Knowledge, Tradition, and Community Predict Success for BLM Wild Horse Adoptions in Colorado and Texas

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 Center for Animals and Public Policy, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts UniversityNorth Grafton, MA
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With almost 50,000 wild horses in holding facilities and declining adoption rates, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse adoption program is in crisis. To improve our understanding of Bureau of Land Management wild horse adopters, we conducted three in-depth interviews with 52 adopters in Colorado and Texas, spaced over their first year of adoption. Questions sought information on the adopters, their adopted horses, and their adoption experiences. The participants who completed all three interviews were uniformly satisfied with their adoptions. We argue that three factors inherent to wild horse culture in these states supported adopter satisfaction: adopters’ previous knowledge about horses, a western North American tradition that values wild horses, and participation in wild horse organizations. A lack of this culture in other regions may explain why they are less welcoming to wild horses and have lower rates of adoptions.

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