The Humane Society of the United States recently praised 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 in April 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.
Holly Hazard, the senior vice president of programs and innovations for The HSUS, said BLM has created an original model on managing wild horses that works in conjunction with others.
“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,” Hazard said.
Hazard said that in order to create a tolerant environment for wild horses, cooperation and science must play a role.
“Through partnership, scientific advancement and patience, we can create a stable and humane program for wild horses,” she said.
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.
About them: The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization – backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty – On the web at humanesociety.org.