In response to the Jan. 24 opinion by student Saige Bowen, “Wild mustangs need to be managed, not saved,” we contribute science-based evidence for consideration, instead of sweeping, unsubstantiated suggestions. Refer to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 2013 comprehensive report (paid for by the BLM). The entire report is available to the public. We’ll paraphrase.
First, how AMLs, the wild horse population limits imposed by BLM, are established, monitored, and adjusted is not supported by scientific information. Yet, AML numbers are used by powerful private interests as a way to say there’s an overpopulation of wild horses on federal lands. This, despite the fact that horses inhabit just 12 percent of federal rangelands and are outnumbered on these lands nearly 50 to 1 by livestock.
Reality: Outnumbered by thousands of cattle grazing Utah public land at taxpayers’ expense, Onaqui wild horses thrive.
Second, tools — including PZP fertility control — already exist for BLM to address many challenges in wild horse population management. Furthermore, the NAS confirms BLM is not using these solutions in a manner that will impact population growth. And fertility control costs pennies compared to roundups.
The true “underlying problematic belief” is one of ignorance, as the author demonstrates with her blind regurgitation of a convenient narrative driven by big-money commercial industry.
Jennifer Caudill, communications associate, American Wild Horse Campaign, Petaluma, Calif.