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The Mustang Controversy

We want your feedback on this one! (AND DON’T FORGET- DONATE TO HEARTS UP RANCH ON FRIDAY TO HELP US REACH THE MARATHON GOAL OF $4,000 IN ONE DAY!)

As we rode across California, the primary hot topic was “ridiculous laws.” We heard about all kinds of overbearing laws that limited personal rights as we talked to the locals. It was one of those subjects, that without prompting, always came up.

Nevada’s hot topic has been very different and has been spoken of with as muchpassion and difference of opinion as politics and religion! Wild mustangs. I never knew anything about the topic before this ride other than that they existed and I had been fortunate enough to get a couple pictures of them in the wild. However, we have learned a great deal since then and have heard both dramatically opposing sides of the story and everything in between. We thought we’d share some of the information we have learned- not to share our view, but so that you might be more educated on this subject. We would love your feedback, as I can not be certain that all of this information is 100% accurate, but it is my summary of what we have been told by a cross section of the population as we have ridden across the state. This is a longer blog, but worth reading and an issue worth considering that affects all of our tax dollars more than I ever knew. (Terry- I thought of you as I wrote this one! :) )

First- the horse lover’s side. As we know, mustangs are a part of our national heritage. They have been on the range for many years, and in some places, hundreds of years. They have astounding physical abilities that we have seen with our own eyes. mustang herd

If you have been reading our blogs, you know that we watched incredulously as a mustang clambered straight up a craggy mountain face. Once trained, they make one of the best trail horses possible, not to mention that they are tough, strong, and sure footed. Horses are one of the most glorious creatures in God’s creation and are passionately loved worldwide. The folks of this view primarily want to protect all wild mustangs and are appalled at the stress they go through during helicopter roundups where it is not uncommon for a mustang to loose its life. Additionally, they stress that mustangs in holding pens are not cared for adequately due to short staffing and inability to handle wild horses enough to maintain proper foot and health care. There are many organizations that fundraise a tremendous amount to benefit the horses, rally together to try and get Congress to take more concern about the mustangs, and encourage the BLM to create better management practices.

The opposite side- are those who wish to remove most or all mustangs from the wild. These people mainly consist of  ranchers, hunters, and “old timers” who have seen the changes in mustang management over the years. (Though, please understand that not everyone in these categories holds this view- it was simply more common.) These folks have educated us on the seriousness of a better management need for the wild mustangs. I admit, we were oblivious before, but this is what we learned. First, understand that the grass in Nevada consists of a tuft here and a tuft there, not grass everywhere like it is back East. In many places, there are too many mustangs for the land to support them. Sometimes this is due to cattle ranches using the grass to raise beef (which most Americans can not live without- so removing cattle is not the answer either!) But in other areas, mustangs do not compete with cattle and they are still overgrazing. first daylight mustang sighting

This means that they end up eating everything in sight, even plants that are harmful to them. This, of course, is detrimental to the land being able to recover, as well as takes away food that the elk, deer, and other wildlife need to survive too. In many respects, the mustang issue is similar to the wolf issue in Wyoming- as any wild species with no natural predator left unchecked for too long becomes a serious problem. The folks on the side who consider mustangs a pest also had other educational points to share. They showed us pictures of mustang herds whose needs had exceeded the water availability in the area. As you have learned in our blogs, Nevada is a pretty dry place. These mustangs were sucking mud trying to get water, and many were dying of dehydration. To make matters worse, they trampled and ruined the precious spring trying to get to water and in many cases, these springs never gave water again. This means no more water for horses, cattle, people, or other wildlife. We were informed that many mustangs in Nevada originated with ranchers’ domestic horses years ago that were essentially stolen from the government. They had enforced a fee for bringing in range horses (that had been put out on the range by the rancher) and many ranchers could not afford the fee per horse, so they simply left them on the range to become truly wild. Thus these folks are in favor of ranchers managing the herds that were “theirs to begin with”, using slaughter houses to remove the less desirable horses (“so they are at least used to feed dogs rather than rot in a holding pen”), and issuing tags to take them “dead or alive” and manage them “like a real wild animal.” These words were tough to hear for a horse lover, but nonetheless, they had pictures to prove their points.

