Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Journalism and Communication


The purpose of this study was to better understand public sentiment and current conversations on Facebook regarding wild horse management practices, including adoption, roundups, and contraception, in the timeframe between the June 2021 BLM Wild Horse Advisory Board meeting and January 31, 2022. Social media monitoring and quantitative content analysis were used to examine the Facebook posts of four organizations communicating about the wild horse controversy. The research questions guiding this study included: (1) How many total mentions of “fertility control,” “contraception,” “roundup,” “gather,” “adoption,” and “management” as they pertained to wild horses occurred across Facebook from June 1, 2021 to January 31, 2022? (2) What were the organizations’ messages within each frame discussing wild horse management? (3) What was the social media engagement frequency by content frame? (4) What was the sentiment of posts regarding wild horse management practices, including adoption, roundups and contraception?

Our research found that terminology differs depending on how organizations want to frame the conversation about wild horse issues. This can be determined by the organization's purpose, goals, or mission statement, which drive how and what they communicate. The sentiment data showed that over 95% of the organizations’ messages were written in a neutral tone, despite what the public engagement and reaction was to the information. A recommendation for future research is to extend the analysis to other social media platforms, such as Twitter to analyze individual’s comments and identify key influencers of the wild horse and burro controversy.



Faculty Mentor

Kenna Kesler

Departmental Honors Advisor

Debra Monson