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U.S. Border Patrol recruits: wild horses, tamed by prisoners
by Heather Somerville and Mike Blake
Reuters Translate This Article
11 January 2017
On 11 January 2017 Reuters reported:
Long before the desert sun has had a chance to heat the dusty prison yard, some 20 inmates at an Arizona state prison begin quietly tending horses. Prisoners participating in the Wild Horse Inmate Program train mustangs that will eventually be adopted by the U.S. Border Patrol, providing the agency with inexpensive but agile horses, and inmates with skills and insights they hope to one day carry with them from prison. At least 80 percent of the U.S. Border Patrol's current stable of 400 horses come from inmate training programs in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, and Nevada. Some 55,000 mustangs roam the Western U.S., more than double the number public land can support, said Bureau of Land Management spokesman Jason Lutterman. Those that do not end up in adoption programs face an uncertain future.
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Fifteen years ago, the BLM was rounding up more than 10,000 mustangs and putting about 6,000 into new homes each year.
With the soaring cost of hay and dwindling public interest in horse ownership, the BLM can place only about 2,000 into adoption each year, severely limiting the number it can capture from the open desert and plains, Lutterman said.
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