Mustang management: What happens next?
Mustang management: What happens next?
The Bureau of land management has been conducting mustang roundups since 1971, in order to "control population numbers" and "preserve grazing land for cattle and other wildlife". But as much as Americans would like to believe that the mustangs are captured and adopted out as humanely possible, the truth is not so. Mustangs are gathered by helicopters, stampeded for miles on end before reaching their destination: Government holding facilities. Families are torn apart, horses are crowded between bars. A lucky few will be rescued and adopted into loving homes, retrained into companion animals. But many are placed into long term holding, where millions of tax payer dollars are spent on their keeping, and the horses have nothing left but a futile clinging to the last bit of life in them.
Some people have suggested that the BLM should support adoption to a further extent, in order that more horses will be adopted into loving homes. But even then, holding facilities fill up more and more, and with them, millions of tax payer dollars. The BLM is at their last resort. And that resort? Kill the horses. Activists are fighting their hardest to prevent this from happening, and many have suggested birth control injections for mares. The medicine is cheep, and can be shot long distance into the horses where the injection can take place. Others have begun preserving large amounts of land for captured mustangs to live out the rest of their wild lives on. But the truth is that the government only owns 1\8 of all public land in the U.S-- it's no wonder the mustangs are becoming overcrowded! Cattle ranchers, on the other hand, own thousands of prime acres for mustangs, which they keep to themselves and their precious cattle. They believe mustangs to be pests, and that they overgraze, leaving nothing else for their stock.
I believe there are several ways we can balance the western ecosystem and preserve the mustangs' freedom. The first is birth control medication. The only argument I have against this method is that every mare has a right to a baby of her own, the right to reproduce. These injections should only be targeted on older mares who may have a harder time providing for their young. Along with this, there is always the chance that the medication could cause complications, as with any drug or medicine put into the system of a wild animal. The second way is to provide mustang refuges, hundreds of acres dedicated only to the mustangs and other minor wildlife. The third, and in my opinion, the most unlikely, but nevertheless possible, is to maintain a steady predator population in mustang habitation areas. This is the most natural, even if a hard fact to face, way of keeping the numbers from stacking up too high. And finally, the last and, to me, most effective, is to prohibit all slaughter, gathering on private or public land, shooting, or overall killing of the wild mustangs. Cattle ranchers argue that the mustangs are taking over their lands. But the truth is, cattle outnumber mustangs on the range 50 to 1. And the more land the mustangs are given, the more territory they have to spread out, graze, multiply, and live out their lives in freedom.
And even if my plan succeeds, even if somehow we are able to prevent further BLM roundups, we can't take back the past. Hundreds of mustangs remain in holding facilities, and only you, by adopting one of these former "symbols of the west", can bring the value to their lives that losing their freedom had first taken.
You can check out my website, with more about mustangs and horsemanship at Home | Equine connection (wixblogs.com). I also found a helpful documentary on the truth behind the BLM roundups at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCoPTr63bJg