DENVER (CBS4) – The federal government could be changing what it does with thousands of wild horses spread out across public lands in the western United States.

Wild horses in the Sand Wash herd management area located 45 miles west of Craig, Colorado, in the Sand Wash Basin (credit: Joe Amon/Getty Images)

Budget cuts coming to the Department of Interior and pending litigation that could change a law prohibiting slaughtering is leading many wild horse advocates to speak out.

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Colorado is home to four Bureau of Land Management Herd Management Areas. All are near the Utah boarder.

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The BLM estimates Colorado has 1,600 wild horses, but that is twice the recommended number to maintain healthy rangelands.

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It’s believed if laws are changed some, if not all, of the 70,000 wild horses in the country could be rounded up and slaughtered.

Wild horses are just some of the wildlife seen by visitors to Mesa Verde National Park on August 7, 2008 in Mesa Verde, Colorado.
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Advocates say the BLM is misusing money by spending less on herd management and fertility darts that could keep populations in check.

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A vote in Washington D.C. has been tabled that could alter if wild horses can be sent to other countries for slaughter, but it could be voted on in the coming weeks.

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One of the biggest wild horse volunteer groups in Colorado, the Sand Wash Advocate Team, is hosting its largest fundraiser of the year this weekend.