Mustang Adoption - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 37 Old 03-04-2016, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Joel Reiter View Post
Last month a wolf killed a golden retriever in the city of Duluth. The dog's owner has been criticized for allowing the dog off leash. I can't wait to hear what the same people will say when it's somebody's child instead of somebody's dog.
Dog killed by wolf on trail in Duluth | KARE11.com
Dog killed in wolf attack at Brighton Beach | KBJR 6 & Range 11 | KDLH 3: News, Weather, Sports for Duluth MN / Superior WI / Northland | Local News

When I was a kid people would drive hundreds of miles to see a bald eagle. Now I see dozens of them every year. And having lost two of my chickens to them so far, I understand why they nearly became extinct.

A cougar is a fairly humane killer. There is nothing humane about a pack of wolves tearing an animal apart while it helplessly resists. Unfortunately, because of what I believe are misguided policies, some of you will get to see this for yourself.
Correct, concerning wolves versus the effective killing by a cougar.
In fact, there were a bunch of photos, that hubby came across, of a wolf pack , taking down an elk, right on an over pass into Banff National park
I also attended a wild life encounter/management seminar lately, with pictures of newborn calves, brought in, feasted on by coyotes, still alive, with part of their back end eated

This Elk Never Stood A Chance Against A Wolf Pack Near Banff
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post #32 of 37 Old 03-05-2016, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by LoriF View Post
I think the most ethical solution to the over population of wild/feral horses is to leave their natural predators alone and let them do the job. Wolves were hunted until their numbers were so low that they couldn't make a dent in the numbers of horses or deer or anything else. The same for the cougar. Those two predators are mostly hated by cattle and sheep ranchers who would love to see them completely gone along with the horses. Cattle and sheep are imports to this country and are far greater in numbers than wild horses and are pretty destructive to the land. Horses were actually native to the Americas and Canada before many of them migrated over the bearing straight. The rest were wiped out, probably from climate and vegetation changes. They were also hunted here by the native peoples. Fossils have been found to prove this. To me, calling them feral would be like calling tigers feral if they became extinct in India and then replaced there with tigers that were bred by humans.
If you compared the destructiveness of horses to humans, the horses would be out of the competition.
I work with ranchers in most western states, and Missouri. I know of no one that wants all wolves (we've always had them), all mtn lion (they are over populating on the west coast), and all feral horses gone.

Not one.

And to say that it would be better for predators to thin the herds tells me that you have never seen how that happens. They all eat them alive.

The horses are an introduced species just like cattle, sheep, and the Canadian gray wolf.

I also know a couple ranchers that have entered the "Mustang" competitions. They do quite well. It is not all professional trainers.

Pick well, and you have a decent horse.
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post #33 of 37 Old 03-07-2016, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Hey all,
I looked into the feral vs. natural debate. From what I read, it appears the mustangs here in the U.S. are feral. Question though: does it matter? We humans still put them here. Aren't we therefore responsible for what happens to them? I get that they are hard on the land and that they eat all the grass and pound the dirt to dust. The question, however, still remains: do we have an ethical responsibility? And clearly, it is not the horses fault; they are just being horses. My trainer told me that horses are hard on the land and stuff so I totally believe that, she also said that mustangs are a nuisance in a lot of rural communities. I think all the opinions here come from a genuine place and I'm excited to see all of your views here.

Thank you lilredhorse and bsms and others for helping me to understand the financial issues at play here. If it's too risky to take a gamble on a wild horse I can understand that. Horses aren't cheap and neither is boarding, vet bills, etc. It sounds like you need a lot of space, a lot of experience, a lot of time, and a lot of money to successfully turn a mustang into a good trail horse in a financially viable way. It just sounds easier to buy a horse that has been around people.

Thank you Regula for speaking to the moral issues here. I think that once we humans start to domesticate a species, we need to own that. Maybe wild horses are feral, but we're the ones that bred them, created them, and put them where they are! We have a tendency to throw things away in our culture once we are done with them. I don't think anyone is on their “high horse” just taking responsibility for our collective actions. Don't we teach our children to do exactly that?

Dreamcatcher and others make the great point that most people just can't handle these horses. That to me is one of the most depressing aspects of this problem because if we have people that want to help that just make the problem worse... that's really disheartening. I have a hard time just getting my trainer horse to do stuff so I can't even imagine dealing with a wild horse. If it takes a lifetime of being around horses the problem is there just isn't as many people in the horse world as their used to be.

Horsluvr2524 I have seen Unbranded on netflix. Great movie! I was amazed that they made it all the way to Canada; what a truly great adventure! Thanks for pointing that out. I have also seen some mustangs around here but I can only guess that their owners are really good with horses and really put the time in. Another movie about the horse “Cloud” filmed in the HMA in Montana by Ginger Kathrens who watched them for five years is amazing, highly recommend it.

Gottatrot I think you are really onto a workable solution in the first paragraph of your quote. I think you're absolutely right about there needs to be a multi-pronged approach. I live in Washington and I am hoping this summer to go out to Burns and see the holding facilities there. I wrote to the BLM representative in my state to ask why there are no holding pens here but have not received an answer yet.

I'll post an update if I hear from them.

Thanks all for contributing to my post!
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post #34 of 37 Old 03-07-2016, 04:52 AM
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I guess I didn't really say why I thought holding pens are not a better option than adoption, despite the gamble that adoption plays with the horses' future.
I agree with you, flyliberty in that we created the problem so we need to deal with it and not just try to brush it under the rug.

While it may not turn out well for a horse to be adopted, the holding pens did not seem like a good long term solution. The horses I saw in Burns were sorted into groups such as young horses, mares and foals, and horses that appeared to have issues. They were crowded together but most did not seem to be suffering, and they had adequate food and water. Some horses had injuries.

