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Are wild horses native to the U.S.? A federal court seeks the answer

Horse liz margerum AP
Animal rights groups are pressing a case in federal court maintaining that wild horses roamed the West about 1.5 million years ago and didn't disappear until as recently as 7,600 years ago. More important, they say, a growing stockpile of DNA evidence shows conclusively that today's horses are genetically linked to those ancient ancestors.

The new way of thinking, if accepted, could affect hundreds millions of acres in the West where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management divides livestock grazing allotments based partly on the belief that the horses are no more native to those lands than are the cattle brought to North America centuries ago.

American history textbooks teach that the wild horses roaming Western plains were first brought by European explorers and settlers. But that theory is being challenged at archaeological digs and university labs as horse protection advocates battle the U.S. government over roundups of thousands of mustangs they say have not only a legal right but a native claim to the rangeland.

Rachel Fazio, a lawyer for Defense of Animals and other plaintiffs, told a 9th Circuit appellate panel in San Francisco earlier this year that the horses are “an integral part of the environment," adding, "as much as the BLM would like to see them as not, they are actually a native species. They are tied to this land. There would not be a horse but for North America. Every single evolutionary iteration of the horse is found here and only here.”

The lawsuit cites researchers who say that the concept is widely accepted by most of the scientific community, although not by the BLM. “It's significant because BLM treats the wild horses like they are an invasive species that is not supposed to be out there,” Fazio said in a recent interview.

A reversal of that long-held belief could have the effect of moving the native horses to the front of the line when divvying up precious water and forage in the arid West.

BLM maintains that the horse advocates are perpetuating a myth. And many ranchers claim it's part of a ploy to push livestock off public lands. “There are plenty of horses out in the Nevada desert,” said Tom Collins, a Clark County commissioner who has a ranch outside Las Vegas. “Most of these folks, maybe their father slapped them or their mother didn't love them, so now they are in love with these wild horses that aren't really wild,” he said.

BLM devotes “Myth No. 11” on its website to the “false claim” that wild horses are native to the United States. “American wild horses are descended from domestic horses, some of which were brought over by European explorers in the late 15th and 16th centuries, plus others that were imported from Europe and were released or escaped captivity in modern times,” it says.

“The disappearance of the horse from the Western Hemisphere for 10,000 years supports the position that today's wild horses cannot be considered 'native' in any meaningful historical sense,” BLM explains. It acknowledges that the horses have adapted successfully to the Western range, but says that biologically they did not evolve on the North American continent.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management manages more than 245 million acres of federal land in 12 western states with about 30 million acres currently designated as horse management areas in 10 of those states. Of the roughly 33,000 horses that currently roam BLM land, roughly half are in Nevada, with the remainder in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

The BLM maintains that's about 12,000 more than the rangeland can sustain and plans to roundup most of those. The agency removed 9,715 horse and 540 burros from the range in the 2010 fiscal year. In addition to animals on the range, the BLM currently has 41,700 wild horses and burros in short-term corrals in the West (about 13,100) and long-term pastures in the Midwest (about 28,600).


A new requirement for California bear hunters

Endangered tortoises delay Mojave desert solar plant

Feds halt roundup of wild mustangs in Nevada

-- Scott Sonner /AP

Photo: A Nevada Department of Agriculture helicopter rounds up wild horses on the Virginia Range east of Reno, Nev., in 2002. Credit: Liz Margerum /for AP Photo

Comments () | Archives (53)

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These horses used to have a happy life in the United States were caught by individuals to earn money by sending them mainly to Mexico for the consumption of their meat. During the journey, they do not receive or food or water. When they arrive at Mexico they are killed and when they are still living the butchers are cutting they parts.
Is the most incredible suffering.
There is no sense to kill these magnificent American animals have to face all this suffering for some people get rich.
Armando Ramirez
Missouri City, Texas.

Horses originated in North America, they traveled over the Bering Strait to Asia and Europe. and become extinct in North America during the great megafauna extinction at the end of the last ice age. The horses we now have in the Americas were later brought back to North and South America by the Spanish. This is well documented in the paleontology record.