white stallion

Finally, there were all the in-betweens. These are the folks who recognize the magnificence of the mustang, but also realize and admit the challenges in managing them. These folks are in favor of some type of management, yet they often say the management is lacking or being done poorly. First, most people know that mustangs are regularly rounded up to manage the population and then they are adopted out to horse lovers who want to own a mustang. We were informed that many mustang roundups are done by helicopter due to the intense terrain that they live on and they avoid doing it during foaling season. We were told that most of these pilots are “skilled, know how to round up horses, and are not in a hurry.” They are moved, mostly at a trot, on average 7-10 miles to terrain where they were able to create a makeshift holding pen to capture them.  The down side of this is that it is very stressful for a wild animal to be moved against its will or to be put in captivity. The average mustang travels about 20 miles a day, but forced movement is tough on the very young, the elderly, and the weakened horses who are already dehydrated or hungry. The more wild ones sometimes die from stress or breaking a leg or neck when they find themselves in a pen and frantically try to escape. Also, they can die of dehydration during the run- but is this due to the actual run or being dehydrated already? It’s hard to say. It’s a nice idea to adopt them out, but the reality is there are not enough people adopting mustangs to keep up with their rate of increase in the wild. This leads to BLM holding pens where the mustangs are kept indefinitely- until they are adopted, or die of old age or stress. Currently, there are anywhere from 25,000 to 75,000 wild mustangs in holding pens throughout the country- depending on who you talk to. This is to the tune of many millions of tax dollars spent in order just to feed them! Not to mention, these poor horses have a very gloomy life- with not enough staff to adequately care for them, no one to love on them, and no hope of ever being wild again. Many of them live in small pens the rest of their lives. Clearly, this is not a good option for the horses either. Other management ideas have been tried- such as temporarily capturing and vaccinating the mares to cause them to be sterile for 2-3 years to decrease the herd sizes. (I wonder why they didn’t do it to the stallions instead?) In all, there has not been a solution tried that has made most people happy, or has adequately benefited the mustangs.

For a topic that we were romantically oblivious to, we certainly have had our eyes open! I never realized that there was such an issue, or that all of us are feeding the horses with our taxes and should care about their welfare and how they are managed. We sure would love to hear your feedback on this topic and see if we can’t come up with some good ideas to forward to the BLM!       Sincerely, Jeannette and Richard McGrath and our 4 beloved domestic horses.



2 comments

  1. Craig Downer is a highly respected NV Wild Horse/ Wild Life Ecologist who has been following this issue with the BLM for many years. He was unable to meet with you when you were in Minden, NV but Craig is coming out to your neck of the “desert” and may be able to finally hook up with you. He said it was okay to share this letter he wrote. As you will see it is a technical complex issue…yes…Consider it your bedtime story!

    Note: hma = herd management area
    aml = appropriate management levels that the BLM sets, i.e., weighed and measured number of horses or cattle, etc. that a specific are of land can sustain

    Wild Horse and Burro Strategy Development Document
    BLM Washington Office
    1849 C Street NW. Room 5665
    Washington, DC 20240

    Dear Sir/Madam:

    Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the proposed plan for the future of the wild horses and burros of America. While I am very much in agreement that changes are urgently required, I am disappointed that those suggested by the BLM are largely more of the same displacement strategies that have been in place for years. The following are my comments with specific suggestions and indicating my degree of agreement or disagreement with what is being proposed with reference to page number and section:

    Page 3, Letter of Abbey: opening quote: The problem is that BLM is ignoring all the many positive contributions wild horses/burros’ make to an ecosystem if so allowed.
    Wild horse may be much loved by many but they have been much sabotaged as well. When you state they are now protected, I have a hard time believing this, having witnessed how their position on the public lands has been very undermined by a variety of ploys. Their place seems hardly as secure as you state.

