Protecting Wildness: The Vision for America’s Wild Horses & Burros

Freedom and Humane Management on Our Western Public Lands

On December 17, 1971, then President Richard M. Nixon signed into law the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, which was passed unanimously by Congress. The president’s signing statement declared,“Wild horses and burros merit man's protection historically--for they are a living link with the days of the conquistadors, through the heroic times of the Western Indians and the pioneers, to our own day when the tonic of wildness seems all too scarce. More than that, they merit it as a matter of ecological right--as anyone knows who has ever stood awed at the indomitable spirit and sheer energy of a mustang running free.”

It was a sweeping statement, one that rightly captured the awe that Americans felt at the knowledge that, in a rapidly developing world, there was still a place in America where the wild horse ran free.

Nearly 50 years later, when so much more that is wild has been lost, Americans still treasure and value the wild horse -- as iconic symbols that reflect the character of our nation -- freedom, family, survival, and the fearless, untamed spirit that makes America great.

But despite broad public support, America’s wild horses and burros are struggling to survive, as they compete with industrial development and exploitation of the public lands they call home. The very future of the wild horse -- and America’s unique public lands legacy -- are at stake.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Habitat for America’s wild horses and burros today comprises just 12 percent of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and conflicts between wild horses and extractive industries like commercial livestock grazing can be resolved with will, creative solutions, respectful dialogue, and unyielding advocacy to ensure that the will of the American people to protect these national icons is upheld.

The American Wild Horse Campaign is providing leadership to achieve new era of humane management, freedom and security for America’s wild horses and burros on our Western public lands. Our solutions-based advocacy looks for creative ways to resolve conflicts and create positive change necessary to protect America’s wild horses and burros for future generations to enjoy.

Our work focuses on the following areas:




In the Wild Solutions

Please join us in the fight to protect and preserve America's wild horses on our Western public lands. Their future depends on us.


Read the New York Times oped by AWHC Board President, Ellie Price