DENVER — The federal government is considering plans to euthanize 45,000 wild horses if they aren’t adopted.
An advisory board to the Bureau of Land Management voted to recommend euthanizing wild horses and burros being kept in holding facilities across the country, according to National Geographic.
But the BLM has not voted on the plan. If the BLM approves the recommendation, it would then have to be approved by Congress.
“The grim plan would be the biggest horse slaughter in history and wipe out more than half of all wild horses remaining in the U.S.,” In Defense of Animals said in a news release Monday.
“The shootings would likely take place in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, where rounded-up horses are currently stockpiled at holding facilities.”
The BLM said it costs $50 million a year to care for the 45,000 horses and burros, and the holding facilities are overcrowded.
According to National Geographic, the recommendation to euthanize the horses was intended as “a wake-up call for Congress and the public about the severity of the situation.”
The wild horses and burros are periodically rounded up and moved to holding facilities “to maintain the ecological health of our nation’s public rangelands,” according to the BLM.
The BLM said keeping the wild horse and burro herds at a size the land can support is a big challenge.
“Because of federal protection and a lack of natural predators, wild horse and burro herds can double in size about every four years,” the BLM said on its website.
The BLM said giving contraception to mares isn’t feasible in most cases.
“PZP, a contraception for wild horse mares, is effective in a small number of areas where the animals are approachable, identifiable and can be readily treated every year,” the BLM said.
The Humane Society of the United States is urging people to send a message to the secretary of interior and the director of BLM to ask them to call off the plan.
“We must act now to protect 45,000 horses from euthanasia. Please let the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management know that the American public will not stand for the mass euthanasia of our nation’s iconic wild horses and burros,” the group said.
The BLM is encouraging people to adopt the animals and said the number of adoptions continues to decline each year.
Go to the BLM’s website or call 866-468-7826 for information about adopting a wild horse or burro.