All through the western United States, wild horses that when roamed freely are ending up in pens at amenities described as kill pens.
The house owners of those corporations usually purchase horses at auctions after which resell them, usually to slaughterhouses overseas or to rescuers hoping to avoid wasting the animals from such a destiny.
Wild horses and donkeys are protected below a 1971 legislation that gives these unmarked animals the precise to stay on public lands, sometimes called a variety. However the Bureau of Land Administration says their numbers have soared, and the ensuing overpopulation requires interventions that price taxpayers hundreds of thousands, hurt vegetation and wildlife, and create challenges for ranchers whose cows share the land.
The identical legislation, handed 50 years in the past, duties the company with caring for wild horse and donkey populations, together with sustaining ecological steadiness — even when which means eradicating extra animals. So, annually, the BLM units a goal variety of wild horses and burros to spherical up. Final 12 months, greater than 20,000 had been eliminated.
Many of those horses are despatched to government-funded barns and pastures. Some are put up for adoption, and since 2019, an incentive program has paid adopters $1,000 to undertake and look after the animals for a 12 months. Possession of the horses then passes to those non-public house owners and the destiny of the horses is left of their palms.
In some circumstances, the animals are bought, which can put them on the highway to a slaughterhouse. An NBC Information investigation discovered that many horses with federal freeze tags — figuring out distinctive symbols on horses’ necks after they’re captured — are being bought in on-line adverts posted by kill pens in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Paperwork obtained by a federal information request present that the tag numbers on these horses match federal adoption papers.