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Internal BLM Memo Shows Mustang Woes

Wild horses
Denis Doyle, Getty Images

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The head of the government’s $70 million wild-horse management program warned last summer that it is headed for financial collapse unless “drastic changes” are made in the decades-old roundup policy she says could be setting U.S. rangeland-improvement goals back 20 years.

In a strongly worded internal memo to an assistant director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Wild Horse and Burro Division Chief Joan Guilfoyle recommended suspending all roundups until thousands of mustangs currently in federal corrals are sold or adopted.

Guilfoyle also said sterilization should be considered, and she recommended for the first time euthanizing wild horses on the range.

She says those are among the few realistic alternatives given a crippling combination of congressional budget cuts, spiraling costs, lingering drought, a record 49,000 mustangs in long- and short-term holding, and an on-range population that doubles every four years and is expected to surpass 60,000 in 2015.

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