This lecture by William E. Simpson II at the Guild Theater in Sacramento California during the 2021 Mustang Summit explains the basics.
Wild horses are a non-commercial herbivore that competes on public lands in Herd Areas for forage and water with commercial herbivores like cattle, sheep and game animals like deer and elk.
Obviously, livestock (cattle & sheep) have huge economic value.
A simple exercise in math tells us that the 1.5-million cattle currently grazing on public lands (Herd Areas) in America have a minimum average value of approximately $1,000.00 each, making those cattle worth about $1.5-Billion wholesale. When these cattle are processed into consumer products, the value of these cattle is a multiple of the $1.5-Billion, or several $-Billion dollars. And we see a similar economic value around the sheep industry.
The sporting goods industry, as well as state-run fish and game agencies make hundreds of $-millions in annual revenue off the availability of game animals (deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, etc.) living on public lands. So these herbivores also have significant economic value.
Compared to the foregoing commercial herbivores, wild horses in Herd Areas have relatively little commercial value by comparison. In other words, based on an economic argument, wild horses require as much forage as cattle (per head) but provide no net income to the agencies managing them. The Bureau of Land Management (‘BLM’) spends over $100-million each year on it’s budget managing wild horses.
The programs the BLM offers as partial solutions to placing wild horses that they remove from Herd Areas, (adoption, training and sales) don’t come remotely close to recouping their annual management costs. However, selling grazing permits for livestock is a profitable enterprise for the BLM. The public owns the land, and the BLM charges (pockets) $1.45 per cow-calf per month for the 1.5-million cattle on the public land. The monetary gain for the BLM is in the many $-millions per year with relatively little overhead.
There is an old saying:
Remember the Golden Rule! Whoever has the gold, makes the rules!
This excerpt is from Economic Sociology and Economy:
And who has the gold?
The simple answer is: a conglomeration of large corporations who together control hundreds of $-billions in annual revenue, and have an economic stake in public land use.
These corporations include livestock producers and corporations integrated into that business (think Monsanto, Cargill, Bayer, John Deere, etc.), as well as mining, gas and oil industries, all have massive financial interests regarding public land uses.
Strictly from an economic perspective, wild horses grazing public lands is not economically beneficial in BLM Herd Areas areas where livestock and wild horses are commingled and competing for finite forage and water.
But that’s not to suggest there aren’t places where wild horses wouldn’t be in conflict with commercial enterprises and their presence would provide great economic value, as will be outlined later in this article.
A survey of the wild horse crises shows there are plenty of people and nonprofit organizations who are profiting from the crises that has evolved from failed wild horse management by government agencies and exacerbated by the wild horse nonprofits who have failed to tender any reasonable or effective solution.
Big-dollar wild horse nonprofit organizations (like American Wild Horse Campaign) have together collected over $100-million in donations over the past 30-years, and have failed in every way to change the management controversy surrounding wild horses for the better.
The fact stands: After 30-years and over $100-Million in donations to big wild horse nonprofits, wild horses are worse-off than ever before, and are now circling the drain. Populations are decimated and many wild horses remaining on the range have been chemically sterilized.
Genetic testing of wild horses is scant, so nobody really knows for certain what important gene-lines are being wiped-out in the process of castration and chemical sterilization used by the BLM on wild horses rounded-up, made worse by government subsidized chemical sterilization by some wild horse nonprofits like American Wild Horse Campaign.
There is another relevant saying: “Never let a crises go to waste”
As it turns out, there are some people and wild horse nonprofits who are making money off this economic controversy and the crises surrounding wild horses by selling the public on a fake solution, known by several names, ‘fertility control’, ‘contraception’ and ‘birth control’, for wild horses.
These nice-sounding terms, incorrectly suggest that the type of birth control enjoyed by humans, which are highly tested and regulated pharmaceutical drugs, are the same as the draconian experimental use of chemical sterilants (PZP & GonaCon) on wild horses.
The EPA Fact Sheet for PZP has some very interesting and alarming disclaimers and waivers as can be read HERE.
Some nonprofits are being paid by the Bureau of Land Management with taxpayer dollars (grants) to shoot wild horses, with heavy chemical-filled syringe-darts, using deadly high-powered gas-operated rifles.
