Fictional World of Wild Horses

The WH & B Act of 1971 is based on emotion, magical thinking and imaginary problems that created a make-believe world for wild horses and burros.  Before 1971 the ranchers, horse runners and range managers had accepted free ranging horses and burros for what they were: livestock that needed managed.  In 1971 the wild horse runners had horse and burro populations at a manageable 25,000 head.  In the spring of 2016 the WH & B Program had over 114,000 head of real horses and burros. The program has spiraled out of control.

The pressure from a public that believes in the fictional world created by the WH & B Act and its advocates makes it impossible to properly manage the wild horse and burro populations without committing political suicide according to the “Investigative Report of Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse Buyer” published by the Office of Inspector General U.S. Department of the Interior:

BLM officials stated that operating contrary to implemented legislation by limiting sales and not destroying horses has contributed to an unmanageable number of horses. The WH & B senior advisor reasoned, however, that selling without limitation or destroying horses would be “political suicide,” and Congress does not want to deal with those issues. A WH&B division chief said that although BLM has attempted to manage the wild horse and burro population for years, BLM has been unsuccessful and the same issues continue to occur without resolution. The division chief believed that these problems were due in part to “political pressures”.[1]

Ranchers, environmentalists, hunters, range managers and other concerned individuals and groups need to take every opportunity to share valid information with the public and help destroy the fictional world surrounding free ranging horses.  Here are some examples of their make-believe world:

“Wild horses and burros, now on the brink of extinction due to mismanagement by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)…” From the Wild Horse Freedom Federation.[2] - 45,000 head of wild horses and burros being held in off range corrals and pastures plus an additional 67,000 on the range makes it absurd to say wild horses and burros are anywhere near extinction.

“The BLM, beholden to the livestock industry, removes wild horses and burros from public lands to make room for taxpayer-subsidized livestock grazing…” American Wild Horse Preservation.[3] - Grazing use on public lands has declined 53% from 18.2 million animal unit months (AUMs) in 1954 to 8.6 million AUMs in FY 2015.[4]   In this case advocates have a total disregard for the truth.

Some wild horse advocates like to use peer reviewed studies. They will pull sentences out of context and use them to claim the study supports their view.  In one case an advocate stated a peer reviewed study[5] showed grazing was a good fire prevention tool, supporting that more horses be left on the range.   The study shows reducing the fuel load on the range by moderate controlled livestock grazing may help prevent fires and speed the recovery time in areas that do burn.

Advocates also like to point out that horses evolved on the grasslands of North America and should be considered a native species even though reintroduced by Europeans.  Over 80% of the horses in the WH & B Program are in the Great Basin, a desert, where they are not a native species.

The WH & B Act of 1971 states, “…they [horses or burros] are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.” On the grasslands of Texas that may be true but it is not true in the deserts of the Great Basin where horses need to be managed as the livestock they are.

When the public understands more about our rangelands, the environment and nature we will be free to make better land use decisions. We will all benefit.  It may even be possible that the public will want to move the wild horses to their natural habitat in the grasslands of Texas.

If we leave informing the public to the wild horse advocates, we will deserve what we get!


[3] From http://www.wildhorsepreservation.org/problem and is a common theme.

Copyright © 2016-2019 Gerald Miller. All Rights Reserved.

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