On this week’s AnimalAgCast we hear from Dean Bolstad, Division Chief of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Division of Wild Horses and Burros.
Dean provides an overview of the ways BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program works to protect and maximize the welfare of our nation’s wild horses and burros and discusses some negative rumors about the program that have recently spread across the internet from horse industry and animal rights groups.
Many of the rumors spreading across social media have centered around recent wild horse gatherings conducted by the agency in overpopulated areas. Groups, including a statement from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), have called the gatherings irresponsible and inhumane and have accused BLM of mistreating and wrongly euthanizing healthy animals in an attempt to eliminate the nation’s wild horse population.
In this program, Bolstad offers concerned listeners an informative explanation of the wild horse program’s mission and BLM policies related to horse welfare, as well as a look into the scope of the challenges facing the program’s sustainability.
Bolstad explains that the allegations of abuse and the intention of eliminating America’s wild horses are false. He explains that, while BLM remains committed to the protection and support of the nation’s wild horses, growing herd populations have created serious, expensive challenges for the agency.
The 67,000 wild horses and burros that currently reside over 10 U.S. states have reached far beyond the land’s maximum capacity of 27,000. Overpopulation of that scale can cause serious harm to the land, impacting the habitat of local wildlife and posing an increasing threat to wild horse welfare.
“Taking care of the habitat the horses depend on is the most important factor in ensuring that we can sustain healthy horse herds, and that means controlling their numbers,” he said. “The overarching goal here is to control the wild horse population so that we can sustain the public lands they reside on.”
If you are interested in adopting a wild horse or burro, or for more information on the BLM Wild Horse Adoption Program, contact the BLM Office at 866-4MUSTANGS. An online adoption application is available here.
Listen to the full program to learn more:
AnimalAgCast with Dean Bolstad, BLM