The Bureau of Land Management has been created to manage the population of wild horses that roam free in ten U.S. states. Since horses are not indigenous to the area and have no natural predators, their numbers have well exceeded carrying capacity for the land. Some of the wild horses and burros gathered from BLM roundups wind up being slaughtered.
In order to prevent their slaughter, they are offered up for sale or adoption. Over the last five years, there has been a steady decline in the number of wild horses and burros adopted by private owners. This year, the numbers could be low again due to tough economic conditions making it harder for the public to take on additional financial responsibilities. The minimum adoption fee for one of the animals is $125.
Attending the Virginia event wasn’t necessary if you want to adopt a wild horse or burro. Online applications to the BLM are accepted until November 1. In order to qualify to adopt a wild BLM animal you must meet these qualifications:
- be at least 18 years of age (parents or guardians may adopt a wild horse or burro and allow younger family members to care for the animal);
- have no prior conviction for inhumane treatment of animals or for violations of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act;
- demonstrate that you have adequate feed, water, and facilities to provide humane care for the number of animals requested; and,
- show that you can provide a home for the adopted animal in the United States.
If you are deemed eligible in order for the adoption to go forward you must be able to demonstrate you can provide at least 400 square feet of fenced space for each animal adopted. Adequate shelter must be provided for an animal to remain dry and warm during rain or snow storms. The BLM estimates costs per animal each year are about 1,000 dollars. The following items should be considered when budgeting for yearly expenses:
- Stall/Corral Rental Shoeing
- Veterinarian Worming
- Vaccinations Medicine
- Insecticides Salt/Supplements
- Feed Grooming Supplies
You can adopt up to four animals per year, though adopting more is possible with a special application. To find out about adoption events in your area use their toll-free phone number 866-4MUSTANGS. You can also fill out a PDF form and mail it to the BLM. If adoption is not possible, and you still want to support wild horses and burros, you can contact the BLM about volunteering to work with them.
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