That’s a possibility according to Bob Vahle, biologist and Region 1 Director for the Arizona Wildlife Federation, a hunting advocacy group.
Vahle told a reporter for Arizona PBS in a story posted today that the horses are competing with native wildlife.
“They may be competing with a permittee’s livestock … you think everybody loves horses, but I kind of take it in this situation, they’re looking at them as having impacts on habitat, impacts on the wildlife that they may like or impacts on maybe a rancher’s livelihood.”
So in those cases it’s okay to shoot them?
Contrary to what you read in the article, horses appear in the North American fossil record, cattle and sheep do not.
A spokesman for the Forest Servive said the best way to prevent future shootings is to get rid of them, the same approach used by the advocates to stop roundups.
He indicated that adverse impacts to the forest are due to unauthorized non-native species, not authorized non-native species, suggesting that the real issue is not wild vs feral, but who’s robbing forage from whom.
Curiously, the writer noted that “Horses present during the passage of the Wild Horse and Burro Act are protected, but those that arrived after that or were born out there are considered unauthorized livestock and aren’t protected.”