Tensions are growing on the range in a turf battle that has been simmering for decades over one of the icons of the American West.
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Wild Horses in Nevada
The head of the government’s $70 million wild-horse management program warned last summer that it is headed for financial collapse unless “drastic changes” are made in the decades-old roundup policy she said could be setting U.S. rangeland-improvement goals back 20 years.
The government spent less than 1 percent of its wild horse management budget on contraception programs and more than 60 percent on horse holding facilities last fiscal year despite a pledge to step up use of fertility control as an alternative to controversial roundups of overpopulated mustang herds on U.S. rangelands, agency records show.
Two Nevada organizations have sued the federal government, alleging mismanagement of wild horses led to excessive damage to rangelands and the animals themselves. The Nevada Farm Bureau Federation and the Nevada Association of Counties filed suit Dec. 30 in U.S. District Court in Nevada.
A federal judge on Friday cleared the way for horse slaughterhouses to resume operating in the U.S. as early as next week.
As if the politics of the West’s wild horses wasn’t confused and conflicted enough, the Navajo Nation is riding into the issue with a surprise move that could shift the balance of the protracted battle.
Some 150 wild horses that had been set to be auctioned off for possible slaughter after their removal from the range in Nevada have been granted a reprieve.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday it doesn’t intend to round up any more wild horses from a big herd in Northern Nevada for at least two years.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Environment Department on Monday dealt a new blow to a Roswell company’s hard-fought attempts to begin slaughtering horses next month, declining a request to renew Valley Meat Co.’s wastewater discharge permit.
RENO — U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials say they plan to remove only 1,300 wild horses and burros from the range across the West this summer because of budget constraints and overflowing holding pens.