Coalition: Wild Horses Aren't Endangered
April 13, 2018

This week, the Friends for Animals - an animal rights organization - asked the federal government to list feral horses in Montana as an endangered species. Such an action would give feral horses protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Unfortunately, the request fails to recognize that it is inappropriate to list a domestic livestock animal under the ESA. Western rangelands are in a crisis, and feral horses face unprecedented starvation from exploding populations that have gone unmanaged for years on a rangeland that is unable to sustain them.

"For too long, the narrative surrounding feral horse populations has been riddled with inaccuracies and dominated by misguided approaches," said Ethan Lane, Chair of the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition, of which the American Sheep Industry Association is a member. "Now is the time for responsible organizations to work together on effective management approaches that lead toward our shared goals of healthy horses on healthy rangelands."

"However well intended, the dramatic conditions on the ground are a direct result of policies advocated by those who claim to protect feral horse populations, but resist some of the difficult management decisions that need to be made," said NHBRMC Vice Chair Lia Biondo. "Feral horses are not endangered; in fact, the overpopulation of these animals has caused environmental damage across the West. The coalition is dedicated to protecting the welfare of feral horse populations, preventing the degradation of rangelands, and ensuring the well-being of all native wildlife; the recent actions by an activist organization accomplishes none of these goals."