Polling: 3 Out of 4 Americans Oppose Inhumane Helicopter Roundups of Wild Horses 

Bipartisan Opposition Mounts to Bureau of Land Management’s Plan to Roundup 19,000 of America’s Iconic Animals This Year

WASHINGTON, DC (March 3, 2022) – New polling released today by the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) finds 74 percent of American voters, regardless of political affiliation, oppose helicopter roundups of wild horses and burros, a common yet outdated, inhumane, and taxpayer-funded population management tool used by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 

More so, three out of four Americans oppose the BLM’s 2022 plans to roundup and remove 19,000 of these iconic animals from their habitats on western public lands. Eighty-eight percent of Americans want our nation’s federally-protected wild horses and burros protected on public lands.

These findings come at a time when the BLM has accelerated roundups in an attempt to reduce wild populations to pre-protection levels of just 17,000 animals, a number that Congress called “fast disappearing” when it passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971. Fifty-one years later, the BLM is dramatically increasing the number of wild horses and burros confined to government holding facilities, straying far from public opinion. 

Mounting abuses have recently led to calls to halt the roundups and prompted federal legislation to ban the use of helicopters to stampede and capture the animals. Earlier this year, 69 members of Congress weighed in to support federal funding for fertility control vaccine programs as a humane alternative to roundups for the management of wild horses and burros in the wild. Roundups have cost the American taxpayer $53.2 million since 2006, according to the AWHC.

“This is one issue on which Republicans and Democrats agree. America’s wild horses should be protected and stay wild on our public lands, not brutally rounded up and slaughtered,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of AWHC. “The majority of voters also side with Congress in supporting birth control options to manage herd populations.” 

The Public Policy Polling conducted the survey, which polled over 520 registered voters this month. The poll found:

  • 88% of voters support protecting wild horses

  • 79% oppose the slaughter of wild horses for human consumption

  • 72% oppose removing horses from their habitat (increases to 75% after hearing more information) 

  • 74% oppose helicopter roundups

  • 75% oppose the permanent removal of 19,000 wild horses and burros this year

“Clearly the BLM and its approach to managing herds of wild horses and burros is out of touch with the American public,” said Roy. “Unfortunately in many Western states, the BLM is gearing up to host so-called adoption events that often end sadly for the horses and serve as a systemic reminder as to how broken the BLM’s herd management program is.

“It’s time to look beyond the good image the BLM tries to present. The more the American public knows about the BLM, the less supportive it is of the inhumane and outdated approach to wild horse and burros,” said Roy.

In the next few weeks, the AWHC will be educating Americans and shedding light on what happens at BLM adoption events. AWHC urges Americans to urge their representatives in Congress to support the 2022 Horse Protection Platform

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is the nation’s leading wild horse protection organization, with more than 700,000 supporters and followers nationwide. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse and burros in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. In addition to advocating for the protection and preservation of America’s wild herds, AWHC implements the largest wild horse fertility control program in the world through a partnership with the State of Nevada for wild horses that live in the Virginia Range near Reno.