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   The Department of the Interior's​ Bureau of Land Management is given the responsibility of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, which seeks to manage the wild equine population. There is a debate about whether these animals are invasive species, or native to America, as thousands of years ago, horses became extinct in America, and weren't reintroduced until the 1500s, when Spanish conquistadors brought in their mustangs. Although the landscape has probably changed over the past 1000s of years, I think it would actually be within the last 500 years that it changed the most, meaning, I believe horses were still an intricate part of America’s ecosystem when reintroduced, but now seem to be invasive because human invasives are the ones who changed the environment. Thus, by helping the wild horses, we can attempt to mend the destruction we caused.

   Unfortunately, the Department of the Interior, just like many other departments, will be facing budget cuts in FY18 (Fiscal year 2018). Because of this, the Land Management Bureau is lowering it's budget on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, and is trying to limit the population and range of wild equine by capture and sell. The bureau first plans to sell the equine throughout the country, but usually when mass sales go on like this, most horses end up in slaughterhouses! A lit of people can't afford horses, or do not care to adopt a horse that has not yet been broken (trained/tamed). The bureau uses the excuse that the wild horse population is expanding at a rate in which this must be done in order to protect rangelands from overgrazing, and stable enough to sustain a healthy population. I doubt this is true, but I can say that I'm happy with the bureau for at least trying to give the horses a second chance at life by first trying to sell them, rather than just euthanizing them, as they are eerily allowed to do. To qualify to buy a horse, you must meet certain requirements, filling out an extensive application. While I think this is a great way to find horses good homes, it's strange considering that the alternative is a slaughterhouse, which is probably worse.

   Another thing that saddens me is that these wild equine are supposed to be free. They are used to running independently out in the open, with no restrictive walls caging them in, and no annoying humans telling them what to do. They might struggle at times to find food and shelter, but that is the trade-off you get with freedom. Like when a child leaves their family home as a young adult- they have to provide for themselves, which can be a challenge, but being able to do so and live by your own will is worth the hard work. Nobody asks a horse whether he or she'd rather be free it domesticated. They just force them to human will, and because of this, the horses often give opposition. Imagine how scary it would be to randomly be kidnapped? And we can't even promise them that they are going to a good place. I do believe that it is necessary to hold endanger animals in captivity for reproductive and protective programs, and that many animals are underrepresented as endangered. However, I think the scale at which this is happening to wild horses is not right. A lot of people breed mustangs already. And if the population is “large enough to be stable,” than there is no capture necessary. Capturing horses and selling them to the slaughterhouse will either turn a stable population endangered, or cause an already endangered animals (which could've been helped by current breeders) to become extinct- or at least extinct in the wild.

   I wish I could help the wild equine and just but them all, a large plot of Land, and let them run free on it as they used to, but with more protection. Protection from stupid budget cuts and habitat destruction. It would be my land to manage. I know there is going to be a sale on June 23 in Silver City, NM, and I'd love to go check it out, but probably won't find a ride, and even if I do, can’t afford a horse. Money causes too many problems in this world.

 

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