announced it was considering euthanasia as a way to reduce wild horse populations.

At a price tag of $21.9 million for holding facilities and total operating costs of $38.8 million, the BLM said it can’t afford to care for them.

There were 4,772 wild horses and burros adopted nationwide last year. Since 1971 when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, 212,899 have been adopted.

Recent economic strife has contributed to a dip in adoption numbers that are starting to stabilize, McGuire said.

“We’re in a period of economic malaise right now and people are uncertain about the future. You have fuel costs that are imposing on everybody — cost of feed has doubled in some areas … It’s affected our adoption numbers in the last several years, we’ve seen our adoption numbers dip … That has led to a continued increase in animals in holding facilities and that’s really eating our lunch in a budget (sense),” he said.

The agency has traditionally depended on its adoption program and occasional sales but with 30,000 animals at holding facilities and an estimated 33,000 roaming in wild herds, which are capable of doubling about every four years, the BLM said it has to consider ways to cull the herds.

The board is scheduled to meet again Sept. 30, but at the urging of legislators asking for more reflection on the matter, no time table has been set for a decision on how the issue will be handled.

By the Numbers

1 — Year an adopted animal may not be sold and remains the property of the BLM until the owner is issued title.

4 — Maximum number of horses one individual can adopt in a year.

27 — Wild horses adopted by residents of Curry and Roosevelt Counties in the last 10 years.

$125 — Starting bid for competitive adoptions. Most horses are obtained fairly close to the starting amount.

400 — Minimum square feet of outside corral per animal with a 6-foot high fence.