    38,000 figure seems very inflated. 26.6 million acres on 180 hma’s in 10 states shows how they have been sabotaged. Original acreage could have been as high as 88 million, then went to an official 53 ½ million and then to 36 million of occupied areas and now careens down to 26.6 million acres. We can see the writing on the wall. What will it be after another ten years: 13 million? And in these areas they are still being marginalized, not given fair share of resources to survive as truly viable and thriving populations. The 180 hma’s have been greatly reduced. Original herd areas (ha’s) were about twice this.

    Concerning your possible management actions, I will give repeated reference to the concept of Reserve Design for wild horse/burro-containing ecosystems. I believe this is the way to reform the program by redirecting the major emphasis away from taking away the freedom of the equids to restoring this freedom and to allowing nature to balance itself, through proper planning and allowing and providing for this to happen.

    Page 4 Introduction: I very much disagree with the quote that there are more wild horses/burros today than at the passage of the Act. Independent assessment indicates that in 1971 there were about twice the oft-quoted figure of 17,000 horses and 8,000 burros. There are certainly much less burros today!

    The introduction fails to mention the extremely important fact that the entire horse family (Equidae) originated in North America and had the vast majority of its many-million-year-old evolution here. All three branches originated and had the majority of their evolution in North America: zebra, ass, including burro, and caballine horse, including the modern horse. And recent genetic and fossil evidence shows that the modern horse, Equus caballus, did in fact originate and evolve the great majority of its time on Earth right here in North America. This is a glaring oversight not to bring this out in this important document. These animals should be regarded as returned natives, not exotics!

    To fail to do so is just plain dishonest in our scientific day and age! Also, please don’t forget that the USFS was also mandated to protect and manage the wild horses and burros, not just the BLM.

    I detect Western hyperbole in the statements about the rapid expansion of the wild horses and burros. What about the livestock? Game animals? And what happened to the predators? Do not engage in scapegoating of wild horse and burros for damages that modern people ultimately cause, particularly by the overgrazing of cattle and sheep. To say the paltry low AML’s being established by the helicopter roundups are restoring a “thriving natural ecological balance” is to mislead the public, for the same livestock monopolies remain after the roundup, the same ruminants chewing up the vegetation, camping on the riparian areas, and contributing little to enrich the soils or seed the native plants, as do equids precisely because they are a different type of grazer than a ruminant (cows, sheep, deer, etc.)

    Page 5: top: The wild horse and burro gathers are themselves excessive. As concerns the long-term protection and management of the wild equids, here’s where implementing a properly conceived Reserve Design comes in, one that will obviate the cruel roundups. As concerns the 35,000 now in holding, I suggest you restore these into zeroed out ha’s now numbering ca. 24 million acres.

    Page 6: The so called vision of BLM would create semi-domesticated herds, not truly wild herds, as the act mandates.

    Concerning USIECF and its recommendation, more needs to be put from the Reserve Design concept that would allow for auto-regulating herds. Most obviously, there is an urgent need to curb dominant uses of the public lands, especially livestock as per BLM’s exercising Code of Federal Regulations 4710.5 and .6.

    When you mention “a more sustainable approach”, I read “more wild horse and burros being subject to yet more crippling reductions of their numbers or outright eliminations in a program that considers their welfare as a bottom priority”.

    Within the seven key areas identified should have been included viable herd populations as well as Reserve Design for the establishment of an in-the-field approach rather than the heavy, hands-on manipulative approach that is being perpetuated.

    Page 8: Principles for Success: With your heavy emphasis on control of population size, you fail to consider adequate levels of population size that are good for the long-term future of the wild horses and burros. You also assume there are no natural predators, when in fact the mountain lion in many areas, the wolf in some areas and bears in many areas all are predators of the horses and burros. These are still found on the public lands, although there is a war on them by the government. They could be a major part of the solution. You should put much more emphasis in your plan upon allowing the stabilization of wild equid societies and the intrinsic limitations on population growth that would thereby result. Your scare tactic of presenting 325,000 wild equids is just this and is insensitive to the true mandate for and needs of the wild horses and burros both individually and collectively. You also again fail to recognize the positive, life-enhancing aspects of wild horse and burro populations.

