An article about overpopulation by The Horse suggests that the current surplus of about 70,000 wild horses and burros (on public lands) could be eliminated if just four to five percent of horse-owning households adopted one animal.
The story did not indicate how many more households would be needed to liquidate the animals in off-range holding.
What’s wrong with this idea?
First, there are few if any excess animals on America’s public lands. That’s bad news to those in the PZP supply chain. They thrive on the overpopulation narrative.
Second, adoptions don’t stop removals, they prolong them. The AIP, and the adverse consequences associated therewith, are effects of roundups, not causes of them.
Third, the ‘surplus’ would return, the roundups would resume and the corrals would be overflowing, not because the animals reproduce, but because of the way our public lands are managed.
AMLs, the numbers that determine when an area is overpopulated, are small because the bureaucrats have decided that most of the resources on lands set aside for horses and burros shall be assigned to privately owned cattle and sheep.
The True AMLs, numbers that represent the horses and burros allowed by plan plus the horses and burros displaced by livestock, are much higher, as anyone reading these pages knows.
The animals in off-range holding could be returned to the range by ending public-lands ranching on just a few dozen HMAs.
Those corrals and pastures could be emptied four to five times over if livestock grazing was ended on all HMAs. It’s that bad.
Eventually the herds will exceed the True AMLs and corrective actions will be needed.
But those discussions are off the table until the HMAs are managed principally for wild horses and burros, which is what the True AMLs represent.
If you want to help America’s wild horses and burros, look upstream in the management process, understand why they’re being removed from the range and address those causes for a lasting solution.