KBR Wild Horse and Burro News

Interpretation of law
making matters worse?

  BLM Pulls Older Wild Horses
from Adoptions

Story date: January 6, 2005
This 13 year old stud was pulled from the internet adoption due to an interpretation that requires him to be sold under the Burns rider.

Adopters have been told that this horse, ID# 7404, is no longer available.
Burns, OR

Senator Conrad Burns has repeatedly told the media that his law was intended to prod the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the country's wild horse groups into solving the wild horse sanctuary problem. He claims that he did not intend to have large numbers of horses shipped off to slaughter.

Spokespeople for the BLM insisted verbally and in press releases that they intended to do everything possible to get the backlog of horses placed.

Wild horse groups and individual wild horse supporters have been researching ways to adopt older horses as well as "three strikes" horses that were at risk of going to livestock sales.

Then the horses have started disappearing. Not from the corrals, but from the adoption lists.

Nancy Kerson, Director of the Western States Wild Horse and Burro Expo was looking at horse Number 7407, a thirteen year old pinto stud that was not too old to adopt or use for breeding. When she went back to again look at the horse, 7407 and several others were gone.

Kerson explained, "I called Burns (the BLM Burns, OR facility) and they took my contact info. They said that this is all new to them and they had to pull the older ones because they were told they were in violation of the new law. But they are hoping to come up with a sale plan that will allow folks who want the older horses to purchase them. Under the new law they can only be sold, not adopted. But they are hoping that would-be adopters will be able to buy them."

This turn of policy has inflamed wild horse advocates. Once the animals reach the livestock sale, the only probable "deep pockets" that are likely to take them are the killer buyers.

"Everyone has been telling us that BLM was going to do everything that it could to adopt out the (Senator) Burns rider horses," lamented Willis Lamm, President of the Least Resistance Training Concepts Wild Horse Mentors. "Many groups are willing to work with BLM yet one of BLM's first decisions is to pull horses that the public is apparently willing to adopt. Our frustration includes BLM's consistent track record of interpreting laws, whether involving range usage or adoption policies, in ways that ultimately harm the horses. Plus, if we want to discuss wasting taxpayers' money, it's certainly a waste to ship western horses to long term holding facilities in Oklahoma and Kansas if there are adopters for them here on the west coast."

Most wild horse advocates, while fighting to have the Burns rider repealed by Congress, would like to see more, not fewer horses placed with adopters during this transitional period.

"Senator Burns claimed that he wanted to get these horses out of inventory," Lamm said. "If that is truly the case, BLM needs to make the most liberal interpretation that it can of existing laws in order to get as many horses in the hands of adopters as possible. If they don't, all the PR stuff coming from Burns and his allies in Congress is just window dressing."

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