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Romance meets reality
DOVE CREEK, Colo. - The notion of wild horses roaming the American West might be more a national delusion than a reality.

Almost 35 years ago Congress proclaimed that the West's wild horses were an American treasure. It passed a law in 1971 to protect them from slaughter.

But the realities of the Bureau of Land Management wild horse and burro program are different from the romantic images painted then by Congress and still held by many Americans.

Because for the roughly 32,000 wild horses and burros roaming the range in 10 Western states, there were, by October of this year, 24,500 wild horses and burros in holding facilities.

Of last year's BLM wild horse and burro budget of $39.6 million, more than half, $20.1 million, was spent to keep the animals off the range and in these holding facilities.

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