Wild horses targeted for extermination!
The hardest part of this week’s news was to set aside the many horrific events unfolding in Congress.
- Our public lands are at risk of reduction or elimination.
- Scientists confirm that grizzly bears are not recovered and face new threats, yet they have been removed from the Endangered Species List and details are being mapped in several states for trophy hunting.
- Wolves are not recovered, yet no longer protected and some states are set to approve not only trophy hunting, but also baiting and trapping.
- It seems that just about every bill in Congress attacking our ESA, EPA, and specific wildlife includes the provision that forbids judicial review!
How to pick from so many threats?
The American wild horse (mustang) has been driven off public lands for decades with advocates fighting tooth and nail the entire way. This week, “the House Appropriations Committee voted to reverse a ban on destroying healthy wild horses and burros that was contained in a spending bill signed into law by President Trump in early May.” Source Some estimates say that up to 92,000 wild horses are at risk. Source
The BLM (Bureau of Land Management) says the wild horses are destroying land and overpopulated – starving. Wild horse advocates and the photos they offer as proof say otherwise (with some exceptions for local calamities).
Advocates say public lands used for grazing livestock could be used better in support of wildlife, such as America’s mustangs. The BLM leases grazing rights to ranchers’ livestock for a pittance. In January, the fees dropped to $1.87 per cow and calf, per month. Source In fact, the BLM has spent more money preparing to lease public lands than it has taken in with grazing fees. “…in 2014, the BLM and Forest Service spent $144 million on grazing programs and earned a piddling $19 million in lease income.” Source
Opponents of protecting mustangs say the horses are not indigenous. Ancient remains of horses have been found in America. “Leisl Carr Childers, a historian who specializes in the American West, weighs in on where exactly the horses came from. Some say they originate back into the millenia with ancient species, some date the horses to the second landing of Columbus, while some just see them as escaped farm animals.” Childers explains that today’s wild horses are from a blending of ancient native horses, horses that migrated northward from Cortez’ expedition, and also from horses released deliberately by ranchers in the past. Note that a historian is the ideal source to document and illustrate this process. Source
Wild horses, like other American wildlife, bring in money from wildlife tourism – creating and supporting local businesses and therefore jobs. Many local businesses depend completely on the existence of wild horses. Source Other businesses benefit indirectly – restaurants, camping supplies and locations, motels, grocery stores, etc. in a 60 mile range of the mustangs.
Some people assume that wild horses are too inbred to be viable and therefore nothing more than ‘scrag’ animals – poor conformation, poor health, undesirable specimens. We have included some photos from the Denver Post to illustrate the fact that these horses are without a single doubt magnificent specimens of the species.
The bottom line is that this American icon, this money-maker, this amazing creature is lined up in the bull’s eye for slaughter, thanks to the House of Representatives. Is this part of a larger agenda to remove EPA and ESA regulations and decimate wildlife so that public lands can be long-term leased or sold for drilling, fracking, clear-cut logging, and toxic mining? I believe so.
The question is, what will we of the American public do to save our wildlife, our public lands, and our clean water, air, and land?