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Mustang Sanctuary Plan to Move Forward with a Test Group of 1,000 Horses

The pilot program will move 1,000 Mustangs from BLM holding to Madeleine Pickens' wild horse sanctuary.

By | 20-Sep-10

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Mustangs in BLM holdingThe Bureau of Land Management (BLM) currently has more than 36,000 wild horses and burros in short- and long-term holding. While some find new homes through adoption events, many are left in holding indefinitely.

After becoming aware of the wild horses' plight, billionaire philanthropist Madeleine Pickens stepped up with a plan to move Mustangs from BLM holding to eco-sanctuaries. Under Pickens's plan, horses would be allowed to roam in a relatively natural state, but the sanctuary would be open to visitors wishing to learn more about wild horses.

The plan has remained fairly stagnant since Pickens first proposed it in 2008. On September 16, 2010, Pickens announced that the BLM had agreed to support a pilot program for the wild horse eco-sanctuary.

"We are so thankful for the opportunity to start our pilot program with 1,000 horses, and we aim to get all 36,000+ horses in holding soon after," Pickens said on her website. "Saving America's Mustangs gives our sincerest thanks for the monumental cooperation on the part of the BLM for an alternative to the holding pens."

If Pickens's plan is successful, it will help alleviate the problem of too many Mustangs in captivity with too few potential adopters. However, wild horse advocates are still working to end the BLM's wild horse gathers, claiming that the horses should be left to live on the western rangeland without interference. The BLM counters that ending the gathers isn't an option as the herds can double in size every four years and the ecosystem cannot maintain such an overpopulation.

For more information on Madeleine Pickens and her plan for wild horses, visit

For more information on the BLM's wild horse and burro program, visit

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Mustang Sanctuary Plan to Move Forward with a Test Group of 1,000 Horses

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Reader Comments

peggy    blanca, CO

11/22/2010 8:22:14 AM

I thought this plan was in their words, 'shot down' at the recent meeting???? If not, well, its a start.

Judie    Agoura, CA

10/5/2010 8:54:25 PM

what about birth control. They can do it through feed. THat is not exactly a no brainer solution.

Pat    Great Falls, MT

9/28/2010 11:37:51 PM

I've read some of the comments. Yes, Ms Pickens is a private citizen, not Federal and yes, it is similar to Salazars plan, sort of. It is in the West, where it should be, not the East. She has worked so hard to get this going, with plans of 12,000 horses, from what I understand. Hurrah for Ms Pickens, her plan and her partners. It's about time to get those horses out of the holding pens, that's not where they belong. Cattle/Ranchers/greed will always be the way of politics. Open pit mines and pipelines will replace the Mustang and Burros, sooner than you think.

Anne    Reno, NV

9/23/2010 10:04:59 AM

Unfortunately Mrs. Pickens' plan is only for 1,000 non-reproducing (sterile) wild horses at first and then up to 4,000 non-reproducing mustangs from new roundups annually. This does not get the massive amount of American wild mustangs out of feedlot style "long term holding" in the Midwest. Pickens' plan privatizes our federally protected wild horses ~ Isn't this part of Secretary Salazar's Initiative that will go before Congress this fall? What's wrong with this picture?

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