Don’t Slaughter America’s Wild Horses: Let Them Help Improve Land Instead

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –“We don’t have to slaughter America’s wild horses because their herds are supposedly too large; horses can actually help us improve lands that are suffering from drought,” says Peter Holter, CEO and Executive Director of the international environmental non-profit Holistic Management International (HMI, His organization works on four continents with stewards of large land holdings to restore damaged lands to health, productivity and profitability.

Holter was reacting to the recent media coverage of the wild horse-slaughtering controversy. At least one newspaper article (USA TODAY, November 18) quoted the Bureau of Land Management’s Celia Boddington as saying that with current drought conditions, the BLM cannot allow the horse herds to grow unchecked because, “That would be an environmental disaster.”

“Since drought is a problem now,” Holter notes, “there is an alternative that the BLM may not have considered: grazing the horses under controlled conditions to help improve the land’s resilience when drought strikes.”

“Over more than two decades, we have accumulated considerable evidence that managed grazing produces dramatic results on the land,” Holter says. “When animals move around, their hooves work the soil and their urine and dung are quickly absorbed. When you increase the soil’s organic matter, it gets fertilized, plants grow, the soil becomes healthier, and is resilient in all types of weather – even during drought.”

According to Holter, if the BLM were willing to invest some resources to let wild horses graze on the land under controlled conditions, we would discover that – in addition to a dramatic improvement in habitat health –

  • The horses and other wildlife could live solely on the plants that grow there. The BLM won’t have to spend so much money ($21 million in 2007) feeding the horses, “which means that we wouldn’t have to slaughter them.”
  • The plant roots will absorb carbon that might otherwise go into the atmosphere, which helps combat global warming.
  • The areas that are receiving less rainfall will be able to make better use of that rainfall.
  • And wildlife will be able to rely on replenished rivers, streams and ponds for their watering needs.

“Wild horses can provide a real cost effective and productive solution to drought,” Holter says. “I urge the BLM to consider using them.”

CONTACT: Peter Holter, HMI, 505-842-5252



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