PLC, BLM Launch Horse and Burro Campaign
WASHINGTON - Ratifying a unique partnership, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Public Lands Council (PLC) are unveiling a national campaign aimed at promoting the purchase of wild horses and burros. The Public Lands Council represents the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the American Sheep Industry and the Association of National Grasslands.
Letters from PLC President Mike Byrne, a California cattleman, and BLM Director Kathleen Clarke are going out to more than 15,000 livestock operators across the West who hold BLM-issued grazing permits or leases. The letters urge public lands ranchers to consider buying the animals.
“We all understand the importance of managing the horses in balance with other rangeland resources and uses required by law,” says Byrne. “Now more than ever, we need stewards from the ranching community and other citizens in rural communities to step up and purchase these horses.”
The appeal comes as the BLM implements a law enacted by Congress in December 2004 that mandates the sale of certain wild horses and burros – specifically, those more than 10 years old or those that have been passed over for adoption at least three times. As of January 2006, the BLM has sold more than 1,500 wild horses and burros that were immediately affected by the sale-authority law.
“In implementing this law, the BLM has been reaching out to groups and individuals that are interested in buying the horses and burros for long-term care,” says Byrne. “It’s a natural fit for some of these animals to be adopted by ranchers, many of whom already provide support to wild horses and burros through water use and grazing on private lands intermingled with public lands.”
But according to Byrne, this is not just an effort focused at ranchers.
“The BLM spends more than half its wild horse program budget on maintaining and holding horses. Anyone concerned about the plight of wild horses or public and western rangelands should consider participating in the purchasing program,” he said.
Clarke says the BLM has some 7,000 sale-eligible horses in its pasture holding facilities - primarily mares and geldings 11 years and older.
“Reducing holding costs will enable the BLM to commit greater resources to the accomplishment of rangeland health and wild horse herd management goals,” says Clarke.
Anyone interested in buying wild horses should call the BLM at 1-800-710-7597, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or talk to a local BLM manager. To assist with transportation costs, the BLM will deliver loads of 20 or more horses to a central location for pickup, or individual animals may be picked up at the nearest BLM wild horse and burro facility.