Wild Horses – Leave them IN THE WILD !!!
(this post is a reprint from my wordpress.com blog dated October 8th, 2012)
The whole Tom Davis thing has gotten my hackles up higher than they have always been. The Universal Laws are at work, perhaps – to make something SO bad that finally enough people galvanize and make a difference. Mis-information is generated by our political machine on many fronts…the wild horse issue is only one – but it is the one that I care about the most, silly as that may seem to many people. Two of the most wonderful arguements for leaving the wild horses alone that I have found to date follow – this one today – the next one tomorrow.
This was written by Marybeth Devlin. Thanks Marybeth, where ever you are.
There is scientific consensus: the horse originated in North America. It is a native species that was reintroduced in its ancestral homeland, the American West, about five hundred years ago. The horse was re-wilded.
When species go extinct in a particular habitat, efforts are often made to reestablish them. For instance, elk were once the most widely distributed deer in North America. By the end of the 19th century, however, they were extinct throughout most of their range. In Nevada, elk were reintroduced in the early 1930s. With protection, the elk rebounded and currently number over 15,000.
On public lands, non-native commercial livestock outnumber native wild horses by nearly 30 to 1. BLM allots approximately 8,600,000 monthly grazing units to livestock in the western states that have wild horse herds. Even in herd management areas, which are supposed to be dedicated primarily (though not exclusively) to wild horses, cattle typically get apportioned 90 percent of the grazing slots.
Wild horses are not a problem or the problem. They restore the range by their foraging habits. Cattle grazed alongside equids actually gain more weight. Horses and cattle are commensals, not competitors.
There is no competition among horses, deer, elk, or bighorn either. In fact, where the horse herds have increased, so have the other resident species. According to Holistic Management, to restore the rangeland, higher numbers of grazing animals are needed. A video presentation on Holistic Management is found at the link below.
Multi-year studies on three different wild-horse herds disclosed that mountain-lion predation alone can keep an equine population in check. Although preaching the goal of a “thriving natural ecological balance,” BLM exterminates native predators for the benefit of livestock operators and sport-hunters. The stealth beneficiary is BLM. By eliminating the predators, BLM positions itself as the sole population-control agent of wild horses and burros. BLM creates the problem, then requests a budget to solve it at taxpayer expense.
Independent fact-checking points to fewer than 13,000 wild horses and burros left on the range — about one-third the “38,000” figure that BLM continues to cite, year after year, no matter how many thousands it rounds up and removes. BLM’s data is bogus, ginned up to show a wild horse “excess” that does not exist. But Congress, the public, and the media innocently assume BLM’s information is valid. So they rely on it, quote it, and draw what must seem like logical conclusions based on it. Faux figures have been an issue at BLM for a long time. The Kearns & West report — a review that BLM commissioned in 2010 — noted that as far back as 1982 there was internal resistance to the way BLM was determining wild horse populations. The report cited a National Research Council Committee finding of “the pressures which many district and area personnel feel to depict range, population, and other conditions in an antihorse and antiburro context.”
BLM officially pledges to protect the wild horses from slaughter, but has been busy creating the very conditions that put the mustangs at risk — accumulating an excess of them in captivity, while keeping the herds below minimum viable population on the range. ProPublica’s investigative report evidences that, in secret, BLM has been selling Federally-protected wild horses to a kill-buyer with long-time business connections to the Secretary of the Interior.
It is time to divest BLM and defund the roundups. Return captive horses to freedom and revive the natural ecological balance on the People’s lands.