Multiple interests are at play in the debate over wild horses.
There are the wild horse advocates, environmentalists concerned about affects of the animals on the environment and ranchers concerned about their livelihoods.
Ranchers think more horses need to come off, while horse advocates argue strongly that the rangelands are being stripped of a icon of the nation’s heritage.
Balancing all of those interests is obviously a difficult task, but my intention is not to provide Wild Horse 101 for Horsetalk readers.
I cannot fathom how anyone – wild horse advocate, rancher or environmentalist – can consider that the treatment of an elderly mare filmed by Cloud Foundation director Ginger Kathrens is in any way a good idea.
Her footage, shot during the ongoing roundup aimed at removing around 2000 horses from the Antelope Complex in Nevada, shows the efforts to capture a mare too exhausted to keep up with her herd.
This older animal has lived out her life on the range.
According to Kathrens, she had already been run 10 miles when she separated from the others, dropping into a snow drift.
She ultimately escaped capture to face an uncertain future in the depths of a Nevada winter.
How trying to herd this solitary animal with a low-flying helicopter can be seen as anything other than cruel is beyond me.
I accept that herding wild horses is an inexact science, but if this is viewed as acceptable by the Bureau of Land Management, it can’t expect to see the scrutiny of its wild horse and burro management programme ease up any time soon.
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