I got this letter from them this morning. It only exemplifies that kind of damage through slow death and starvation caused my no reasonable places for unwanted horses to go. I thought it deserved to be read by all, but especially those who actively support a continued domestic slaughter ban.
| Support For Yakama Nation's Efforts |
The problem of feral horse management isn't a new one, nor is it isolated, but nowhere is it more pronounced than on the Yakama Nation in Washington. Established in 1855, the reservation has always been home to historically revered horses. However, the uncontrollable, ever-growing population has resulted in nothing less than an ethical and ecological crisis.
The horses are owned by the tribe, and as such, the tribe must deal with them without the multi-million dollar budget enjoyed by the Bureau of Land Management for mustang management. Various population control efforts have been attempted over the years, but have been greatly limited by the lack of funding. Complicating the problem is the fact that the market for such horses is largely nonexistent. Inbreeding is rampant, and the smaller-framed horses are less desirable even as meat animals.
With no natural predators, horses reproduce prolifically. Thus, the Yakama horse population has burgeoned to an estimated 18,000-more than 10 times the number that the 410,000 acres can sustain-resulting in the utter decimation of habitat for horses and native wildlife alike. Once plentiful populations of deer and elk central to tribal traditions have all but disappeared, and the tribe's hopes to reintroduce pronghorn antelope, big horn sheep, and sage grouse have been destroyed.
Quite literally eating themselves out of house and home, the horses are suffering immensely from the cumulative effects of overbreeding and overgrazing, and the result is a terrible sight. Seeking relief for land and animals alike, the Yakamas are working to round up and sell the excess horses to processing plants in Canada, which have begun to accept more lighter-weight animals. Even as removal efforts continue, horses removed only number in the hundreds, leaving thousands facing the certain anguish that comes with starvation.
Ironically, horse "advocacy" groups decry the practice and lambast the Yakama for their conservation efforts, preferring instead prolonged and agonizing deaths for the horses they profess to love.
This is why the United Horsemen and our good folks need to stay vigilant in our support to do the right thing for the welfare of ALL horses.