The Telegraph.uk — The US government could slaughter 45,000 wild horses to make room for more cattle farms. Herds roaming free on government-run holding facilities throughout America face a mass cull following a vote by the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
These horses had been removed from their usual habitats by the BLM so that cattle could graze on the land. However, their numbers have increased so much they could be slaughtered.
The move has angered the Humane Society of the United States, which claims more humane alternatives to control the population of wild horses have largely been ignored. Holly Hazard, the group’s senior vice president of programs and innovations, said: “The decision of the BLM advisory board to recommend the destruction of the 45,000 wild horses currently in holding facilities is a complete abdication of responsibility for their care.
“The agency would not be in this situation but for their long-term mismanagement.” Ms Hazard said alternatives to killing the horses, such as humane fertility control, have been ignored by the BLM. The horses are currently being held in crowded pens, owned by the BLM.
However, the over-crowding is becoming an issue, so the BLM is considering euthanising them all after the vote by their advisory board. The US now has fewer than 50,000 horses in the wild, and 270,000 mustangs have been removed from private land since 1971.
A change.org petition has been launch in a bid to save the animals from slaughter, which currently has more than 55,000 signatures. It is unclear whether BLM’s plans have been given the go-ahead following the advisory board’s vote – or how they propose to do it.
Ginger Kathrens, volunteer executive director of The Cloud Foundation who is also on BLM’s wild horse advisory board, said: “Now we must remain vigilant to ensure that the agency does not pursue the ‘euthanasia’ of wild horses in holding or the castration of wild stallions.”
She instead recommended contraceptive injections for the horses, which the National Academy of Sciences recommended years ago. The BLM tried these, but has said they are not “practical”. Ms Kathrens’ vote was the only vote against the cull.