BLM considering Mustang Euthanasia

The Bureau of Land Management is debating euthanizing wild mustangs in an attmept to control populations

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials announced on June 30 they are considering euthanizing wild horses to control herd populations.

According to BLM agency director Henri Bisson, the federal agency can’t afford to care for the number of Mustangs currently in holding facilities, and he said fewer people are adopting wild horses.

The announcement marks the first time the BLM has publicly discussed the possibility of euthanasia for horses in holding facilities, according to an Associated Press report.

The agency is also considering whether to stop roundups of wild horses to save money, and it was recently announced that a large roundup scheduled for this fall had been canceled. If the BLM does halt roundups, the action will most likely be criticized by sheep and cattle ranchers who see the wild horses as competition for feed on the open range.

“Our goal is supposed to be about healthy horses on healthy ranges. But we are at the point we need to have a conversation with people about pragmatically what can we do given the financial constraints of our program to meet the goals we have,” Bisson told the Associated Press.

Last year’s BLM horse program budget was $39 million, and the upcoming budget is expected to come in at $37 million.
There are an estimated 33,000 wild horses on the range in 10 Western states; about half are in Nevada. The BLM’s target level of wild horses on the range is 27,000.

Approximately 30,000 wild horses are in holding facilities awaiting adoption or permanent housing solutions.
BLM authorities will consider their alternatives at a meeting scheduled in September.


  1. Hi,
    I think that it is wrong to kill the mustangs in captivity i think that they should try to give some of the horses away for free maybe then some people would be willing to take some. Then when they get a number of the horses to homes start to have them up for adoption and have people pay to adopt them. Also the ranchers shouldnt be complaining because the horses hasd the land first before the farmers brought their animals. If there was any possible way to geld some of the stallions out in the wild maybe that could help keep the herd populations down a little.

  2. I hope they dont have to resort to euthanizing mustangs, If i oculd adop one i definatley would, Maybe they oculd geld some of the stallions.

  3. Instead of killing these horses, they should have gelded them as they come in…then release them…bring others in and geld…etc..this would cut down on the population rather than killing good horses…

  4. I’m shocked at the news that this is the solution they have adopted or want to happen. I love horses and Mustangs are the American symbol. I am outraged at the fact that euthanization is even brought up. What about California, we’re over populated and they can’t seem to do anything about that or it would be genocide. If I was rich I would do everything in my power to stop this ludicrous proposition. Let the free be free. This land was also meant for the animals to roam and who are we to kill them off just because there’s too many. I don’t seem to understand, first you hear about a lot of animals that are becoming extinct and who’s to say that if they start euthanizing these Mustangs that they too won’t become a victim of extinction.


  6. 100 years ago 3 million “Wild Horses” roamed free across North America. Noe the BLM can’t manage 30,000 for $3M. 100 years from now out of oil horses may once again serv mankind. We must preserve our “Wild Mustangs and their valuable gene pool by natural selection or we may make the same mistake the early Americans made when they ate and drove the horses out of North America. They came back with a vengence.

  7. I can’t believe it!!! That’s is sooo not right! They should leave the stallions, with good bloodlines in them, on the range to make the foals better and geld the others that wouldn’t make good foals or something other than killing them! THE LAND IS THEIR’S!!!!!!!!

  8. Its the responsible thing to do. Its much better then them going to slaughter. Horses are expensive to care for so mpore people are buying/adopting. Giving them away or making them easier to adopt is not a smart solution. Then you have horses in bad homes, people who cant afford them, etc. And guess what? More horses get put down or worse, slaughtered, abused or neglected.

  9. I think that they would be making a good decision as long as it was there very last resort. I think,first, that they should try to hold more events such as the extreme mustang makeover that show how trainable a wild horse can be. And it also gets people hyped about the wild mustang. I watched the extreme mustang makeover in Madison WI. and, as a trainer my self, I never really thought about the Mustang or adoption, but now I have and I plan to adopt sometime in the near future.

  10. Very, very few people are good enough riders and handlers to take a BLM mustang, gentle it, and get it started under saddle. The other option is to put the adopted mustang with a qualified trainer, but that ends up costing hundreds of dollars and many people don’t want to pay a professional for their expertise. So I’m not sure it’s a good thing to encourage people to adopt a mustang– even one for free– when they don’t have the experience to treat it properly. The BLM program hasn’t worked. So either birth control measures or euthanasia are the only real alternatives.

  11. Absolutely do not kill those poor horses. Let them go free if you can’t afford to keep them. This would be a mass slaughter of one of America’s greatest heritages.

  12. What’s wronng with gelding? That would control the herds, and the beautiful horses would be allowed to continue living free and wild.

  13. Why can’t they sterilize some horses instead of subjecting these horses to death and homelessness? Right now America has more horses than we can afford to take care of, so of course round-ups won’t help that very much (not to mention the cost, which could be spent on better things.) Also, I want to mention that cattle ranchers complain of the mustangs partaking in too much grass, which is absurd because, 1-Wild horses naturally rotate their grazing patterns, 2-Studies have shown that cattle take a bigger toll on the environment than horses, 3-People don’t say “Those darn bald eagles are taking up too much space in the sky, I can’t see the blue of it anymore!”, and 4-The wild mustangs were here long before humans. Now tell me again why it’s fair to euthanize these horses just to give cows more room to eat?
    I agree that sterilizing would have its drawbacks, but it would be better than the dull-witted job the BLM is doing now.