We know mustangs on a large range will self trim their hooves, but once in the holding pens hoof care is necessary. An adopted horse will most likely be trained to have his hooves trimmed, while horses in holding pens have to go into squeeze chutes and be rotated onto their sides for trimming. It would be impossible to give the horses hoof care as often as we give our domestic horses trims. The pens are crowded, and a normal social life is not possible. There is no way to manage horses' weight, and many end up overfed. Many things that create a good life for horses is missing. It is doubtful horses can rest adequately in such a large, unstructured group. It would be difficult psychologically for a horse to figure out a place in such a group.


At the very least, when a mustang is adopted there is a good chance the horse will be somewhere other people will notice and intervene if the owner is not caring for the animal. Even if the horse is never trained, I'd say it has a better chance at getting hoof care and health care than a horse in the holding pens. Even though our domestic horse care situations may sometimes be less than ideal, many of our horses have a good social life, room to move freely without fear of being antagonized by other horses, a chance to eat without being harassed, and some type of nutritional planning even if it is only good hay and pasture. We also provide things like fly control, adequate shelter, dental care, and more that a horse in a holding pen would never receive.
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post #35 of 37 Old 03-07-2016, 10:31 AM
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"From what I read, it appears the mustangs here in the U.S. Are feral. Question though: does it matter? We humans still put them here. Aren't we therefore responsible for what happens to them?"

In the US, almost no animal lives free from human interference. Bighorn sheep used to swap back and forth between the Catalina Mtns north of Tucson and the Tuscon Mtns to the west, but now an interstate and tens of thousands of houses lie between. The bighorn sheep population doesn't have the ability to move between mountain ranges like they used to do - and maybe needed to do in order to survive. Does that mean we have an ethical requirement to maintain them?

Or is "natural selection" always at work, and an ethical part of the total system? We have eradication programs for "invasive species" of plants, but the only thing truly invasive about them is they had some form of human help to get here. Once here, they out competed the "native species", which may have out competed the species found here 200 years ago.

I view mustangs as an invasive species, one that can persist because humans prevent the predators from increasing, or because humans worry about them starving to death. "Natural" would be to ignore them, and whatever gets destroyed as the herds are naturally cut down by disease and starvation and predation (which can mean an animal being eaten alive).

This is real nature:



Pictures show buffalo sent FLYING when elephant digs in his tusks in | Daily Mail Online



Motherly pride: Brave lioness takes on deadly crocodile to allow her cubs to cross a river in safety | Daily Mail Online

When I see a heavy coyote around here, it means he's been able to eat more because of human neighborhoods. The scat I see in the desert indicates many find it hard to fill their bellies. The deer I saw working a deer check station in the deserts of Utah many years ago probably had 1-2% body fat. I remember once looking at a hunter and exploding, "You plan to EAT that?", pointing at a German Shepherd sized deer who should have been shot to put her out of her misery. The guy heemed and hawed, but NO ONE would willing eat a doe that starved! Coyotes would, but coyotes can't buy hamburger...

My ethical obligations don't go as far as many people want them to go. If it doesn't involve my immediate family (and even if it does), my control over what happens or how it came to be is virtually nil. If I have nothing to do with how X came to be, then why do I have a moral obligation to fix X? There are a LOT of ills in the world, and I'm hard pressed to deal with the problems in my own family. I reject the idea that I have a responsibility to fix everyone else's, when I often cannot fix my own!

But if I am responsible, then my solution is to hunt them like any other species we consider invasive or harmful to others. I find holding pens obscene, and am not sure why I need to pay more in taxes to hire a ranch to keep a few hundred or thousand horses.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #36 of 37 Old 03-10-2016, 05:02 PM
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The wild mustangs are an American legend. They are protected by Congress. There is a set number to be maintain on public lands. They try to maintain the numbers by rounding up the mustangs. They never round up enough and can only adopt out a small part of them. The rules do not allow them the let the rounded animals that can be adopted back out. So they are kept and fed. The first problem is stopping the herds from getting any bigger. And in doing that we created another problem. All of the horses in holding pens that are not adoptable. There was talk a couple of years back about putting them all to sleep. Then you have the cost, the time, and what to do with that many dead horses. That is a big hole and a health hazard. While I don't plan on eating any horse meat soon, I see the point that they are animals. We have pigs as pets, but have no problems with bacon on the table. The horses in these pens do not need to live there at tax payer expense until the end of time. Put them on a boat and send them overseas. People in the world need food. After we do away with that problem, then we need to have in place plans to stop it from happening again. Most Americans see horse slaughter as so bad, but have no problem eating pork or beef. If it is done right, many animals are better being put down then to suffer. There is an over population of unwanted horses in the US. Many domestic horses end up at auction and shipped to Mexico for slaughter.
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post #37 of 37 Old 03-10-2016, 05:55 PM
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Flyliberty, I would have no problem shouldering "my" responsibility to the unwanted horses, the mustangs, the whatever, as long as EVERY SINGLE PERSON who wants them spared from slaughter has to shoulder their own. Whenever you get involved with a group that needs rescuing, and then look to people to make room for them you start to get excuses. "OH NO, I can't possibly take a horse, I live in an apartment.", but they don't want to allow any to be slaughtered or sent overseas or ....whatever is practical.

I helped someone disperse a fairly large herd once and at the end he decided to send a few to a "sale". The people who screamed that those horses shouldn't be sent because they would be sent to slaughter shut up and RAN when I said, "Ok, he doesn't really mind if I give them away, in fact he'd prefer good homes. How many would you like and where should I deliver them?". End of story. Every one wants those mustangs to be someone else's problem but won't allow any real solutions.

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