Animal rights groups are pressing a case in federal court maintaining that wild horses roamed the West about 1.5 million years ago and didn't disappear until as recently as 7,600 years ago. More important, they say, a growing stockpile of DNA evidence shows conclusively that today's horses are genetically linked to those ancient ancestors.

Lots of times, you can glean more TRUTH from what isn't told than what is. Take for example, BLM stating that wild horses reside in 10 western states over 30 million acres. Well, the TRUTH is that in 1971 SIXTEEN western states had wild free roaming horses and burros but since that time, the BLM has completely removed all the herds in SIX of those states. So while TEN states still have wild ones, there are still SIX entire states that have nothing, thanks to BLM's "management". Texas was one of those six states and at one time had 1 million wild horses.

Now let's look at the acreage cited by BLM - 30 million available for wild horses. The TRUTH is that the wild equines have just 26.6 million acres on which they may live which is FAR LESS than the 47-54 million acres that were identified in the assessment of these wild species' natural herd lands after the 1971 Act was passed. This means that fully 44-51% of the acres originally established to be wild horse territory have been stripped away by BLM even though the federal law mandates that the wild horses be preserved in a wild free roaming state upon the lands where they resided in 1971. If that is not a direct rebuking of the law, I don't know what is.

Pondering this article's statement (and assuming it is another BLM "fact") that "hundreds of millions of acres" could be affected if BLM accepts scientific proof that horses are native species of N America, we find more obfuscation of reality. The TRUTH is that 160 million acres are now allocated for public lands grazing -- i.e. the welfare ranching programs others have written about here which cost American taxpayers $123 million annually. That 160 million is certainly not "hundreds" of millions of acres. Also key is that wild horses are NOT allowed to step foot on any of those 160 million acres! If they do, they are rounded up at exorbitant taxpayer cost (going direct to the pockets of the rancher/roundup"specialists") and sent off to horse prison for life also at huge taxpayer cost.....BUT all those welfare cattle ARE ALLOWED to use the same paltry 26.6 million acres "set aside" for wild horses. Even more damning: on those 26.6 million acres set aside for the management of wild equines, the welfare cattle outrageously outnumber wild horses by anywhere from 10:1 to 50:1 or hundreds:1. Reading facts like these, only a moron would continue to think BLM was managing to protect and preserve the wild horses as instructed by the 1971 law.

The TRUTH is BLM is an out of control, rogue agency comprised of welfare ranchers, (beginning at the top with their leader, welfare rancher and self-avowed wild horse hater Ken Salazar) as well as mining and extraction operators and their kin and their lobbyists, all set on continuing to milk the US government teat as long and as hard as possible. Americans need to wake up and stop this outright abuse of our lands, our wild animals and our TAX DOLLARS!

Oh and, yes, it is on Obama's shoulders - he has been given AMPLE notice, via a groundswell of hue and outcry over this abominable situation and yet he sits, silent, and therefore in tacit approval of the ongoing extermination and extinction effort planned and executed by his handpicked rancher crony, Salazar.


Thank you for doing the article.
Please visit my web site to see the real story on what is happening to America's Wild Horses, burros and our public lands.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

James Anaquad Kleinert - Director

The lawyers quote "There would not be a horse but for North America. Every single evolutionary iteration of the horse is found here and only here.” This is just not true.
He should read 'guns, germs and steel' and then wait for the court to decide. Horses did not evolve on the N.American continent, it will come out in the end. but it's a shame that we the tax payers will be paying for it.

The modern horse is native to North America. The modern horse was here before any humans stepped foot here. They disappeared only after humans arrived. Humans brought them back. Aside from the obvious differences in breeds - from miniatures to draft animals, how has domestication effected the species? From what I have read humans influenced color - in choosing to save and breed unusual colors. And friendliness to humans. Soviet scientists domesticated foxes in a few generations, but even today the genetic markers are not clear.

I don't know what evidence there is for horses in North America in the last thousand or so years before the Spanish brought them, but I doubt that there were horses here.
I'd rather see feral ('wild') horses stay, and the number of cattle and sheep cut; I don't think the horses do as much damage.

