Wild Horses: The Stresses of Captivity by Bruce Nock PhD examines the stresses placed on our wild horses during roundups and being held afterwards in captivity, and the consequences.
Here is an excerpt from the Introduction:
The evidence that stress is a powerful destructive force is indisputable. It pokes and prods, finds weaknesses, and then exaggerates them … turns them into pathologies. Diseases and disorders from the common cold to degenerative diseases like diabetes to the atrophy of certain brain regions are now known to be caused or made worse by stress. There is every reason to believe the same is true for horses. And it may be hard to believe but psychological stress is the worst kind.
So let me tell you what happens to a wild horse’s physiology when he/she suffers the severe stress, trauma, of being chased by a helicopter and sequestered into captivity. Then, I’ll tell you what some of the consequences are. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say, as ‘gathers’ are routinely done in the USA, if a wild horse doesn’t die straight off from the immediate devastation and commotion, it compromises him/her physically and mentally, putting him on a path of accelerated deterioration.
In his summary Dr Nock states:
What our government is doing to the wild horses of the western US and the way it is being done is an atrocity. It is an injustice against nature. Even the horses left behind or turned back out suffer from the social disorder gathers cause.
Wild Horses: The Stresses of Captivity, by Dr Bruce Nock PhD, 24 pp, pdf.
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