A battle is raging over the fate of 86,000 thousand mustangs and wild burros remaining in the western United States. During the past 50 years, the Bureau of Land Management has captured and adopted out over 270,000 additional animals and now, animal advocates are fighting to keep the remaining population in their natural habitat.
The bureau BLM says that public lands can support only one-third of the remaining animals, but animal advocates claim that ranchers just don’t want the mustangs and burros vying with their livestock for forage.
Also at issue is the $1,000 incentive the bureau uses to boost adoptions. Some unscrupulous adopters take the cash then illegally sell their animals to slaughterhouses. While the bureau pledges to institute a stricter adoption regimen, animal advocates don’t envision anything changing until the cash windfalls end.