Really? No, really?
So the result of mismanagement is MORE mismanagement? C’mon now boys, you can do better than that.
I’m going to bring the footnote of the article to the top:
“…82.5 percent of the forage in wild horse herd management areas is actually reserved for livestock grazing, while just 17.5 percent of the forage is allocated to the horses themselves.”
These areas are “wild horse herd management areas” and yet they only have 17.5% of it? So the areas aren’t being over foraged by the horses. They’re being over foraged by the livestock! Get your heads on straight.
It would be my guess that of the land set aside that the ranchers took the cream of the crop. I’m sure they didn’t take rocky hills, cliffs and barren areas. Of the land available, I would suspect that the land taken was the best and the worst was left for the wild horses.
Pull the livestock and TA DAAAA! There’s forage for the horses again. No starving, no suffering.
The second part of the footnote is worth noting here:
“So another possible option to alleviate overcrowding could be to scale back livestock grazing on public lands. That’s likely to be controversial among ranchers, but it’s worth noting.”
Funny, it’s almost as if the option of returning the land to the horses is brushed off because it’s “likely to be controversial among ranchers”. Now while I’m not a rancher and I don’t wish them any ill-will, my response to that is SO WHAT?! Starving horses on a fraction of the land set aside for them, facing possible slaughter weighed against upset ranchers and ranchers win before it’s even considered? Who the heck writes this stuff?
How about a return of land to the horses at 50%, with a rotation of the available land by plots. That way all of the land is rotated evenly between wild horses and ranchers, good and poor. Poorer plots would be larger to make up for the lacking forage. The rotation would likely result in better land management as different animals feed differently, which would allow the land to rejuvenate. There could also be stale dates, where nothing was allowed on the land to completely allow it to regrow.
Now THAT would be management that is fair and workable.
I’m willing to bet the 82.5% of land that’s been taken by livestock also has their own water sources. I’m also willing to lay money that the 17.5% left for them have no water sources, or the ranchers would have taken those areas too. TA DAAAA! No more trucking in water either. Funny how leaving horses on land allotted to them that is capable of supporting them, DOES, when given the opportunity to do so.
Lack Of Money
So if 82.5% of the land has been used by ranchers, where’s that money they were paying back into the BLM to pay for wild horse management? I would think it would be a fair sum, considering the hardship they were willing to put on their organization in order to allow so much of the land to be given to the ranchers for use. Certainly there’s money to be had there.
No, this doesn’t take care of the over population of horses. That is a different issue. One problem at a time. I hate it when people start throwing new problems into the mix as to why it won’t work. One at a time. Better to fix each problem on their own merits as the possibilities of fixing multiple problems with one fix is very unlikely.
There are round ups. Why aren’t horses gelded? Geld the boys, fewer stallions, fewer pregnancies. Only leave the cream of the crop intact, so that they may continue to generate powerful stock.
Administer the birth control methods to mares while you’re at it. You have them penned already.
Apples To Oranges
Comparison to Australia’s problem with horse over population? Really Henny Penny? Give us a break. The mandated numbers for wild horses are 23,622 as per the article (seems like an odd number, but hey, I’ll take it at face value). There are currently 33,000 roaming free. That’s a difference of 9,388 over the mandate. Apparently there are 45,000 horses in private care or “retirement facilities”. Can they be counted? Is the government really paying for them? If they’re not free, are they still the BLM’s concern or do funds come from elsewhere? Either way, that would bring the “overage” of the mandated numbers to 54,388. Even if we take ALL of the American horses – that is a total of 78,000 horses.
Australia’s numbers have “soared past 400,000”. The US numbers aren’t even a quarter of that! Why on earth would anyone suggest that they follow their proposed methods? Add that the USA is larger than Australia and also has more grasslands than Australia. Are they really worth comparing? Sure if you’re convinced the sky is falling. The rest of us are standing under the same sky and we see that you’re simply not based in reality any longer.
Why Not Slaughter
I scoff when I hear pro-slaughter people whine that they’re not allowed to slaughter horses “to ease their suffering”. Give me a break! Slaughter is NOT HUMANE! They SUFFER during slaughter processes. The capture, the handling, the shipping, the handling again, the actual process itself has all been well documented to be inhumane to horses on all counts.
Add the factor of the horses being wild and terrified in the company of humans just compounds the issue. Don’t substitute one supposed torture (which if the above is taken into account, should no longer exist) for another form of torture. Torture is torture. Regardless if it lasts seconds, days, weeks, months or years.
If you’re truly interested in easing suffering. Then do it. Eliminate it. Anything less is a lie.
You really want to put them down? Then put them down humanely by euthanasia by veterinarian. Separate them, drug them in their feed, put them down via lethal injection. Calmly as possible, safely as possible. Render them into compost.
“But all of that wasted money in meat!!!”
There you are! I knew you were hiding around here somewhere! Your REAL interest comes to the forefront. You’re not interested in slaughter to ease their suffering, you’re looking for another angle to make money off the backs of wild horses that you don’t own! Thank you for rearing your ugly little head.
This isn’t about the horses at all. This is about getting your greedy hooks into what you perceive as an easy payday.
During round ups take young prospects and sell them. The proceeds to go back into the BLM to further support their herd in the wild. Adopt-a-thons, training programs, land rental fees, tourism, fund raisers, documentaries, etc…. There are many ways to raise money to support these horses.
Just because previous management attempts have failed doesn’t mean that we suddenly need to cull herds by the most inhumane practices possible. Poll the public, involve ranchers, get the equine industry to chip in!
I’m fully aware that I’m giving very simple solutions to very complex problems. I’m also fully aware that there are other issues at hand that I may not be aware of that will make my solutions null and void. However I do know that panic theory articles such as the one posted above has deep roots in the ranching and pro-slaughter industries. The “studies” of the GAO are wrought with conflict of interest and “cherry-picking” the data which best serves industry and ignored the rest.
There is a problem here. Several huge ones as a matter of fact. The least of which is the wild horse population.