KBR Wild Horse and Burro News

New innovations on the horizon?

  BLM tries out National Internet Adoption
and Shipping Network (NIASN) Program

Story date: January, 2006
Revised August, 2006
5 year old buckskin mare, ID# 6198
Palomino Valley Center, NV
Sipping his third cup of coffee, veteran Bureau of Land Management wrangler Mike Myers wrangles the keyboard of his office computer. As the Assistant Operations Manager of BLM's Palomino Valley Center, Myers seems to spend nearly as much time on the computer as he does out with the horses. His mission today is to launch a new experiment, the National Internet Adoption and Shipping Network.

Palomino Valley Center (otherwise known as PVC) is the BLM's largest facility for receiving wild horses and burros and to prepare them to be placed with qualified adopters. The BLM manages approximately 34 million acres of public lands in the west upon which graze nearly 32,000 free roaming horses and burros. Each year between 3,000 and 4,000 "excess" horses and burros are brought to PVC to be adopted by private citizens, or to be shipped to BLM facilities in other states for adoption or be placed in long term holding.

While a debate may rage over how many horses and burros should remain on public lands and how many should be considered as "excess" and be gathered in, Myers' objective is simple and clear... place as many of the gathered horses burros as he can in appropriate private care with the least stress and risk to the animals.

Historically most horses and burros have been shipped from PVC to distant BLM facilities where they were then trucked to various locations known as "satellite adoptions." Qualified private citizens could then adopt animals from these offerings. And while these adoptions (nationwide) placed around 5,700 horses and burros with adopters in a typical year, Myers is looking for a better mousetrap.

Shipping horses from adoption to adoption costs money and is stressful to the animals. Furthermore, in late 2004 Senator Conrad Burns inserted a rider in an appropriations bill that in effect removed long standing protections for horses that were sent to three adoption offerings and not placed with adopters. While it is still necessary to bring horses out to the various "adoption markets" through the use of satellite adoptions, it made sense to develop more efficient alternatives to this historic process.

Adopters at a satellite adoption.

The elements of the NIASN program are also in response to feedback from wild horse and burro adopters. Most of the horses and burros roam Nevada. Most of the adopters are located in California, Texas and the eastern states. There were concerns expressed that most of the best looking horses were "gleaned" by adopters located closer to PVC before they reached points farther east.

The NIASN program was therefore designed to provide a low cost and low stress alternative to the traditional satellite adoption system and also allow potential adopters from all points of the country "equal access" to the horses or burros of their choice at the base adoption fee of $125.00.

The NIASN program will include the following elements.

  • A group of horses at PVC will be selected for the pilot program.

  • The horses would be available for viewing on the internet.

  • Interested potential adopters could also view details of the animals being offered, download adoption applications and forms, and talk directly to personnel at PVC who are familiar with the horses.

  • Approved adopters would be able to secure their choices via the internet, FAX or mail.

  • Horses could be picked up at PVC or could be included in normally scheduled shipments to BLM facilities in Illinois, Nebraska and Oklahoma as may be more convenient for adopters.

  • If a horse is determined to be unsuitable upon delivery the adopter may select an alternative animal.

  • Adopters would be subject to the same compliance, maintenance and care responsibilities and other terms and conditions under BLM's Adopt-a-Horse or burro Program.

In reviewing the elements of the NIASN program, it appears evident that it provides several advantages. Horses and burros will not be transported needlessly. The animals being offered will not be subject to the "three strikes" legislation. Adopters may choose from a wider variety of animals. The animals will be shipped free of charge to facilities closer to the adopters' home regions.

August, 2006 Update

The NIASN program appears to be gaining in popularity. Available horses can typically be viewed at BLM's On Site Gallery.

Return to KBR Wild Horse and Burro News

Return to KBR World of Wild Horses & Burros

Go to other Wild Horse Links

Go To KBR Horse Net