Friday, February 18, 2011

Wild Horse and Burro Update - February 2011

Many write me about the Mustang or Wild Horse issue. And I have written about the different viewpoints concnerning these horses (and burros), emotional issues as they are.

What hurts the pro-free range Wild Horse and Burro proponents is the radical side of this group that wants these animals left completely alone except for the Federal funding necessary provide feed in bad seasons and repair fences, water lines and tanks.

On the other side of the coin with the BLM attempts to management the size of the herds,, videos and reports of helicopter chasing horses until they drop or break a leg and other inhumane measures paints a picture of Government ineptitude and indifference.

As with most things, the truth is somewhere in the middle. If left unchecked Wild Horse herds will proliferate reducing quality of life for all animals due to the browse required to feed them. Inbreeding will also have a negative effective on the Horses' health. Range set aside of these wild herds degrades pastures available for cattleman....and the truth be known, they don't get use of these lands for free....they pay in the neighborhood of $3 to $17 per month, per cow or pair, from my experience.

A total different issue is the Federal ownership of these range lands. In some cases homesteaders have been forced off by the U.S. Government. If the Federal Government owned the amount of land on the east coast that they do in the West,....well, there would simply be a revolt.

Mustang proponents have to backoff the platform of Federal funding for the herds. Thiscountry's economy simply can't afford to fund non-essential entitlement programs and tax payers in, say, New England probably resent Federal tax payer dollars going to animals they could care less about when their fuel oil costs have doubled.

On the other hand, the Government, mainly the BLM and their contract wranglers owe it to the animals to conduct roundups in a humane manner. Very hard to do due to the diffuculty in the rough terrain and vast sizes of unfenced pasture where these herds roam. In break my heart to see helicopters chasing horses and sometimes their foals into rough terrain or chase them tens of miles from a water hole.

Latest news concerning Wild Horses and Burros:

Yesterday (Feb 16, 2011), the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the Continuing Resolution for 2011 spending that will cut the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) budget by $2 million, in order to send a "very strong message" to the agency to reform its wild horse and burro program to make it more efficient and humane.

To date, BLM has captured over 950 mustangs in the Antelope Complex Roundup, which continues toward its goal of removing more than 2,000 wild horses from a 1.3 million-acre public lands area in northeastern Nevada. The death toll is now reported at six, including a yearling colt who broke his neck on February 13 after slamming into the panels of a BLM trap pen; a filly who broke her back leg and was euthanized; and an injured mare who was driven for miles in a helicopter chase despite a gunshot wound to her shoulder.
Unnecessary inhumane treatment - needs to stop.

The BLM has issued a news release announcing its withdrawal of a plan to remove all of the estimated 100 wild horses living in the West Douglas Herd Area in northwestern Colorado. Local ranching interests have been pressing hard for the "zeroing out" of wild horses from this 123,387-acre public lands area where the equivalent of 900-1000 privately-owned cattle are allowed to graze. Allowed to graze? Yes, but for a feee that goes back into the Federal coffers.

I urge everyone interested in this issue to research it and make up their own minds.

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