BLM receives offer of horse sanctuary
RENO, NEV. — Thousands of unadoptable wild horses in U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holding facilities could be saved from possible euthanasia or slaughter if the agency decides to accept an offer from Madeleine Pickens, wife of Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, to create a preserve where the horses could live out their lives.
The eight-member National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board voted 7-1 at a meeting in Reno Nov. 17 to make several recommendations to the BLM, including killing or selling "without restriction" about 10,000 unadoptable horses out of about 30,000 currently in BLM short-term and long-term holding areas. But the recommendation stipulates that euthanasia and selling for possible slaughter would be the last resort.
Mrs. Pickens' offer to establish a sanctuary for all 30,000 horses, along with another offer from an unnamed party to take up to 5,000 horses, were presented at the meeting, attended by about 150.The bureau is considering the private help, which could face some bureaucratic hurdles, along with other possible actions to contain the mounting cost of keeping the horses, an agency spokesman says.
The advisory board made a total of 18 management recommendations, including wider use of fertility control. All are to be posted soon on the Web at http://www.blm.gov/.