Federal officials say the numbers of wild horses and burros in the Western United States continue to grow "at an unmanageable rate despite years of removing wild horses from the range to enclosed pastures."
This morning's New York Times reports that horse advocates continue to argue that the Bureau of Land Management's relocation program "has not only failed, but is also needlessly cruel."
“Their entire approach is wrong. The BLM puts all its emphasis on removing and stockpiling horses as opposed to managing them on the range,” Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, told the Times. “There needs to be a more humane way, a more cost-effective way of managing these animals.”
Advocates said they have taken recent photos in northern Nevada that reveal seven confused horses stumbling into barbed wire fencing. Still more photos show a wrangler with a foal slung across his saddle after the animal collapsed from being stampeded for miles.
But BLM officials push back, saying they're looking at what they call "critical mass."
“The fact is, we can’t be in a position of gathering horses that we can’t take care of," BLM spokesman Tom Gorey told the Times. "The capacity issue is staring us in the face.”