BLM Cites Herd Growth as One Cause of $1 Billion Shortfall

But some wild horse advocates believe the shortfall is due to the agency’s failure to manage the animals effectively.
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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is claiming that the cost of caring for thousands of horses residing in long-term holding facilities is largely responsible for a more than $1 billion revenue shortfall. But some wild horse advocates maintain that the gap is due not to herd over population, but to the agency’s failure to manage the animals effectively.

In a May 11 press release, the BLM said that, as of March 1, more than 67,000 wild horses and burros roam Western public rangelands, a figure that represents a 15% increase over the estimated 2015 population. At the same time, 46,000 Mustangs reside in BLM long-term holding facilities.

The agency said wild horse herds double in size every four years. Meanwhile, Mustang adoptions have decreased from 8,000 horses annually in the early 2000s to roughly 2,500 in recent years. The cost of caring for those unadopted animals, is substantial, the agency said.

“Costs for lifetime care in a corral approaches $50,000 per horse,” the BLM said in its release. “With 46,000 horses and burros already in off-range corrals and pastures, this means that, without new opportunities for placing these animals with responsible owners, the BLM will spend more than a billion dollars to care for and feed these animals over the remainder of their lives. Given this vast financial commitment, the BLM is now severely limited in how many animals it can afford to remove from the range

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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