    Your Principles for Success have a wrong, negative emphasis. They should include: “Adequate resources should be provided for truly viable wild horse and burro populations.” Rather than putting “they must be controlled,” you should state these animals must be protected and provided for. Your emphasis is all wrong.

    As concerns 2, you again overlook the long-term viability of the herd. As concerns 3, you are treating wild equids like livestock merely for human convenience and with little or no thought of the animals in the wild and their needs and contributions. You define “excess” only in terms of human convenience, not in terms of what would be best for the wild equids as far as vigorous, long-term viability and natural adaptability. Point 4 is based on strictly economic considerations, while the horses/burros themselves are little considered. In point 5 concerning sustainable solution you should bring into play Reserve Design. (I am enclosing my earlier input to the Denver meeting last month on Reserve Design as well as Ecological Contributions for/of wild equids for your perusal.)

    In your second point, you ignore the many life-enhancing contributions of wild horses and burros. This is not right.

    Page 9: Top paragraph: This statement is quite tendentious – aimed at wild horse/burro elimination, or nearly so. Graph is more scare tactics. What is being overlooked is the obvious solution: in-the-field intrinsic population stabilization. This would be all natural, not based on heavy handed, invasive interference by man.

    Bottom paragraph: Again, totally ignores Reserve Design for self-stabilizing, long-term viable populations. Again, your heart is not in the life of the wild horses/burros in the wild.

    Third point: Again you ignore in-the-field, natural population stabilization that would occur when a given population fills its niche within a contained habitat of sufficient size to provide for a long-term viable population in the thousands, not the mere hundreds or even worse the mere tens (as is often the case with the ridiculous AMLs that have been set in many BLM districts). This is a very thick-sculled approach to our nation’s last wild horses and burros, giving them bottom priority in the wild. This is not right!

    Concerning Graph 3: Yes, there would remain a bunch of crippled, non-viable, dysfunctional herds on the public lands, populations placed into a tailspin to oblivion, managed to extinction, or nearly so!

    Page 10: This heavy emphasis on fertility control is much too invasive an approach and overlooks natural controls. Again you seem to totally ignore my proposal of Reserve Design, which I presented at the mediation session and again at the Denver workshop and Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting this June past.

    As concerns your fourth point with the elaborate graph, your emphasis is strictly on wild horses/burros as mere ciphers with little or no consideration given to their fair place in nature and realizing this as a healthy number of individuals.

    Concerning your fifth point, these partnerships should include expanding contiguous areas to assure complete habitats for long-term viable herd population levels. This is currently not happening, nor is adequate water being applied for and defended on the public lands (see enclosure on water rights by federal government). This is especially true in the state of Nevada where the state constitution greatly acknowledges federal sovereignty.

    Page 11: Implications for Strategy Development: This represents a total ignoring of natural, ecosystem approach to wild horse/burro conservation! Totally overlooks fairness issue and population viability issue as concerns what numbers of wild horses/burros should remain on the public lands! This is an overly simplistic and a very unjust approach to wild horses/burros in the wild.

    What do you think? Answers are NO! to questions 1,2,3 & 5. My suggestions for 4: Return wild horses and burros to their zeroed-out herd areas throughout the West, as would be consistent with your legal mandate and obligation as public servants to the General Public of the United States, who want these “national heritage species” to be much more fairly treated!

    Page 12: Draft Goals, etc.: This betrays the very heart of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act that is to preserve and restore the wild horses and burros in the wild!

    You are using habitat as a pretense for authorizing wild horse and burro elimination or near so, treating these animals as mere negatives when it fact they are habitat enhancers (see enclosure on ecological benefits). Your policies that are basically anti-wild equid overlook so much and are designed to be achieved at the expense of the heterogeneity, viability and adaptability of the wild equid populations.

    Though you state you will provide these animals for future generations to enjoy, in fact your proposal fails to truly conserve and protect wild horses and burros in the U.S. The Salazar Plan is very deceptive! Again I submit my input for Reserve Design as well as the one for positive ecological contributions (both also given in Denver).