  14. I can’t understand why we can’t castrate the stallions? It would seem to make more sense then what the blm is doing. We do not have the right to just put them d own, they are our heritage . we have to learn to share.

  15. I think that the mustang is a national heritage. I think that if they didnt have the money to take care of them they shouldnt have rounded them up. All the BLM is concerned with is grazing rights, so they thin the herd. Im tired of paying taxes so that they can do such a thoughtless act of euthanasia on a defenseless animal after they have rounded them up and sometimes wounded or killed them accidentaly in or after the round up. I have a horse and the feed has gone up considerably. I sat that euthanasia should not be an option. They rounded up 350 just last week. Why to kill them? So that cattle ranchers could have more grazing land? Or does rhe BLM want to sell more land to devolopers at a cheap price?

  16. So, if the main issue here is mustangs competing with cattle for grazing land, how come no one is talking about reducing the cattle and sheep population? If there are so many cows and sheep grazing on those lands, which have been occupied by wild horses for thousands of years, that there isn’t enough grass to go around, maybe we need to stop and think about our consumption of livestock. Maybe if people could do without their four patty mega-burger or their pound and half steak, this wouldn’t be a problem at all.

  17. BLM should not eliminate any horse. That is not the intention or purpose of BLM and is NOT what Americans want. BLM should adopt proactive steps to raise funds for better mangement practices.

  18. Are you outraged that the BLM is considering killing wild horses? If so, then learn the whole story and speak out to save the horses.
    Check out The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, sponsored by the Humane Society of the US and others, at
    Read it and weep; then dry your tears, contact your news media to cover the story and tell your government representatives that this is unacceptable.

  19. Leave the mustangs alone. You are cutting back way to much on the wild herds. Many of these mustangs are on government land, stop leasing this land out to farmers for pennies and taking the land from wild animals (horses in this case)which than cause conflict with the farmers/ranchers. The land belongs to the wild American legends, not the government to lease out cheap and kill the true property owners for.

  20. Animal welfare advocates do not agree that drastic measures are needed, and believe that there are alternatives to euthanasia, including birth control technology. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is currently making an online form available to enable concerned citizens to voice their opinions regarding wild horse management policy at
    Two of the gentlest, sweetest horses I have ever known were mustangs. Both were good kid horses. I’m not saying all mustangs will make good babysitters – individual dispositions vary, like any other horse. Properly trained mustangs can make fine riding horses. They are tough, athletic horses and tend to be easy keepers, an important consideration in these times of high feed prices. I would like to encourage those of you who have ever considered adopting a mustang to check out the Bureau of Land Management Horse and Burro Program website. Horse trainers interested in getting involved might also want to check into the trainer incentive program offered by The Mustang Heritage Foundation.
    Submitted by J. R. Wise, author of “Give a Horse a Second Chance: Adopting and Caring for Rescue Horses.” 8/2/08

  21. I think it is long overdue.But i had rather see them open up the processing plants that they shut down,and donate the meat to the hungry. This would keep unwanted horses from starving and keep humans from starving.

  22. Capturing the mustangs to exterminate them???? Concentration Camps?
    I OWN/adopted a wild mustang. She’s intelligent, loving, and quite a horse to boot. Thinking of the BLM opting for a fix to a situation created by humans not accounting for the full life cycle of the solution of herd reduction — i.e., capturing them with the intent to adopt them all out…is nothing short of NEGLIGENT. This was a poor solution from it’s inception. Capture, imprison, and now kill?!!!

  23. I hate to see any animal be put down without a fair chance at life. If I had the money, property and right equipment I would be adopting as many mustangs as I possibly could. Infact that is one thing I have always wanted to have, is a wild horse rescue, sanctuary or whatever you want to call it. It is a shame, it really is and from what other kids my age have shown me I don’t know if it will get better for them or not. I do know that I seem to be the only kid in this generation that really genuinely cares about what happens to these beautiful horses.

  24. Just more of the BLM’s mismanagement of our public lands. In our NW New Mexico area, the BLM is allowing rampant oil and gas drilling which causes loss of habitat for many species of wild animals. We are losing our land, one well at a time.

  25. I now own an adopted mustang. I love her dearly. She is one of the most loving horses I’ve ever owned. While I hate to see the BLM consider euthanizing any of the wild herd population, I also know it is difficult and costs the taxpayers alot to care for more and more horses. I would rather see the “roundups stop completely and let “mother nature” take care of thinning the herds than have humans assume that role. We tend to make a mess of things when we assume we know better than mother nature. So… I say stop the roundups completely and turn the healthy ones back out to the wild.

  26. I used to buy mustangs for breaking and resale, they’re a hardy and game breed which with a little attention blossoms into an animal anyone would be proud to own. The BLM has a long history of mismanagement on too many fronts to list. A decade ago they were scrutinized for selling excess mustangs to the Euro meat market, no doubt that money wasn’t funneled back into the program. If they just want to put the animals down, let the ranchers start dealing with them again. As callous as it sounds, dead is dead, and the ranchers won’t spend tax dollars to do it.

  27. I thought that the point of the program was to same the mustangs. So Euthanasia so not make sense. If that happens then the program would have been a waste and I think the mustangs should stay.

  28. a woman wrote earlier that she rather see the horses killed and the meat go to the starving americans, silly woman, did you think this meat would have been given away……first the gvmt. tried to get rid of the indians now the wild horses, who or what is next..oh and by the way, the gelding of horses well how bout we geld all those involved, including all their family members! I think I like this idea and would volunteer.


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