Few wild horses find homes at adoption in Montrose | AspenTimes.com

Few wild horses find homes at adoption in Montrose

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

MONTROSE, Colo. ” Only a dozen wild horses and burros found new homes out of 30 that were put up for adoption in Montrose last weekend, and federal officials say high fuel and feed prices are mostly to blame.

“The economy is the biggest (factor),” said Fran Ackley, a wild horse and burro specialist for the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado.

An end to the practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption abroad has also left a lot of animals in the BLM’s care, Ackley said. The last U.S. horse slaughtering plant closed in 2007.

“People who would (have) normally taken their animals to sale for slaughter now have to figure out something else to do,” he said.

Horses and burros that aren’t adopted at BLM auctions are either sent to other adoption events or taken to holding facilities.

BLM Deputy Director Henri Bisson said this week the agency is considering euthanizing wild horses because of their growing numbers, both on the range and in holding facilities.

Bisson said the BLM can’t afford to care for all the horses that have been rounded up, and fewer people nationwide are adopting them.

The announcement was the first time the agency had publicly discussed the possibility of putting surplus animals to death.

The agency is also considering whether to stop roundups of wild horses to save money, a move that would be criticized by sheep and cattle ranchers who see the mustangs as competition for feed on the open range.

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