Characteristics of potential adopters of wild horses and their willingness-to-pay for wild horses

C. Jill Stowe, Hannah White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An overabundance of wild horses and burros on federal lands can lead to suboptimal welfare when there are insufficient forage and water resources. Placing some of these animals in private homes has been identified as a key part of the solution. A nationwide online survey completed by 2,247 current and former horse owners is used to assess the feasibility of accommodating this strategy. The survey tool addressed basic horse ownership and demographic information, previous experience with wild horses, and hypothetical wild horse adoption scenarios. Results suggest that most respondents are receptive to the idea of adopting a wild horse, with previous adopters and younger potential adopters showing greater willingness-to-pay. By reducing existing barriers to adoption, which includes educating the horse-owning public on adoption requirements, expanding the training of wild horses, and targeting certain age groups of potential adopters, our study suggests that it may be possible to increase the annual number of adoptions over current levels. With appropriate and informed strategies, enhanced welfare of privately adopted and on-range animals can be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-614
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • BLM wild horses
  • interval regression
  • willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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