Don’t Slaughter America’s Wild Horses: Let Them Help Improve Land Instead
Holter was reacting to the recent media coverage of the wild horse-slaughtering controversy. At least one newspaper article (USA TODAY,
“Since drought is a problem now,” Holter notes, “there is an alternative that the BLM may not have considered: grazing the horses under controlled conditions to help improve the land’s resilience when drought strikes.“
“Over more than two decades, we have accumulated considerable evidence that managed grazing produces dramatic results on the land,” Holter says. “When animals move around, their hooves work the soil and their urine and dung are quickly absorbed. When you increase the soil’s organic matter, it gets fertilized, plants grow, the soil becomes healthier, and is resilient in all types of weather – even during drought.”
According to Holter, if the BLM were willing to invest some resources to let wild horses graze on the land under controlled conditions, we would discover that – in addition to a dramatic improvement in habitat health –
- The horses and other wildlife could live solely on the plants that grow there. The BLM won’t have to spend so much money (
$21 millionin 2007) feeding the horses, “which means that we wouldn’t have to slaughter them.”
- The plant roots will absorb carbon that might otherwise go into the atmosphere, which helps combat global warming.
- The areas that are receiving less rainfall will be able to make better use of that rainfall.
- And wildlife will be able to rely on replenished rivers, streams and ponds for their watering needs.
“Wild horses can provide a real cost effective and productive solution to drought,” Holter says. “I urge the BLM to consider using them.”
SOURCE Holistic Management International