Conflict between the wild horse population and cattle ranchers runs rife across the western United States. Despite the fact that wild horses have roamed these plains for hundreds of years, the prospect of profit from expanding ranching operations have come at a high cost to wild horse territory.
According to American Wild Horse Preservation, private livestock outnumber wild horses fifty to one in the west, and these statistics only stand to grow out of favor of horses in coming years.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been charged with the management of wild-roaming horses and burros on federal lands, however, currently around eight times more of federal lands are being rented out for cattle operations than land designated to sustain wild horses.
Adding insult to injury, the BLM also carries out routine roundups of wild horses to “control” their populations and reduce competition for ranching land.
While this injustice is occurring all over the U.S., current plans to sterilize the last remaining population of Saylor Creek’s wild horses is particularly unsettling.
After enduring decades of disruption from hunting and other activities, and competition for habitat from swarms of privately owned cattle, the Saylor Creek wild horses now face harassment of a different order entirely. It comes in the form of the BLM’s final Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the Jarbridge District, released this week.
The RMP will establish the Saylor Creek HMA as home to a “non-reproducing” wild horse herd, meaning that all the mustangs living there will be sterilized, likely through surgical means.
The plan spells disaster for the federally protected wild horses living in the Saylor Creek HMA, according to the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC).
“Sterilizing wild horses alters their natural behaviors and destroys the complex social structures that make mustang populations unique,” explains Suzanne Roy, AWHPC director.
What You Can Do to Protect Wild Horses
When pitted against the cattle interests of the region, unfortunately, wild horses and burros are likely to lose every time. This phenomenon is not unique to the Saylor Creek region of Idaho but is happening in wild horse territories all across the U.S.
Unlike cattle, wild horses don’t have the backing of billion dollar industries to justify their place in the American West, but does this mean that these iconic animals deserve to be systematically whipped from their natural habitat?
If you don’t agree with the actions of the BLM, speak up for wild horses and sign this petition to Tell BLM Idaho NO to Sterilizing Saylor Creek Herd!