This wild mare and foal were among a group of mustangs removed from a range in Nevada last year because they were starving. (BLM photo)
This is driving the horse huggers bat guano crazy.
This past Friday at a meeting in Elko the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board voted to recommend to Bureau of Land Management that it actually follow the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 “by offering all suitable animals in long and short term holding deemed unadoptable for sale without limitation or humane euthanasia. Those animals deemed unsuitable for sale should then be destroyed in the most humane manner possible,” according to the Elko Daily Free Press account.
The recommendation was approved by all the board members except one after the board toured the range land in the area and saw first hand the degradation of the land caused by an overpopulation of feral horses.
The newspaper quoted board member Dr. Robert Cope as saying that after the field trip “it became so obvious there’s an incredible crisis situation out there affecting the resource” and “something has got to be done.”
The current problem is that Congress has for years prohibited using federal funds to follow the law and euthanize unadoptable wild horses and burros or even allowing them to be sold for processing into commercial products.
The Humane Society put out a press release
saying: “The decision of the BLM advisory board to recommend the destruction of the 45,000 wild horses currently in holding facilities is a complete abdication of responsibility for their care. The agency would not be in this situation but for their long-term mis-management. Alternatives to this proposal have been ignored for over 20 years. The HSUS stands ready to implement these alternatives at any time.”
There are an estimated 70,000
wild horses and burros on the open range, 40,000 more than the range can handle, and that number can grow by 9,000 a year
Coincidentally, on the same day the advisory board recommended euthanizing excess horses, the BLM canceled an experimental program
to test sterilization techniques, because it was being sued by some self-styled animal rights groups.
The Congressional Western Caucus responded with a press release
saying, “Responsible sterilization could help stem the exploding wild horse populations on federal lands in the West. Yet the BLM dropped the project under the threat of litigation by a special interest group. BLM Director Neil Kornze has said his agency is ‘overwhelmed’ by the growing herds, and described the situation as dire. The wild horse and burro population is nearly triple what the rangelands can support. As a result, the lands are being obliterated and the horses are dying of thirst and starvation.”
That’s what the advisory board found. The Elko paper reports today
that the BLM is having to haul water to horses in the Ely district.
But some people want to love the horses to death.