Letters from America...
Wild horses...It's all about greed...by Chris Heyde, National Horse Protection Coalition - Montana Standard, Feb. 22, 2005
"There are so many misstatements in the Sunday article "Saving icons of the West," I don't know where to begin, but that is expected when you only interview the myth spreaders.
It is unfortunate that anyone gives either Merle Edsall or John Falen any serious consideration. Both are known for spinning a wonderful tale and now the wild horse and American taxpayer are caught in the middle of their make believe world.
Too many horses? That is a sad joke that when really examined doesn't hold water. Ranchers aren't having to remove their cattle for any reason, but the horse is facing the brunt of the issue.
The BLM manages over 250 million acres of land and for some reason, a few people are trying to make you believe that 37,000 or so wild horses can't live there while millions of cattle graze away.
Just think about the numbers for a second. Only 3 percent of all beef consumed in the U.S. and sold abroad is raised on public lands. Out of this, millionaires, billionaires and corporations hold most of the grazing permits. Talk about destruction.
Even the federal government disputes the claim that wild horses are a problem, as reported in the 1990 General Accounting Office study entitled "Improvements Needed in Federal Wild Horse Program." The study was a clear and strong declaration redeeming wild horses and can be summed up by this sentence, "... the primary cause of the degradation in rangeland resources is poorly managed domestic (primarily cattle and sheep) livestock." The real problem is greed. Mr. Falen wants all of the land and all of the federal taxpayer subsidy for himself while Mr. Edsall wants to make a profit off of our national treasures. Neither cares about horses or the condition of the range.
As for Sen. Conrad Burns? Who knows. He claims it is about saving money, but then he ignores the real waste of taxpayer dollars doled out each year under the federal grazing program.
A program that wastes $300-$500 million of our hard earned taxpayer dollars each year. Even the Missoulian newspaper noted, "The state made famous for its wanton slaughter of Yellowstone National Park's bison as they struggle to reach winter range now has a senator who wants to feed enduring symbols of the Wild West to Frenchmen." Horses, unlike cattle, aren't sedentary animals. Hence the name of the bill Sen. Burns quietly gutted behind closed doors — Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros act of 1971. Why didn't he do this in the public eye? Because he knew he would fail if the facts were presented.
It is about time every taxpaying American citizen took notice at how a few greedy individuals are destroying public lands, eliminating wild horses which are a natural treasure and defrauding everyone for millions of dollars a year. This is the real problem and we shouldn't be distracted by a few out to profit."
Chris Heyde, Executive Director National Horse Protection Coalition P.O. Box 1252, Alexandria, Va.