The government signed the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 (Public Law 92-195) into law, with the expressed intention of protecting the animals. Yet, the interests of cattle and sheep farmers backed with political and Congressional power have taken away most of their protections.
The cattle and ranching interests are so extreme, the BLM refuses to stop rounding up wild horses even though cattle outnumber wild horses on public land by 50:1.
Ranchers want all viable public land to be available for their livestock to graze, with taxpayers footing the bill. Since the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 was enacted, 2.2 million acres have been taken away from them and more than 270,000 wild horses have been rounded up, many of them fated for illegal slaughter for their meat and for profit.