RENO, Nev. (AP) — The head of the government’s $70 million wild-horse management program warned last summer that it is headed for financial collapse unless “drastic changes” are made in the decades-old roundup policy that she says could be setting U.S. rangeland improvement goals back 20 years.

In a strongly worded internal memo to her boss at the Bureau of Land Management, the agency’s wild horse division chief recommended suspending all roundups until thousands of mustangs currently in federal corrals are sold or adopted.

A copy of the August memo shows that Joan Guilfoyle recommended for the first time euthanizing wild horses on the range “as an act of mercy if animals decline to near-death condition” as a result of drought.

The proposed plan could violate the 1971 law protecting the mustangs on federal lands in 10 Western states.

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