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US management of wild horses flawed, scientific report finds

Wild horse roundupA federal agency working to rein in the population of wild horses in the West should rely more on fertility control than roundups because it would be more effective, a National Academy of Sciences review said on Wednesday.

The critique of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) handling of 37,300 free-ranging horses and burros also faulted the agency for a lack of transparency and public involvement in key decisions about the federally protected animals.

An independent panel at the National Academy of Sciences conducted a two-year assessment at the request of the BLM, amid growing controversy surrounding a program that authorizes roundups, adoptions and sale of thousands of wild horses, also called mustangs, and burros.

The roundups in 10 western U.S. states are popular with ranchers, who see the efforts to curb wild herds as a means to ensure their sheep and cattle have enough grass to feed on. Groups in support of wild horses point to inhumane roundups that routinely injure and sometimes kill animals.


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