The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the US state of Colorado is rounding up hundreds of wild horses in the north-western part of the state claiming that there are more feral horses in the region than the land can sustain. However, animal rights activists have concerns about the animals’ health during the roundup. The BLM is transporting the Piceance East-Douglas horses to a holding facility in Utah after nearly 150 horses died in captivity from a flu outbreak in Cañon City this spring.
The roundup began in June with bait traps used to lure the animals into corrals, but in July the borough introduced horse riders and helicopters. Scott Wilson, Colorado spokesperson for the American Wild Horse Campaign, said to KUNC, “the helicopter is basically terrorising these populations of animals across a chase of miles and miles…I’m constantly surprised by how few Coloradans are even aware that wild horses exist in Colorado.” The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is a nonprofit organization fighting to ensure the future of America’s iconic wild horses and burros and the Western public lands where they roam. They work to reform the cruel and costly federal wild horse and burro roundup program and replace it with humane management that keeps wild horses and burros wild, protected, and free. AWHC manages one of the largest, humane fertility control program for wild, free-roaming horses in the world.
Despite people using the term “wild horses” and the animals roaming free in the countryside, these, and many other wild horses in many countries, are not wild animals, but domesticated animals who became feral several generations ago. But from an animal welfare and animal rights point of view, this does not matter as they have now been established in the wild and therefore deserve to be protected as any other animal there.