The Debate about Wild Horse Roundups

Warning, the introduction to this article has nothing to do with Wild Horses, so you might be tempted to skip over it, but read it. It might actually be the most important part of the article.

When I was in college I took a Forestry class. One night there was two guest speakers coming in. The first one came in and said all of the pros for logging. The second one came in and was against logging. Their arguments were interesting and I learned something from both sides. I learned even more from the girl in front of me. As the logger spoke she agreed with all the points he made. She turned around and told me how important she thought logging was. Then the activist against logging came in. She sat in front of me nodding and agreeing with everything he said. She turned around and told me how awful logging was. The word "brainwashed" came to mind as I listened to her.

When it comes to controversial issues its easy for people to become brainwashed. The activists for or against an issue are passionate and know how to manipulate key points to get people to agree with them. I'm afraid sometimes the audience is too easily persuaded.

Wild Horse roundups are in the center of controversy now. I'm afraid that this is an area where people look at the situation one sided based on a biased opinion. I'm going to write the pros and cons of Wild Horse roundups and give an unbiased view of the situation. I hope that people on both sides of the issue can read this with an open mind and find a solution that is in the best interest of the Wild Horses.

Pro BLM Roundups

Why are BLM roundups needed? Why can't the Wild Horses just roam free? There is one main reason. The Wild Horses have no natural predator, if the herds kept growing the lands they roam would become bare. The horses would end up faced with starvation.

Wild Horse activists argue that the reason the horses are losing land is because of increased cattle grazing on BLM lands. Here are two facts against that argument.

1. Horses are harder on land than cattle. If you were to look at two pieces of land one grazed by horses and one grazed by cattle, the horse pasture (if it was a small area with a fair amount of horses) would be dirt or mud. The cattle would still have grass in the pen. When you look at a horse pasture you might see areas where the grass is tall and then bare spots. This is because they over-graze the same areas and don't eat the grassy areas for some reason.

2. In an article written by Robert V. Abbey for the Salt Lake Tribune regrading Wild Horse Myths, he points out that "Authorized grazing of cattle on BLM land has declined by nearly 50 percent since the 1940s"

Another point Wild Horse activists stand by is that the BLM is managing Wild Horses towards extinction. Since 1971, when BLM started managing the Wild Horse herds, the number of wild horses has increased. The number has nearly doubled. The quickest way to lead Wild Horses to extinction is to let them multiply until there is no forage left for them to eat. The sad part is they would be taking other wildlife down with them.

Stop BLM Roundups

The BLM gives an open look into the roundups. In places where it is safe and appropriate, people are able to watch. They give reports of deaths and injuries. This is where Wild Horse Activists gather fuel.

The main argument that Wild Horse Activists have are animals are being killed and miscarrying foals because of the roundup. They think the horses should be left on the range instead of being gathered up.

They believe that the BLM is mismanaging the Wild Horses, and having these roundups for no reason. They believe that Wild Horse roundups should be stopped.

Is there Middle Ground?

Both sides of this issue have the same goal. Healthy and happy horses. This debate gets so emotional on both sides that I think people forget about the horses. I hope that more people can step back and look at the whole picture and find a middle ground.

Wild Horse Management is needed in order to keep the horses healthy and happy. Malnutrition, dehydration, inbreeding, and more will all be results if the horses are left to roam without management.

The roundup process could be improved. Horses that are being roundup in late winter/early spring are being brought from slim pickings on the range and fed hay full of nutrients. This has been the biggest cause of death of all. Also there are the miscarriages. These mares that are miscarrying are malnourished, and the chances of them delivering a strong healthy full are low. There may be a better time for the roundups to take place, and that should be looked at.

Like I mentioned earlier, if both sides can step back and look at the whole picture, it will be in the best interest of the horses. Both sides have the same goal, protect and preserve the Wild Horses, they just look at it through a different perspective.

I'm afraid that Wild Horses are going to be loved to death. Managing is needed for their survival. If everyone can agree that managing is best, and work together on a management plan that thinks of the horses first, we will have Wild Horses for years to come.

Do you think that Wild Horse Roundups should take place?

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Comments 13 comments

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Very interesting hub. I agree that they need to make some changes but continue the roundup.


rocknrodeogirl profile image

rocknrodeogirl 6 years ago from The Columbia Gorge Author

Thanks for your comment! It is a very delicate issue, I hope that everyone can come together and find a good way to resolve the situation.


lol 5 years ago

well the round up needs to continue and the tree hugers need to be eliminated


equine profile image

equine 4 years ago from Hillsboro, MO

The roundup practices are brutal; horses are chased by 4 wheelers and helicopters for many miles. We are now faced with a new issue. Horse slaughter is again legal in the United States. Horses that go up for auction 3 times and are unadopted will likely end up in slaughter. They call these horses 3 strike horses. This means that while heard management is necessary, we must be very careful about how many we take at a time.