"The lawsuit cites researchers who say that the concept is widely accepted by most of the scientific community"

Hmmm, where have we heard that before?

the original article, greatly reduced here in the Times (in typical mainstream media fashion!!) is linked above. The LA Times has expended half of their published space to the government's self-justifying reasons and lies. Using BLM'S OWN STATISTICS, advocates have shown the BLM to have a major math disability in doing the data surveys that underpin the stampedes they conduct by helicopter (with no-bid contractors making millions from us taxpayers) The mustangs are warehoused in barren, taxpayer funded jail facilities, where the crowding and social disruption of family bands creates a tinderbox of disease transmission. Dean Bolstad, a high rank official with BLM, has kept the public from admittance at jails after outcry from the public over disgusting conditions they observed. His internal documented remarks were hand-wringing over the "damage to BLM'S image" when the public saw the filth and degradation and disease. So a site with a legal contract to be open to the public was summarily closed. The BLM operates with renegade obstinancy and no overlord save the fundings from Congress.

This is such a stupid argument. Regardless of whether modern feral horses have DNA in them way back when from American horses, when Columbus and the Spanish came to the Americas, there were NO living horses on the continent for thousands of years. All existing horses in the Americas, or for virtually the entire world for that matter, are either domesticated or feral.

There should be no further debate. Read the analysis by an expert:

The Author states: The key element in describing an animal as a native species is (1) where it originated; and (2) whether or not it co‐evolved with its habitat. Clearly, E. caballus did both, here in North American. There might be arguments about “breeds,” but there are no scientific grounds for arguments about “species.”

Beyond the fact that the horse is a wild species that evolved with the landscape of North America... is the fact that what is ruining the range is not the horses, it's the welfare cattle.

Watch this youtube

This is a land grab pure and simple, done by welfare ranchers, and headed up by the king of welfare ranchers, Salazar.

New bumper sticker: Obama Lied - Wild Horses Died

Please obtain the following two papers that set forth a compelling argument that most of our Wild Horse Herds are Native to North America and that they greatly benefit their range lands contrary to the “welfare ranchers” lies and the BLM’s purposely falsified Environmental Reports:

1) The Aboriginal North American Horse. IN SUPPORT OF SENATE BILL 2278 (North Dakota) STATEMENT OF CLAIRE HENDERSON HISTORY DEPARTMENT BATIMENT DE KONINCK LAVAL UNIVERSITY QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC CANADA 236 Rve Lavergne Quebec, Quebec, G1K-2k2 Canada 418-647-1032 (February 1, 1991)

2) vol. 168, no. 5 the american naturalist november 2006. Pleistocene Rewilding: An Optimistic Agenda for Twenty-First Century Conservation
C. Josh Donlan,1,* Joel Berger,2,† Carl E. Bock,3,‡ Jane H. Bock,3,§ David A. Burney,4,k James A. Estes,5,# Dave Foreman,6,** Paul S. Martin,7,†† Gary W. Roemer,8,‡‡ Felisa A. Smith,9,§§ Michael E. Soule´,10,kk and
Harry W. Greene1,##

Horses did evolve in the Americas. When the opportunity presented itself they migrated to Asia, Europe and Africa. Then the conditions changed in the Americas and they became extinct here until reintroduce by Europeans. Thats the facts. The modern mustangs are decended from horses that escaped or were turned loose by their owners. Since people are still dumping their unwanted horses on the open range, I don't buy the Spanish Conquistador story. Just like people who dump unwanted cats and dogs out in the country, people are still dumping old, sick and expensive-to-maintain horses. Also, livestock is still wandering off that are never recovered. That is where the mustangs in NV come from. They do compete with native grass eaters like antelope and smaller natives like rabbits. They also destroy natural water sources like small springs and seeps. I do like to watch them and admire their beauty but I worry about the damage they do and the diseases they spread.

Up to 3 million livestock & 2 million mid-large size game animals graze public lands as compared to the miniscule number of wild horses & burros (15-30K on the range; no one really knows because of BLM'S archaic censusing methods). It's obvious what is ruining the rangelands & it's not America's iconic wild horses & burros.

