Horse News

America’s Welfare Cattle Industry could Obliterate its Wild Mustangs & Burros

Sources: Down to Earth and others

The US Senate recently approved $35 million for the ‘Path Forward’ initiative that critics say will wipe out America’s famed wild equines and open public lands to federally subsidized, cattle farming

Photo by Carol Walker

The move is primarily supported by the powerful American cattle and livestock lobby. This group wants to open the public lands, or those owned by the federal government, to industrial-level cattle and sheep farming, which would power the meat industry, which is also held responsible in increased greenhouse gas emissions.

On September 26, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations bill, under which it approved $35 million for the Path Forward For Management for BLM’s Wild Horses and Burros programme.

Path Forward, allege its critics such as The American Wild Horse Campaign is an ‘inside deal’ cut by animal welfare groups in the US with the livestock industry to deal with the mustang issue once and for all.

‘Mustang’ is a term derived from the Spanish ‘mestengo’ (to mix) for horses brought to today’s US by Spanish Conquistadors. Over the centuries, many escaped from human control and became feral. For much of the modern era, mustangs have been seen as symbols of the American West, given their power, beauty and most importantly, their freedom.

They have also been seen as an impediment to control the vast West. Many were killed across the years, reducing their numbers. As a result, on December 18, 1971, then President Richard Nixon signed The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 into law.

This law provides protections to “all unbranded and unclaimed horses and burros on public lands of the US”. Owing to the Act, there are now 72,000 wild horses and 16,000 wild burros in 10 states of the American West.

A cruel plan

However, under Path Forward, as many as 130,000 mustangs and burros would be rounded up and removed from public lands over a 10-year period.

According to the programme, the captured animals would not be slaughtered for one year. However, given that the government won’t be able to finance the captive-held mustangs and burros for long, there is no guarantee of what will happen to them, before or after a year.

Even more shocking, the programme intends to reduce mustang numbers by sterilising the animals, that too by methods that are hardly humane.

According to the American Wild Horse Campaign, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which owns the US public lands and is responsible for the management of the mustangs, the method used for sterilising would be ‘spaying’ mares or removing their ovaries surgically.

The advocates of the plan justify it citing the BLM’s estimation that 88,000 mustangs and burros are roaming public lands, a number more than three times the land can support.

Moreover, another 50,000 that have been removed in recent years are in holding facilities at an annual cost of about $50 million.

However, critics like the American Wild Horse Campaign say the number of wild horses on public lands is dwarfed by livestock. While wild horses occupy 17 per cent of these lands, cattle occupy 80 per cent.

Critics also call out the reasoning that the number of such horses is more than the lands can support. They say the methods employed for estimating the horses are outdated.

And all this for beef. According to this report, the US is projected to produce 27.43 billion pounds of beef in 2019. If realised, this will be the most beef ever produced in one year on record.

13 replies »

  1. I am more than outraged! Path Forward is a path towards death! Again, our calls, emails and letters have fallen on deaf ears! I watched an interview with a fellow who has proof of the set ups of the Wild Horses and Burros. I was shocked to hear other horses are trucked into places to make the areas look over populated. And some of the starved horses that have stood in BLM pens without proper care are photographed as starving on the range! It appears that the corruption goes beyond what ones mind can handle! It’s appalling not mention shocking the lengths at which the BLM and the ProSlaughter and ProCattle will go to take over OUR Public Lands! However, I do not think this is over! The war for our Wild Horses and Burros is just beginning! If they can put things in an Appropriations Budget, they at some point can take it out! A sell out for now! And the humane Societies shameless! I will not give one dime to them! They NO longer represent the purpose for which they were formed! All of who care about the Wild Horses and Burros must hang in there and fight on! And they purposely put items in these Appropriations bills which the average American hasn’t a clue! The only thing I can say is I WILL contribute what I can to.stop this madness! And they can offer the highest reward for killing those Burros, but I think most of us have a clear idea who is responsible. And to that extent they will never be found or prosecuted! Sad day! I feel for all the Advocates who live in these areas who live this! WE must make these Presidential candidates aware of the seriousness of the problems for our land, environment and the animals which up until now have lived! Fight on my TRUE Horse Warrior Friends! WE all have a mountain to climb! And truly together we can achieve it!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Strange numbers used, which don’t help our wild ones. The House passed a $6M budget for this plan, and the Senate passed one at $36M, so you can expect the conference committee which must merge the two will come out somewhere in between.

    Also, sources I’ve reviewed indicate wild horses are allowed on only 12% of the lands permitted for grazing (not 17 percent of ALL public lands) and livestock also do not graze on 80% of ALL public lands. However, they are allowed to graze on ALL (or nearly all, the information keeps changing) the remaining legal areas for wild horses and burros.

    So a more truthful reporting here would say that among the permitted areas for all grazing on public lands in the western U.S., wild horses and burros are only allowed on ~12% of the acreage, and must in all or nearly all areas share these same scarce resources with permitted livestock.

    It helps none when journalists mislead the public either intentionally or ignorantly, so we all have to sharpen our pencils and keep the public discourse as above board as possible, in my opinion. To do otherwise is to give away all credibility for one’s arguments.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is utterly outrageous that Senate Appropriations Committee approved this, but it can still be stopped. It must be stopped. So many lies, so much devious rationale given, under laid by narrow-minded possessiveness and greed. All the opposite of what is needed today. The naturally living horses and burros are healers and restorers of ecosystems, but they are being set up by narrow-minded and mean spirited people. See my recent reports covering a number of herds throughout the west in my website

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The “most beef EVER produced in one year” possible this year? And most of it going to foreign markets I assume. This really doesnt have anything to do with the beef “produced” on our public lands & forests – since THAT beef is only 2-3% of the total amount. But claiming this year we will have produced the MOST beef makes it sound as though the livestock industry devastating our public lands is responsible for this huge amount, doesnt it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know ranchers who do not have grazing permits and are unhappy with having to compete in the supposed “free market” with those whose grazing is subsidized at a loss by “We, The People.” If this isn’t a definition of crony capitalism I don’t know what is. We can support agriculture by reducing and eliminating grazing permits which prop up only a few at the expense of everyone else.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wish those ranchers would feel they could speak out – has to be hard watching the “grazing permittees” get away with all this crap AND destroy the land! Hard enough trying to make a living without that.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Enough Is enough our wildlife is just as important if not more important. What gives them the right to make such a call I feel it should be the American people an we should be the ones to vote against it or for it. I am tired of these creeps who think not of our wildlife but how much money they can make. Cattle farmers should learn to work with the land they got period. It seems like our congress bends over backwards for them go ahead kill any wild life you think is a threat oh you want the land that wild horses are forced to live sure we will help This BS needs to stop what about all those bad emissions coming out of those cows asses which is hurting our environment


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