Cross-posted from Face the State
Written by GREG CAMPBELL
COLORADO (Oct. 14, 2010) — Debate over a roundup of wild horses underway in northwestern Colorado by the federal Bureau of Land Management has focused on the concerns of animal-rights activists, some of whom have filed suit seeking an injunction to halt the herd-thinning operations.
What has been largely overlooked, however, is that BLM has for years been breaking the very federal act that mandates the roundups in the first place. And that violation—however understandable it may be—has caused the agency’s costs of managing the herds to skyrocket.
The Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 requires the BLM to manage the numbers of wild horses on lands where they’ve historically lived. Part of that management is to keep the herds at a population level that doesn’t threaten their habitat. The agency estimates there are currently 38,000 animals running wild in 10 Western states, about 12,000 more than their ecosystems can sustain.
Groups such as the ASPCA, Texas’s Hearts and Horses and Colorado’s The Cloud Foundation call the roundups—known as “gathers” by the BLM—cruel and inhumane. That’s because of the agency’s use of low-flying helicopters to exhaust the horses so that they can be easily corralled and captured. The technique is said to stress and panic the animals, which may be injured in the process of capture.
Excess animals are captured and offered to the public through adoptions. According to the 1971 law, the agency is required to euthanize or sell without limitation unadoptable animals.
“According to the 1971 law, the agency is required to euthanize or sell without limitation unadoptable animals.” Required . . . ? Where does it say that exactly? -Ed.
— BLM Loses Bid to Move Wild Horse Lawsuit Out of New York
Desert Independent, Oct 14, 2010
— Wild Horse Advocacy Groups File Lawsuit To Stop Colorado Roundup
HuffPo, Oct 8, 2010