This was my latest response and attempt to educate a couple loose cannons with bad attitudes about our wild horses on the "Save the Wild Mustangs" group:
I know a few of the responders on here. While I hail those who work tirelessly for our mustangs, at the same time I breathe a heavy sigh as it's painfully apparent that there are others where information from previous discussions hasn't been fully grasped and intellectualized, but rather passed silently over the tops of hairlines. I also see that some still haven't learned their manners. It's advised that if one wants to make a point, to avoid rude remarks or name calling, as subsequent comments will hold no merit bc it becomes apparent that those off-color remarks are merely fillers when there is no substantial thought to make an attempted point.
With that said, the common thread to this issue is the federal government and it's need for our lands. Ranchers are not the culprits, they feed our nations and other countries. Nor are the local/regional BLM personnel rounding these horses up, they're just following orders and doing their jobs. Our ranchers are essential and a good way to also utilize our public lands through leasing, and as an added benefit, the cattle are an excellent measure to the health of the rangelands enjoyed by all... private livestock or wildlife. But one must not lose sight of the fact that these lands were set aside for our wild horses, and for the American people. For the ranchers, I would like to see the government reduce the lease per head where there are wild horses sharing the same ranges. With money talking instead of 'smokescreeners', ranchers will be happier to share their borrowed land.
Again, this is not a wild horse and cattle war, my next remarks are to point out some false statements by head officials justifying escalated roundups, even zeroing out many herds across the west. As most of you know by now, cattle to wild horse ratio is 200:1 and there's been approval of cattle grazing by up to 300% on some of the rangelands also shared with our mustangs, (current ratio soon to be outdated). This approval to increase cattle grazing by 300% occured shortly after Ken Salazar deemed the removal of our wild horses as necessary bc "they are starving", and the lands were too poor to sustain them. Have any of you seen a herd of the many millions of cattle 'a bag on bones' on these same rangelands? I'm all over the high deserts of SE Oregon, and not a one. I look high and low for wild horses and often come up short but bump into a bovine around any given rimrock. Simply propaganda on the federal level.
Management is necessary, but the wild horse act needs to be changed before our wild horses are managed to extinction. Once a horse is born wild, it IS wild (I don't even need to go into the DNA, as it's all over the place and a fact they're a native species). These hundreds of generations of mustangs since the RE-introduction of our native species have adapted genetically and behaviorally to fit the high desert environment. Management is necessary but must be done at the least invasive level. It must comprise of a united coalition including an expert wild horse group, ranchers, government BLM, with unbiased annual range analysis by a third party. Also as previously mentioned, reduced lease per head for the cattle ranchers to keep them happy, and inturn advocating for the mustangs. Mustangs will need to be culled, but only to the amount of adoptions or other programs available rather than utilizing American taxpayers to flip millions to roundup/feed/vet our 33,000 CAPTURED and retained mustangs in holding facilities, when they cost nothing in the wild. The BLM even suggested euthanizing these horses, and there's also a current effort to bypass our laws and as a "work around" ship them 'live' overseas to fine restaurants. We will soon have a mere 25,000 horses left roaming our west in small bands in several western states, and dwindling at about 12,000 per year (current assessment for 2010). The BLM stats of roundups are public record... why are there herds being permanently zeroed out?
The government needs to pay it's big bills aka the deficit, and they're struggling to stay above water, which makes this country vulnerable to buy-outs of property and land by other countries. Funny how since year 2000 we've lost 40% of our protected mustangs (that's more then a healthy culling), and funny how we've also lost 19 MILLION acres of OUR public lands (originally 49 million was allotted for mustang management. It doesn't take much cerebral energy to see a CORRELATION. THAT'S why I am always saying "With every roundup, our west is less wild" bc it's more than the mustangs now, it's also about the last of our wide open spaces, our "wild west". You see, our "protected" wild horses, simply by residing on these public (ours, your and mine) rangelands, are PROTECTING those very same lands simply by being there. I'm hoping the bigger picture is now in view.
Another sobering thought.... our mustangs are so MISmanaged, that by simply human shallow "tastes", like a breeding program selecting (what nature does best) which horses are to be culled or left... will undoubtedly result in a bunch of 'show ponies' with genetic flaws... instead of wild horses shaped by the environment to survive best. I study wild horses, and I appreciate watching the NATURAL mustangs resulting from NATURAL selection, not human fads.
Bridger, I think even you appreciate our western heritage and our wide open spaces to hunt on.... truly, the high desert basin and other areas where wild horses roam are the last frontier, but if everyone idly sits by scratching beneath their ballcaps...they'll no longer be there.
I don't know of many people who would like stripmalls in place of the last open wild lands, and it's equivalent... where there are NO MORE MUSTANGS. THAT's what IS happening here... the federal government will be moving mustangs to artificial preserves in the east, and off our wild rangelands in the west. Now, can anyone guess why?
"Together THEY stand. Divided THEY fall"
~aka Mustang Meg
Group this information was in ‘Save the Wild Mustangs’ January 3rd, 2010