ASPCA Supports New Study on Management of Wild Horses in the U.S.


National Academy of Sciences recommends on-range management of wild horses

ASPCA. June 6, 2013

images-9NEW YORK, June 6, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) has announced its support of theNational Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) study that was released today, which identifies ways the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) can modify its program to manage sustainable populations of wild horses on public lands. The study takes note of several key findings, concluding “it is clear that the status quo of continually removing free-ranging horses and then maintaining them in long-term holding facilities, with no foreseeable end in sight, is both economically unsustainable and discordant with public expectations.”

The ASPCA, along with other animal and equine welfare organizations, has been urging the BLM to rethink its counterproductive and costly approach for many years, identifying the need for on-range management techniques in lieu of constant round up and removals. Rather than aggressively implement on-range management, the BLM has relied heavily on removal as the way to keep herd numbers in check, stockpiling these horses in large pens and using greater percentages of its budget annually for their maintenance. Birth control, reintroduction of horses to habitats they once roamed, and sanctuary designations are viable options but have been ignored or underutilized. The NAS study indicates that the on-range methods are the most cost-effective and efficient, suggesting that it is time for the agency to shift its focus to these strategies.

“It is time for a new focus that allows our treasured wild horses to remain in their native habitat and where they can live without the disruption and cruelties associated with the round-up and removal policies of the past,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “The NAS study shows that cost-effective, humane alternatives to ripping apart family units and taming the spirits of these majestic wild horses exist today and they can be implemented immediately.”

The study makes several important findings: 

  • Roundups and removals have exacerbated, not eased, wild horse population growth
  • Rangelands are below carrying capacity for wild horse populations
  • There is no indication that wild horse populations have caused irreversible damage to rangelands
  • There are viable fertility control methods for managing wild horse population numbers that serve as preferable, less-disruptive alternatives to removal and relocation to long-term holding facilities
  • Methods used for calculating, monitoring, and managing wild horse populations are not transparent and do not instill public confidence
  • The BLM must move away from a short-term view, which is expensive and unsustainable, to look at a long-term approach that is more affordable and sustainable than removal to long-term facilities


Additionally, the study found that there is no political support for the killing of unadopted, stockpiled horses; that rangelands could stabilize and come into equilibrium with wild horse populations; and that the BLM must include the public in its policy-making decisions.

“Wild horses occupy a special place in our country’s history, and they deserve to be protected,” added Perry. “This study confirms the desire of Americans to honor these animals; we look forward to the implementation of a more compassionate approach for managing this beloved species.”


Habitat for Horses is a 501.c.3 nonprofit equine protection organization supported solely by donations. As of this morning, we have 157 donkeys and horses under our care, plus one mule. Most of them are here because law enforcement removed them from their previous owner. Our ability to rehabilitate and rehome them comes from the financial support of people like you. Please support us by making a donation for the horses we all serve. Click HERE to donate

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Daryl

    I like this study, will they make BLM do as they say? When ? Now no more rounding up of the horses? What about all that money was spent on the next round ups? I liked the no killing of the horses not able to be adopted out. Lets hope they turn them out.

    June 9, 2013
  • Anita Warren

    Please help save our beautiful wild horses abd burros!

    June 9, 2013
  • Arlene

    Bravo NAS !!!!!! I must say that they are saying the truth and the truth should set our magnificent Mustangs free, this is the only outcome that should be accepted !!!!! They have always been the embodiment of freedom !!!! when I look at them I can feel the Freedom in such a beautiful way !!!! I always call the Mustangs Our Royal American Freedom Ambassadors ………… Just Look at them for just one minute ………….. They bring to mind immediately, pride Courage, Trust Regal Beauty undeniably, unsurpassed by anything !!!!! We have allowed them to be compromised , I am so ashamed for America for this !!!!!!!!! We must right this horrible wrong !!!!! And stop at nothing to achieve this !!!!!!! Freedom and Protection for the Mustangs is imminent…….

    June 9, 2013
  • Linda Jackson

    I asked our local equine rescue organization (Diane Lowery – why the privatization (contracting) of this governmental function had never been considered. Her reply was that they were already doing the rescue for free and would probably never be compensated.

    My point was/is: Public Works NAS Pensacola is now contracted vs federal civil service; Escambia County Health Department was recently contracted vs county civil service; I could go on. If the BLM is doing a terrible job and catering to the cattle/sheep interests, why not just replace them?

    I’m interested in pros and cons.

    June 10, 2013
  • LNorman

    We all want to see “on the range management” which by the way is the law! Since their numbers are so low, birth control is unecessary, recipe for extinction, and another waste of taxpayer dollars. HSUS, ASPCA, and AWHPC seem to be pushing for big pharm to get their portion of your taxdollar pie and their drugs/pesticides on our wild ones.

    June 10, 2013