Cumulative totals through 02-16-20, per the BLM roundup page for the Eagle Complex:
- 1,385 animals gathered
- 16 deaths (1.1%)
- 623 studs (45.1%)
- 757 mares (54.9%)
- 5 new foals (2019 foals counted as adults)
The range between males and females is still outside of statistical limits corresponding to n = 1,380 and p-bar = .50. The proportions of mares and studs don’t look like they came from a process that produces 50% of each.
The thriving ecological balance is now only 215 wild horses away (1,700 horses to be gathered − 100 to be returned − 1,385).
The forage allocated to livestock on the Eagle HMA, which represents about 88% of the Complex, would support over 2,000 wild horses, making the roundup unnecessary.
The government is probably spending around $1.5 million on the operation, which won’t increase the permitted AUMs, but it can lead to relaxation of AUM restrictions that were put in place because of the horses.
The incremental revenue will be no more than $26,000 per year (1,600 horses removed × 12 months per year × $1.35 per AUM).
Most of the horses won’t be adopted and will end up in long-term pastures at a cost of $1.2 million per year.
It’s absolutely nuts—the trouble and expense incurred by the government to prop up the public-lands ranchers. There is no economic benefit, no payout and no rate of return.
“Hey WHW, why do you say no economic benefit? These roundups create jobs for helicopter pilots, mechanics, wranglers, truck drivers and office personnel.”
Well, that may be true, but economic activity generated by government programs is always offset by a reduction in activity of those from whom the money is confiscated.
That would be you.
The wild horse ‘problem’ arises from government policy—its insistence on giving more and more resources to the public-lands ranchers, on territory set aside for the horses.
Photo: Studs from the Eagle Complex at Palomino Valley off-range corrals, 02-08-20.