From: The Horse
By: Pat Rala
A group of advocates wants wild horses designated as endangered on grounds that the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 has failed to protect the animals.
On June 10 Friends of Animals (FoA) and the Cloud Foundation petitioned Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list North American wild horses residing on public lands as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA); the act provides for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals as well as the habitats in which they are found. The act also requires federal agencies to consult with the ESA’s lead agencies (including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) to ensure their actions they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or its habitat.
In their petition, the advocates claim that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)—charged by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act with managing the animals—gathers the horses from public lands to protect the rangelands’ environmental integrity, but that those public lands are subject to damage from livestock grazing. The petition also claims that BLM practices have resulted in a loss of ranges available to wild horses, as well as a loss of herds in Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.