Thursday, July 24, 2008

Managing Wild Horses

Activists oppose BLM proposal to kill mustangs

By JESSICA ESTEPA and Frank X. Mullen Jr. Reno Gazette-Journal

In the desert near Gerlach, a tame bay horse dashed out to meet five wild horses fleeing from a government helicopter. Instinct told the mustangs to follow the bay, but it was a "Judas horse" trained to lead the wild ones into a corral.

A gate slammed. The horses were free no more.

During the past 30 years, the fates of these captured mustangs and more than 400 rounded up in Northern Nevada this month would be clear: They would be sent to an adoption center and kept until placed with a family. But now, these mustangs and hundreds like them in adoption or holding centers in the West eventually could be under a death sentence.

The animals have been a protected species since 1971, but because BLM officials say their facilities are overcrowded, adoptions have decreased and money is tight, they might euthanize some of the animals to make room for the thousands of mustangs they say would starve if left on the range.

A meeting on the proposal is expected in September.

"We know this is not a popular option, but we are at a critical point where we must consider using the legal authority allowed us," agency officials said in a prepared statement. Read More

Whenever management of animals, such as wild horses, comes up there is sure to be plenty of people that believe the best management practice is no management. Apparently the thought of these horses starving to death is more appealing to animal activists than humane euthanasia. While that isn’t the option anyone would look forward to, management of the horses is necessary. While adoption of these animals is an option, you don’t seem to see many activists adopting these horses to alleviate the situation.

1 comment:

Duane Gardner said...

I've been photographing Wild Horses in the West for the last 7 years. The thought of having so many of these beautiful animals euthanized is distressing, but I fear necessary. It would be more humane to put the horses down than allowing them to starve.

The BLM has an extemely difficult job managing our Wild Horses so not only we, but generations to come, can enjoy them. They are truly "Icons of the West".

I do feel that we human beings have contributed to the problem of Wild Horse over population by eliminating their natural predators for our own self interests.

My wife and I have adopted two Wild Horses and will allow them to live out their lives on our small ranch.