You Can't Drag Them Away: An Economic Analysis of the Wild Horse and Burro Program
Vanessa Elizondo, Timothy Fitzgerald, Randal R Rucker
Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Since 1971 wild horses and burros living on federal land have been legally protected, limiting removal from the range and stipulating restrictive conditions for transfer to private ownership. Periodic gathers prevent overpopulation, though we find both political and biological influences on the probability and size of gathers. Attempts to convey removed horses to private owners are often unsuccessful because of the relatively low quality of some animals and contractual restrictions. We consider alternative policy regimes promoting the transfer of additional animals; such reforms could have reduced program costs by as much as $452 million over the past twenty-five years
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