I'm not in any way a rancher. I had a college room mate who tried to build a ranch, starting with some land he inherited from his grandfather and IIRC maybe 60 sheep. No one in his family had EVER tried to raise sheep. He's the only friend from college I've stayed in regular contact with for 40 years. Some of the old guys in the church I go to did some ranching. I studied biology in college, worked a little for the USFS and Utah's Division of Wildlife and seriously considered getting a masters in range management.
Ranchers aren't totally pure, noble people. Some ranchers are jerks. When I worked for the USFS, the district had a guy running 200% of his allotment & got a court order to seize his cattle - which they did without violence, and it was needed. But most ranchers are pretty law abiding. Cut corners sometimes as most of us do. Don't ask me what speed I drive on an empty road! But most live in open spaces because they LOVE those open spaces and cannot imagine living in a city.
There is a huge disconnect between what is fed to people thru the media and Internet and reality. There is talk now about Google and others trying to remove 'fake news' (political) from the Internet. I think the Internet's value depends on unrestricted information! It is OUR responsibility to seek out multiple sides and evaluate. When I was young, one had a couple of TV stations & the local newspaper for information. A huge part of it was...well, if not fake, certainly inaccurate! And sometimes deliberate lies. During my time overseas, I saw new reports in places like the NY Times that could only be described as deliberately wrong - and I was in a place to see what really happened, and knew the reporters had access to the real story. I do NOT want some software engineer in California trying to block me from reading sources based on the engineer's idea of truth, particularly since the engineer may be heavily biased.
I'm certainly not perfect at forming opinions either. I used to say I'd be very happy if I hit 50%. But many issues have 3 or 4 or 5 sides, and the older I get, the lower percentage of clear thinking I'll accept. I tend to think 25% right may be a challenging goal!
What bothers me is the unquestioned acceptance of obvious cartoon propaganda. To use an example from horses, there are people pushing the idea that any riding is harmful to horses, or that a rider's weight causes serious harm if it exceeds 10, 15, or 20% of the horse's weight. I don't think it is too much to ask for people to notice how many horses have been ridden at higher weights and remained healthy for long lives, or lower weights and harmed, and conclude the issue is more complex than % of horse weight! How can anyone claim 15% is a valid limit? There are vets
now who argue 15% is the maximum - so don't they ever open their eyes and see people successful at having healthy and happy horses well above that?
When it comes to mustangs, if truth be told, I'd rather see antelope or deer or elk roaming the land. I love watching horses in pastures. I like deer and antelope in the wild.
"In Australia, we have no such niche, and the native herbivores are small (generally way under 100kg) and have softly padded feet - as was necessary for living in the Australian environment without causing unsustainable damage. The biota evolved to fit the place. People forget this. You can take beautiful photos of brumbies, and of course I love horses and they are majestic and wonderful and all that. But this is not a good argument for their continued destruction of the fragile environment here." - @SueC
Exactly. There is a time and place, but I'm not convinced the new west is the time and place for wild horses roaming freely. The big herds of wild horses in the old west roamed the plains, not Nevada. And the mustangs are in issue in the Intermountain West, not California or Texas. With open range as restricted in size and travel even as much as it is in Arizona or Utah, I'm just not convinced mustangs have a viable
home. Keeping some on the range isn't too harmful, but it seems obvious that management is needed. The artificial, human-dominated world - and MY house affects wildlife, so I'm a part of it - is an artificial constraint on an ecosystem. It can be done but only with active management.
Off of my soapbox for today. It is still very windy, but warmer. Hope to get a ride in on Bandit. He needs to get out. Have all three horses back in one corral. We're supposed to have a week without rain and Cowboy is simply healthier when he is with the other horses. We need to redo our shelters!