Join the Fight to Defend America’s Wild Horses

 

We are America’s leading voice on protecting wild mustangs & burros

AWHC works to dismantle the cruel and costly federal wild horse and burro roundup program and replace it with humane management that keeps wild horses and burros wild, protected and free on our Western public lands.

Wild horse on the plains

AN OVERVIEW OF THE ISSUE

A brief history

In 1971, Congress unanimously passed the “Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act,” declaring these iconic animals to be “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” that  “enrich the lives of the American people” and are “an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.” 

Only one other species has ever received this level of federal protection: the American Bald Eagle.

Horses on open land

AN OVERVIEW OF THE ISSUE

Where wild horses roam

Nearly 80,000 wild horses (also known as mustangs) and burros roam free across our western public lands. They live in designated habitats called Herd Management Areas (HMAs), that span 27 million federal acres in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana. While most areas where mustangs and burros live are extremely remote, you can find a few iconic herds at the edge of urban sprawl just outside of metropolitan areas like Salt Lake City, Reno and Las Vegas.

Low helicopter chasing horses

AN OVERVIEW OF THE ISSUE

What’s happening

Each year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, spends more than $80 million to round up thousands of wild horses and burros with helicopters from our public lands and ship them to holding pens and pastures where taxpayers must pay to house and feed them. A small percentage will be adopted, but most will remain in holding pens and pastures for life, which for an equine can span 30 years.

Cattle

AN OVERVIEW OF THE ISSUE

Special interests drive policy

The 1971 law protects wild horses and burros from “capture, branding, harassment and death,” but pressure from special interests -- particularly the powerful livestock industry, which competes for resources on public lands -- drives the BLM’s inhumane and unsustainable wild horse and burro roundup policies.

Once wild horses and burros are captured, they're replaced on public lands by privately-owned cattle and sheep, as a part of taxpayer-subsidized public lands ranching.

Wild horses in cramped pen

AN OVERVIEW OF THE ISSUE

Fiscal irresponsibility.

The fate of these horses and burros in government holding facilities is subject to annual funding through the congressional appropriations budget”. The fear of slaughter looms as the BLM continues to stockpile wild horses, caving to special interest lobbying.