FACT SHEET on WILD HORSES Prepared by Brandy Galos and Karen Sussman WILD HORSE LAWS
•1897 - The Nevada legislature passed a law allowing any citizen to shoot a wild horse on sight.
•1971 - Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act passed by Congress.§ "Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands."
•2004 - Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) slipped a provision into a 3,000-page omnibus spending bill in December 2004 that effectively guts federal protections afforded to wild horses.§ Division E, Section 142, of the Consolidated Appropriations Bill - H.R. 4818 (aka "Omnibus Spending bill.")§ The language specifies that the horses "SHALL" be sold, rather than the more flexible "MAY."§ Wild horses over the age of ten will be sold without limitations.§ Wild horses aged ten and under will be sold without limitations if they are not adopted in three adoption attempts.§ Selling wild horses for slaughter will no longer be considered a crime.SUMMARY - WILD HORSE POPULATION NUMBERS•Turn of the Century - At the turn of the century, there were approximately 2 million wild horses on public lands.
•1974 - There were approximately 60,000 wild horses and burros on public lands.
•1985 - BLM tried to gain sale authority and failed because of the outcry of the American public. At that time BLM had warehoused about 40,000 wild horses
•Today - There are likely fewer than 36,000 wild horses and burros on public lands. BLM plans to bring the population down to 20,000 wild horses and burros.At BLM's target population levels, 70% of the herd areas will have less than 100 animals. Such populations will not be genetically viable over the long term.Wild horse and rescue groups estimate that Approximately 6000 to 14,000 wild horses will go to slaughter in the next twelve months.