(LAS VEGAS, KXNT)–Wild horses and burros are getting added protection under new federal policies aimed at making the sale and treatment of the animals more humanitarian.
The new policy at BLM, the Bureau of Land Management, is the result of a review prompted by news reports of a Colorado man who bought more than 1700 of the wild animals in a short period of time. The government sells horses and burros which roam public lands in Nevada and throughout the West.
According to Tom Gorey, a BLM spokesman interviewed by KXNT, the new policy stipulates that no more than four wild horses and/or burros can be bought by an individual or group within a period of six months without prior approval of an Assistant Director in the agency. Additionally, anyone buying a horse or burro must describe where they will keep the animal, and provide transportation for the animal which is subject to safety review and follow-up inspection by BLM.
The policy is aimed at preventing horses and/or burros from being sold to so-called kill houses, or to owners who intend to slaughter.
Gorey tells KXNT that BLM has sold more than 5,400 horses and burros under the program in the past seven years. The program is entirely separate from a BLM-sponsored adaption program that has found places for more than 230,000 of the animals during the past forty years.
Prior to this new policy, BLM was authorized since 1971 to sell an unlimited number of animals to individual buyers, but Gorey says they have never done so.
BLM is encouraging anyone who has observed inhumane treatment or the sale to a slaughterhouse of a federally-protected wild horse or burro, or who has information about such an incident to contact the agency with specific information. The special number is 866-4MUSTANGS (866-468-7826).