    Page 13: Sustainable Herds: Top: Looking at these two factors alone ignores the viability and adaptability questions as well as the fairness question. This is very poor and impertinent to the “wild horse/burro in the wild” issue so dear to the hearts of so many.
    Goal: You display no recognition of monopolistic use by livestock within the original wild equid herd areas. This is very hypocritical.

    Objective 1: I disfavor this tinkering with the nature of the wild equids. If allowed, this will create miserable, non-adapted, dysfunctional herds. Again this totally ignores the Reserve Design concept – the smart way. Yours is the obstinate, human-centered, insensitive way to relate to the wild horses.

    Objective 2: Yes! But add as follows: Make additional forage, space, water and all complete habitat needs available for wild horse and burro use.

    Page 14: Top: Actions: Very much favor this approach. Yes to all three. You should follow through with 3 proposals currently before BLM in this regard: Winecup-Gamble, Soldier Meadows/Return to Freedom, and Madeleine Pickens. But you must also use Code Federal Regulations 4710.5 & .6 to legally curtail livestock within the legal wild horse and burro herd areas.

    Objective 3: I strongly recommend you greatly reduce the necessity of these cruel roundups including especially helicopter chases and do so through the implementation of Reserve Design. Reserve Design should become a primary objective to make genetically and ecologically viable self-stabilizing (auto-regulating) herds possible.

    Preserves: I disfavor these preserves. The BLM’s emphasis should be on allowing larger, more truly long-term viable populations of wild equids in the wild, not in a state of domestication or semi-domestication nor as non-reproducers. The latter are dead-end populations and make a mockery of the Wild Horse Act! You should curb the monopoly by ranchers in the legal, wild-equid herd areas, while at the same time implementing Reserve Design for the establishment of genetically viable, auto-regulating/self-stabilizing wild horse and burro herds (see enclosure).

    Page 15: Top: Goal: This proposal, i.e. the Salazar Plan, subverts the original intent of the Wild Horse and Burro Act by largely displacing the truly wild, free-living wild horse and burro populations and placing them into domestication.

    Objective 1: This takes the wild out of the wild horses and burros and is therefore contrary to the law. Also, you should provide for shelter, mineral, water and other habitat essentials for wild horses and burros.

    Objective 2: This monetary incentive lends itself to corruption, i.e. milking the taxpayer. Beware!
    Page 16: Top: Transfer of animal title to partner opens sinister opportunity for slaughter sale!

    Objective 7 and Actions: This I favor but for reproducing wild equid herds. Objective 7 is the only good objective I can really get behind and must be implemented immediately, but for vital reproducing herds, not dead end populations!

    Page 17: Top: Add 6. Employ CFR 4710.5 & .6 to reduce or eliminate livestock grazing within HAs/HMAs.

    Objective 8: This should be a reproducing herd greater than 2,500 individuals (IUCN Species Survival Commission, Equid Specialist Group. 1992. Action Plan for Equidae).
    Actions: This should be done in the wild on the legal 1971 wild equid herd areas not in preserves with non-reproducing, dead-end populations!
    Treasured Herds: Implement Reserve Design. I disfavor this, since it would lead to the neglect of other herds – the great majority!

    I’ve visited all three of these small remnant herds: Pryors, L. Bookcliffs, and Kigers, all of which have too low Appropriate Management Levels and are vulnerable to inbreeding and chance die out due to their low population levels and over manipulation by man.

    Page 18: Objective 3: Actions: 2. Add: “…to actively protect, enhance, restore, manage and support the treasured herd.” Poor use of language betrays little appreciation and caring for wild horses and burros in the wild.

    Objective 4: 3. Better to allow natural selection determine what type of wild horses are to remain, for this will be adaptive to survival in this particular area or region.

    4. Concerning compatible uses, stress mutual symbioses of wild equids within the wild-equid-containing ecosystems (see enclosed).

