News Provided By Wild Horse Ranch Productions
“WyoFile’s article about wild horses is arguably mired in monetizing horses, politics, dogma and myth, and fails to cite science supporting its flawed proposal”
YREKA , CA, US, January 20, 2023 — On January 16, 2023, an online news media website called ‘WyoFile’ published a highly questionable article titled; “Resolution calls for gathering, slaughter of wild horses for meat”
California-based all-volunteer 501-c-3 nonprofit ‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade’ finds the article by reporter Mike Koshmrl at WyoFile to be based exclusively upon personal opinion and economic bias.
The WyoFile article infers that slaughtering American native species wild horses for meat is somehow an acceptable solution to what is actually a human-caused multi-faceted wild horse management issue created by dogma and myth-driven management.
Let’s Unpack The WyoFile Article And Separate Fiction From Fact:
First, the subtitle of the article proposes the “disposal of nonnative species overpopulating swaths of southwestern Wyoming”.
Undeniable Historic And Current Realities Regarding Wild Horses and Livestock Production:
Examining so-called wild horse ‘overpopulation’:
The WyoFile article states:
“Rep. John Winter (R-Thermopolis) rode horseback into the Red Desert to see some new country last year.
An outfitter and rancher, Winter was accompanied by a rangeland specialist and members of the Rock Springs Grazing Association. During the outing he learned a good bit about a growing natural resource concern in that corner of the state: Wild horses. “I’ll tell you, there are just too many horses,” Winter said. “They’re affecting sage grouse and other wildlife, and it’s ruining the range.”
So this statement raises the questions:
1) What equipment and/or technology was used to make the determination that “there are just too many horses” by Mr. Winter?
2) What is the carrying capacity of the range-lands cited by Mr. Winters as having too many horses, and what are the resource allocations defined by law under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA)?
3) What is the current wild horses population census as determined by the United States Geologic Services (USGS) or BLM?
4) What is the ecologically (not economically) appropriate management level for wild horses in that region?
5) what is the current census of cattle, sheep, and cervids on the same landscape with native wild horses?
6) What U.S. Fish & Wildlife census of sage grouse and related published study(s) prove any adverse impact on grouse by wild horses?
7) Was a range survey conducted to determine the human-caused ecological damage by stampeding thousands of wild horses using helicopters?
Ranchers, especially in Wyoming, have been exterminating apex predators (bears, mountain lions, wolves, coyotes) for nearly 200-years in and around Wyoming livestock grazing areas. These same grazing areas in 17th century and for millennia before that time were the natural grazing lands for millions of large-bodied herbivores, including wild horses and bison.
More at this short film on YouTube video by High Plains Films in Montana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmqE0kl6haY
The designed extermination of apex predators by the livestock industry, aided by Government apex predator culling programs, have rendered many millions of acres of grazing lands virtually devoid of apex predators. This extermination process was deemed necessary to protect livestock and profits from economic losses.
However, there are documented serious unintended side-effects to the loss of proper apex predator populations on the landscape. And these unintended consequences impact economics related to both livestock production and the hunting industry, as well as escalating costs (economic and societal) related to wild horse management.
An arguable failure in the understanding of wildlife biology and natural history exists in the livestock industry stemming from hear-say myths and misinformation, as evidenced by the past and ongoing unbridled decimation of apex predators in favor of profitability, without any due consideration of unwanted effects.
What was missed by many livestock producers in the rush to dispose-of all apex predators for increased profitability, was the fact that apex predators were performing some very important evolved ecological functions on the landscape:
1. All apex predators in North America are the natural co-evolved predators of wild horses, and in addition to regulating the populations of wild horse herds, they also engage in Natural Selection, which weeds-out sick, weak, elderly or otherwise weak genetics, thereby maintaining the genetic vigor of the herd.
2. Apex predators, also quickly identify, kill and consume any sick or injured cervids (deer, elk, etc.). This process of quickly taking sick deer out of contact with populations of other mammals (deer and livestock) manages diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease (‘CWD’).
The net result of the decimation of apex predators, now very evident across grazing areas used by deer and livestock is the rampant spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. This presents serious economic implications for both the livestock industry and the hunting industry.
According to a Letter to wild horse ethologist and researcher William E. Simpson II from Dr. Mark Zabel, a leading researcher at the Prion Research Center in Ft. Collins Colorado, the spreading CWD infection within herds of deer, which is difficult to detect by human observations until a sick animal is well into the disease process, presents a very real risk for potential transmission of prion disease into livestock and even humans.
Chronic Wasting Disease is prion-based disease (not a bacteria or virus) with a suspected vector into grazing animals via vegetative materials.