Crypto666 4 years ago

Great article. I hope that at least some horse activists read this and realize where they are wrong (and exhibiting signs of mental illness).

But, I doubt that will happen, their minds are made.

I would like to point out something however. You mention that the problem is a lack of predators. Well, that is only part of the problem. The other problem is that plant communities in horse areas in the west are not adapted to unmanaged grazing from large mammals. Unlike cows, horses cannot be managed effectively thanks to the WHBA of 1973.

I would also like to point out that I believe that most if not all horse activists have not witnessed horses starving to death, die slowly from cancer, get eaten alive by coyotes and birds, have a leg broken by another horse, etc. In general, they have no connection with the land.


lizzi 4 years ago

horses are the most beautiful land animals in the world!and i think thecritters should atlest have 5,000 wild horses should be in america!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


lizzi 4 years ago

i now people care about the wild horses because they risk a lot to get pics to show how they chase the poor critters t'll there more dead then alive my sisters only a kid but she LOVES horses but when i lookat all these pics i want to say that theres more to horses than what you think


Cheryl 4 years ago

This whole process is about money!! And lots of it!! And who suffers...a poor innocent animals who just wants to live and enjoy their lives.

I do not think honesty is what we are hearing from the BLM and cattlemen and others who profit from these harmful deeds.

We need to keep on helping these "defenseless creatures" before it is to late.

We need to speak up for them.


Horse Kidd 4 years ago

You may not think you should take me seriously, because I'm just thirteen, but of coarse this article WAS written by a kid.

I have studied animals, and Native American culture all my life, you can't really say its a hobby, because I have became an animal expert, you could say.

I have had much excperiance with the BLM land, I traveled much of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah to know that these horses DO have natural pretetors on the ranges (In certain places) because in an area of Wyoming I saw Angus cattle on BLM land, and right at the base of a hill- like plateau I saw a dead Angus cow tore up by a cougar, I even saw cougar tracks. People had been in the area recently to, because I saw tons of tire marks in the snow. I'd say Mustang horses are VERY hardy horses and they can't tear up more land than cattle, cattle are just picky eating animals. I own cattle for one thing and horses, just not mustangs, but I'm excperianced with the breed. Yes, BLM can't help it that they don't have enough money to feed horses, but they could lower adoption prices if it REALLY mattered to them. I someday plan to raise Mustangs, train them, and help them become a better known animal. There isn't just one type of mustangs either. There's Nakota, Cerbat, Kiger, Colonial Spanish, and many more. We have not realized that most of us, even BLM, don't actually know much about these horses. They have lived hundreds of years without us, just Native Americans to care for them, so why do we need to round them up for them to eat regularly?

Is BLM horses actually not actual mustang strain?

Has BLM slaughtered these horses, not giving them a large enough population, and land to obtain themselves?

LOTS of BLM land is not being used for anything but for ranchers with already PRIVATE land and for hunters/tourists to use. Believe me, I've seen LOTS of places not too far from sustained herds where they can graze. Mustangs are America's true breed. We have not been taking control of their welfare. I have seen how much these horses are sold for BLM auctions, nobody is going to be able to afford these horses at the price BLM is wanting for them, and for older, unbroke horses. Obviously if BLM is slaughtering them they are getting more for the horses, than for if they would sell them at adoptions.If BLM lowered adoption costs then more people COULD buy them,giving them money to feed fewer horses, and without slaughter, and ranchers would be pretty happy with that.


Tegan 23 months ago

Oh my! what a bummer for you to past over there every signle day and to be forced to see that piece of crap!!! I am so sorry, I guess they are preparing for the summer visitors and trying to attract them that way but my! If you see the billboards around lots of them are about looks, women, sex, suggestive poses, etc. It only gets worse with the summer season approaching and all the frenzy about getting fit for it, being sexy and all that. And I should say that is not only in Lebanon, this is the way the world is wired nowadays. Merchants use sex and women to sell and it must be working cause it's not stopping.Anyways! It's good to have a space to rant about it. Have a nice day, Jimena


Nancy Hardin profile image

Nancy Hardin 23 months ago from Las Vegas, NV

You promised in your introduction to present the pros and cons. The only thing I saw in this article, is that you have bought into everything the BLM says. You only cite facts supplied to you by them, without anything from those defending the horses. Far from being an unbiased viewpoint, it's obvious that you have not truly researched your facts. And yes, I don't mind admitting my bias. I care for the lives of the descendants animals who helped us settle our country, and who helped us win WWI, and who even today, still give us pleasure and comfort. Someday, when everyone has to show photos, books, movies and slides to be able to see a horse, perhaps it will occur to you and those who hold the same viewpoint, that maybe, just maybe, you were wrong....but then, it will be too late.


Conya 23 months ago

Horses have feeling so why treat them that way they have feeling like a person


bob 21 months ago

wild horses are bad

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