Here's the DNA evidence that wild horses & burros are a N. American native wildlife species:

No matter what, these national treasures are supposed to be preserved & protected as "an integral part of the natural system of the public lands" as mandated in the 1971 Act. It's time for BLM to actually follow the law & reinstate the 20+ million acres they have stolen from the wild ones over the last 40+ years & reinstate the over 150 herds they have completely zeroed out--all to benefit the livestock, hunting, energy & mining industries on our public lands & reaming the American taxpayer to boot.

It’s past time for the American people & Congress to stand up for proper protections & preservation of America’s Western heritage species, the wild horses & burros, before it’s too late & they are gone forever from their rightful legal Western ranges.

These stupid, stupid, very stupid, atheists actually believe life "evolved" from rocks. Of course it takes billions and billions of years to do the statistically impossible. Pitiful.

The bottom line is clearly seen by the arrogant attitude of commissioner Tom Collins of Las Vegas, also a rancher, when he insults wild horse lovers by implying they were perhaps unloved as children by their parents and shift their love to wild horses and burros instead; hey Tom, guess what? My childhood was awesome, but I, unlike you, did NOT grow up with a sense of entitlement that American taxpayers were going to be forced to support my business (and your sorry butt!) and I was going to have to be independent and stand on my own two feet and NOT collect millions of dollars annually (and just to be clear; I've never collected any kind of government assistance, not even unemployment, and no, I was not born into a well-to-do family and instead was raised strictly middle class) on failure cattle businesses that only produce 2-3% of the beef in the US (so what do we need you ungrateful ranchers for anyway when if you went away tomorrow I'd still be able to buy all the beef I want at my local supermarket?!?), pay a pittance in grazing fees ($1.35 AUM, ludicrous, and taxpayers have to take up the slack of $125 million a year just to break even since the fees you ranchers pay comes up short by that amount!), sub-lease out that same Open Range that we taxpayers are paying for to other interests for far more money than you pay, etc. I'd be embarrassed if I were you because you sir are a welfare recipient, but since most American taxpayers don't know about the racket you all have been running for generations, you keep getting away with your crap. Why don't we do this; take away all of the subsidies that go to you small percentage of Open Range ranchers, reintroduce all of the predators to the Open Range that you guys (and gals) "sanitize" every year so the wild horses and burros once again have natural predators to keep their numbers down, use our taxpayers dollars to drill more solar and wind wells, and also revamp the wild horse adoption program into a successful program instead of the failure it is now and have annual adoptions like what is done with the Chiqcoteague (sp?) ponies every year that generates far more interest in the wild horses/ponies offered for adoption, allow a more limited amount of cattle on the Open Range instead of the well over 3 million (and there are only approx. 25,000 wild horses on the Open Range, so why can't you guys play nice in the sandbox and share instead of being snarky, ungrateful, jerks? Oh, I forgot, it's that sense of entitlement thing again and your quest to take over the Open Range entirely so that NO ONE, not even we taxpayers who pay for everything, can use it. I already see more fences going up almost every day it seems when I take horses out for training rides in the desert, with no ranch gate in sight for miles, so you and your cronies plan is to fence EVERYONE off the Open Range but as long as those pesky wild horses and burros who are FREE ROAMING under federal law are out there, you all can't completely take over the range. If you could "sanitize" (kill) the horses and burros outright you'd do it in a heartbeat, however, its currently still against the law, so instead you use taxpayer money to fight us!). Heaven help us if you push the Wildland designation through because then NO ONE, no hikers, bikers, campers, etc, will be able to use the Open Range without paying a fee and/or we will be fined and/or arrested for being on land that is wild land designated.
Quite frankly, I don't care if the horses are native or not, although I do think they are, but you rude, arrogant bunch of ranchers better straighten up while you still have a chance to keep a small piece of your pie because as more of the uninformed public finds out about the racket you're running (oh, and BTW, I'd stop driving around your newer model trucks and your nice horse trailer rigs valued at $75,000+ that the taxpayers pay for if I were you because in this economic climate, people are going to be a bit pissed when they find out about it considering the fact that many of us drive old work vehicles because we can't afford newer vehicles), they are going to get as determined as we horse and burro advocates are in shutting down the gravy train you guys have been riding on for far to many generations. A good test is to take away your free-ride subsidies and force you all to run your businesses without subsidies from we taxpayers; IOW, be like a normal business owner like I am who doesn't expect other taxpayers to pay for us to run our businesses. If you stay in business, great, if not, no great loss to any of us. And in closing; before you whine yet again about how your families have been ranching for many generations, it's a way of life, and blah, blah, blah, get it through your heads that most of us taxpayers DON'T CARE and you may just have to do what many of us have had to do in middle life and shift careers and get into something else. Your problem is that you all were slapped and smacked around as kids by your parents, and also grew up killing things, so since you have a hole in your chest where your heart should be, and no sense of compassion and empathy for other living creatures (including other humans who don't agree with you), you spew ugliness at anyone who does care about other living creatures. Change your attitude, share the Open Range with the wild horses and burros, at least act like you care about other people and animals, and you just might be able to save your soiled image before its too late because in this war, you guys are going to ultimately lose!

