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Catching the spirit: a study of Bureau of Land Management wild horse adopters in New England

By M. A. Koncel, A. T. Rutberg

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Abstract

Between 1971 and 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) adopted out nearly 225,000 horses and burros in the wild (wild horses and burro) who were removed from public lands (BLM, 2009). The inability of the BLM to adopt out wild horses as quickly as they are removed and recurring reports that many wild horse adoptions fail suggests that a better understanding of the adoption program is warranted. This study surveyed and interviewed 38 New Englanders who collectively adopted 68 wild horses directly from the BLM during the last 15 years. Adopters who participated in the study generally described their experiences as positive. They desired a range of horses in terms of age, gender, and color; they were flexible when deciding the activities that best suited their horses. Adopters' past knowledge of, and experience with, horses appeared not to play a major role in the success of the adoption. However, willingness to seek assistance and the availability of support were crucial for many of them. Based on the findings, the study made recommendations for better marketing of the program and improvement of the quality of adoptions.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 15
Issue 1
Pages 32-52
ISBN/ISSN 1532-7604 (Electronic)1088-8705 (Linking)
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2012.624052
Language eng
Author Address Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University. mary.koncel@tufts.edu
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Tags
  1. Adults
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Conservation
  4. Females
  5. Horses
  6. Human-animal bond
  7. Males
  8. Middle age
  9. New England
  10. Ownership
  11. peer-reviewed
  12. Wild animals
  13. Young Adult
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed