Audubon Mag Shows It’s Feathered Behind
“Often times it is best to let bad news and glaring stupidity simply slip away into the night without any notice and that was exactly what I intended to do regarding the Audubon Magazine’s recent article about wild horses. Written by Ted Williams, no not the famous guy, the article is riddled with misinformation and tainted with a leering overtone that leaves a bitter taste in the reader’s mouth. Poor journalism at best for such a highly regarded conservation publication.
But the outrage of the general public is not going to allow this abomination to slip quietly away. My inbox has been loaded with outrage which has spilled over onto our blog and out into social networks urging me to say something, to respond, to fight back. So we will do just that, today.
Good friend and fellow equine advocate Craig Downer responded to the editor of the Audubon and we would like to share his unedited candor with you today.
Thanks Craig” ~ R.T.
January 9th, 2011
Dear Audubon Editor:
I just finished reading Ted Williams’ diatribe: Incite: Saddle Sore against wild horses in America and consider this to be full of half truths and distortions of fact. It is funny that Williams presents little or no factual information to back up his claims, but rather relies most heavily on innuendo and hearsay. There is little of the rational in his article. What is most upsetting is how consistently negative he is toward the wild horses and their supporters. This mocking tone really gives Williams away.
A more just writer would acknowledge that the wild equids have much to contribute to the American ecosystem and that in their very differences from the majority of ruminant herbivores, being post-gastric digesters, lies the explanation of much of this positive contribution. For example, the less decomposed droppings of equids contribute humus to the soils and augments their moisture retentiveness and nutritional content to plants growing from them. They also bolster the food chain, from tiny to large animals. This then benefits many more species of plants and animals. Williams ignores this and bases his attacks on twisted partial view scenarios as that which compares wild horses to certain weed species. These comparisons simply do not hold water when held up to the higher light of holistic ecological and evolutionary (returned native) scrutiny. Williams also fails to acknowledge the relative proportions of livestock and big game animals vis-a-vis wild horses on the public lands, which reveal just how tiny are the numbers and resource consumption of the latter and how overwhelmingly monopolistic are the former.
In his Incite column, Williams lacks insight into the value of a wild-horse-containing ecosystem and the role of the horses therein. And he lacks the gifted imagination to conceive of a way whereby humanity could in fact learn to permit and to live in harmony with this. This involves Reserve Design and the Rewilding proposal of professional ecologists and conservationists, and I would be happy to discuss this further with Williams and Audubon. This way would make for a much better world, a much better relation among the living species, not man apart, than what we have realized so far.
Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist
Minden, NV 89423