Now that the federal government has taken equine slaughter off the table as a possible way to address wild and domestic equine over-population, it is only fair to ask the question of how do we now deal with more horses and burros than either the market or the environment can handle?

As horse lovers will agree, proud and noble creatures like equine must be given due consideration when it comes to managing their health and well being. While domestic equine slaughtering has not been a real threat since the last horse slaughterhouse was closed nearly seven years ago, the possibility and interest expressed in opening new slaughterhouses over the last year or so sparked an outcry that only ended when the feds finally decided the issue was too controversial to approve.

But taking the operation of equine slaughterhouses off the list of acceptable alternatives of how to humanely manage wild and domestic horse and burro populations hasn't helped solve the problem, and to be fair, it may have actually contributed to the urgency of alternative control measures.

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While the issue of how to manage unwanted or over-populated equine was an emotionally explosive issue in recent times, it wasn't just the slaughter aspect that had many horse and wildlife lovers on edge. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been under fire for annual horse roundups and relocation programs as well as potential harm or death to animals.

BLM has even been named in lawsuits as animal activists ratcheted up legal pressure through the courts and even engaged in disrupting animal roundups.

These types of protests and lawsuit options have caused BLM to step back from roundup operations over the fear of further litigation and/or the possibility that well-intentioned protestors could be injured attempting to interfere with what has been termed a dangerous operation.