Don't fear the plight of wild horses just yet. An online uproar ensued this week after a federal advisory panel recommended killing 45,000 such horses and burros, but Reuters reports that no such plans are in the works. It quotes a spokesman for the US Bureau of Land Management as saying in an email that the agency will "continue its current policy of caring for unadopted or unsold wild horses and burros" and will "not sell or send any animals to slaughter." Left unclear, however, is whether that decision could change when the agency formally responds to the advisory panel's recommendation months from now.
The animals are currently being kept in off-range corrals after being removed from lands mostly in the West to prevent overgrazing. The first option is to try to have people adopt the animals, but the BLM says it can find nowhere near the number of necessary takers, and so spends about $50 million a year caring for the animals. The BLM estimates that in addition to the animals rounded up, another 67,000 are roaming wild, up from 58,000 just last year, reports the Christian Science Monitor. A lack of natural predators helps explain the jump. (Read more wild horses stories.)