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Letter: Ways to control America’s wild horses

Published on January 29, 2018 5:47PM

Last changed on January 30, 2018 11:09AM


The column on “wild horses” by Ellie Phipps Price was full of fake facts, ignorance and emotionalism. For starters, these animals are not wild horses, they are feral horses. Wild horses are found in zoos and parts of Asia and Africa.

It is true that most Americans want these horses, as do I. But I want them to be managed so that they, as well as the ecosystem, will remain healthy. The carrying capacity of the range has been determined to be 26,600 horses. The limiting factors used to determine this is based on food, water, competition of other wild animals, weather, etc. The most serious occurs during the winter. Either Ms. Price is ignorant of how cattle are managed or she is deliberately misleading when she says, if all the cattle were removed everything would be just fine. Well, that is not true. The limiting factors would still come into play. Cattle are removed from the range during these adverse times.

That she is concerned the population could become extinct is laughable. All that would need to be done was to go to the next horse sale, buy up some horses and turn them loose. Since there are no predators, they will reproduce at 15-20 per cent per year and in just a few years carrying capacity would again be reached.

Birth control sounds good, but is not practical. Besides, it probably violates the harassment and capture clauses in the 1971 Act. They were once farm animals but if you start rounding them up to give them annual shots and castrating them they will become skittish quite quickly.

As for the 90,000 horses the Trump administration is planning to slaughter, that is probably fairly accurate. There are 46,000 horses in corrals that are costing $50 million dollars per year to feed and another 40,000 exceeding the appropriate management level of the range. Americans have always eaten horse meat. In 1951 Time magazine ran an article stating that in Portland there were three times as many horse butchers, selling three times as much horse meat, as there were for all the other meats.

I would suggest these 90,000 horses be offered first to the poor by our government. If a mother knew that she could feed her child a high protein food, more nutritious than beef, I am willing to bet she would jump at the opportunity. If that failed, offer it to the “foodies.”

Carlisle Harrison

Hermiston



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