Solving Wild Horse ‘Problem’ Will Be Hard Pill to Swallow

So says the writer of an opinion piece that appeared last week in the East Oregonian.

The solution “will require the removal of at least 60,000 horses, most of them through killing, and a commitment to remove by one means or another 5,000 per year to maintain an appropriate level.”

That’s about 70% of the horses currently on public lands in the western U.S., in line with the rancher-friendly ‘Path Forward.’

After all, the government just killed hundreds of bison in Yellowstone National Park to protect cattle, so why not horses?

The population limit set by the government, approximately 27,000 wild horses and burros on 27 million acres (which works out to one animal per thousand acres), is not a function of available resources.  Rather, it is the number of animals the land can support after diverting most of the food and water to privately owned cattle and sheep—on lands set aside for the horses and burros.

If you don’t think that’s true, just look at this example.  If you do believe it, you’re just seeing a “nefarious motive,” according to the author.  Leave the poor ranchers alone.

The fences that hold livestock in also keep horses out.  That may not be a problem on allotments with grazing seasons of two or three months per year, but what about areas that are in use for eight to twelve months per year, with stocking rates five to ten times higher than the horses?

Would that explain the movement of horses off their HMAs?

Would it account for conditions that don’t meet standards for rangeland health?

Have the most productive areas been given to the public-lands ranchers?

Stop imagining things!!!  There is no nefarious motive (even though it looks like sabotage).  If anything, it’s just an ‘unintended consequence’ of the grazing program.

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