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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Letters

No more horseplay

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I'd like to see HCN correct the grave misinformation in "Eligible Mustangs" and treat the subject with the accuracy and respect it deserves (HCN, 4/12/10).

First and foremost, the Bureau of Land Management sets the "Appropriate Management Level" for wild horses on our ranges and decides when to call horses "excess."  However, this is based on assigning excessive amounts of land for cattle grazing and hunting. Wild horses and burros don't even receive a fair share of the range as part of a "multiple use" strategy of management.

As a "humane observer" for two major roundups, as well as a weekly visitor to monitor the 1,851 remaining wild horses forced off their homes in Nevada's Calico Mountains, I see the suffering and loss these horses are facing. The horses live in small, tight-knit family bands in the wild, but when they are terrorized by helicopters and driven into traps, their family lives are ended, along with their freedom. It is a tragedy, and they suffer tremendously. The Calico horses now housed at Fallon are suffering from a serious bacterial infection thanks to the way they are forced to live.

When I look with my own eyes at healthy range conditions, along with trained biologists, and observe the vibrant health of the vast majority of these stunningly beautiful animals, and see scores of cows out grazing on the Western ranges free of helicopter harassment, I am shocked and angered at the misinformation being fed by the BLM to the American public and to our congressional representatives.

Elyse Gardner
Novato, California

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