This is a recent statement from Center for Disease Control (CDC):
“As of June 2022, there were 391 counties in 29 states with reported CWD in free-ranging cervids.”
Of great interest to leading prion-disease researchers is the fact that horses are resistant to CWD. And that bears, wolves, coyotes and mountain lions, which prey-upon sick deer with high-priority, do not contract CWD themselves. Therefore these predators quickly remove sick deer before they can spread CWD, which is 100% fatal in cervids, and in humans is known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurodegenerative disorder.
Prion disease in cattle is called ‘Mad Cow’ or BSE, in sheep it’s called scrapies, and 100% fatal with no known treatment.
More about CWD at these links:
Examining the ‘nonnative’ species claim:
Scientific studies (paleontology and genetics) along with cultural archeology show that the native herbivores that occupied American lands prior to the arrival of European settlers included millions of wild horses, bison, deer, elk and pronghorn, which numbered in the millions then.
Settled-science proves wild horses (E. Caballus) evolved on the North American continent 1.7-million years ago. A key definition of any native species is the existence of co-evolved mutualisms and symbiosis with other native flora and fauna. Wild horses clearly have numerous co-evolved mutualisms and symbiosis with North American flora and fauna.
Dr. Ross MacPhee is a senior curator in residence at the American Museum of Natural History. He also addressed the nonnative species myth in this article: https://cowboystatedaily.com/2022/09/13/letter-to-the-editor-rod-miller-is-wrong-horses-are-not-an-invasive-species/
Furthermore, there is mounting genetic and archeological evidence that wild horse populations continued to survive across the American landscape right-up until the arrival of European explorers. There is also evidence that suggests some present day wild horses are believed to be descendants of post Ice Age splinter populations of wild horses in here in North America.
For instance, we know that the British sea-captain-explorer Sir Francis Drake documented his observations of wild horses living among indigenous peoples in the region of the far-western part of the present-day Oregon-California state line n the year 1580:
Thanks to written history, and a documented observation made and recorded in the ship’s log by captain Sir Francis Drake in 1580, we know that these OR-CA border indigenous peoples did in fact live among herds of wild horses.
Extracted quote from the dissertation by Dr. Yvette Running Horse Collin, titled; The relationship between the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the horse: deconstructing a Eurocentric myth, which can be read in it’s entirety at the following URL: https://scholarworks.alaska.edu/handle/11122/7592
“The Spanish conquistadors were not the only European explorers to have noticed and recorded early sightings of horses in the Americas. In 1579, the Queen of England sent Sir Francis Drake to “The New World.” Drake also recorded having seen herds of horses in the Americas during his voyage off the coasts of what are now known as California and Oregon. An account given of Drake’s landing in the geographic areas now known as Northern California and Southern Oregon includes the English explorer’s description of the homes of the Native Peoples, as well as the animals that he encountered. “It related his wonder at seeing so many wild horses, because he had heard that the Spaniards had found no native horses in America, save those of the Arab breed which they had introduced.” 116In addition to accounts from explorers appointed by European kings and queens, there are accounts of native horses in South America in the area now known as Argentina. One such account even includes an explanation as to why the Spanish may have been motivated to hide the fact that the Indigenous horse of the Americas existed and had a relationship with Native Peoples. According to an article entitled Antiguedad del Caballo En El Plata (The Antiquity of the Horse in the River Plate) by Anibal Cardoso as cited by Austin Whittall on his blog site article 115 Ibid., 53. 116 Henry S. Burrage, Original Narratives of Early American History. Early English and French Voyages (New York: Unknown Binding, 1906), 23.—-
Practically speaking, it would be biologically impossible for the relatively very few domestic horses brought by the Spanish explorers and settlers to the eastern coast of America in the early 1500’s for much needed transportation, to escape their corrals, then breed into the realm of thousands of horses, and then somehow cross the entirety of America from the east coast. We also know for a fact from the Spanish ship’s logs and cargo manifests that the ships in those days could only carry a handful of horses in their holds, hung by slings (their hooves above decking). About half of the horses died due to the compression of their chests during the voyage, so in many cases, less than a dozen horses were landed alive and were critical assets (not let loose).
Hypothetically speaking, even if there were thousands of domestic horses landed on the eastern seaboard (which was not the case), horses would have to traverse a complex landscape, across many deep rivers and high mountain ranges and past the millions of indigenous peoples along the way, who would grab any free-roaming horses for their own needs.
As we clearly see, practically speaking, it would be impossible for the few horses landed or their relatively few descendants to make such a journey and show up living among the indigenous peoples in the region of the present day Oregon-California border in significant numbers.
