Optics of Wild Horse Roundups

A secondary purpose of roundups is to humiliate and demoralize.

The advocates, defeated a long time ago, repeat the lies of government and help them minimize herd sizes, with benefits accruing to the public-lands ranchers.

The wild horse documentary produced by Robert Redford et al, which opened last week, is the latest example.

Love Triangle on Americas Public Lands 08-19-21

Your host has no desire to see the film, the trailer was enough.  If you saw it and wrote a review, put a link in the comments.

One thought on “Optics of Wild Horse Roundups

  1. I haven’t written a formal review, but took notes and have some comments.

    2:10 into the film, David Phillips said this, “There’s far more wild horses than both the government and many people who live in the western states would like to see. I think we’re in a crisis today. We haven’t found a real sustainable way to limit populations…if we don’t do something, the number of herds is going to grow on the range and eventually – I have no idea if that’s at 100,000, 200,000 or 300,000 but eventually they’re going to exhaust their resources and die off.”

    Not off to a very good start.

    AMLs were mentioned as a “magic number set in the 70s” but it wasn’t followed up with the fact that AMLs have no scientific basis.

    No natural predators were mentioned a couple times and to his credit, Philips did say, “…and we did that to protect livestock interests. You can’t be in the cattle business if the wolves are eating your cattle.”

    The fact that WHB are on 12% of public lands was mentioned but they neglected to follow up with the fact that that 12% is shared with livestock and that livestock is on 257 million acres.

    The Sand Wash darters said, “Keeping 120-150 horses per year from dropping on the ground is a savings all the way around.” They said the land wasn’t good – that there were bits of grass, but an awful lot of dirt and there was virtually nothing for the horses to eat. They said, “We have 3 out of 5 sheep ranchers that don’t even use this land. They don’t even use their grazing rights – and it’s not because of the horses that there’s no grazing, it’s because of the drought. The land has been depleted over the years. And I’m not saying we don’t have too many horses, I’m just saying we need to cut the numbers down.” I guess the cattle need more than 79% of the forage so they need to keep up with the darting.

    They said they worked with BLM and that BLM is seeing the progress they’re making such as cutting the birth rate in half the last 3 years. I guess that wasn’t enough progress for BLM since they just removed hundreds of horses. Must be a disappointment for those women.

    They talked about giving a PZP primer, then a booster every year (which of course BLM says might cause permanent sterility in all of their EAs).

    Then Neda from RTF jumped in and said there was ‘something about protecting wildness.’ She said, “The numbers on the range are growing, horses are reproducing, the population hasn’t been managed. The population in holding corrals is growing and the need for sanctuaries unfortunately exists.” They showed her sanctuary, which was a nice plug for donations.

    They talked a lot about adopting some of the Cold Creek horses in 2015 and showed numerous photos of starving horses. Those are the photos that will stick in people’s minds.

    She said the numbers are big and we have to keep up with the foal crop so longer lasting fertility control is needed because we are definitely at a tipping point.

    Neda: “We needed to sit down with basically the livestock agencies and other stake holders who we didn’t agree with, along with other national animal welfare organizations. We worked on developing some common ground, non lethal solutions where finally for the first time we’d have a fertility control program with congressional oversight. There was a map on how BLM could better manage horses on our public land. My hope is that over the next three years we can increase trust on all sides of this issue that the horse populations will be managed and the ranges can become healthier.”

    Notably absent was what compromises came from the livestock industry and that it’s actually proven that livestock is destroying the range, not horses.

    There were some nice stories about veterans with PTSD working with Mustangs and they highlighted a couple trainers and horses from Mustang Heritage Foundation but no mention of why these horses were available for these programs in the first place -> livestock.

    Overall, in my opinion, it was an advertisement for PZP and RTF that was void of facts and missed an opportunity to educate the public and get people involved. I think an average American who was not aware of the issue will walk away thinking the horses are overpopulated, destroying the range, and starving (even though aside from the Cold Creek photos every horse in the film was fat and healthy looking).


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