A controversial Bureau of Land Management (BLM) “emergency drought” roundup of nearly 800 wild horses in Colorado was postponed September 1, due to rain and the growing outcry from horse advocates and politicians.
Opponents don’t like the method (using helicopters to stampede the horses and burros into pens) or the end result: placing the wild horses into a $1,000-per-head adoption system that the NY Times (May 15, 2021) exposed as a “slaughter pipeline.”
The BLM and wild horse advocates differ on their opinion of the wild horses’ conditions. The government says the horses are starving due to the drought and climate change – however, advocates say photographers have shown the horses look healthy and happy.
Out of 783 horses being rounded up on public land, only 50 will be allowed to stay, according to the BLM plan. The cost to taxpayers will exceed $2 million.
All this said, Reuters reports that because of climate change, some animal advocates, including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are open to dialogue that may include using these helicopter roundups, coupled with fertility control.
Stephanie Boyles Griffin, the Chief Scientist at HSUS told Reuters, “The greatest threat to our wild horses and burros and our public lands right now isn’t the BLM, it’s not cattle, ranching or mining interests. It’s not animal advocates. It’s climate change and the new reality is fast settling in.”