On December 15, 1971. The Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act was enacted by Congress and became law. 16 USC §1331. Congressional findings and declaration of policy At that time Congress found that the free-roaming wild horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, that they contribute to the diversity of the life forms within our Nation and enrich the lives of the American people. In 1971 these horses and burros were at that time fast disappearing from the American scene. Further, the Act protected them from capture, branding, harassment, or death in areas where they were found to be an integral pat of the natural systems of our public lands.
The Burns Amendment:
In 2004 Senator Conrad Burns from the state of Montana prepared what is widely known as “The Burns Amendment.” This bill was never introduced to Congress, never discussed or voted on. In fact few, if none, knew of its existence or insertion into this 3,000 page Omnibus Act. This bill amends Section 3 (16 USC §1331) of the original Act. It over turned 33 years of national policy on the care and management of free-roaming wild horses and burros by repealing the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of these animals that had been covered by law.
The Wild Horses and Burros are no longer safe and protected under the law by what the Burns Amendment did in giving The BLM the power to round up the wild horses in unlimited numbers as well as use of helicopter and vehical's that were prohibited under the original act.