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National Horse & Burro Coalition Submits Recommendations to BLM

Bethany Shively
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Terra Rentz
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WASHINGTON, D.C.—September 11, 2013—The National Horse & Burro Rangeland Management Coalition (“Coalition”) submitted a statement for the meeting record of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, September 9, 10, and 11 in Washington, D.C. While the Coalition generally supports the findings of the National Academies of Sciences report, “Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward,” it offered a number of recommendations based upon the following key finding from the report:

  • The primary way that equid populations self-limit is through increased competition for forage at higher densities, which results in smaller quantities of forage available per animal, poorer body condition, and decreased natality and survival.
  • On the basis of the information provided to the committee, the statistics on the national population size cannot be considered scientifically rigorous.
  • Horse populations are growing at 15-20 percent a year.
  • The most promising fertility-control methods for application to free-ranging horses or burros are porcine zona pellucida (PZP) vaccines, GonaCon™ vaccine, and chemical vasectomy. Fertility control alone will not meet population objectives, and additional management is needed.
  • How AMLs are established, monitored, and adjusted is not transparent to stakeholders, supported by scientific information, or amenable to adaptation with new information and environmental and social change.

The Coalition continues to stress that the BLM should manage rangeland resources for multiple-use in accordance with the law and the land’s scientifically proven capability to accommodate a variety of uses, including the presence of horses, wildlife and livestock. The consistent application of sound science and economics in relation to animal and rangeland management should be used throughout the horse and burro program.

To view the full comments, click here.


Formed in 2012, the Coalition is a diverse partnership of 15 wildlife conservation and sportsmen organizations, industry partners, professional natural-resource scientific societies, and affiliates. We work together to identify proactive and comprehensive solutions to increase effective management of horse and burro populations and mitigate the adverse impacts these wild horses and burros have on healthy native fish, wildlife, and plants, and on the ecosystems on which they depend.


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