Monday, April 28, 2014

We need better management of wild horses & burros

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages much of the land in in the western US, including Iron County, Utah. As a part of that management, the BLM is tasked with keeping the population of feral horses and burros below a level which causes harm to the habitat and to private property. Currently, that level is a maximum of 300 wild horses in western Iron County.

However, the BLM has utterly failed to accomplish this task, there being as many as 2,000 wild horses in western Iron County. To make matters worse, there are reports of brutality by contractors the BLM hires to catch these horses and burros (see video below).

I propose a simple solution: Turn over the role of managing wild horses and burros to the respective state wildlife agency. Allow the states to manage these animals as both undomesticated livestock and as game animals. The states would then license sportsmen to harvest feral horses and burros above a target level (eg 300 animals in western Iron County) with a per-person harvest limit. Sportsmen could either live-trap the animals for adoption or harvest them for meat. Sale of the animal, live or dead, would be restricted just as with any other game animal. For those who chose to adopt, a horse/burro-trapping education program similar to Hunter Education might be appropriate.

I know the animal-rights people will have a fit over such a program, but something must be done to control the overpopulation of these animals and the damage overpopulation causes to the environment. Using sportsmen as a tool in this management can be done humanely and at no cost to the local, state, or central governments.

1 comment:

  1. Good solution you got there. The respective state wildlife agency should take care of the management of their wild horses & burros instead of BLM.

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