The issue of managing wild horses is nothing new to Nevadans. Now, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is proposing to create seven new wild horse preserves. According to the New York Times, the preserves would hold about 25,000 non-reproducing horses and wild burros and promote environmental tourism.
Where and how big the preserves would be is yet to be determined, as is the cost of the program. However, two preserves proposed for the East and Midwest alone are estimated at $96 million. Yet Salazar says the new preserves would be a savings to the taxpayer, as the government currently feeds and houses 32,000 horses in corrals, while another 37,000 roam free. This is up from 1971, when there were just 25,000 wild horses and burros.
Euthanasia or horse slaughter is not a proposed part of the preserves program, though contraception and gelding more herds would be, a move which some wild-horse advocates disdain. “It takes the wild out of wild-horse herds,” documentary filmmaker Ginger Kathrens told the New York Times.