These Big-Dollar nonprofits use emotional psychology to get donors to give them money. They spend money collecting gruesome, heart-breaking photos and videos of wild horse abuses and claim they have a solution, when they they don’t.
An important fact in these considerations is that, a sterilized horse consumes the same amount of forage and water as an intact natural horse.
Sometimes these PZP peddling nonprofits use pretty pictures, all the while employing the same psychological trickery that that BLM uses; putting a nice name or face on a horrible thing. For instance, the BLM calls roundups ‘gathers’, which makes their brutal methods sound gentle. Calling chemical sterilization ‘fertility control’ is the same psychological trickery.
These chemical sterilants are commonly known by their acronyms ‘PZP’ and ‘GonaCon’, are nothing likethe pharmaceutical drugs that have undergone decades of clinical trials and safety testing before coming to market. PZP and GonaCon have not undergone the kind of rigorous clinical trials and safety evaluations that human contraceptives have. These chemicals are being used experimentally on wild horses, and the genetic and social impacts on wild horses are adverse and serious.
Organizations such are American Wild Horse Campaign are continually promoting the use of chemical sterilization, even suggesting such draconian measures will stop roundups, another proven falsehood.
One of many examples:
Here is a quote from the public website of Wild Horses of America Foundation:
“Since 2015 we have been treating mares of the Onaqui Mountain Herd with PZP.”
Clearly, six-years later, the use of PZP didn’t stop brutal 2021 BLM Onaqui Roundup of 435 Wild Horses that cost taxpayers $1.5-Million dollars!
Because a sterilized horse consumes the same amount of forage and water as a natural horse.
There is no doubt that a vast majority of Americans place some value on American wild horses and the American history and tradition that they represent.
In 1971, the Congress of the United States of America said this in the preamble to the Act they passed to protect American wild horses:
“…Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming wild horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute the diversity of lifeforms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people…”
After all, America was built off the backs of American wild horses. And that statement holds true when people learn the fact that all horses in the world evolved and originated from North American equid lines.
Furthermore, the horses that the Spanish brought to North America were merely a reintroduction of the species back onto the North American continent, adding to the existing splinter populations of wild horses that are believed to have survived the Ice Age.
For the past 30-years some wild horse nonprofits have been arguably misinforming kind-hearted wild horse advocates. Wild horse nonprofits like American Wild Horse Campaign, have been selling a flawed solution for the growing crises facing the remaining American wild horses. Ending the life cycles of American wild horses via chemical sterilization is arguably a moral and genetic crime against wild horses and Nature.
In closing there is a short window of time and hope if advocates act now!
Support a genuine effort by an all-volunteer 501-c-3 wild horse nonprofit…
We don’t pay ourselves to do what’s right like some other nonprofits.
Wild Horse Fire Brigade has already conducted 9-years (2014-present) of a continuing (24-7/365) close range study of free roaming wild horses in a wilderness ecosystem.
The founder of Wild Horse Fire Brigade spent his life savings getting the research off the ground.
Together, in early 2022, Michelle Gough and William E. Simpson II worked with County officials and saved an entire local herd of heritage wild horses and now have ownership and management authority over the herd along with Wild Horse Fire Brigade.
The research undertaken by Gough and Simpson, using the Goodall Method, has revealed much new information about wild horse ecology and ethology. This study by William E. Simpson II included wild horse behavioral ecology during an actual catastrophic wildfire in 2018.
Over the past year, with minimal funding, Wild Horse Fire Brigade sued the BLM and won, stopping the Pokegama Roundup (Oregon HMA). And the team has rewilded over 60 Mustangs into the herd that were heading to a brutal fate and horrors of a Mexican slighter house. (here are just a few of those horses)
Wild Horse Fire Brigade has shown that rewilding and relocating wild horses away from areas where they are deemed to be in conflict with commercial enterprises and placing them into appropriate wilderness areas where they enhance and rebalance ecosystems works.
The published Study at GrazeLIFE by Simpson further demonstrated that wild horses can cost-effectively reduce the frequency, size and intensity of catastrophic wildfire and toxic wildfire smoke, which adversely impacts human health and climate.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Support wild horses by supporting Wild Horse Fire Brigade now!
Learn more at: www.WHFB.us
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