Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Wild (and abandoned) horses are starving, because we love them too much

Chris Stewart, a horse-loving Republican congressman from Utah, writes in the NY Times:

The Hard Truth About the West’s Wild Horse Problem

"The federal government’s Wild Horse and Burro Program is broken, leaving thousands of animals to starve. The Bureau of Land Management says that the nearly 27 million acres it manages for wild horses and burros can sustain only about 27,000 animals. This year, the bureau estimates that there were more than 72,000 wild horses on the land, almost 50,000 too many and all fighting to survive.
...
"This isn’t just a horse management disaster, it’s a financial disaster too. In addition to the 72,000 horses it oversees on the range, the B.L.M. keeps about 45,000 horses that it has removed from the wild in corrals, off-range pastures and in sanctuaries. Over their lifetime, these horses will cost taxpayers roughly $1 billion overall, according to the B.L.M. That’s $1 billion we could otherwise spend on defense, education, job training or any other worthy cause.
...
"the bulk of the blame lies with shortsighted decision-making by misinformed but well-meaning members of Congress.

"Congress had once supported laws that allowed for proper management of these animals. Horses in excess of what the land could sustain were to be captured, put up for adoption, sold without restriction — including to slaughterhouses, which the B.L.M. does not do as a matter of policy — and as a last resort, humanely euthanized. The program wasn’t perfect, but the B.L.M. was able to keep the herds’ numbers in check while ensuring that the ranges were viable and healthy year after year.

"But since 2010, Congress has used annual appropriations acts to significantly restrict the ability of the B.L.M. to sell or euthanize horses. "
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This is clearly not the situation intended by those who put in place the laws and regulations that prevent wild horse populations from being managed.  Maybe it's time to eat horsemeat, for the sake of the horses?  Not likely soon in the U.S.: see my previous posts on that...

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