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April 20, 2012

The Humane Society of the United States Applauds BLM’s Selection of Madeleine Pickens Proposed Wild Horse Eco-sanctuary for Environmental Analysis

Announcement paves the way for visionary public-private partnership

The Humane Society of the United States praises the Bureau of Land Management for its decision to support philanthropist and wild horse advocate Madeleine Pickens’ proposal to create an eco-sanctuary for America’s mustangs. The BLM announced on Thursday that it will conduct an environmental analysis of the proposed eco-sanctuary on 14,000 acres in northeastern Nevada.

The BLM expects to complete the analysis in approximately two years, after which the agency will make a decision about whether to enter into a formal partnership with Pickens’ foundation, Saving America’s Mustangs. Pickens’ proposal is one important component within a broader plan to fix the agency’s broken wild horse and burro management program and allow the BLM to demonstrate that it is listening to the American public.

“This decision by the BLM signals a new paradigm in the management of our wild horses that embraces innovation and cooperation with wild horse advocates and other stakeholders,” said Holly Hazard, senior vice president of programs and innovations for The HSUS. “Through partnership, scientific advancement and patience, we can create a stable and humane program for wild horses.”

In 2008, Pickens offered to help create lifetime sanctuaries for thousands of wild horses and burros who would otherwise live in BLM’s short- and long-term holding facilities. At the time, the BLM announced that it might euthanize and sell thousands of wild horses for slaughter. The announcement followed a fiscal crisis caused by BLM’s failed management policies and programs.

Since then, the BLM and Saving America’s Mustangs have been working together in an attempt to develop a partnership that would provide homes for wild horses and educate the public about the need to preserve and protect these icons of the American West, while saving taxpayer dollars.

The HSUS is currently working in partnership with the BLM on a landmark study, financed by a grant from the Annenberg Foundation, designed to determine the efficacy and cost-benefits of using the immunocontraception vaccine commonly known as porcine zona pellucida (PZP) to manage wild horse and burro populations on the range. PZP was recently registered by the Environmental Protection Agency under the brand name ZonaStat-H for this use. Increased use of PZP by the BLM could save taxpayers millions of dollars over the next decade and help maintain the herd health of wild horse populations.  

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, stwining@humanesociety.org

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