The Plight of the American Mustangs
There are seventy-three thousand wild horses roaming the American West, most concentrated in Nevada.
In December 1971, President Richard Nixon signed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. This described the animals as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” that “enrich the lives of the American people.” The law stated that they should be left to live on the land where they were “presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands,” and “protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death.” As the population increased, The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began hostile round-ups forcing the mustangs into government pens.
In 2017, the House Appropriation Committee authorized a budget that would allow the BLM to kill many of the animals in its care. President Trump has gone even further in the 2018 budget to allow horses to be sold to any buyer - allowing animals to go to slaughter in Mexico and Canada.