Wildlife advocates are seeking a halt to the government roundup of some 3,500 horses and burros on public land after an investigation indicated that some of the animals were being illegally sold for slaughter in Mexico. In a report published September 28, ProPublica suggests that the Bureau of Land Management, in a pinch to unload the animals after failure to find a buyer, has broken the law. The animals are protected under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. "They aren't placing enough wild horses through adoption so they need to put a freeze on roundups," said Anne Novak, executive director of Berkeley, California-based group Protect Mustangs. "Killing them is not a solution. Selling them to slaughter is not a solution. They need to be responsible for their actions and stop the gluttony of roundups at taxpayer expense." Bureau of Land Management officials deny that any horses are sent to slaughter, but that, due to overpopulation, rounding them up and moving them is a necessity. The number of relocated wild horses in holding pastures in the Midwest has increased from just 1,600 to over 45,000 this summer alone.