Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wild horses

Wild-horse advocates criticized federal land managers after the number of mustang deaths so far in a government roundup on the range north of Reno nearly tripled from a week ago, going from nine to 26.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Friday reported four more deaths stemming from its roundup in the Calico Mountain Complex. Agency spokeswoman JoLynn Worley said three horses have died at the roundup site and 23 have died at a Fallon holding facility where the horses have been taken since the two-month roundup began Dec. 28.

Another 25 horses are recovering at the facility 60 miles east of Reno after being treated for various injuries and health issues, she said. Activists said the BLM's roundup methods are "brutal" and violate the intent of a 1971 law Congress enacted to protect the horses.

"America's wild horses are protected by federal law as important parts of our national heritage, but they are being brutalized and destroyed by the BLM's policy of massive roundups," said William Spriggs, an attorney who represents California-based In Defense of Animals in a lawsuit against the Interior Department over the roundup.

Horses are not native to North America. Many "wild horses" were actually released by horse owners who could no longer care for them. They are an invasive species that destroys and displaces native flora and fauna, including other large endangered native mammals. They are no different than the stray cats in your neighborhood, except they do more damage to protected national land preserves than just ripping open your garbage bags.

But, never argue the facts with a California based, celebrity funded animal rights group.

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