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Mustang management gets an overhaul

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Jodi Peterson | Mar 04, 2011 04:42 PM

Roughly 37,000 wild horses and burros roam the West’s public lands -- about 40 percent more than the feds think those lands can sustain. But the Bureau of Land Management’s efforts to round them up and adopt them out have been costly, ineffective and unpopular, with critics charging that horses are unnecessarily harmed and even killed.

Earlier this week, the agency stopped a roundup in northeastern Nevada after gathering just 1,300 of the 2,000 wild horses it had planned to remove from the range, saying that high winds and the dispersal of the horses made it too difficult to continue. The Associated Press reports:

Activists said it made more sense financially to leave the horses on the range on two ranches — in and around the Antelope Complex -- that the wife of oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens purchased to serve as a mustang sanctuary.

"The BLM could have postponed the roundup until fall in order to take advantage of philanthropist Madeleine Pickens' cost-savings alternative to house Antelope horses on her private lands adjacent to their home range instead of shipping them thousands of miles to distant government holding facilities," said Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.

The BLM earlier rejected Pickens' proposal to accept some of the mustangs, saying it wouldn't save taxpayers' money and it didn't include enough water and forage for the animals.

Also this week, in response to more than 9,000 public comments received over the past year, the BLM has announced “fundamental reforms” in its management of wild horses. For at least the next two years, it will round up 3,000 fewer animals each year -- just 7,000 annually -- and work to increase adoptions. It's pledging to form more partnerships with private groups -- like Pickens -- for long-term care of some horses. The agency will also quadruple the number of mares receiving contraception, to 2,000 per year.

The plan also includes a review by the National Academy of Sciences to ensure the latest research is applied to wild horse management policies. The BLM is taking comments on the plan through March 30 -- to add your two cents, write to with “Comments on Strategy” in the subject line.

Jodi Peterson is HCN's managing editor.

Stephanie M Sellers
Stephanie M Sellers
Mar 06, 2011 02:32 AM
Good news in a great article. Read on to learn how we can help.
4% Fair Tax Averages on America’s 9.2 Million Horses
Replaces Horse Slaughter with Logic and Value
A. *Horses under 501©3 is 0.00 tax until Adopted.
B. *est. $1,200 valued horse in range of $300-$2,500 is $48 tax.
     $48 x 4mhorses = 1billion.9m.2k Revenue
go to Petition
site, for more figures.
 This is vast revenue to pay for land, training, and wages for Committees to
oversee America’s horse industry, including reclaiming the Wilderness Preserves
for Our Mustangs.
 Rebuild America with pride.
We built this Nation with horses.
We can do it again.
 Sanctuaries should not only foster horses but should be learning facilities to
teach responsible horse ownership. Sanctuaries become county revenue builders
as fees are paid for horse adoption, trail rides, horseback riding lessons, and
host competitions. Ideally, Sanctuaries should adjoin Federal land already
utilized by equestrians or with promise to do so, such as land owned by The Army
Corps of Engineers, State Parks and National Forests.

011/03/impeach-bob-abbey.html IMPEACH BOB ABBEY! Mail petition to impeach Abbey and petition from this site to make America safe for our horses.

Americans Against Horse Slaughter in Arizona: Impeach Bob Abbey
Tim Baker
Tim Baker Subscriber
Mar 06, 2011 02:12 PM
 "including reclaiming the Wilderness Preserves
for Our Mustangs."

I'm not really certain what you mean by the comment above. Wilderness areas should be kept free of all non-native animals, including feral horses and burros. I understand there's a tremendous amount of passion by equine devotees, but there is no reasonable argument to be made that they are a native species that somehow deserve a place in designated wilderness areas anymore than stray cattle or feral pigs do (I've read the arguments and they aren't reasonable to me, particularly regarding burros). Horses and burros usurp resources from native wildlife and disrupt ecosystem function because they lack any real limit on their population aside from the BLM gathers.

I strongly support the use of ecological science in formulating a horse/burro management plan and hope the NRC/NAS review and proposal will provide relevant guidance to the BLM.

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