The $1.4 trillion budget deal approved by Congress includes a significant funding boost for the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) wild horse and burro program. However, to gain access to the $21 million in funds, the BLM must produce an aggressive, nonlethal strategy to mange the mustang and burro populations that resides on public lands—this includes fertility control and the placing of animals onto private land. The money would be available in 60 days after a five-year plan is submitted and approved.
The available funds indicate an endorsement of the controversial proposal on Mustang and burro management that was published by both animal welfare organization and ranching advocates—groups that are typically at odds with one another. The groups decided to work together to try to break the stalemate that had occurred in Washington.
The plan calls for rounding up nearly 130,000 wild horses over the next 10 years as well as putting population control measures in place. Some equine advocacy groups feel that this is not an appropriate solution to the problem.
The government notes that there are three times the number of wild horses and burros roaming public lands than the land can withstand. The BLM periodically rounds up the wild horses and burros, and currently spends most of its budget caring for the 50,000 animals it has in holding facilities.
Advocates of the alliance believe it will cost nearly $50 million a year over the 10 years to gain control of the Mustang and burro population. However, they note that the $21 million is a good start to addressing the issue.
Read more at The Washington Post.
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