Wild Horse Issue Summary
Recent DNA research shows that the modern horse evolved to his present form in North America. He went extinct here, after crossing the Bering land bridge to Asia. When the Spanish conquistadors brought the horse back to the New World, they were merely returning him to his ancestral birthplace. He belongs here. ~ Drs. Jay Kirkpatrick and Pat Fazio
Renowned wildlife biologist and wild horse expert, Craig Downer, wrote that the wild horse is necessary for healthy rangeland. He does not damage the environment and he will control his own numbers, if left alone. “Since each herd is frequently ‘gathered’ to maintain an unnaturally low population number, the wild equids never really come to fill their niche, stabilize their numbers, nor adjust to the limits imposed by natural or artificial boundaries. The wild equids of any given HA are, thus, thwarted in their generations-long process of harmonious adaptation to their particular unique part of the world.” http://www.naturalhorse.com/wildhorses.php
Negligent BLM Practices
TWO MILLION wild horses roamed our country 100 years ago. Today, the BLM claims that 27,000 are too many. However, they have increased the numbers of cattle allowed. They continue to round up horses with helicopters, which maim and kill.
The BLM has been reducing herd sizes to numbers which are not genetically viable. In other words, there are not enough animals to ensure healthy genetics, and the result will be inbreeding and eventual extinction. The BLM’s basic plan calls for catching all the horses, sterilizing them, and putting them on “preserves” back east.
Once captured, the horses imprisoned by the BLM are not cared for properly, including being fed in such a way that contributes to health problems such as Developmental Orthopedic Disease and Metabolic Syndrome. They do not receive routine hoof care and many have terribly overgrown hooves. Many wild horses and burros have ended up abused, starved and slaughtered.
I wrote an article about their substandard feeding practices which was published by both NATURAL HORSE and THE HORSE’S HOOF magazines in 2004 (“Learning From Mariah”).
Battle Between Ranchers and Wild Horses
The horse has evolved to live on desert vegetation, and to put him on rich pastures, under confinement, would be a sin against Nature herself. This is not what the law calls for. The welfare cattle industry, whose ranchers pay approximately $1.35 per month per cow to graze our public lands, has scape-goated the wild horse. In reality, there are 200 domestic cattle and sheep per one wild horse on public lands. Furthermore, a mere 2-3% of our beef comes from these public land ranchers. Most of our meat comes from ranchers and farmers who own their own land.
Both the welfare ranching program and the wild horse and burro program cost the taxpayer millions of dollars. The BLM has continued to capture thousands if horses through 2010. Many have been injured and brutally killed due to ignorant and uncaring contractors hired with your tax dollars. The BLM now has approximately 40,000 horses imprisoned- more than exist in the wild. All the while, tax-subsidized cattle grazing is increased.
In 1971, Congress passed the FREE ROAMING WILD HORSE AND BURRO ACT which stated that these animals were to be left to live as naturally as possible, on the land they inhabited at that time. Since then, the BLM has stolen 20 million acres from the wild horse habitat. They have consistently disregarded and broken the law as it was written and intended.