More wild problems
A reader posted to following comment to my earlier post about not-so-wild horses:
"As of November, just in SW Idaho, we've had 44 abandoned horses that have required the brand inspector to come out. That's those caught/identified. Post slaughter-ban and with the depressed horse market, abandonment is rapidly becoming the norm for far too many people. The BLM is basically out of money and space, with better than 30,000 wild horses and burros being held at this point. What's going to happen? Odds are no one will be happy with what does, but the crisis will probably reach an initial head this winter. Several range professionals I've talked to are fearful of a spring thaw down here revealing a scattering of carcasses."
He's right about the crisis the BLM faces. I don't know how many folks saw news stories on the GAO report released this month, but it says the BLM needs to euthanize or sell (with no strings attached) many of the 30,000 wild horses and burros it now has in captivity. The reason -- its costing the agency 74 percent of its wild-horse program budget to care for these animals, which are basically unadoptable.
As I wrote in a newspaper editorial about this last week, nobody wants to see wild horses euthanized. But holding once-wild animals in crowded corrals, where they may be more prone to disease and have little opportunity to run, is hardly compassionate. And it uses up the bulk of the BLM budget that should be going to range improvements and other wild-horse needs, such as sterilization programs to reduce overpopulation on the range.
As the commenter noted, a lot of people won't like the possibility of euthanizing the wild horses, but the crisis is coming to a head, soon.