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BLM Introduces New Rules for Wild Horse Round-ups

Dave Philipps

The Bureau of Land Management is issuing new policy directives for wild horse round-ups on federal lands in Colorado and the West.

The change comes after media scrutiny and public criticism of the agency’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.

The rules introduced today will increase timely and accurate internal and external communications during gathers, according to BLM spokesperson Michelle Barret. She says they’re part of a larger effort with the agency to make the program more transparent.

“We are stepping up the requirements on [communicating] how gathers are going, and including more details in the report,” she said, referring to information released after the round-ups. “It’s historically been a difficult and controversial program and we’re committed to continuing to improve it.”

The rules are added to other policies introduced in January that restricted wild horse adoption. Today no more than four wild horses or burros can be bought by an individual during a six-month approval unless they’ve gotten clearance from a high-ranking official overseeing the program.

ProPublica reported in October that Colorado Rancher Tom Davis was purchasing hundreds of horses. The reporting claimed that hours after the horses were purchased, they were shipped across the Mexican border, never to be seen again. Reporter Dave Philipps told KUNC: 

The BLM tells advocates and the public that once the horses are in this program they’re safe. The problem is that is that its pastures are now full, it’s budget is now growing at an unsustainable rate. It needed some sort of pressure release value, some way to get rid of these horses quietly. And perhaps this big buyer who willing to take horses no questions asked was that pressure release valve.

To read the complete policies, click here.

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