In Section 3 of the original WHB Act, Congress ordered the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture to balance the needs of horses and burros with those of wildlife, especially endangered species. There was no provision for domestic livestock.
Overpopulation was to be determined relative to wildlife in the affected area, not privately owned cattle and sheep.
Today, the ranchers have endorsed a plan that will reduce the number of free-roaming horses and burros to an ‘acceptable’ level, unrelated to the carrying capacity of the land.
Eighty percent of those animals will end up in off-range facilities and the remaining herds will be managed to extinction.
The Marr Plan is a step in the right direction but its scope is too small.
It’s time to get all the livestock off public lands and restore the Wild Horse and Burro Act to its original form.