Horse News

Wild Horse Advocates – Truth Or Consequences

by William Simpson II

Wild horse advocate Staci-lee Sherwood has a new article about wild horses just out at the Pagosa Daily Post in Colorado.


Appaloosa stallion ‘Blue Boy’ at Wild Horse Ranch. Photo: William E. Simpson II

Sherwood’s new fact-based article is helping to raise the awareness of the damage being levied upon wild horses at the hands of so-called advocate-activists who are ignorantly engaged in the selective breeding of native species American wild horses using Porcine zona pellucida (PZP).

Having read the full article myself; I see that the editor at the Post did shorten the article for space considerations, so it’s good that the link to the full scoop was included in the Daily Post…. 
Some wild horse activists are demonstrably hypocrites as they have in the past admitted the dangers of PZP as we read in this article from 2013 by the Cloud Foundation, re-posted at Protect Mustangs:
Speaking for myself, and with all things considered (especially considering the little time remaining on the life-clock for wild horses) I believe that the best plan of action right now is to move forward with 90% emphasis on a genuine solution…. as opposed to debating fixing the many broken parts on the current failed and arguably obsolete wild horse management paradigm.
Advocacy Stuck In a Rut:
Lamenting ad-nauseam over and over, doing the same things over and over for 30+ years, spending over $100-million in donations to press the issues of greed, corruption and ego in government agencies and non-profits, and continually citing the abuses of wild horses with graphic images has been done for decades, and have been hashed-out over decades to no avail for the wild horses, which are now circling the genetic drain……  THAT and that alone, is the only metric that counts…
This is a life and death contest, second place = death!
There is no award for participation… the horses will all die off if the advocacy stubbornly persists as they have over the past 30+ years of failure…
The trajectory over the past 30-years predicts that end, not me!..
So advocates who willfully continue on that failed path are in denial, and are helping to kill-off the wild horses… As it is said, there is no middle ground… either people are part of the solution, or they are part of the problem…
30-years of failure is a very telling statistic, that is, for anyone who is being intellectually honest with themselves and others. 
What can we expect from the same minds that have over the past 30+ years conceived and promoted ideas for managing native species American wild horses and leading them to the brink of destruction? 
The answer is; probably more of the same…
These same advocates/activists who utterly fail to understand the powerful dynamics of the $10-trillion per year U.S. behemoth corporate conglomerates, who, using hundreds of lobbyists and $-millions in campaign donations to politicians, virtually run the United States of America, as well as the DOI, BLM, USDA and USFS.
The only people who make-out on the existing failure of an advocacy model are the tin-cup-rattling gold-plated non-profit wild horses activists… American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), Return To Freedom (RTF),  Wild Horse Education (WHE), Animal Wellness Action (new enterprise by the scandal ridden Wayne Pacelle and Marty Irby, along with Scott Beckstead), HSUS, etc…
Genuine rescues or sanctuaries are excluded because of the important and essential work they do, with positive empirical results, which requires money to rescue and care for animals.
And while the noise from rattling tin-cup activists distract most everyone with these insoluble issues, nobody focuses on the solution, at least not nearly enough….
Flawed Proposals/Plans:
Too much political correctness in our society has dismantled the essential skill of ‘critical thinking’, which of course leads to legitimate and valuable critiques that may offend some people who are still defending their own ideas.
Using chemicals on wildlife (wild horses) to control their populations in areas where their co-evolved natural predators have been eliminated with extreme prejudice, shows ignorance of ecology and natural selection.
Moreover, using chemical contraception (PZP &GonaCon) on wild horses is in fact ‘Selective Breeding’, which leads to genetic erosion.
More details about Selective Breeding using PZP:
Authors of so-called management plans that proffer returning wild horses to areas where they have been, by design, removed by the BLM and USFS at great cost to taxpayers demonstrate a complete 180-degree disconnect in understanding the big-picture-socioeconomic forces and consumerism by a vast majority of Americans. 
Consumerism (applies to all readers) are in fact driving demands for more resources from public lands. Consumer demands for more products and services, leads to the severe competition for public land uses… to supply what American consumers want.
Moreover, most Herd Areas and Herd Management Areas are severely depleted of the co-evolved predators of wild horses, and that too is by design.
The extermination of predators has been carried-out over the past 100+ years and at great cost to taxpayers in order to maximize livestock production to meet, guess what?…  Consumer demands….
The idealistic notion of keeping wild horses in areas that virtually have none of their co-evolved natural predators is ecologically negligent, and shows ignorance of the critical importance of evolutionary Natural Selection in preserving the vigor of wild horse genetics.
Two so-called plans propose to manage wild horses via putting horses back into areas commingled with cattle, in areas devoid of predators as central themes, with a caveat of also adding back predators:
1. The ‘Marr Plan’, by Antony Marr; and,
2. ‘Reserve Design’ by Craig Downer, which I call ‘Range Design’, because that’s essentially what it is… modifying existing range lands to conform with the needs of wild horses.
Each of the foregoing two plans fail ecological and economic logic.
Unfortunately good intentions alone, even over decades, won’t save wild horses.
Both plans fail economically given the adverse impacts that either plan would impose on the costs of goods produced from public lands, coupled with intense management of implementing a large scale reintroduction of apex predators, costing taxpayers $-millions.
Both plans are arguably irrational and impractical given the design requisites they cite in order to give their respective plans any possible hope of functioning ecologically… namely, the reintroduction of large populations of apex predators onto herd areas where there are livestock grazing.
Anyone who actually understands economics and politics, combined with an understanding of why the predators have been removed from livestock production areas over the past 100+ years, knows why such posits are whimsical fantasy.