"The precise date of origin for the genus Equus is unknown, but evidence documents the dispersal of Equus from North America to Eurasia approximately 2‐3 million years ago and a possible origin at about 3.4‐3.9 million years ago. Following this original emigration, several extinctions occurred in North America, with additional migrations to Asia (presumably across the Bering Land Bridge), and return migrations back to North America, over time. The last North American extinction probably occurred between 13,000 and 11,000 years ago (Fazio 1995). Had it not been for previous westward migration, over the land bridge, into northwestern Russia (Siberia) and Asia, the horse would have faced complete extinction. However, Equus survived and spread to all continents of the globe, except Australia and Antarctica....................The relatively new (30‐year‐old) field of molecular biology, using mitochondrial‐DNA analysis, has recently revealed that the modern or caballine horse, E. caballus, is genetically equivalent to E. lambei, a horse, according to fossil records, that represented the most recent Equus species in North America prior to extinction." -Jay F. Kirkpatrick, PhD and Patricia Fazio, PhD

Please read the scientific paper at this link. It proves wild horses are a native wildlife species . Horses originated in America and crossed the Bering Strait and were re-introduced .

The 33,000 number is wrong since it is from last year. After over 10,000 were removed there are less than 23,000 and some claim less than 15, ooo now. This native species is on the brink of extinction, and it will be a sad day in the history of America after it did so much to help this country. Thousands were taken to Europe to help fight in WWI and they helped settlers and ranchers. Is this the way they are repaid ? The Bureau of Land Management is breaking the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act that mandated protection and preservation and should be investigated by Congress.

The increasingly cruel and unprofessional performances during recent stampedes speak volumes - not of improved practices, but of the same old indifferent, abusive standards known. While accidents can happen, the fatalities due to improper handling, insufficient veterinarian care and the lack of fundamental respect for each individual animal within BLM is alarming.
We care about accurate census, count and a consistent approach to implement performance appraisals that would fit your statement in the email below.
We care for BLM to have more respect for the social order of bands, and to involve the public in all aspects. We care that independent humane observers have access at all times.
We care for BLM to apply mandatory education to staff on the range, reflecting of professional equine understanding and handling skills, not the archaic and brutal practices present.
We care for BLM to invite advocates instead of excluding them and denying them access.
We care to end the stock-piling of unlawfully evicted mustangs and to relocate those languishing in holding to available healthy range lands or proposed partnership eco-sanctuaries.
We care for BLM to stop the large-scale displacement of herds by giving preference to livestock and big game in HA's and HMA's throughout the West.
We also care that our native wild equids are not scapegoated and blamed for ecological destruction and range damage, when in fact they enhance the eco-system.
We care for BLM to stop the monopoly of livestock and/or big game and reduce, possibly eliminate privileged livestock permittees on original legal HA's.
We care to stop the drastic round ups and for BLM to create ecologically knowledgeable reserve designs as specified in attached documents.
We do care about the mustangs. In fact, we care that your agency delivers the reform Mr. Abbey preached recently. We also care that a balanced Advisory Board would be established, not only representing special interests, but a balanced concept, consisting of wild horse advocates also.
We care to assure the survival of all herds in their rightful habitat, as laid out in the unanimously passed 1971 Act, which is not warranted with the current PZP closeout strategy. We care for true and genuine reform. We care to see the fundamental change in the program that Mr. Abbey promised in February 2011, see below:
Some of the other changes the BLM says it will put in place include: Enhancing humane animal care and handling practices, promoting volunteerism in the management of wild horses, plus improving transparency and openness.
Abbey says the reform efforts will begin immediately.
We care for our mustangs and burros. It's high times your agency cared too, before it's too late !

