Madeleine Pickens ponies up wild-horse adoption plan

Just call it the “Pickens Pony Plan.”

Jumping into an environmental issue with the same headline-grabbing gusto of her billionaire oil-man husband, Madeleine Pickens Monday rode in like the proverbial cavalry at a public meeting in Reno, Nev., on the mounting wild-horse crisis in the western United States.

Hard on the heels of a Government Accountability Office report recommending drastic action to reduce the captive herd of wild horses under U.S. Bureau of Land Management lock and key, Pickens offered to adopt 30,000 horses and burros in captivity as part of a program to avoid overpopulation in the wild. The costs of that program are stampeding out of control, according to the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress.

Paralleling her husband T. Boone Pickens’ alternative-energy plan of last summer, Madeleine Pickens’ intervention initially has met with wide praise from animal activists and environmentalists. The Pickens’ adoption plan would avoid euthanizing thousands of the horses, which some say have come to represent the wild spirit of the American West.

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail and Real Aspen.

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