Wild horse and burro populations have skyrocketed and are now more than triple the size that our public landscapes can sustain. On the range, these animals compete for water and forage with other wildlife. The result is that there are too many horses on too little range and many horses are facing starvation. Some wild horses and burros are taken off the range but are kept in federally-run holding facilities. Housing the horses and burros in these facilities cost taxpayers $50,000 over the course of the animal’s life. Obviously, this is not a sustainable solution.
For several years PERC has researched this issue, trying to find a market-based solution that limits the burden imposed on taxpayers and gets horses out of holding facilities and into real homes. In 2017 we came up with the incentive payment program. Now, the BLM will pay an individual $1000 to adopt a horse or burro. The new program will pay qualified adopters $1,000 to help cover the expenses associated with caring for horses and burros. We’re excited to see how this program can benefit wild horses and burros, our rangelands, and taxpayers.