This new article in the Wall Street Journal by Stephanie Simon has gotten many people talking about wild horse issues, including the issue of whether or not wild horses are “feral” and deserving to be eradicated from our public lands, or a returned native species. Ross MacPhee, Ph.D. from the American Museum of National History has been kind enough to allow me to reprint his response to Ms. Simon, and it is the best explanation I have heard regarding the wild horse’s evolution.
“Mustang Plan Riles the West”
BY STEPHANIE SIMON
Federal wildlife managers are fighting in court to take the unprecedented step of castrating 200 wild stallions in Nevada, in an effort to control surging populations of wild horses across the West.
Animal-rights activists oppose the plan, which they contend would strip the wild stallions of their fighting spirit and change herd dynamics. A coalition of horse advocates last month filed suit to block the U.S. Bureau of Land Management from castrating the stallions, also known as gelding. In response, the agency agreed to postpone the castration until a federal court in Washington, D.C., can hear arguments later this year.
Wild horses are not native to America; they are descended from domesticated horses brought over by early European explorers. Still, federal law protects mustangs as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”
Here is the response:
Dear Ms. Simon,
Ross MacPhee, PhD