The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has put on hold a plan to capture, castrate, then release 200 wild stallions from the Pancake Complex near Ely, Nevada after wild horse advocates sued the government agency in U.S. District Court last week. But while the castration plan awaits its date in court, the BLM did reach a compromise with the court on Thursday that will allow them to move forward with its plan for a long-term removal of roughly 1,800 wild horses from the area (removal to where and how was unavailable at press time).

What to do with feral horses is one of the most sensitive issues facing US public lands today. Horses are an invasive species, the same as feral pigs and in some instances cause just as much damage to the natural environment. But the fact that they are horses brings about an emotional issue that makes any action against them controversial.

One thing that’s interesting about this court action is that it comes at the end of a year that has seen more and more horse groups (American Quarter Horse Association, American Association of Equine Practioners, etc.) publicly endorsing, albeit cautiously, slaughter as a way to deal with old or unwanted privately owned horses. It will be interesting to see what, if any, this lawsuit brings about.

Where do you stand on this issue? Are horses any different than pigs and dogs in terms of how they should be handled on public land? What about drawn hunts for horses on public lands? Comment below!