What happens to wild horses after they have been captured?


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Helicopter roundups are dangerous and expensive operations that result in horses being traumatized, separated from their families, and injured or killed. But the cruelty doesn’t end with helicopter roundups — once captured, wild horses are corralled in overburdened Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holding facilities, where they face even more inhumane treatment.


The BLM has guidelines for holding facilities that are part of its Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program (CAWP). These guidelines include ensuring captured animals receive basic care such as access to food and water, vaccinations, and well-constructed facilities to minimize injuries.

Our Investigations Team has long had concerns about the BLM’s care of wild horses and burros in these holding pens, and unfortunately, our concerns were validated when the BLM finally began to evaluate its facilities using CAWP standards this year.

Here’s what it found: Vaccinations were not given in a timely manner, facilities were understaffed, not all animals had simultaneous access to food and water, facility maintenance and upkeep had fallen by the wayside, horses were found in poor body condition, and little attention was paid to proper biosecurity measures.

These findings are incredibly concerning with nearly 64,000 animals confined in facilities across the country. Even worse, 2022 saw the deadliest disease outbreak in BLM history in its Cañon City holding pens, which claimed the lives of nearly 150 unvaccinated wild horses who had been in the “care” of the agency for 9 months.

This system is at a breaking point, which is why we’re calling on you to take action and demand that the Department of the Interior address these CAWP violations and commit to keeping captured wild horses and burros safe. Will you take action now, and speak up for these innocent animals?


Thousands of wild horses and burros are locked up in these overburdened and unsafe facilities right now → and American taxpayers are footing the bill. This is an outdated and expensive cycle that desperately needs enhanced accountability measures and stronger enforcement from the BLM.

As the roundups continue, more and more wild horses and burros are going to be piled into this network of overcrowded and under-resourced holding facilities. It’s a crisis that’s only going to worsen as time goes on — unless we choose to act here and now and demand that the BLM rigorously and consistently enforce its own CAWP standards.

Will you take action now and demand that the Department of the Interior take up this issue and ensure wild horses are safe after they are captured?


Thanks for acting on behalf of wild horses and burros, Meredith.

— AWHC Team

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