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Know the West

An Irresponsible, Emotional Act


In 1971, we became irresponsible and emotional and legislated the National Wild-Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Wild horses and wild burros were made into political giants not to be managed carefully on public lands. The program was twofold: Leave horses and burros to graze feely on the public lands, and if the numbers increased severely, take the excess and put them on “welfare” for life; adopt a few out but do not destroy one. Today, we are paying from $50 million to $70 million annually out of the national treasury to support the numbers on welfare pastures. But the worst-case scenario is that the ever-growing free-range numbers on the public lands are creating a dustbowl. Their numbers are increasing faster than the removal process can accommodate. Unmanaged heavy grazing creates desertification — there is no turning back on this. We are destroying the public lands. I see a similarity between this and the idea of returning wolves to Colorado. They are wrong ideas to begin with. You want to turn the wolves loose on us — to destroy what living wildlife and ranching livelihoods we have.

Gus Halandras
Meeker, Colorado