Jul 7, 2013 12:07 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Wild burro management criticized as animals need rescue

CATALINA - A rescue group is trying to find homes for 17 burros they recently adopted from an auction.

Jo DiGennaro offered her property in Catalina for 7 of the animals.

"I could see myself keeping a few of them," she said. "It would be hard to let them go, but as long as they go to good homes, it will be fine."

Julianne French is helping Equine Voices and has been fighting for the burros in the wild.

"These animals are part of our history. They are our connection with our past," she said. "They're a symbol of the West. The West was built on the backs of these burros."

The animals were probably rounded up near Ajo on Bureau of Land Management land, according to French.

That practice has recently been criticized by Southern Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva. On June 20, he wrote a letter, cosigned by 30 members of congress, to the new Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

"BLM has grossly underutilized proven, cost-effective and humane alternatives, such as fertility control," the letter stated. "This is a solvable problem."

Most of BLM's budget for the Wild Horse and Burro Program is spent holding the animals. There are more wild horses and burros in captivity than in the wild, according to the letter.

A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences stated BLM spent more money than necessary because "the number of animals processed through holding facilities is probably increased by management."

The BLM has a web page to explain facts and myths of their program. It states burros populations can double every 4 years without proper management, and they have used some fertility control.

Equine Voices needs help with veterinary bills and feeding the animals they rescued.


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