Herd of Wild Horses Gets in Way of Bush Admin’s Drilling Plans

It may come as a surprise to some that the U.S. is still home to about 27,000 wild, free-roaming mustangs, not yet driven from their open ranges by human development. But just wait. The Bureau of Land Management is set to round up one of Colorado’s five remaining mustang herds and remove it from its terrain in order to make room for — can’t you just guess? — oil and gas drilling. The horses will either be adopted or moved to “sanctuaries,” i.e., long-term holding facilities. Conservationists say this Bush administration move would contravene a federal mandate on management of wild horses and set a bad precedent for treatment of other mustang herds. Says Andrea Rococo of The Fund for Animals, “We think it’s shameful.” But Bob Fowler of the BLM defended the agency’s treatment of horses, and added that mustangs might be returned to the area after oil and gas reserves are depleted — in perhaps 40 years.