Perhaps nothing symbolizes the spirit and dignity of America as much as the mustang. Their power echoes the strength of our mountains and cities. Their free-roaming spirit embodies the work ethic and adventurous nature of the American people.
In 1971, Congress declared wild mustangs as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, which continue to contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.”
Unfortunately, today, nearly 34,000 mustangs reside in holding facilities, unable to roam freely. They live in cramped, over-grazed pens, awaiting adoption. Sadly, it is hard to find homes for them all. With older horses that have been unsuccessful at being adopted, the government is considering selling them to slaughter.
Despite the fact that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who oversees the mustang population, has already overcrowded pens, they are considering rounding up another roughly 800 mustangs. They want to remove the horses from their natural range to create more space for cattle to graze. Cattle ranchers say the mustangs deplete the land of available forage. However, due to their grazing styles and differing digestive systems, cattle and horses consume different forages, enabling them to coexist on the same range.
Ecosystems are resilient in their ability to withstand environmental stress by having a complex and varying amount of species. A broad and diverse base of organisms allows for adaptation to changes in the natural environment. Such an ecosystem has rich, healthy soil, reduces water loss, and houses a variety of animal and plant species.
An overly simplified ecosystem, where the number of different species has been reduced, is ill-adapted to handle stresses, and loses its resources to erosion and runoff. Removing mustangs from their natural range is one step closer to degrading their habitat, making it that much more unfit for use and preservation.
With proper management, we can provide for the needs of the cattle ranchers, and keep the mustangs, these beautiful living symbols where they belong, roaming free on the open range.
Tell the BLM to halt roundups, and find more practical, sustainable solutions by going to http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6931/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12072.
For more information, please go to www.savingsamericasmustangs.org.
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