Wild Mustangs Being Relocated from the Mid West

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mustangsI read an article in the CG Times the other day about how the government is trying to round up and relocate close to forty thousand wild mustang horses from the western states to the plains states. They are claiming that due to the herds doubling in size every four years that there will soon be a food shortage and the herds could start dying of mass starvation if they aren’t relocated eastward toward states with more wide open plains and grazing opportunities. Several animal rights groups and celebrities including Sheryl Crow and Ed Harris are against the rounding up and moving of the horses citing that the process could traumatize or injure the horses and they are challenging the government claims as false.

The government also has corrals and properties that these wild horses have migrated into and have reached near capacity, I personally don’t believe it is a bad thing to help “encourage” the herds to migrate to where there are more open fields and corrals to care for and protect the animals. Wild Mustang horses really don’t have natural predators in the West, and though a colt can be taken by a cougar on occasion their only natural enemy is disease and injury. When full grown they are faster and larger than most predatory animals can take down so their numbers will only continue to multiply.

I did learn that until 1971 it was legal for ranchers to shoot wild mustangs caught grazing on their property and this is why the numbers had depleted so low. Since the ban however their numbers have been increasing quickly and something will need to be done in the next decade to ensure the safety of the animals as well as the land around them from being overgrazed.

What are your thoughts? Should the herds be left alone to graze themselves into potential starvation and overpopulation, or should the be relocated as a preventative measure from what could happen? Know that the government spends hundreds of thousands of dollars caring for these wild animals when they are injured and encountered and when they wind up crossing over into government land and corrals.

-Justin Germino

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Updated: December 10, 2009 — 9:18 am