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July 17, 2013

Wild Horses in Government Care Need Relief from Heat

Approximately 1,800 wild horses are in a potentially dangerous situation at a facility operated by the Bureau of Land Management near Reno, Nev., where temperatures have been reaching record highs exceeding 100 degrees this month. There is no shelter for the horses at the Palomino Valley National Adoption Center, despite the fact that BLM requires those adopting wild horses from the agency to provide adequate shelter for the animals.

In a letter to Neil Kornze, principal deputy director of the BLM, The Humane Society of the United States urged the agency to immediately install shelter for the horses at the Palomino Valley National Adoption Center, and ultimately at all of its short-term holding facilities.

Holly Hazard, senior vice president of programs and innovations for The HSUS, said: “Wild horses on the range survive severe temperatures by seeking out shade, but the horses in the BLM’s care have no choice but to swelter in the sun. The BLM’s response to the situation—installing a sprinkler system and nothing else—falls short of its responsibility to the horses in its care, and the agency’s defense that the horses can cope in hot temperatures is unacceptable.”

Background:

  • For years, The HSUS has been pressing the Bureau of Land Management to reform its broken wild horse management program. The HSUS has developed and presented a proposal to the agency for a bold new program that meets the challenges of the budget, the horse population and land-use issues head on.
  • In June, a panel assembled by the National Academies of Science’ National Research Council released its findings and recommendations after a two-year-long review of the government’s wild horse and burro management program. Much of the independent panel’s observations are congruent with those of The HSUS—that the agency needs to stop relying on short-sighted roundups, and instead make the immediate changes necessary to set the program on a long-term, humane and financially sustainable path.
  • The BLM introduced the idea of the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program in its proposed strategy for the Future Management of America’s Wild Horses and Burros in February 2011. Since that time BLM has gathered more than 15,000 horses and burros and there have been many instances of inhumane treatment both during gather operations and in government holding facilities. The welfare program was scheduled to be implemented in July 2012, however, the agency has still not finalized it.

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 240-751-3943, stwining@humanesociety.org

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