That’s how it looks if you’re a public-lands rancher. Consider this piece, posted today in the Elko Daily Free Press. Long on numbers about wild horses and burros, but devoid of facts about privately owned cattle and sheep.
There were roughly 82,000 wild horses and burros on public lands in the western U.S. last year, according to the story. About 10,000 were removed in 2018 but the 2019 foal crop has probably replaced them.
Given that roughly nine million AUMs are sold to ranchers annually, there must be about 1.5 million cow/calf pairs grazing on public lands in the western U.S., assuming they feed six months per year.
Livestock population densities, computed elsewhere on these pages, also show a huge margin beyond that for wild horses and burros.
But it doesn’t matter. The wild horse population exceeds AML, the number of horses on public lands the ranchers are willing to tolerate, roughly one animal per thousand acres.
The population needs to be reduced, now.
You’d think it was their land but it’s not.
It’s not about cost. It’s not about rangeland degradation. It’s about deceit and greed on the part of the ranchers, their overlords and political allies.
The forage currently allocated to privately owned cattle and sheep on public lands in the western U.S. would support 750,000 wild horses and burros, enough to empty all of the off-range corrals and long-term pastures fifteen times over.