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Re: RC: RE: Fw: Text of Dr. Cook's open letter

At 11:01 PM 10/02/2001 -0700, you wrote:
What is the average lifespan of a feral horse?  I bet it s considerably less than a domestic horse, even though it lives in a natural environment.

I'm sure it is less, or they wouldn't be selectively removing horses under the age of 5 (if it's over 5, it's considered an 'older' horse).  Here is some info I found on the BLM website (so when you hear me talk about riding near the wild horse herds here and how lame many of them are, you'll understand why).  To make this endurance related, here is a link to upcoming BLM adoptions:
What/who determines which specific horses will be removed?
This depends a great deal on the documents in effect, the condition of the range and the animals. The BLM has a policy in place, called selective removal that allows for the removal of horses under the age of 5. This policy and does not apply to burros. Some positive results for this type of gather are:
All horses removed find good homes.

A representative sample of the gene pool and knowledge base remains on the range.

Long term holding and adoption costs are lower because horses are adopted more quickly.

Less than desirable animals are not shipped from adoption to adoption which can create more stress on the animal.
Some negatives about selective removals are:
It is expensive to gather all the horses in a herd area.

Occassionally unadoptable wild horses returned to the range may exhibit less than desirable characteristics.
The other method BLM uses is "gate cut". Using this method, entire bands are removed and made available to the general public for adoption. A positive for this type of gather is:
Less expensive to gather.
Some negative results of gate cut gathers are:
Older and unadoptable horses are seldom adopted and very expensive to care for.

Entire family units (bands) are removed thus desirable traits and genetics may be removed from the range.
On site, there is one person responsible for deciding exactly which horses are turned back and which ones are placed into the adoption program. It is usually the "resident" WH&B specialist. In some areas, wild horse and burro interest groups help the WH&B specialist make the decisions.
What happens to the horses determined as unadoptable?
Under normal circumstances, undesirable or unadoptable wild horses are returned to the range.
Are excess animals that are 'unadoptable' sent to slaughter, or what happens to them?
The BLM never sends excess animals to slaughter! However, due to state and local laws, if an animal dies at a holding facility, it is often sent to a rendering plant.

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