The BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program is at a crossroads, according to an article posted today by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The author claims that HMAs are overpopulated by 100 percent to 1,500 percent.
“There were 81,951 animals on 26.9 [million] acres of public rangelands and 44,730 animals in corrals or pastures as of mid-2018…
To give some perspective, the BLM says ideally 27,000 of these animals can live in balance with livestock and wildlife on public lands.”
This is another example of misuse of figures. The aimed-at population of 27,000 animals and available land of 26.9 million acres pertain to HMAs only. The observed population of 81,951 animals corresponds to all lands, including HMAs. You can’t compare 81,951 to 27,000 and conclude wild horses and burros are overpopulated because they don’t have the same land-basis.
Note that the combined AML of 27,000 animals (horses and burros) and available land of 26.9 million acres yield a population density of one animal per thousand acres, just one twelfth (8.3%) of the density typically allowed for livestock.
There are real problems and stated problems. The stated problem is that wild horses are overpopulated on western rangelands. The real problem is that they compete with livestock for forage, depriving public-lands ranchers and their overlords of benefits owed to them in exchange for their campaign contributions and political support.
What you see on the range is not private-sector capitalism. The helicopters, the bait traps, the zeroing-out of HMAs and reductions of AMLs, the video propaganda and bogus news reports, all are the result of a special interest using the media and instrumentalities of government to achieve its agenda. It needs to be broken up.