Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Economy sours West's wild horse adoption market

When the U.S. Bureau of Land Management put more than 450 wild horses and burros up for adoption here last month, the dirt parking lot was filled with cars and trucks — but very few horse trailers. While wild horses still draw curious onlookers, the market for adopting them in Utah and across the West has cooled dramatically. In 2002, more than 7,700 were adopted nationwide. Last year, as part of a steady decline, it was 3,700. And so far this fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, only 713 have been adopted, according to BLM figures. It's a discouraging development for an agency that relies on adoptions to help keep wild populations in check and is out of room at long-term holding facilities for unadopted horses. Each year, government agents take thousands of horses and burros off the range and put them up for adoption. More than 220,000 have been adopted since 1971. But these days, even at rock-bottom prices — $125 each and $25 more for a "buddy" — the agency is struggling to find buyers. Feed costs aren't the only reason. There is also the rising price of fuel and the falling price for domesticated horses on the market, driven in part by the closure of the nation's horse slaughterhouses...

1 comment:

dr john said...

This has to be one of the biggest "I told you so moments" around.Where in the hell is Madeline and T. Boner and all of those other horse huggers and kissers when they are needed..