As the second half of the FY 2022 gather season ramps up, here are two provisions from the current statute to keep in mind as the action unfolds.
§1331. 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
§1332. “Range” means the amount of land necessary to sustain an existing herd or herds of wild free-roaming horses and burros, which does not exceed their known territorial limits, and which is devoted principally but not necessarily exclusively to their welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept for the public lands
The undefined concept of Appropriate Management Levels was not in the original statute, nor were there any provisions for privately owned livestock, yet today the land that remains is managed primarily for livestock and AMLs correspond to a tiny fraction of the available resources.