March 12, 2019, WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that they will pay anyone who adopts a wild horse or burro $1000.

According to the BLM, an estimated 82,000 wild horses and burros live on public land, more than triple the number allotted. The animals are routinely rounded up and placed in holding facilities that cost taxpayers nearly $50 million a year. BLM officials concluded that its cheaper to pay people to take the horses.

“We understand that adopting a wild horse or burro represents a commitment. The incentive is designed to help with the adopter’s initial training and humane care,” said BLM Deputy Director of Programs and Policy Brian Steed. “I encourage anyone who has considered adopting a wild horse or burro to join the thousands of owners who have provided good homes to more than 245,000 wild horses or burros since 1971.”

Potential adopters must pay a $25 adoption fee and complete an application proving they have the means to feed and care for the animals, and that they will adhered to the “prohibited acts and titling requirements.” Once approved, adopters are eligible to receive a $500 payment within 60 days of the adoption date and another $500 within 60 days of titling for each animal, which normally occurs one year from the adoption date.  For more information visit the BLM site.

BLM holding facility.
Photo Credit: BLM

This new program follows another recent incentive announcement tailored for land owners. The BLM will pay private land owners to keep large numbers of animals on their property. Contractors must accommodate herds of 200-5000 animals, provide a free range area and agree to a 4 or 9 year renewal option. Bids will be accepted through May 3 from the following states: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas “Panhandle (only north of Hwy 82 and 84), Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Some parts of Oregon and Washington are excluded. For more information visit the BLM site.

In an effort to alleviate the agency’s stock, other programs were considered including sterilization (removing ovaries from mares) and selling animals for slaughter. Both were abandoned after various court rulings and overwhelming public outcry.

How to Notify the BLM about Wild Horse & Burro Abuse

Mustang freeze mark.
Photo Credit: BLM

The BLM provides information to equine sale and auction facilities regarding the illegal sale of untitled wild horses and burros. If you observe or have factual information that a federally protected (untitled) wild horse or wild burro has been treated inhumanely or illegally sold to slaughter, please contact the BLM at or at 866-468-7826 with your name, contact information, and specific information about what you saw or know. If possible, please include the freeze mark and/or photos.