Hold Your Horses, Bureau of Land Management! The 10th Circuit is Rearin’ to Protect Equine Rights: A Closer Look at Federal Legislation Affecting Wild Horses
From carrying pioneers to the West, soldiers to war, Denver to the Super Bowl, and coal from the mines, horses have been viewed as an integral part of American society. Despite the weighty compassion that many Americans feel for horses, since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the population of wild horses in the West has decreased by 75%. The Issue, Am. Wild Horse Preservation, http://www.wildhorsepreservation.org/issue (last visited Jan. 13, 2017).
In 1971, Congress acted to help prevent this rapid decline by passing the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (“the Act”), which recognizes that “wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; [and] that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people . . . .” 16 U.S.C. § 1331 (2012). In order to protect the horses, Congress declared that “wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.” Id.