WASHINGTON, DC, March 18, 2021 – Today, the Cloud Foundation (TCF), a national organization dedicated to protecting America’s wild horses and burros on our public lands, urges newly-confirmed Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to halt all removals of America’s wild horses and burros on western public lands until a comprehensive, independent review is conducted of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program. Currently, BLM plans to remove nearly 10,000 animals this fiscal year furthering the crisis both on and off the range.
Massive roundups and dangerous sterilization plans, currently underway, will lead to the destruction of healthy wild horse and burro herds in each of the 10 western states where the animals are allowed to live. The current BLM path will add tens of thousands of animals to the 53,000 wild horses and burros already stockpiled in government holding facilities and will cost taxpayers over a billion dollars over the next five years alone.
“We urge Secretary Haaland to hit the reset button on the program,” said Ginger Kathrens, founder of The Cloud Foundation. “The massive warehousing of animals is a fiscal and humane disaster. We call on the Secretary to work with us to create long-lasting win-win solutions that will benefit the range, wild horses and burros and create platforms for Americans to work together.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act which was unanimously passed by Congress. TCF urges the Secretary to mandate three management actions in all future management decisions:
(1) Protect the “wild” natural behaviors of wild horses and burros;
(2) Give wild horses and burros their fair share of forage on public lands;
(3) Fix the inadequate “humane” standards during roundups, in holding facilities and at adoption.
America’s wild horses and burros have lost nearly 40% of public lands originally designated for their use through the 1971 Act. At the same time millions of head of privately-owned livestock dominate the range—even on the few remaining horse and burro herd areas.
“The livestock industry and pro-livestock BLM have for decades spearheaded a massive misinformation campaign against wild horses and burros, wrongly blaming them for range degradation,” says Dana Zarrello, TCF executive director. “America’s wild horses and burros have never been given their fair share of public lands. Now, BLM is pushing inhumane and barbaric sterilization of mares stripping them of the natural behaviors that make them who they are and differentiate them from their domestic cousins. Now is the time for change and we believe Secretary Haaland is the person to overhaul this failed Program.”
TCF supports the humane management of America’s wild horses and burros at genetically viable population levels through humane, PZP fertility control which has been proven to be safe and effective. The Cloud Foundation (TCF), a 501(c)3 non-profit, has been at the forefront of wild horse advocacy since its inception in 2005. TCF was founded by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Ginger Kathrens, creator of three acclaimed PBS Nature series documentaries that followed the wild stallion Cloud throughout the seasons of his life. Dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our public lands, The Cloud Foundation advocates for protecting natural wild equid behaviors, repatriation of wild horses to zeroed-out Herd Areas, and equal allocation of forage within Congressionally-designated Herd Areas.