Bonnie Matton, president of the Wild Horse Preservation League, wasn't happy when the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that it might consider euthanasia as a means to manage wild horse herds, but she wasn't surprised, either.
"They're between a rock and a hard place," said Matton, whose Dayton, Nev. nonprofit group advocates on behalf of wild horse issues. "These herds need management, but it's expensive and the BLM's budget can't keep up."
"We have tried to sell only to people willing to make a long-term commitment. That may change." --Tom Gorey, BLM spokesman
According to BLM spokesman Tom Gorey, wild horse herds double every four years. There are currently 33,000 wild horses on the range, mostly in Nevada. Meanwhile 30,000 horses reside in long or short-term holding facilities, depending upon their age and adoption potential.
Next year's costs for maintaining horses at holding facilities are projected to account for $26 million of the agency's budget.
"There is no fertility control method we could use effectively, and if we don't manage the herd population, there will be negative environmental impact on forage and on wildlife," he said.