On October 23rd, the US House of Representatives passed a bill unanimously to make animal cruelty a felony. While this bill means well, it’s ill-advised. In the care of the government are thousands and thousands of wild mustangs that have been left to pins or starving in the wild. Former policies have brought us to this point and, unfortunately, the most ethical decision forward is an unideal one.
When you are dealing with wild mustangs you need to remember this: these animals are not indigenous and the land can only support so many. With grazing animals such as the mustangs, too populous of herds can deplete vegetation. According to National Geographic, it’s estimated that the land can support approximately 27,000 mustangs but the numbers are now upward of seventy-five thousand.
This overpopulation of mustangs is putting their own species and others in danger. As populations overexpand, any species can destroy ecosystems, leaving their own starving, weakened, and thereby susceptible to diseases. Not only is the herd affected, but so is the land for other animals such as wolves, deer, rabbits and many more.
Activists decry tools like sterilization as “inhumane” and claim that “mustangs are not an “invasive species.” Extreme activist groups have even threatened the lives of those who speak out against their position. However, in place of any corrective action, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has left tens of thousands of horses starving to death in captivity. They sit in a feedlot until they die. What’s more, increasing herd numbers and decreasing adoption rates are worsening an already serious problem.
Fortunately, there are programs that help train and adopt wild mustangs, such as the Wild Mustang and Burro program, which pays individuals to train the wild animals. There is also a prison training program where inmates who have proven to be responsible are able to train these mustangs under the supervision of an experienced cowboy or trainer. After the mustangs are trained, they go to auction.
While commendable, these programs are insufficient until the population numbers are culled and controlled. It is inhumane for these animals to remain in captivity and equally inadvisable for the government to continue spending 50 thousand dollars on a single horse for tens of thousands of horses in the course of their lifetime.
A trainer myself, the idea of executing horses breaks my heart but even worse is the thought of those same horses starving alone. If the government culled the sickest and most dangerous horses, the ones left could be adopted out, trained, and sold to buyers. Far better to euthanize a few of the horses and bring back balance than letting them breed and destroy the ecosystem for themselves and other animals.
When it comes to animal management, not everyone will be happy with the method used but the goal should be the same: to protect these animals from starvation, maintain a healthy herd, and maintain the ecosystem for other species.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.