The rising costs of feed, coupled with the restrictions on horse slaughter, are causing major problems with unwanted horses around the country. This is also true at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) where resources are being stretched to the limits. BLM estimates that the cost of holding (short and long term) wild horses and burros “will exceed $26 million, accounting for three-fourths of the Fiscal Year 2008 Congressional Appropriation to the BLM of about $37 million.” Additionally, the agency’s projected costs by 2012 are $77 million for the horse and burro program.
With the agency facing budget constraints due to the lagging economy, BLM has announced plans to (1) sell older and unadopted animals to willing buyers and (2) euthanize those wild horse and burros for which no adoption demand exists.
It is within BLM’s authority to sell or euthanize any wild horse or burro in their care that is over 10 years old or has been passed over for adoption three or more times. BLM was given this authority as a part of a 2004 change to the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.