COVID-19 Closes BLM Long-Term Holding Facilities to Visitors

State stay-at-home orders and social distancing related to COVID-19 have closed BLM long-term mustang holding facilities to the public.
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COVID-10 Closes BLM Long-Term Holding Facilities to Visitors
Coronavirus-related social distancing orders from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have rendered the PORPs off-limits to visitors, but they have not relieved contractors of their duties as the mustangs’ caretakers. | Photo: Courtesy BLM
State stay-at-home orders and social distancing related to COVID-19 have closed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) long-term mustang holding facilities to the public. The agency said operators of Public Off-Range Pastures (PORPs) continue to care for the animals there. Still, some wild horse advocates argue that the lack of public scrutiny is not in the horses’ interests.

The BLM currently manages 88,000 wild horses residing on 26.9 million acres of public lands across 10 western states. About 37,000 horses removed from rangelands west of the Mississippi River now reside in BLM-contracted PORPs and in Off-Range Pastures (ORPs) located in the high and central plains. While the ORPs aren’t open to the public, visitors can typically visit PORPs to view the animals.

Coronavirus-related social distancing orders from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have rendered the PORPs off-limits to visitors, but they have not relieved contractors of their duties as the mustangs’ caretakers.

Scott Fluer, the BLM’s acting off-range branch chief, said contractors continue to monitor their herds as well as video-conference with BLM inspectors

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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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