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More time to consider wild horse plan

August 1, 2010

US federal authorities are allowing a further 30 days for public feedback on its plans for the national wild horse and burro programme.

The Bureau of Land Management will accept feedback on its strategy development document up to September 3, 2010.

The document outlines possible management actions under consideration by the bureau.

It follows on from the plan announced in October last year by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who outlined a vision for wild horse management which included new herd management on more productive land east of the western rangelands and more aggressive use of long-term fertility-control measures.

The aim is, over time, to reduce the estimated 35,000 wild horses being held, in captivity - a number which is straining the bureau's budget.

While some animal welfare groups welcomed plans to use long-term contraceptives, others labelled the proposal the Salazoo plan and criticised several key elements, saying the horses should remain on the western rangelands.

The bureau says it is accepting email comments on the plan at Submitters are asked to put "WHB Public Comment" in the subject line.

Mail submissions can be sent to the bureau's Washington Office, 1849 C Street NW, Rm. 5665, Washington, DC 20240.

The strategy document was released to the public for review and comment on June 3.

Bureau director Bob Abbey said the extension was introduced to allow the fullest possible opportunity for the public to comment.

"We are committed to working with all stakeholders in a transparent manner to ensure the future health of our wild horses," he said.

The bureau estimates that more than 38,000 wild horses and burros roam managed rangelands in 10 Western states.

There are 35,000 wild horses and burros in holding facilities. In the 2009 financial year, about $US29 million, or about 70 per cent of the total wild horse and burro programme budget of $US40.6 million, was spent on animals held in corrals and pastures.



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