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‘Staggering’ costs associated with managing wild horses

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“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 5/14/20

In America, it appears even symbols of freedom are pricey—at least that’s what the Bureau of Land Management is reporting in their plans to reduce wild horse populations in the American West to levels sustainable for rangeland. Just how much does it cost? At least $1 billion over the next six years, with similar price tags applied for the following 14. The two decades and “staggering” costs will be applied to a plan to capture 200,000 mustangs, build immense corrals and allow for the permanent sterilization of horses roaming federal lands—a national first. According to the Associated Press, “The strategy underscores the volatility of the decades-long controversy pitting horse advocates against ranchers whose livestock compete for federally subsidized forage across 10 western states.” The article reports that if no action is taken, there will be more than 2.8 million horses and burros by 2040. Horse advocates, however, cry foul, claiming cattle on the lands vastly outnumber horses and do a significant amount of environmental damage; those same advocates claim that while the plan stops short of repeating past requests to eliminate prohibitions on the resale of excess horses for slaughter, “By prioritizing the failed approach of mass roundup and warehousing of tens of thousands of wild horses in holding facilities, the agency is setting the stage for the ultimate slaughter of these American icons,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director of the American Wild Horse Campaign.

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