Stop the Capture and Death of Wild Horses

Target: Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze

Goal: Protect wild horses from terrifying, deadly round-ups on public lands.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) claims that it gathers wild horses and burros each year to maintain the ecological health of our nation’s public lands. They also maintain that the horse gathers are to protect the animals from factors such as drought. In reality, common results of the gathers are abortion, trauma, injury, and death.

The BLM asserts that the mortality rates during the round-ups are merely 0.5%, and they attribute most of the injuries and deaths that occur to natural causes. However oftentimes, fatalities and injuries are not reported at all. Statistics for animals that later die or are euthanized due to injuries sustained during capture are omitted entirely.

During a round-up, wild horses are chased by helicopter while they are galloping for their lives. Many of the captured animals suffer from “capture myopathy,” a condition in wild animals caused by the stress of capture. BLM horses, those that survive, remain terrified of helicopter noise long after capture.

As the animals are captured, they are driven into holding pens where foals can be separated from their mothers or left behind on the range to care for themselves. BLM will liberally euthanize any horses with physical defects, even if they had been able to thrive on the range..

According to American Wild Horse Preservation, there has been a 98% reduction in wild horses that used to roam the west since the 1900s. Over 270,000 wild horses have been removed from public lands since the 1971 passing of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act, which designated public land for their protection. Despite the BLM’s assertion that they are trying to maintain the ecological health of public lands, private livestock outnumbers wild horses and burros 50 to 1. More wild horses are captured annually than are adopted out, leading to a stockpiling of horses in government holding facilities. The cost to the taxpayer for stockpiling these horses is over $100,000 every day, leading to pressure to sell these horses for slaughter.

70% of the budget for wild horses and burros is spent on capture and stockpiling. Only 6% is spent on safe and humane fertility control and keeping horses on the range. By signing the petition below, you will urge Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze to refocus the BLM’s wild horse and burro management plan to one of safe and humane fertility and away from the capture and stockpiling of these beautiful animals.


Dear Director Kornze,

The Bureau of Land Management needs to shift their wild horse and burro program resources to safe and humane fertility control and away from capture and stockpiling. Private livestock consumes more of the resources on public lands than wild horses and burros and these animals deserve to live their lives free.

The numbers of wild horses and burros are declining and too many are stockpiled or euthanized annually. Selling the stockpiled animals to a slaughterhouse is not a viable option. The stress and terror inflicted on these animals while they are being rounded up by helicopter is inhumane and needs to be stopped.

If the BLM deems capturing the horses absolutely necessary, the contractors used need to be reputable, humane, and non-abusive. No fee should be paid for a dead animal, to further discourage the brutality and negligence. Additionally, BLM should not euthanize any wild horses or burros that are captured with physical defects. If they had been able to survive and thrive in the wild, then they should be returned to the wild if the BLM determines that they are not adoptable.

I urge you to stop the terrorization of wild horses and burros. It is inhumane and a violation of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act. Please don’t allow any more torture and violence to befall our nation’s wild horses and burros.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit:  SashaS

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