The poster Julio Childers wants to eliminate white people as an invasive species. Sorry to burst your racist bubble, but the first people to live in the Americas were the Solutrians who arrived here from western Europe as long ago as 50,000 years, 10's of thousands of years before the first "Native American". Even blacks from Africa were here before the "Natives". This is why "natives" demand that all human remains over a few thousand years old be secretly re buried, to prevent DNA testing that ALWAYS shows that remains older than 8000 years are Europeans. Everyone needs to just let all species live unmolested, even those late coming humans, the "Natives".

I haven't seen any DNA evidence to suggest that today's wild horse is the same species as the horse which existed here thousands of years before the Europeans came over. And I'm not sure it matters. They became extinct and were us.

Really, Obama is guilty? Give me a break. You can't point the finger at every sitting President to know 100% of what goes on in his administration. Before pointing the finger, contact the White House and ask... unfortunately most Federal offices do the same thing every year, regardless of who sits in the White House, until explicidly told NOT to. There are other priorities, like jobs, the economy and 3 wars... Not saying this isn't important...but come on!

Soloman Kane- The Book of Mormon is wrong--Take That. Come on, this is the same book that said Jesus came to the New World, attempted to spread the Gospel to Native Americans, then turned their skin red because they denied him. How about the myth of NA's being one of the lost tribes of Israel. Simple DNA tests put that myth to rest. Horses are still non-native.

Most of us didn't biologically evolve on this continent either. While I understand the need to control invasive species (see: rabbits, Australia), we need to get over this "all or nothing" approach when it comes to wildlife. We need to manage ecosystems for their health, not just use a checklist of "was this species here at X date?" as the only rule.. a rule that nature itself certainly doesn't have.

America's so-called "natural" ecosystem is entirely different than it was pre-Columbus and pre-Viking. Things like earthworms have fundamentally changed America from the dirt up, changing what plants can grow, what species can exist. Changing climate in different areas is also changing what CAN live and thrive in those areas. And yes, we've changed the weather and land and water supplies due to cities and roads and farming so much that wildlife can't live where it used to. We should try to preserve some of the few wild places left, but it's too late to go back to pre-European-invasion, any more than we can go back to the ecosystem that existed before the Ice Age.

Think of the horses as a substitute for buffalo, which are native but which the BLM is keeping from wandering everywhere they used to...

Too bad we can't use the same arguement with White folks, plus if you want to be realistic these horses have a longer presence than the very US itself out here in the old Northern Mexico desert ranges.

No. Per history the first horses were brought to North America by spanish Conquistadors, some escaped, some stolen by indians, some abandoned by the spanish to make room on ships for more gold. All of these developed the wild horses of america.

Yes Jerry, most humans living in N, America are "non-native". The article is about "Horses" not people. Folks also call your comment a "red herring" because it is totally tangential. Horses are not people, they're animals. As a fossil collector, I am well aware that horses and camels once roamed North America. So too did rhinos, tapirs, dogs, etc. They died out at about the end of the last Ice Age, about the same time early humans began to migrate into N. America. Horses are still non-native.

The Book of Mormon has accounts of horses being used by indigenous peoples in Central America--- long after the ice-age extinctions and long before the Spaniard Conquistadors arrival. Take THAT.

I have spent considerable time in the high desert of Northern California-Nevada-Oregon, hunting and rock collecting. I have seen the spread of these horses in the desert. For example, just twenty years ago their area in California was mostly close along the Nevada border. They have now moved, year by year, westward, clear to Eagle Lake.
They are destructive and they will push out all other wildlife if not controlled. What will prevent them from multiplying until they run out of food, starve in great numbers, and then repeat the cycle, over and over, with dead horse carcasses all over a wasteland of high desert?
The same women who stopped the slaughter-for-meat of horses, causing horrible suffering of older horses that must now wait around to die, are now trying to cause horrible suffering, in the future, to countless wild horses.

