GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) -- Animal advocacy groups across the nation responded with outrage this week after the BLM Wild Horse and Burrow Advisory Board recommended that the agency euthanize tens of thousands of wild horses.
The recommendation struck a nerve with many Coloradans who see the wild horses as a symbol of the West and do not want to see them destroyed.
The advisory board said something had to be done to deal with rising costs of an overpopulation of wild horses on public lands. However, the BLM decided not to pursue any of the board’s recommendations.
The board also recommended that wild horses be sold without limits, meaning they could be sold to slaughterhouses, unfit owners or anyone willing to take them on.
According to the BLM, Colorado is home to about 1,500 wild horses, but only has enough resources to support about 800 wild horses. Nationwide that number reaches beyond 55,000 horses—more than twice what officials say the U.S. can handle.
"There could be a breakthrough there—we certainly hope so, but for the time being, until that happens, we are just going to have to soldier on," said Tom Gorey, spokesperson for the BLM in Washington D.C.
The BLM has attempted many fertility control options, such as a vaccination called PZP. Gorey additionally said they the BLM has invested $11 million for population reduction research.
"It’s not a fool proof system, it’s not perfect,” said Tom Gorey.
The organization Friends of the Mustangs said the rising population can be stalled with adoption.
"Instead of criticizing and cutting down the BLM put yourself out there and adopt a mustang and help support all the horses that are on the range,” said Carolyn Gilbert, president of the Friends of the Mustangs.
Still, the advocacy group said the BLM has not fixed the issue—they are simply ignoring the problem and will continue on with their current strategies.