U.S. Senate moves to reform federal wild horse program

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A historic move, years in the making to protect our wild horse and burro population in Nevada and across the west.

The U.S. Senate appropriations committee has earmarked more than $10M for the Bureau of Land Management to use fertility control rather than round-ups.

For decades the BLM has resisted controlling wild horses with fertility instead of force.

“The helicopter roundups are horrifically cruel, and these animals suffer significantly during the process,” said Holly Gann-Bice who is a wild horse advocate. “It is very traumatic for the horses. Many of them, suffer from broken necks and broken legs.”

Wild horse advocates like Gann-Bice are hopeful that could change now that there is an appropriations bill providing $11M for fertility control.

It could help move away from the current roundup program that lands thousands of horses into holding pens.

To hold the agency accountable the BLM must report back within 45 days with its strategy for a vaccination initiative.

In a statement, the agency says: “The BLM makes every effort to conduct gathers in a safe and humane manner. Every attempt is made to place them into good, private homes.”

However, no comment on the current initiative which was recently announced.

“The fertility control vaccine provides a humane alternative and it’s also very cost-effective to allow these animals to stay in the wild where they belong,” said Gann-Bice.

The BLM’s current management plan is to remove 90,000 horses and burros from public lands by the year 2025.

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