It is estimated the the BLM has around 50,000 mustangs being held in ‘storage’ in various facilities around the country. That’s more than the estimated number of mustangs still roaming free on lands set aside for them by Congress in 1971. Currently, according to BLM numbers, 33,000 wild horses roam the public land. The figures work out to there being 545.5 acres of land per wild horse and BLM claims that the land is over-crowded with horses. BLM uses many excuses to zero out areas set aside for mustangs but primarily, the horses are removed so that ranchers can shove even more cattle or sheep onto the range. Funny how the BLM says that the range is damaged and can’t support the horses but as soon as, and many times even before, the horses are removed, two to three times more cattle are moved in on the same range. A prime example was the January 30, 2015 Little Humboldt HMA (horse management area) that was zeroed out for mustangs but opened up for cattle. During the roundup, very few horses were found but hundreds of head of cattle had already been moved in to the area.
Many of the holding facilities are nothing more than pens with no shade or shelter for the horses held there. They live there, year round, in blistering heat and bone-chilling blizzards with no way to try to protect themselves. If a private owner kept their horses in the exact same condition that the BLM keeps these stored mustangs, that private owner would be charged with animal abuse. But not the BLM. GOOGLE “Palomino Valley National Wild Horse and Burro Center Holding Facility in Nevada” or “Rock Springs BLM Facility” or “Pyramid Lake, Nevada BLM Facility” to see how these once proud animals suffer in BLM holding areas.
BLM guidelines says that they only allow the helicopters to move the mustangs at trot yet there are hundreds of pictures available on-line of the horses, including foals that are only a few days old, running at break-neck speeds trying to get away from the helicopters chasing them. They also say that the helicopters are to maintain distance between themselves and the horses yet again, there are far too many pictures on-line of helicopters right on top of the horses and even several showing clear contact between the helicopter and the horses!!
The 1971 law gave wild horses 40 million acres of public land to live on. Over the last 40 years, these lands have been reduced by 15.5 million acres. Originally, 303 herd areas were supposed to be maintained; 111 of those herd areas have been zeroed out meaning no wild horses or burros live on them anymore. But there are plenty of cattle and/or sheep on them. This is how BLM manages America’s wild horses.