Can America’s Wild Horses & Burros Be Saved?

An Article by Laura Allen

In 1971 the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WFRHBA) was passed to provide broad protections for wild horses and burros on public lands.

The law states that “wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West…[T]hey contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people“. 16 U.S.C. §1331 et seq 

Congress recognized the wild horses and burros are “fast disappearing from the American scene”. 16 U.S.C. §1331 et seq … article continues hereSeattle, recently released, looks back towards the traps- Makendra Silverman-TCF 9-4-09.jpg


10 Responses to “Can America’s Wild Horses & Burros Be Saved?”

  1. Janet Ferguson Says:

    Below is a portion of that great article by Laura Allen: (WFRHBA=Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act)

    “In effect, WFRHBA authorizes only limited interference with wild horses and burros in herd areas where they were living in 1971. Nothing about removing wild horses and burros from herd areas where they lived in 1971 to allow multiple use such as cattle grazing, recreation for off road vehicles, mining or development. Also, protecting the ecological balance of all wildlife has never meant rounding up and removing whole species. Especially when there is a law that explicitly protects their right to exist in historic herd areas.”

    Notice the word, historic herd areas. This doesn’t mean “historic herds”. It means areas where the herd existed historically, at the time that the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro act was passed.

    I guess my point is that it doesn’t establish any intention to promote certain “Historic Herds” over other herds in their herd areas, as Salazar seems to be promoting.

  2. Nora Morbeck Says:

    Wow. This article is absolutely fascinating! Kudos to Laura Allen for taking legal jargin and explaining it in layman’s terms.

    A question or two: The geneticist who’s often cited… Gus (whose last name escapes me at the moment) … When he’s talking about 150 horses to maintain a healthy herd gene pool, does this take into account the use of PZP and other means of sterilizing animals? Or is his expert opinion based on free-roaming, reproductively sound animals?

    Is the BLM’s goal of non-reproductive herds simply a legal loophole — after all, they’re still free-roaming? Or do you think use of contraceptives and such constitute “interferring” with herds? Also, is rounding these animals up a form of “harassment,” as

    • Nora Morbeck Says:

      I accidentally hit send … My last point was about harrassing these horses… is rounding up considered a form of harrasment, legaly speaking?

      • Janet Ferguson Says:

        It seems to be related to motivation, rather than the action itself. Types of harrassment are illegal (it is in the article) – such as

        43 CFR 4770.1 – “illegal to maliciously or negligently injure or harass wild horses or burros, . . . treat them inhumanely or use them for commercial gain.”

        Paragraph 6 and 7 of the article is the full wording, including unauthorized capture and etc.

      • Susan Says:

        Interesting, Janet, thank you.

        I wonder if “commercial gain” would include the quasi-zoos the BLM proposed this week?

        Nora, the BLM is now trying to discredit Dr. Cothrans, they say he’s singing a different tune on viability #s, then they said his earlier statements (in writing) didn’t exist and so on. This came from Alice in Wonderland discussions with senior BLM staffers at a recent adoption site.

        Asking the BLM for evidence, and who’s paying for this alleged new info led us on a merry chase of semantics and spin that could put Dancing with the Stars to shame.

        The BLM needs to be off this program. Nothing short of that will release our wild horses to the level of care they deserve.

      • Roxy Says:

        I was concerned about the news article where he was interviewed, did “seem” to be conflicting with his previous statements. But you can never wholly believe the news – they spin, edit, take things out of context so much.

        But, he does need to directly answer this question now that the shadow from BLM has been cast – hope he does so soon!

    • Roxy Says:


  3. Morgan Williams Says:

    Thursday, October 8, 2009
    7 Preserves Envisioned to Manage Wild Horses
    The New York Times; October 8, 2009, pg. A18

    This is announced only ONE day after announcing a theory to resettle the mustangs and burro into herd areas in the midwest and eastern states.

  4. Janet Ferguson Says:

    The TCF Press Release should be posted there, at the wild horse warriers, and everywhere it is so well written.

    Good comment at wild horse warriers article, Morgan!

  5. kaila Says:

    i think its unfair.
    CLOUD- heres a peom i wrote
    cloud deserves to run,
    free with power,
    not to be trapped in the BLM gates,
    not to be slaughtered,
    not to be freeze branded,
    not to be kept in a pen,
    but kept in a wonderful world,
    where human kind can’t touch him,
    he can run as fast as he wants,
    with his brothers,sisters,babies,
    no to be sold,
    by the wrong person to be slaughtered,
    but to run,
    where no-one hurts him”

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