Monday, July 14, 2008

Wild Horse Issue

Okay, let's get some rational discussion going here on the wild horse "slaughter" being proposed by the BLM. What should they do instead? It does no good to mobilize public support against something when you have no workable alternative to offer in its place. Help!


John said...

It seems to me (and I don't know much on the issue) that both sides are quite polarized. The animal preservation side want to see zero animals destroyed despite some evidence that the environment and public have no room for these animals. The land preservation side wants to preserve grazing land for cattle.

There must be some compromise but I don't see either side moving. The BLM as government agency is stuck in the middle.

I'd like to see a public debate with real science not just statistics thrown about. Can the land support the mustangs? The Gov. of Wy says no. The mustang side says "of course, it can". Unfortunately, I don't see our gov't solving this situation to anyone's satisfaction and more, not less, horses are going to suffer for it.

Mouse said...

Check out this letter written to the BLM by members of the US House of Representatives,Committee on Natural Resources:

The BLM has agreed to delay taking any action (such as euthanasia) until their report has been finalized and reviewed by the proper authorities.

Vigilantegal said...

Please read this article by Craig Downer. That is real science, the study done by a wildlife ecologist.

Arguments do not need to be made on hearsay, but on real studies. Follow the money, it will always lead to the answer.

Leslie Wetzel
Marble Falls, TX

Go said...

I would suspect that these are not all wild mustangs, but perhaps the numbers are exponentially increasing due to uncaring owners dumping horses randomly on public lands. In this case, euthanasia is a good is what should have been done in the first place. When managing wild lands the future must be considered, not just the here and now. Overuse will lead to ecological collapse. Simple.

Mouse said...

There is no evidence that domestic horses are being turned loose on public lands, especially in the numbers you suggest. There are approx 33,000 wild horses and 6 million cattle grazing on public lands at this time; not rocket science to figure out which is causing the greater ecological damage here.

Tracey said...

This is a very difficult situation and there is no win-win answer.

I listened to a number of people a couple of weeks ago as they told me they'd heard the BLM was going to go out and start shooting horses on the range. Not so...where did they hear this? Mass rumors and little fact, most of which is generated by ill informed 'supporters' of wild horses.

Birth control in the mares is a good start. They were using it in limited herds and it's been successful in slowing down the growth of the HMAs. It's impossible, however, to gather all the mares at once, or in one year. Not only physically impossible, but monetarily as well. Which leaves us with a rotational dosing when the HMAs are gathered. Still, it's better than nothing and with a bit of luck in 20 years we may begin to see a difference.

One thing that most people don't realize is that the BLM has always had the authority to euthanize horses. They came to the public for help, but they didn't legally need to. Bashing them isn't going to solve anything.

Go, very few of the horses in question, if any, are likely dumped. There have been increasing numbers that are suspected as such, but it's minimal and recent. The issue at hand is the huge number of horses in holding facilities that have been there for years. The fact is, the 30,000 horses that are currently running free will double in herd size every 4-5 years. Without any help from added domestics, that would mean (conservatively) that in 20 years we'll have 420,000 horses out there.

No easy button on this one =(

grace said...

Like Tracy I think there is no easy fix here. Birth control on the mares sounds a little like selective breeding. Low cost grazing to private owners of cattle sounds like subsidized meat industry. The BLM might have administrative control of the public lands but they do not own them. They are at least a little sensitive to bad press that is why they are asking for input. Some of the herds are already not genetically viable. To say there are 33K horses roaming is to say too little.
How large are the breeding groups? What is a genetically viable number? Which groups will cross and which will not? This question is generally geographic.
Last, the world market keeps telling us in no uncertain terms there are too many cows in the USA.

Mustang Granny said...

I wish I could save them all. I've adopted 3 mustangs, all for $125 each. But mustang auctions can get pricey. Maybe the mustangs should go for FREE to qualified homes, rather than exacting a price and then the BLM wouldn't have to feed them for so long. And show off some of the more beautiful mustangs available. I've been to several auctions and have been surprised at the runty mustangs they take to them. I've also been to BLM facilities and there are gorgeous mustangs available there. They might adopt out more if they showed off the beautiful specimens more often. Why hold on to the more appealing horses rather than finding homes for as many as possible?
I love my mustangs!!!

Diana said...

This whole BLM rational is bullsh*t...You know it, I know it, everybody knows it...But, like everything else that's controlled by these billion dollar industries, processes and laws whether right or wrong are put in place for their best interest...and then we the public try to prevent the atrocities that result from this...Of course there are no wonderful solutions, because the travesty is that these mustangs should NOT have been captured in the first place - Ever...Not enough grazing land - What a crock of sh*t that is...Diana H.-Avid Natural Horsewoman, NYC

Vigilantegal said...

We love the mustangs, and they did not need to be rounded up in the first place, we know it. Just like the slaughter b.s. that is propagated by the breed associations.

I think you are well meaning in your desire to place the good looking mustangs, but please recall that the runty ones are probably more pure Spanish anyway, and the Indians outran the cavalry's TBs back in the day...they are smart, frugal, agile, and hearty....

Mouse said...

Here is a web-site, Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, that you all might find interesting:

Victoria said...

ok, i don't know very much about this whole issue but if there are that many COWS grazing on the land why don't they do something about that? and isn't the BLM the ones who want to "save" the wild horses, well seems to me all they want to do is get rid of them. i have a qh/mustang and he is the best horse i've ever owned.

Kate said...

For starters, the BLM should stop all gathers for now. I don't have the figures in front of me, but in the past 8 years the number of horses gathered off the lands has skyrocketed. Many of the HMAs have been zeroed out as well. I have known many of the BLM people and have adopted 2 mustangs and 4 burros. I love my equines and appreciate what the BLM people I have run across have been doing. That doesn't mean the organization is doing the correct thing however. Giving horses away free is a bad idea; there are already many unqualified people adopting as it is. I have been to adoptions all over the western US and always see gorgeous animals. Yes some are small but most are diamonds in the rough.

I recommend Deanne Stillman's book, Mustang available at and other venues.
Kate in Blanco, TX
PS Hi to Leslie W.

grace said...

I wonder how much the price of beef would go up if half of the grazing land were to be set aside for the exclusive use of the horses.
I wonder what America is willing to pay to preserve these horses.
I wonder if America is willing to allow natural attritian to thin the heard rather than planned killing or by removing select genetic units.
They are best off let alone.
It was very difficult for me to learn this but I learned it by feeding deer. My dad was right, wild things are best left wild.