Exhibits: Conservation: Wild Horse and Burro
Congress to the Rescue
In response to public outcry, members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives introduced a bill into the Ninety-second Congress that would provide the necessary management, protection and control of wild horses and burros. After a few amendments, the bill was unanimously passed by Congress and signed into law on December 15, 1971 as Public Law 92-195, The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. The Act said:
Healthy Range and Healthy Herds
Today, most of the free roaming wild horses and burros are found in herd management areas in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. The BLM manages wild horses and burros consistent with the agency?s multiple use mission, which takes into consideration natural resources such as wildlife and vegetation and other uses such as recreation and livestock grazing. The primary responsibilities of the BLM, as dictated by law, are to preserve and protect wild horses and burros and to manage for healthy rangelands. Through intensive land use management planning efforts the BLM determines the appropriate number of wild horses and burros that each herd management area can support. During this process, the BLM actively solicits public input.
The BLM analyzes inventory and monitoring data to determine if the wild horse and burro herds are healthy and if the animals are damaging rangelands within the herd management area. When data and environmental analysis indicate an overpopulation of wild horses and burros, the BLM develops plans detailing the methods, and timing for gathering and removing as many horses are needed to bring balance to the herd. Only authorized agents of the Interior and Agriculture departments may round up the animals; private citizens cannot harass or remove wild horses and burros from public rangelands.
Wild horses and burros rounded up using helicopters or by trapping them at water holes. Once gathered, the wild horses and burros are loaded onto trailers and taken to a nearby holding area where a BLM specialist determines the age of the animals by looking at their teeth. The horses and burros are separated into different holding pens according to age and sex. Next, the animals are loaded onto single-deck trailers and sent to an adoption preparation facility where they receive veterinary care, equine inoculations and blood tests. After the animals are rested, BLM makes them available for adoption to the general public at either the preparation facility or temporary adoption sites around the country.
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