    Page 19: Goal 2: How can wild horses and burros be termed healthy when at such low, artificially reduced, non-viable population levels?!

    Page 20: Goal 3. Action 8: Virginia Range east of Reno abuts BLM land, yet BLM abandoned this herd, letting state declare as “estray” the wild horses here, especially those on the east side. It should have worked out a co-managed agreement. This could be revived in this case and I recommend it.
    Action 9: Good idea, but for wild equids in the wilds of the West and as fully reproducing herds.

    Goal 4: Objectives: This solicitation of funds from the public could be viewed as a type of extortion of the public, since wild equids’ protection is already mandated by law and should be supported by Congressional appropriation.

    Action 2: Good idea in general for all the herds.

    Page 22: Objective 3: Stress the great paleontological evidence for native status of the horse in North America, and evolutionary roots of burro in North America. This is good justification for their return here.

    Action 2. God but add as follows: Tailor the curriculum to species biology, history, evolutionary development in North America, and ecological interactions and impacts within larger biological communities and landscapes.

    Communications: Introduction: Well stated.

    Goal 1: Good, in general, but add: “… manage wild horses and burros in the wild and tell the story …”
    Objective 1: Actions: 2. Expand the partnership base to increase the BLM’s capacity to [add] protect and manage …”

    Page 23: Top: Actions: 1: Like Wild Horse Summit, Las Vegas NV, Oct, 2008 as organized by ISPMB. 2; Host range tours: good idea tours in wild and would double as public vigilance of herds and make their enemies back off.

    Goal 2: Re: transparency: Roundup in Owyhee wh hma was not at all transparent. Rock Creek gather was not much better, although some very restricted and limited public observation was allowed after the federal judge Larry R. Hicks in Reno mandated public observation. How this was implemented, however, constituted contempt of court. Deceptive and untrue statements were made in this recent case brought by Plaintiff Laura Leigh and her lawyer Gordon Cowan over these gathers that just took place, July, 2010. There was access to water and plenty of cattle in Owyhee, both denied on stand by Nevada wild horse lead. Elko officials were very tricky, I felt, in their implementation of the public observation so as to preclude any close observation of just-gathered horses.

    Page 24: Animal Welfare: This section mainly deals with the wild horses/burros who have lost their freedom. More attention needed to correct the terrible abuse, gut shooting, barricaded water, over fencing within herd areas, illegal killings of wild equids in the wild. This occurs and a lot of it, as I have extensively investigated! What is being done to stop this ongoing persecution of wild horses and burros in the wild?! Though the claim is made “BLM has protected the health and welfare of wild horses and burros” in an even more serious way BLM has become the wild horses and burros’ worst enemy by betraying its responsibility mainly by promoting excessive roundups of the wild equids and designating miserably low Appropriate Management Levels (AML’s) on the range.

    Page 25: Objective 5: Again, emphasis is on wild horses/burros who have been deprived of their natural freedom and place on the public lands. This is simply wrong and counters the Wild Horses and Burros Act!

    Objective 7: Yes.

    Page 26: Top: Action 2: More emphasis needed on wild equids in the wild.
    Science and Research: Opening stmt: Reserve Design category should be added here. Regarding genetic diversity: this is very low because of very low AML’s. These need to be reconsidered and increased to more just levels given the vast areas in the legal wild equid areas (see below).
    Goal: Objective 1: Reserve Design strategy should be utilized here.

    Page 27: Top: 3. Reserve Design being ignored here!

    Objective 2: Actions 1, 2, & 3 all quite good, and 3 should include Reserve Design..

    Objective 3: Look at livestock monopoly on public lands and address this as well as other exploitive monopolies such as hunting, mining or energy extraction that can and do target the wild horses and burros as nuisances. Document great contribution of wild equids in reducing flammable vegetation and preventing catastrophic fires.

    Actions: 2. Sounds good. Reserve Design could fit in here. 3 is good. 4 is good. In this regard, apply for water rights under western state law, especially Nevada whose constitution supports federal ownership of land and public values.