Read your history online: 40 years ago--in 1971--the R.O.A.M Act was enacted to protect these animals: On This Land! The law has been slowly eroded over time. Due to the "close relationship" of past administrations with ranchers.

Special interests graze their cows for free and then you pay at the market. Great deal for the ranchers.

As for the comment by Tom Collins, a Clark County commissioner, if all the commissioners in the US have your obvious lack of education and self-serving position, no wonder the country is in such a mess.

@joefrombako, By your measure, most humans in North America are nonnative. Keep that in mind. Further, the fossil record puts horses and camels in North America long before humans.

Why bother trying to talk sense to a horse lover? Horses are non-native--period. Ever heard of the Columbian Exchange? Europeans brought horses to the New World from the Old World. Judging from the posts, some folks can't distinguish between horses and people too.

So, some horse's adz decides to change palentology and the courts listen tot his garbage?

Ok. If the horses are not native, after being here hundreds of years if not thousands, depending on which camp you live in, then neither are the majority of ranchers or the BLM. Go back to Europe you hypocrites! Those horses have been here longer than most of you, giving them more right to those grazing lands than the ranchers and their livestock, who have only been claiming the rights to them for the last 2-300 years. The mustangs have seniority on the land. Even if they aren't indigenous, they were here grazing the lands long before you ranchers and government officials decided to whine about it.

Reintroducing horses to the North and South American continents would not be the only time this has been done. It has been done with birds, wolves, and other animals to preserve a species space in the ecology.

But nothing is as it was before people came to this hemisphere. And the changes became huge beginning in the 17th Century.

Horses, of course, disappeared long before humans came here. There is nothing wrong with reintroducing them. But because after the rerelease, the continents became non-natural, so keeping the numbers normal for the situation, is reasonable.

My dad is a retired veterinarian. For years we had a mostly large animal practice. Did you know you can "fix" male horses? Randomized early intervention could keep numbers down, without harming the gene pool.

This news article references certain incorrect information about America's wild horses and burros -- but the errors were not the fault of the reporter. His innocent mistake was in trusting Bureau of Land Management statistics. Congress, the courts, wildlife advocates, the media, and the public -- all assume that BLM is providing accurate data regarding wild horse populations. Trusting that the data is valid, these parties rely on it, draw conclusions from it, even formulate land-use decisions based on it. But the data is false, distorted to show an "excess" of mustangs that does not exist. First, independent analysis has shown that the 33,000 on-the-range figure is over-stated by nearly double. Using BLM's own data, birth-rate assumptions, and removal reports, C.R. MacDonald calculated that there could be -- at most -- only 17,893 mustangs left on the range as of February 28, 2011. Second, BLM usually claims that the range can support about 26,600 mustangs, while this article states that 33,000 is 12,000 more than BLM considers sustainable, which would mean 21,000. Has BLM reduced the mustang population ceiling by 5,600 -- 21 percent? Even if that were so, in truth, there are still at least 3,000 fewer mustangs than the drastically sparse number that BLM reportedly allows and at least 15,000 fewer than BLM reports. Please see pdf-page 7 at link below.

Horses and camels originate in North America. Horses were re-introduced, camels weren't. There is a lacking of science in U.S. courts, which is fine to an extent, and a sore lacking in the BLM, which is not fine at all. Even worse are the shortcomings in school textbooks. Where o' where has the science gone?

I wish these same people would fight for the wolves. The ranchers in the west believe the cattle came before the wolves.

Again I say follow the money......wolves don't generate cash and cattle do. When a wolf gets hungry enough she'll go for the easy pickings, which is a calf or older, slower cow.

Cattle are the invasive species; there's no doubt about it; so why can't we do something about getting them off of public lands where they pollute pristine trout streams and eat the vegetation right down to the dirt, which is then torn up under 1000 lbs of cattle hooves creating dustbowl situations in which it is hard for anything to take hold and grow for years to come.

