The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) adoption program has recently been used as a “scapegoat” to a rhetoric of failure in the program. Management practices have led to more wild horses being held in government holding facilities than exist in the wild. Often we hear “because adoption demand has fallen off” as an excuse. In actuality 5 years of accelerated removals to the tune of nearly ten thousand wild horses and burros removed every year filled facilities to the brim, not a failing adoption program. (please note however that removals this year are at the lowest rate since 1977)
The cost of housing these animals for their lifetime is currently estimated at nearly $50,000 per individual. This lack of foresight has further thrown a broken system off kilter. We did an “analysis” of the adoption program earlier this year using the first Internet Adoption of the year as a focal point for further discussion here: http://wildhorseeducation.org/2014/03/27/analyze-this-blm-adoption-program/
The American public loves their wild horses and burros. The public sentiment that passed the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 is still alive and well. Those that had a “cash crop” removed when the act was passed are still angry and fighting against it. BUT if you give the public a chance to help the wild ones, they take it.
Recently the BLM Broken Arrow facility in Fallon Nevada was opened to the public for the first time since 2012. http://wildhorseeducation.org/2014/10/23/broken-arrow-now-and-then/ After we spent years in litigation on access issues progress is being made.
Those that went on the tour have actively engaged to create adoption opportunities for horses that were slated to go to long term holding (for the rest of their lives) no matter their age. These horses have been cut off from public view (and opportunity for adoption) for two years. A facebook site: Broken Arrow~Wild Horse Adoption Network was born. https://www.facebook.com/groups/brokenarrow.wildhorseadoptionnetwork
Three women that are passionate about wild horses; Cat Kindsfather, Sioux Sarlis and Denise DeLucia (and assisted by Patty Bumgarner) created the site. Everyone can find a place to help create productive changes for wild ones. “The fight to stop the roundups has been like head butting a ram every day. I believe that rescuing is the best option at this point in time for the horses held captive!” said Cat Kindsfather, “We created the ‘Broken Arrow ~ Wild Horse Adoption Network’ in hopes to get these rarely seen once wild horses & burros loving adoptive homes.”
A fast glance at the page shows at least three horses were adopted as a direct result of the tour. Not only did some wild horses find a home but the BLM saved at least $150,000 on horses that were likely to go to long term holding. The savings more than justified the tour.
If BLM provided a minimum of one tour a month over 12 months, and just one horse was adopted at each tour, the program would save $600,000. This would more than justify any expense associated with the tours.
“Kinda like a prescription for new glasses in a short sighted program,” said Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education, “The issues on the range are the most neglected but at the root of all the symptoms. Maybe we can begin to find a way to start channeling funds back to the range and begin to actually fix the program. Allowing the public access to horses and burros assists in placement. It should be a no-brainer.”
Another area that shows promise is the trap site adoption. This has proven to be successful in generating adoptions of younger horses that never set foot into a holding facility.
The public will have opportunity to participate in such an adoption event this coming Saturday, November 8th, at the Tonopah Rodeo grounds.
In conjunction with the removal of wild horses, birth control and release, there will be an opportunity to adopt a horse directly after capture. This option allows you to bring a young wild horse home without that horse ever taking a step onto a semi truck heading to holding. It allows an adopter to control the stimulus that the horse is exposed to. It keeps the young horse away from any of the issues of our current crowded holding facilities.
You must be pre-approved through the BLM to adopt at the trap. You can access all requirements and forms here: http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/prog/wild_horses_/adoption_requirements.html
This option also allows adopters to actually see the area the horses came from. To get a real glimpse at the life the wild horse had before going to your home. At WHE we feel this is an important part of understanding the beginning of a relationship that can be a life long journey like no other you can experience.
Wild Horse Education is assisting with efforts at the trap site adoption.
Wild Horse Education is devoted to gaining protection for wild horses and burros from abuse, slaughter and extinction.