An analogy of this unfolding advocacy disaster might be described as this:


Seeing a BLM freight train coming down the tracks with our American wild horses tied to the tracks… instead of simply untying the kids from the railroad tracks, some advocates prefer the just show photos of the situation, and then ASK for money to Stop the Train! 

It’s insane!

All the blab, blab, blab… about fixing all the broken parts of the Model T Ford that is the 1971 Act to protect wild horses and burros… is just ridiculous, and runs-out the remaining time of the life-clock for wild horses. Lets not forget that legislation moves at the speed of glacial ice…

There is little doubt among most historians that Marcus Aurelius was arguably the most brilliant statesman and military general in history… he utilized what is known as ‘stoic logic’.
Stoic Logic informs that we must only focus energy and time on things that are achievable, and not worry about what we cannot change….
Trying to change how Washington D.C. works, the malfeasance in and around the advocacy, the BLM, etc. are as difficult as changing the orbit of the moon.
There is a natural solution for wild horse management that is both economically and ecologically appropriate. That holistic solution is called the Natural Wildfire Abatement and Forest Protection Plan (aka: Wild Horse Fire Brigade). 
Implementation of Wild Horse Fire Brigade will end the ongoing range war, and also provides a natural basis for wild horse conservation in selected designated wilderness areas that keeps them wild and free, and beyond the meddling of humans.
These designated wilderness areas have appropriate predator populations already present, as well as abundant water and forgae resources. These same areas however have collapsed populations of large-bodied herbivores which normally reduce both the frequency and intensity of wildfire.
This plan is cited by a publication of ReWilding Europe called ‘GrazeLIFE‘:
Building attention and energy behind a localized (regional) solution via Wild Horse Fire Brigade (WHFB) puts more power into the hands of local people and wild horse advocates who can far more easily reach their local county commissioners and mayors, and then using the paradigm of Wild Horse Fire Brigade, expediently implement the WHFB plan at town and county levels, which is far more easily achievable… via existing Law:
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (HUMANE TRANSFER OF EXCESS ANIMALS SEC. 116) to transfer excess wild horses and burros currently in holding to other federal, state, and local government agencies for use as work animals, take a look at H. R. 133—Page 358-359  – SEC. 419:


(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to land administered by the Bureau of Land Management, or the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to land administered by the Forest Service (referred to in this section as the ‘‘Secretary concerned’’), may transfer excess wild horses and burros that have been removed from land administered by the Secretary concerned to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals.
And under this Law, wild horses actually would have far better protection than under the cruel rule of the BLM … and better protection than via the proposed SAFE Act.
The current draft of the proposed SAFE Act only stop shipments of wild and domestic horses over the border for ‘Human Consumption’…
That pending legislation as currently drafted, arguably fails to prevent shipments of horses declared as; ‘Not For Human Consumption’ – For Use in Commercial Animal Products.
Under the existing law (HUMANE TRANSFER OF EXCESS ANIMALS SEC. 116), wild horses have superior protections built-in, as we read further in that existing LAW:
(d) A Federal, State, or local government agency receiving an excess wild horse or burro pursuant to subsection (a) shall not— (1) destroy the horse or burro in a manner that results in the destruction of the horse or burro into a commercial product; (2) sell or otherwise transfer the horse or burro in a manner that results in the destruction of the horse or burro for processing into a commercial product; or (3) euthanize the horse or burro, except on the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian in a case of severe injury, illness, or advanced age.
(e) Amounts appropriated by this Act shall not be available for— (1) the destruction of any healthy, unadopted, and wild horse or burro under the jurisdiction of the Secretary concerned (including a contractor); or (2) the sale of a wild horse or burro that results in the destruction of the wild horse or burro for processing into a commercial product.
The Solution, Wild Horse Fire Brigade, needs to be front and center in as many forums as possible, all the time….  Advocates need to stop posting pictures, and start writing to relevant County Commissioners and Mayors.
Four (4) Counties on the Oregon-California border have large designated wilderness areas that are a mix of wilderness lands managed by ether state (OR & CA) forestry or federal forestry (USFS) land managers. These areas still contain the co-evolved predators of wild horses intact with proper population densities:
Using 2-million acres of designated wilderness areas in four rural counties would allow the rewilding of 10,000 wild horses at the distribution rate of one (1) horse for each 200-acres, a reasonable measure.
Using the Existing Law cited, and coordinated through a negotiated agreement between County(s) and state/federal wilderness land managers, counties could provide valuable fuel reduction services to wilderness land managers through county-owned work animals (grazing horses) that counties could obtain from the BLM and USFS under existing law.
MORE about implementation at this article:
We must make the solution louder in the media than the sounds of non-profit tin-cups rattling for dollars….

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