New data shows wild horse roundups and removals are a failed method

» » American Wild Horse Campaign Press Release

WASHINGTON (April 13, 2022) —Yesterday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its 2022 wild horse and burro statistics showing a population of 82,384 animals – a  decline of less than 4,000 despite the roundup and removal of over 13,000 of the federally protected animals from the wild last year. 

The agency’s press release also touts the removal of 50,000 wild horses from the range since 2018. Its own data, however, shows that there were 82,000 wild horses and burros on public lands in 2018, meaning that at best, the agency has maintained the population of these animals despite its goal of drastically slashing population numbers. Meanwhile, the BLM’’s continued focus on removals over the last four years has cost taxpayers $369 million and resulted in the stockpiling of the highest number of wild horses in history in off-range holding facilities. 

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) charged that the new numbers prove this federal program is a fiscal and animal welfare disaster that continues to rely on costly, inhumane and ineffective roundups while ignoring scientifically recommended birth control as a humane and cost-effective solution.

“The vast majority of Americans want our iconic wild horses and burros protected on our Western public lands,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director for AWHC.”But the federal government continues to pursue the most inhumane, expensive, and least effective method for managing them: capture, removal, and warehousing of these wild free-roaming horses in taxpayer-funded holding facilities.” 

AWHC points to a report commissioned by the BLM from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), entitled, “Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program,” which found that roundups and removals cause wild horse populations to grow at higher than normal rates due to a biological phenomenon called compensatory reproduction. The NAS recommended that the BLM pursue fertility control as an alternative to ineffective and costly roundups. 

“The roundups are like a bandaid on a gunshot wound. They don’t work,” Roy continued. “The agency is on a treadmill that it will never get off without investing in fertility control to address reproduction humanely on the range.” 


1 million elk live in the ten western states where wild horses and burros are found. 
Wild horses are present on just 11% of the land the agency manages.
Wild horses are outnumbered 50-1 by commercial livestock.
Pulled Quotes. Emphasis Added. Editor, Tuesday’s Horse.


AWHC also took aim at the BLM’s claim that wild horses are overpopulating the West. The animals are present on just 11 percent of the land the agency manages and are outnumbered 50-1 by commercial livestock. AWHC noted that the BLM’s desired population limit for wild horses and burros – 17,000-25,000 – is not based on science, according to the NAS. By comparison, 1 million elk live in the ten western states where wild horses and burros are found. 

“We stand with the Sierra Club and numerous other environmental organizations that have challenged this administration for scapegoating wild horses for environmental damage caused by massive commercial livestock grazing on our public lands,” Roy concluded.

AWHC is lobbying for dedicated funding for humane fertility control implementation and supports Representative Dina Titus’ (D-Nev) 2022 Wild Horse Protection Act to prohibit the use of helicopters to capture wild horses. AWHC has documented stress, injury and death associated with helicopter roundups and is working to conserve wild horses and burros on public lands where they belong. 

About the American Wild Horse Campaign

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is the nation’s leading wild horse protection organization, with more than 700,000 supporters and followers nationwide. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse and burros in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. In addition to advocating for the protection and preservation of America’s wild herds, AWHC implements the largest wild horse fertility control program in the world through a partnership with the State of Nevada for wild horses that live in the Virginia Range near Reno.

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Featured Image: Filed with Press Release


Tuesday’s Horse

Official Blog of The Fund for Horses

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