Story at a glance

  • The U.S. Bureau of Land Management tightened screenings for adoptions of wild horses and burros.
  • It also requires adopters to hold the title for a minimum of one year.
  • The department looks to avoid the sale of adopted wild animals for slaughter.

On Monday, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a new initiative to improve the processes of adopting wild horses and burros through its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Incentive Program.

The updated processes will require more certifications that the buyer will not resell the horse or burro following the adoption. BLM officials notably want to avoid the sale of these animals to companies or other entities that will slaughter them for commercial purposes.

“We are committed to the health and safety of adopted wild horses and burros,” said BLM Deputy Director for Programs Nada Wolff Culver. “While the vast majority of adopters already adhere to our requirements to provide a good and caring home, the BLM is now taking additional steps to secure the health and safety of adopted animals. We will begin to make additional compliance visits post-adoption, bring more scrutiny to potential adopters, and increase warnings to sale barns about the risks of illegally selling wild horses and burros, among other steps.”

The BLM also limits adopters to only purchasing a maximum of four animals within a year and forbids the transfer of the adoption certificate for a year as well.


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Part of these safeguards will require the BLM to carefully screen potential adopters to exclude “ineligible individuals.”

Current estimates suggest the U.S wild horse and burro population stands at about 86,189 animals. This is about three times the amount that is considered environmentally sustainable.

The total removed as of March 2021 are just more than 10,000, with more than 6,000 being placed into private care.

The BLM’s Adoption Incentive Program works to relocate these animals who tend to negatively affect the surrounding native communities, as well as local flora and fauna.

Published on Jul 27, 2021