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Lawmakers and agencies are looking for a safe way to round up 82,000 wild horses

The government has confined 82,000 wild horses

Corral some of the horses for 10 years. western states. This year, the agency, known as BLM, is tasked with reducing wild horse and donkey herds to 20,000. To listen to animals, authorities use special tools like helicopters.

Jeff Fontana has worked with the Federal Bureau of Land Management for over 30 years and cares for America's wild horses. 

"Helicopters are a safe and efficient way to move large numbers of animals through the landscape," Fontana said in Lassen County, Calif., in the Twin Peaks Mountains. told Joy Benedict of the News. 

A chase that goes on for miles as Chopper descends on a pack of horses and confines them to his one area.  

According to Fontana, it is relatively safe for horses, but injuries do occur. 

"Our track record in this program has been very good, with less than 1% of his injuries leading to death from collection activities, less than 0.5," Fontana said. .

Horses can be killed by BLM helicopter collection tactics. It's the same way they die from range due to depleted resources caused by overcrowding, Fontana said.

Jason Latterman works for his program Wild Horse and Barrow, where he has conducted 46 roundups in the West this year. He said it was essential to keep the herd appropriately sized to ensure that there was enough food and water for everyone. 

Wild horses increase by 15 to 20 percent a year if growth is not managed, and the herd continues to grow, eventually degrading the land and running out of food: water,” Lutterman said. Told. 

"Our goal is to maintain healthy herds on healthy public lands. All we can do is ensure that the animals have sufficient resources to survive." he said. He said. 

BLM He manages 26.9 million acres of land. Founded in the 1940s, it oversaw and preserved state lands and leased them for profitable livestock grazing. However, when wild mustangs began to be hunted, Congress passed the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Barros Act in 1971 to protect wild mustangs and their habitat.  

However, using helicopters to capture wild horses is controversial and some say it is inhumane.

Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus has launched a formal review of what BLM is doing after she became concerned about whether horses were being humanely collected. 

"The responsibility of the government, BLM, is to manage humanely and there is nothing humane about what is going on," she said.

"I didn't realize how terrifying they were until some activist group started tracking these groups. They used helicopters and horses. It's cornered," Titus added.

Titus also introduced a bill to ban helicopters. Last year alone she was accused of killing 25 horses, and Titus believes using cowboys is a more humane method.

"Save horses, hire cowboys. They know how to herd horses, and I'm sure it's more humane than this," said Titus. 


BLM stopped using cowboys to tour Mustangs in the 1970s. Mr Fontana said in the past it was a "really difficult situation" to remove a horse from a horse.

The Bureau of Land Management has spent more than $450 million on her wild horse and donkey program over the past five years. Of that total, $25 million was spent on animal collection, most of which was spent on the care of long-term captive horses. 

"Non-adopted animals are cared for long-term in large open grasslands in ex situ pastures, allowing these animals to roam for the rest of their lives. That's right, it costs about 60% of the budget to care for, for animals that aren't adopted and sold," Fontana said. 

Horses are adopted. However, the BLM only monitors the adopted horse for the first year. 

Fontana said the horse was adopted in the past and endured slaughter, although he tries to monitor it as best he can. 

"It's something we're acutely aware of, something that's always on top of it," said Fontana.

One morning BLM assembled his 46 horses, including his 6 foals. Two were ill and were euthanized, but most of the horses were sent to temporary housing. 

The handful of horses collected are spayed and released. The rest will live a home life away from pastures, away from the land that once set them wild and free. 

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