Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Horsey Headlines for October 28, 2009

The other day I read an article about the latest on the wild horse debate. Apparently, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (Colorado's Democratic senator from a few years ago) is proposing that we move some of the overpopulated mustangs to preserves in the East and Midwest.

The article basically gives the floor to the biggest idiots on both sides of the issue. Ginger Kathrens, whom you might know as the maker of the famous Cloud documentary, seems to be saying that we shouldn't be doing anything to control the wild horse population, whether by removing or sterilizing them. Such an extreme position is not only dumb, it's impossible, and makes all us pro-horse people look like a bunch of lunatics by association.

We do need to do something to control their population, yes. But the dumbass representing other side isn't winning any points, either.

Dan Gralian, who manages a large grazing range out of Battle Mountain, Nev., and is president of the Nevada Cattlemen's Association, calls the plan "a great thing, taking this icon of America back to where it originally came from, the East."

He says wild horses and burros are in the West were brought there by pioneers, cattle barons and prospectors. He disputes the contention of horse advocates that the horse is indigenous to the West.

"We were here first — that's the bottom line," Gralian says, referring to cattle ranchers.

Not only has he apparently never heard of Cortez, but he's also 500-plus years old and has been personally selling beef to Burger King since Columbus was in diapers.

I wish issues like this didn't become clouded by extremists on either side. I'm all for the BLM adoption program, and I don't think it's failing as miserably as opponents claim. I also think we ought to be giving a wee bit more consideration to the mustangs, and less to the cattle ranchers — who, after all, do have 6 million cattle crammed onto the same land that supposedly can't support 30 thousand mustangs. Our country simply does not need that much beef — as our increasing weight and health problems demonstrate.

But even if we did tell the ranchers to back off, we'd still have to control the wild horse population in some fashion. I support the idea of culling the herd down to a more workable level, and then using a combination of sterilization and adoption to keep it there. And as distasteful as it is to send wild horses to Ohio, has anyone stopped to consider that perhaps Salazar is trying to keep them from being euthanized, as the BLM has been threatening to do?

This might be opening the proverbial can of worms, but what are your thoughts on the subject? I'm pretty sure none of my readers are as extreme as either Kathrens or Gralian, so surely we can find a happy medium here!



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