BREAKING: We worked with the New York Times to investigate the BLM’s Adoption Incentive Program


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

We have breaking news.

Over the last several months, the American Wild Horse Campaign — with assistance from Evanescent Mustang Rescue, Skydog Ranch and Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary — has been conducting an investigation into the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Adoption Incentive Program (AIP), leading to today’s New York Times report exposing this federal program as a subsidized pipeline to slaughter for federally-protected wild horses and burros.

The BLM’s AIP pays individuals $1,000 to adopt a wild, unhandled horse or burro. As AWHC predicted when the program was implemented in 2019, the initiative has been a disaster for these animals. It is now clear that the BLM is laundering horses to slaughter through the AIP and evading the long-standing Congressional slaughter ban. 

This program is a predictable result of the BLM’s inhumane and costly mass roundup program and the agency’s efforts to empty holding pens to make room for the tens of thousands of horses and burros targeted for removal over the next five years.

Our investigation, as affirmed by the New York Times, has documented:

  • Wild horses and burros are being sent to slaughter through the AIP.
  • Adopters are collecting the payments then sending horses to livestock auctions known as “kill pens” where they are purchased by kill buyers and shipped across the border for slaughter.
  • Adopters are routinely violating their BLM adoption contracts, which they sign under penalty of perjury, prohibiting the sale of these animals directly or indirectly to slaughter.
  • Groups of related individuals are evading the four-horse adoption limit by adopting multiple horses each using the same location on their applications, then collecting as much as $30,000 in AIP payments and sales of the horses at kill pens.
  • The AIP additionally has resulted in severe neglect and abuse of horses and burros by adopters unqualified or uninterested in providing adequate care.


  • The AIP should not be allowed to continue. The BLM must stop rounding up wild horses and burros and start managing them humanely in the wild. Thousands of America’s iconic wild horses and burros are at risk and need your voice.

    Please take these three actions to make change for them right now:

    1. Sign our petition demanding an end to the AIP and to mass roundups that send too many wild horses and burros into the slaughter pipeline.
    2. Share the New York Times article on social media.
    3. Call & write Congress to demand the AIP program be terminated. You can leave a message over the weekend.

    Thank you for speaking up for our wild horses and burros at this critical time!

    AWHC Team

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