Senate Democrats

Reid Introduces Wild Horse Legislation


Introduces legislation offering adoption incentives, more protection for wild horses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Harry Reid introduced legislation today to protect wild horses and improve the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) wild horse and burro adoption program.

The legislation includes provisions to lower the wild horse adoption fee and give the BLM more flexibility in finding good homes for wild horses. The bill also extends one-year of federal protection to wild horses acquired through the BLM’s sale program.

“When good people want to adopt horses and meet the requirements set forth by the BLM, they should have as few barriers to overcome as possible,” Reid said. “By increasing the number of horses that can be adopted and lowering the adoption fee, we believe that we can put more horses into the hands of more quality owners.”

Nationally, there are an estimated 32,000 wild horses on public lands, 4,000 more than the rangelands can sustain. Unfortunately, the BLM has failed to develop a comprehensive, successful program for managing the wild horse population.

With more than half of the horses located in Nevada, the state is hit particularly hard when the BLM’s wild horse and burro program does not meet its own wild horse management goals.

The legislation Reid introduced today is designed to put more horses under the care of private owners, instead of the federal government. The bill lowers the wild horse adoption fee from $125 to $25 and eliminates the current adoption limit of four horses per year.

The legislation also provides one-year of federal protection for horses that are sold to private owners through the BLM as part of a program initiated earlier this year.

Congress passed legislation last year that allowed the BLM to sell a limited number of the horses that were previously deemed unadoptable and had been placed on in long-term holding facilities in the Midwest. Unfortunately, the sale program was abused by a handful of buyers and a small number of the horses that were sold ended up at slaughter.

Those instances led to the need for greater protections for wild horses. Under the Reid’s legislation, the BLM will maintain the title to any horse sold for one year. Details of each sale, how many horses will be sold and the cost, are worked out between the buyer and the BLM

“The goal,” Reid added, “is to give all wild horses the maximum protection available and provide the BLM with the management tools they need to get tens of thousands of wild horses and burros into safe and caring homes.”

Congressman Jon Porter introduced companion legislation, cosponsored by Congresswoman Shelley Berkley and Congressman Jim Gibbons, in the House of Representatives today.