If the Bureau of Leasing & Mining would for once pay attention to the condition of the land it manages we'd have fresher water, healthier animal species, and a cleaner climate overall. Instead, federal lands are viewed by BLM as resources for cash. By looking at the miniscule royalty rates they get from mining and other extractive industries, BLM operates on a basis of working with those who spend the most on lobbying them, rather than charging a royalty rate that would guarantee the US taxpayers a fair return on the resources we all own.

President Obama is responsible for the actions of the BLM under his administration: Dead horses and burros exhausted and killed in wild helicopter round ups throughout the west are President Obama's fault.

If you voted for President Obama the first time, don't vote for him again if you are disgusted by the range-cattle-industry-dominated BLM management and their actions. Just stay home if you are a Democrat or progressive independent. President Obama has chosen to kill the wild horses and burros by not reversing BLM's longstanding equine hating policies. He's well aware of what BLM is up to, and just doesn't give a hoot about his "constituents" protests.

Has anyone told Sasha and Malia what Daddy's cowboys are up to?

Tom Collins said “Most of these folks, maybe their father slapped them or their mother didn't love them, so now they are in love with these wild horses that aren't really wild,”

What a moron.

Guess what dude, your little ranch didn't exactly sprout out of the ground one day.

“There are plenty of horses out in the Nevada desert,” said Tom Collins, a Clark County commissioner who has a ranch outside Las Vegas. “Most of these folks, maybe their father slapped them or their mother didn't love them, so now they are in love with these wild horses that aren't really wild,” he said. .

Well, this guy sure sounds like he got kicked in HIS head when he was a kid. Maybe a few times.

The very real question that needs to be answered is; How many domestic cattle reside on BLM managed lands? We don't know but the numbers would be huge compared to the number of wild horses.
It all amounts to government welfare for rich and well connected cattle operators, as is the maintenance of wild horse herds in feed lots as well as wild horse round ups, all tax payer money keeping well connected so called ranchers and feedlot operators on the dole.
Wild horses are supposed to be protected according to Federal law, not cattle operations.

Food off your table?

A few tainted mouthfuls of wretched corporate welfare supported, chemicalized, antibiotic ridden beef?

Cruelty, shame, tax fraud and mis management are your feast.

Seems like most of the posters here would rather live in an overpopulated, lifeless wasteland rather than eat less meat. We will reap what we sow.

Evolution will work on what it is given. Only the fittest for the current conditions will survive. This does not mean that the "best" organism will necessarily survive as the definition for "best" is completely dependent on the conditions. If the environment selects for idiots, idiots will become more successful and will multiply rapidly. Species that die first are often simply extremely specialized and cannot adapt to change. These tend to be larger animals with longer life spans such as tigers, lions, elephants, etc. Based on CaliPHOBE's assessment, we should do away with most carnivorous animals and almost any animal you would care to see at a zoo.

These feral horses kill many native plant species in the west which is felt throughout the food chain. Another example of people's bias towards anthropomorphic animals.

Even if these "animal rights groups" premise were true, their conclusion would be flawed. If you carried their argument to it's logical conclusion, we should be trying to restore the existence of tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops, and the myriad of other extinct species (a la Jurassic Park) from ages ago. We have to accept that some species are not going to survive forever (the dodo bird and the wooly mammoth) and that life will continue undiminished on this planet. It is not necessary that we preserve the snail darter and the spotted owl, at the expense of man or his food and shelter requirements. Darwin postulated the SURVIVAL of the fittest, not the PRESERVATION of the weakest. And apparently God or mother nature or the Big Bang Theory have ratified that concept, else the dinosaurs would not be extinct.

The wild horses are just that: wild horses. Left to their own devices they will survive or they will not survive. But don't take food from my table to protect them.

The horses we see today are not the horses that migt exist 7,600 years ago. How can this be up to a federal court to decide? All we have to decide whether to preserve American wild horses. If we find a rare bateria whoes DNA can be traced to some fossilized bacteria of 100 million years old, do we perserve that bacteria because its natural right to live another 100 million years to come?

This is ridiculous, wasting money and time.

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