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.
- Wild Horse Roundups by Cattoor Livestock
This website shows an inside look of the Wild Horse Roundups. It is full of info from people who know 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?
One Girl's blog showing both sides of the debate
- The Mustang Project's Blog
A blog with Wild Horse information from both sides of the issue.