Some 2,000 wild horses of the American West were in danger of euthanasia—until billionaire T. Boone Pickens’ wife, Madeleine, stepped in and offered to adopt them and 28,000 of their closest friends, the Washington Post reports. The Bureau of Land Management holds the animals in pens, rounding up thousands each year to avoid a grazing shortage, but their numbers were growing too big to handle.
Under the Bush administration, the bureau’s horse holdings have more than tripled, reaching 30,088 as of June. Euthanasia is legal, but animal rights groups have fought it. And, meanwhile, the overpopulation problem has become “intractable,” says a lobbyist concerned about resources for cattle. The bureau’s deputy head is urging Congress to address the issue. Lawmakers have voiced opposition to euthanasia, he notes, “but the law says, 'You shall.'”