I get a little angry when people talk about the "wild horse" herds that are roaming around my area and how the ranchers are simply trying to keep all the grass for their livestock in order become extremely wealthy on the back of America.
But today was a real win for a lot of folks....of both the 2 legged and 4 legged kind. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court upheld earlier court's decision to manage wild horse herds in southwest Wyoming. Yes, this was brought about by a lawsuit originally filed by the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA). RSGA is a large private landowner in an area known as the "the checkerboard" which is alternating sections of deeded and federal lands, most of which is unfenced and managed by the BLM. RSGA won this lawsuit and BLM was ordered to remove horses from the range, due to an emergency injunction filed by wild horse advocates the gathers were brought to a halt.
The way has now been cleared for BLM to remove approximately 800 horses from multiple herd management areas. How quickly they will begin? Should be this week.
Is this good for the horses? Yes. Unmanaged horse populations can grow at a rate of 20% per year, with no real natural predators this is devastating on herd health, on animal health, on water resources, on wildlife populations, on ranching operations and on range health. Managed horse herds are more viable, more attractive to the public who likes to view them out on the range because managed horse herds are healthy.
Is this good for wildlife? Yes. Overpopulated herds are devastating on forage and water sources, leaving very little in their wake. This causes starvation in wildlife populations.
Is this good for livestock? Yes. For the exact same reasons that its good for the horses and for wildlife.
Is this good for people? Yes. If horse populations are kept in check the range will be healthier and can support populations from all the categories mentioned above. There will be room for seeing "wild" horses, wildlife, range livestock, 4-wheeling, hunting, the sky, the grass, water sources.
Is this good for wild horse advocates? Yes. Although I know that they do not believe me, or the ranchers, or the BLM, or the court system, or anyone else for that matter. If they truely do love these animals, then they would know (or at least try to learn more about) proper, responsible management is the humane, responsible, just thing to do. And while I agree that where these animals go when taken off the range isn't ideal because it simply costs you and me, taxpayers, too much money. Engaging in responsible range management of both public and private lands is the first step.
Properly mananged populations.....all populations.....on multi-use public lands is a GOOD thing!