Wild burros along a road.


Wild Horses & Burro Management

Photo by: Sheila Merrigan

The management of feral horses and burros in the American West has been a heated national debate for decades.  Horses and burros have been cast as a symbol and the heart of America’s pioneering spirit of the Wild West.  Horses and burros have been protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act since 1971 and under federal management of the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service.  These agencies are tasked with managing horses and burros in a thriving ecological balance with the land as part of the natural landscape.  There are many challenges with managing these animals on public lands where the land is under a variety of uses, from cattle grazing to recreation.  Proponents against wild horse protection see the animals as damaging to the ecological resources of the West as well as an expensive venture for the American public in terms of control and management.  Horse advocates and conservationists see them as a part of America’s history and in need of protection and preservation.