Furthermore, it wasn’t until 168-years after Drake’s 1580 voyage and observations of wild horses living among indigenous on the OR-CA border, in 1748, that the Spanish finally made it up the coast from Cabo San Lucas and established their first settlement in San Diego, California with their horses.
The accounting of this documented information is contained in the dissertation of Dr. Yvette ‘Running Horse’ Collin and can be read here: https://scholarworks.alaska.edu/handle/11122/7592
Additionally, the published study titled; ‘The Aboriginal North American Horse’; by Dr. Claire Henderson, History Dept. Batiment de Koninck, Laval University, Quebec, Canada. Feb. 1991), offers additional insights:
“Dakota⁄Lakota people have an extensive “horse vocabulary,” and they distinguish between their “own” horses, which among other names they call “sunkdudan,” the small legged horse, and the European imported horse which they call the long-legged horse, or the American Horse.”
The BLM (and other misinformed people and organizations) have incorrectly claimed for decades that wild horses are “not a native species in North America”, insinuating they are an invasive species.
This statement by the BLM (as well as by the United States Forest Service) has been made in writing and orally by the agency and many of it’s employees.
That statement is manifestly false in every respect, and is contradictory to the preponderance of recent scientific investigations and publications, of which include, DNA and paleontological evidence showing wild horses did not go extinct in North America during the Ice Age, approximately 15,000 years ago.
We now have fossil and DNA evidence for wild horses that lived in North America just 5,000 years ago.
Furthermore, there is mounting cultural archaeological studies, which include documented observations of post Ice Age splinter populations of wild horses by the French explorer LaVerendrie and company in the early 16th century, as well as logged observations of wild horses living among indigenous peoples on the Oregon-California border made by captain Sir Francis Drake in 1580, just 90-years after America was first discovered by Columbus [1, 2].
The BLM claimed (in writing) that; “Wild horses have no natural predators…”.
That manifestly false statement appears in a so-called management plan that was presented to the Congress of The United States in writing titled; ‘Report To Congress – Management Options For A Sustainable Wild Horse And Burro Program’. More Here: https://www.sierranevadaally.org/2021/04/05/wild-horse-wars/
Only a corrupted agency would propose to manage any resource, starting with a lie.
That statement is completely false and conflicts with current and past observations by scientists and citizens living in rural areas who have witnessed wild horses being predated by coyotes, wolves, bear and mountain lions.
In addition to common knowledge of the natural selection of wild horses by their co-evolved predators. There are numerous published studies and accounts of wild horses being depredated by coyotes, wolves, bears and mountain lions, all of which are co-evolved natural predators of wild horses in North America [1-5].
Instead of wasting taxpayer funds issuing false and misleading information as a means for supporting an arguable eradication plan of wild horses on public lands to maximize the monetization of public lands, American legislators and taxpayers should demand a proper management model.
Wild Horse Fire Brigade offers a humane plan that is both ecologically and economically appropriate when applied to select designated critical wilderness areas (approx. 110-million-acres) where motorized vehicles and equipment are prohibited as well as invasive species livestock grazing. 
More published science supporting the management of wild horses in proper areas: https://www.wildhorsefirebrigade.org/resources
1. Knopff KH, Knopff AA, Kortello A, Boyce MS. (2010). Cougar Kill Rate and Prey Composition in a Multiprey System. Journal of Wildlife Management. View here: https://www.jstor.org/stable/40801501
2. French, Brett. (2010, December 9). Ferocious appetites: Study finds mountain lions may be eating more than previously believed. Billings Gazette. View here.: https://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/recreation/ferocious-appetites-study-finds-mountain-lions-may-be-eating-more-than-previously-believed/article_d9cf046b-2c47-539f-a267-972e72e570b6.html
3. Turner JW Jr and Morrison ML. (2001). Influence of Predation by Mountain Lions on Numbers and Survivorship of a Feral Horse Population. View Here: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3672527
4. Greger, Paul D. and Romney, Evan M. (1999). High foal mortality limits growth of a desert feral horse population in Nevada. Great Basin Naturalist: View Here: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/gbn/vol59/iss4/10/
5. French, Brett. (2004, August 12). Lions blamed for deaths of Pryor foals. Billings Gazette.
Grizzley bears and wild horses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXfMNHnpvDk
6. Impact Of Wild Horses On Wilderness Landscape And Wildfire – Preliminary Findings Report By: William E. Simpson II – Naturalist – July 25, 2019: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/6a30c6_98642a78546849f0a94e2687cdf35654.pdf