    Page 28: Wild Horse and Burro Program History: I disagree with the 17,000 wh’s and 8,000 b’s figure. There were at least twice this on the public lands, but many were ignored in order to eliminate herd areas.

    The prescription “where found in 1971” should mean on a year-round basis so as to cover all habitat needs. You are wrong on the 51 million acres figure (even at odds with your 53 & ½ million). The true legal figure would be ca. 88 million acres of legal wild equid herd areas on both BLM and USFS lands.
    In regard to setting of AML’s starting in late 1970’s, and especially as continued into the 1980’s, there entered very bias policies working against wild horses and burros because of pressure from public lands grazers and other interests not valuing the wild equids.

    The 180 subsets of original HAs, i.e. HMAs, were reduced from ca. 350 HA’s originally on BLM and USFS land. Not long ago 53 and ½ millon was the figure for these areas, really more like 88 million acres if law had been correctly applied. 26.6 million is all BLM now wants to manage for the wild equids as marginalized species within these.

    The AML is being very arbitrarily defined to suit the monopolies of ranchers and game hunters as well as other interests like energy extractors on the public lands.

    Concerning the setting of AML’s, the problem is with the very unfair allocation of resources within the legal areas, hence wh/b’s continue to be extensively marginalized even within their reduced areas of occupation.

    Final statement: Please thoroughly revise this plan and integrate Reserve Design. As written, your plan would subvert wild horses/burros in the wild and make a mockery of the act. It would set the equids up for inbreeding and chance die out in the face of natural and man-made vicissitudes. Consider this: if there are, at present, 38,365 wild equids among 180 herds, this works out to 213 individual per herd, and more than a thousand acres per individual wild equid. This an under population not an over population! If you further eliminate the few remaining wild equids as you plan to do, the situation will be 26,600 wild equids in 180 herds on millions of acres. This will work out to 148 wild equids per herd. This is even below the substandard standard of the BLM for minimum genetic viability. This is truly a prescription for the decline and die-out of the wild equid herds and a cynical subversion of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971! This is not legal, not in accord to the will of the American people nor the law!

    Sincerely,

    Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist
    P.O. Box 456
    Minden, NV 89423
    Tel. 775-267-3484; ccdowner@yahoo.com
    Enclosures

    ++++++++++++
    So there you have it…”Craig’s expertise “along with all the local’s perspectives you are hearing.
    This is a HUGE issue and my cowgirl HAT is off to you for including this issue on the blog.

    Looking forward to seeing others comments as well.
    Are you still awake? zzzzzzzzz!
    Sweet Dreams of galloping hoofbeats…and no helicopter sounds (especially from monoplistic round-up helicopters making hundreds of thousands per round up with out tax money. Good Night and Amen!

  2. (This is a new comment on an old post, so it might not be read, but seems like summary perspective and an update are worthwhile).

    Perspective (mine, but I expect many will agree):
    * Government is good at regulating and (micro-)managing anything out of existence; government excepted.
    * Government intent: very difficult to say if there is any, but I’m sure there are cases of lack of understanding, tunnel vision, trusting ‘process’ more than people, and definite intent of either (or both) preservation and elimination.
    * Stewardship: Genesis 1:28 states that God gave humans authority over all the earth and the creatures He made. Responsibility is not stated, but should not have to be stated. We are responsible to God for our management or mis-management of HIS PROPERTY. Being evicted from Eden did not change that!
    * Mr. Downer notes the food & water supply, population and predator imbalance. Perhaps more people can discuss those factors and options without blowing a fuse if the subject is changed from “wild mustangs” to “whitetail deer”.

    Update:
    * Reference above cited letter, “Page 16, Top” note. The domestic slaughter of horses was banned. Coupled with the awful economy, there were (still are) domestic horses being turned loose or “dropped off” much as some do with unwanted dogs. A neighbor of mine, God bless her, has managed to take in a few. Thankfully, the problem seems to have stopped here early in 2011. Whatever one thinks about this issue (I admit to having conflicting thoughts), there are (I am assuming, unintended) consequences.
    * God’s promise: 2 Chronicles 7:14


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