A new report by the Government Accountability Office estimates that 200,000-some wild horses, burros, and mules, are free-roaming on federal and tribal lands. The report released this week also says there could be as many as 9.2 million domesticated horses, burros, and mules in the United States. The GAO says there are several challenges in managing the wild herd, including affording care for the animals, finding new homes for unwanted animals, protecting the welfare and controlling population growth. Additionally, free-roaming horses, burros, and mules could pose unintended environmental impacts to public lands. Farm and land groups such as the American Farm Bureau and Public Lands Council have repeatedly asked lawmakers to address the wild horse population. Last year, AFBF estimated that more than 64,000 wild horses and burros were roaming public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in ten western states, with an additional 47,000 residing in government-funded holding facilities at a cost of more than $40 million annually to taxpayers.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.