Wanted: horse sense


Some radical wild horse advocates just keep repeating the same lies over and over, hoping people start to take their lies as truth (HCN, 4/26/10). The biggest lie is that horses are native to North America. The EPA defines introduced species as "species that have become able to survive and reproduce outside the habitats where they evolved or spread naturally." The early American horse went extinct about 7000 B.C., just after the end of the last glacial period. Thus it did not evolve here or spread naturally but was spread by Spaniards and other Europeans who brought horses to the Americas in the 16th century.

The second lie is that wild horses do not destroy native ranges. In fact, one advocate has even contended that they "enrich habitat." A non-native species in large numbers is not enriching habitat. Some contend that horses do not compete with native wildlife. I didn't know the forage out there was labeled and horses left the forage assigned to the wildlife alone. I agree with what many say about ranching and too much livestock on public land. But this in no way legitimizes their agenda to have thousands of wild horses running free, destroying the range.

The third lie is that the Bureau of Land Management is lying about science and breaking the law. Wild horse advocates sue the BLM nearly every time it gathers wild horses, and they almost always lose. Because the agency knows it's going to get sued every single time it picks up a wild horse, staffers are very diligent in gathering range data in herd management areas. Horse advocates tried to stop the massive roundup in Nevada several months ago. The judge again ruled in favor of BLM, and the gather went on. If BLM's data are cooked, why is the agency winning litigation?

Wild horses are an extremely emotional issue. What we need are fewer extremes. We need logical solutions, not radical ones.


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