A smaller but not insignificant voice against wild horses is that of the outdoorsmen, who argue that the horses are stealing resources from game animals.
In Section 3 of the original WHB Act, Congress ordered the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture to work with state wildlife agencies to balance the needs of the horses with those of wildlife, especially endangered species.
That language is now in paragraph 1333(a) of the current statute.
Lands set aside for wild horses and burros are to be managed principally for those animals, according to paragraph 1332(c), but only four of them are.
What happened? Refer to CFR 4710.3-2: The requirement was nullified by the unelected bureaucracy. Management plans for those areas put the horses in the minority. That’s why so much money is being spent on roundups, adoption incentives, training programs, fertility controls, off-range pastures, sanctuaries and preserves.
Can a federal regulation trump a duly enacted statute? If you look at current practices, the answer must be “Yes.” (If that’s true, our most cherished principles are now on very shaky ground.)
The HMAs and WHTs reviewed on these pages (sidebar on the right under ‘Short End of Stick’) intersect multiple grazing allotments, with most of the resources consigned to privately owned cattle and sheep. Would you be surprised to learn that most of them are managed that way?
Would the fences that confine the livestock to their allotments impede the movement of horses and wildlife, limiting their access to critical resources?
How many free-roaming horses and burros have to move off their designated areas to find enough food and water?
What types of diseases are transmitted to wildlife by privately owned livestock?
Perhaps the outdoorsmen should look at the data before criticizing the horses.