By Associated Press, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The Bureau of Land Management requested the appointment of the 14-member research committee by the National Academy of Science’s National Research Council in June 2011, nearly three years after congressional auditors concluded rising costs at facilities to house tens of thousands of gathered animals would “continue to overwhelm the program” with no end in sight.
Especially contentious is disagreement over the role of and need for the roundups, a debate that has pitted horse protection advocates against ranchers in competition for the grasses for decades but has become more acute in recent years for cash-strapped federal land managers with no room for any incoming animals.
The number of animals at holding facilities surpassed the estimated number on the range in 10 Western states earlier this year for the first time since President Richard Nixon signed the Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
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