[RC] [Guest] Mustangs to Mexico - Ridecamp Guest
J. Brashier quitab@xxxxxxxxxxx
The post I made were from the heart and not the head. So here are some
actual facts. Steralization techniques have been tried, implants for mares
and gelding of stallions, but they were not all that effective and the
uproar by some people was massive. Most mustangs are small, very tough,
health animals. Unfortunately, most people adopting want big, tall, "Black
Stallion" looking animals. These are not the morn. Most mustangs range
from 13 to 14.5 hands and weigh between 700 to 900 pounds. The two mares I
have now are 15.5 and 16 hands, but they are both from the same home range
and contain alot of draft and calvary remount blood. Herd stallions were
removed from bands and registered Quarter Horse, Arab, Morgan, and TB
stallions were put in their place to hopefully produce a "more adoptable"
mustang. This did not work very well as the domestic stallions could not
compete with the wild stallions, they just didn't have the survival skills.
On a good note, one Arab stallion did make it long enough to sire two crops
It is true that abuse and ignorance are seen in all breeds, but there are no
requirements for mustang owners to even know which end the food goes in.
Case in point. I spent 2 hours trying to talk a man out of adopting a 10
year old stallion for his two young grandchildren. He thought this stallion
was fantastic as he ran the others in his pen ragged, biting and kicking.
Of course he was a dominant herd stallion who had plenty of scars to show
for his years in that position. This man was sure that this was the horse
for his grandkids to have. He did adopt him. My last words were "get him
gelded on the way home and send him right on to a trainer that knows
mustangs". Well that didn't happen and the stallion was returned to the
program. At between $125 and $350, these animals are looked at by people
who can't or don't want to spend the money on a trained horse. To me that
is wrong. Each adopter needs to go through a pre-adoption class and needs
some guidance after adoption.
Back to the facts. Between the 12 holding facilities undere BLM management,
there is a capacity for holding 7,750 head. As of the end of November 2002,
these holding facilities contained 6,800 head. These mustangs will be held
for a minimum of 60 days before going to adoptions. They are vaccinated,
hooves trimmed, tested for WNV and EIA, wormed and then fed and watered
during 60-90 days. Those of us who own horses can do the math on the cost
(to us, the tax payers). The adoption fee only covers the vet part of this
expense. It may take as much as $600 dollars a horse to just get them ready
for adoption now. In the beginning of the adopt-a-horse program, the
mustangs were rounded up and on their way to adoptions within a week. My old
mustang mare was penned, branded, vetted, trimmed and in my pen in three
days and she came out of Rock Spring WY to Oklahoma. The cost was very
minimal then, so the $75 I paid was covered.
In 2001 the total head count on BLM lands was 46,000-50,000. In 2002 the
count of gathered mustangs is 13,377. The number of adopted mustangs is
7,630. That leaves 5,647 animals in holding pens, waiting. Many of those
will go from holding facility to holding facility for a year or more in
search of homes. The Rock Springs facility has horses that have been there
for 3-5 years waiting for adoption. Usually those animals go to a refuge
for the rest of their lives (which may be another 15-20 years). A wrangler
for the BLM are usually GS-4's or GS-5's and make $20,000 to $23,000 a year.
Out of the 10,000 BLM employees not many of those actually work the Mustang
and Burro Program.
That is where my stand on controlled slaughter comes from. The animals that
can not be adopted out could become as asset by helping pay the costs of
better adopter guidance programs, more birth control or steralization
studies or something. Have the BLM approve the slaughter houses and
slaughter techniques for those excess horses and then make sure that the mon
ey goes back into the program.
The original post on this was about the cattlemen and mustang conflict.
Horses are grazers, cattle are browsers and grazers, deer, elk, antalope,
etc are browsers. Each has a different type of forage and unless
overgrazing or a natural disaster occurs, they usually don't cross. So the
old Bull**** that the mustangs are grazing out the land that the cattlemen
pay for doesn't hold water very well. Cattlemen do pay very little (usually
less than $3.00 a head/year to graze BLM land) but they are a very vocal
group and that gets the attention.
To those that may wonder about my state of mind to even consider slaughter,
I want to say that I have come upon wrecks where there were horses and
people involved and I have always gone to the horses and let someone else
worry about the people. I have one obsession and have had since I was 2
years old. I have spent the money for my family's food on feed for the
horses I own and never thought anything of it. I am one of those that always
know when they have changed horses in a movie, I holler at the riders on TV
to get out of the horses mouth and I know people by the horses they ride and
not usually can't remember that person's name. Lastly, I do not get any
type of payment for the mentor work or any other work I do with mustangs, I
do it out of love for the breed and love for the species.
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