Target: Mike Pool, Acting Director of the U.S. Buraeu of Land Management
Goal: End cruel and unnecessary “gathers” of wild horses
The National Academy of Sciences recently released report condemning the unnecessary gathering and domestication of endangered wild Mustangs by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”). This is achieved primarily through “gathers,” events in which helicopters chase wild horses into traps at which point they are then hog-tied and sometimes killed, based on how well they will sell. Horse specialists and activists have been demanding reforms to this system since 2010. The agency, despite putting out statements claiming that it “shares the committee’s view,” has yet to initiate reforms. This cruel and obviously unethical treatment of an endangered species must be stopped.
The primary proponents of horse gathers tend to be cattle ranchers, who find that the horses damage their pastures. However, populations of wild Mustangs could be controlled ethically, as the National Academy of Science suggests, through the use of birth control. The BLM, however, insists on using outdated “gathers” so that the wild horses can later be adopted, despite their feral status. This is unnecessary, as a greater population would allow the wild horse population to exist in more sustainable numbers while still being controlled.
The unethical manner in which these “gathers” are performed, necessitating a large number of people and helicopters to handle the horses, is also extremely expensive for the state and, by extension, taxpayers. There are approximately 50,000 wild Mustangs in captivity today, with only 32,000 left in the wild. Unless measures are taken to control the Mustang population more ethically, these numbers will continue to decline and shift unstably.
Dear Acting Director Mike Pool,
In light of reports and criticisms of your bureau’s management of the endangered American Mustang population, it is your responsibility to stop the cruel and expensive “gathers” that your department routinely perpetrates. These gathers are unnecessarily cruel and oftentimes fatal to the horses, and capture them in numbers far exceeding the adoption demand. More ethical measures, such as a greater reliance on birth control for the horses, are readily available.
We firmly believe it is your responsibility to both the environment and American taxpayers to use readily available, more ethical measures to control the horse population. While cattle ranchers are important, it is equally important to find a compromise between their demands and the environment.
[Your Name Here]
Image credit to Jaime Jackson via Wikimedia Commons