I am writing in response to the Jan. 26 commentary you published “Wild mustangs need to be managed, not saved” by Saige Bowen.
I do not agree with Bowen that “well-meaning sympathizers” are mistakenly advocating for the viability of America’s wild horse population.
The commentary is lacking in substantive data and cites the Bureau of Land Management as an authoritative source to justify the “overpopulation” viewpoint toward wild horses and burros. This limited and highly unscientific viewpoint has been contradicted at the highest levels, by the National Academy of Sciences, concluding that BLM assessments are not supported by scientific information and are lacking in transparency to stakeholders.
The NAS was established in 1963 by an act of Congress, and its members are scientists and researchers who provide objective advice on matters related to science and technology. The BLM is a government agency managed by officials appointed by the White House. Their views on grazing lands and on wild horses and burros are influenced by the interests of ranchers and mining companies, which take precedence over the welfare of wildlife and public lands.
BLM assessments are lacking in responsible, ethical research methods of determining sustainability of the environment and wildlife coexistence. I urge the editors to publish a more in-depth examination of the issues involved, relying on the opinions of scholars, wildlife experts and scientists, rather than on the under-researched opinions of an undergraduate student.
Marianne Smith, Oakland, Calif.