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Human Ranchers to Blame for Range Degradation

Human Ranchers to Blame for Range Degradation

Every year in the United States, thousands of wild horses and burros are cruelly chased, captured and killed by the. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ensure that ranchers continue to unfairly profit from the suffering of cows and the use of our taxpayer public lands without any “competition” from the wild animals who need the range to survive. 

The Bureau continually disregards the massive negative impact that the destruction caused by the animals bred into existence by ranchers creates. Cows and sheep - who outnumber wild horses by more than 36:1 on our public lands - are the cause of massive environmental destruction, yet wild horses and burros are blamed! We must speak up for these captured wild horses who are subjected to cruel practices and often shipped to slaughter because they are unjustly blamed for problems caused by the livestock industry. 

A 1977 report to Congress from the General Accounting Office (GAO) by the Comptroller General of the United States was titled “Public Rangelands Continue to Deteriorate.” It stated, “The Nation’s public rangelands have been deteriorating for years and, for the most part, are not improving. Deterioration can be attributed principally to poorly managed livestock grazing.”  Even though the report was a scathing rebuke of the BLM’s policies which allowed the overgrazing of public lands, and called for additional and updated management plans, not nearly enough has been done in the 41 years since this report was issued. Instead, wild horses and burros have been blamed in order to divert scrutiny from the real problem – animals raised for their flesh at below market rate grazing fees that subsidize consumption of these cows and sheep by humans. 

Erik Molvar holds a Master of Science in Wildlife Management and is the Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project that advocates for the protection and restoration of watersheds and wildlife on western public lands. His article, “The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics” debunks one “big lie” saying, “the impacts of horses are vastly outweighed by the damage caused by the domestic livestock that graze on public lands.” 

In Molvar’s testimony to the Federal Lands Subcommittee Hearing July 2018, he outlines in great detail the damaging impacts of livestock grazing on public lands and shows how the BLM’s public lands grazing program operates at a deficit every year and therefore results in millions of dollars of taxpayer losses. This government subsidy to a few ranchers, many of whom are actually large corporations’ results in subsidized cow flesh produced on public land to be sold and shipped to other countries.

In Defense of Animals supports our public lands for all wild animals, including wild horses and burros. Please support our efforts by refusing to consume animal products, by advocating for wild horses and burros, and by making a donation.

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