Monday, August 2, 2010

out of the wild

So have being doing lots more thinking...and researching about wild horses.(because this is my fourth day stuck inside due to weather, i have ran out of things to occupy myself) Why cant we leave them running wild? Is it kinder to cull or adopt out mustered horse? What is the success rate and the failure rate with adoption? what are the problems with culling?

In New Zealand at least, there was a great need to reduce the number of horses running wild in their home range. They were causing huge damage to a unique and delicate ecosystem, through grazing and trampling. New Zealand was a land that had no native land mammals to provide competition for resources, and no large natural predators to weed out sick weak or old individuals. they bred unchecked, there were huge numbers of horses and because of this they were not in good condition, yet weak and less sturdy ones would continue to live in poor condition, because they were not picked off by predators. The early horses mustered were in very bad shape. Since herd numbers have been reduced, the wild horses still living there have been in better condition and the number of births have actually increased. So for the good of the environment, and the animals own welfare wild horse populations usually need to be kept in check.

So if horses have to be removed from the wild, should they go to slaughter or be put up for adoption? New Zealand does both. The ones that the respective wild horse societies feel can be homed are allowed to be adopted, the rest are slaughtered. As long as killing is done humanely and quickly, i don't have a problem with it. Ideally it would be fantastic if they could all be re homed but this is not reality. There are not enough people willing to take them on, lets face they are not for the average person. Some mustered will be old or sick, or inferior quality animals due to inbreeding.who wants to take on a 20yr old stallion that run wild all its days?? It is hard enough to find homes for young and promising horses. Why waste a potential home on a horse with very limited future.A quick human death for these horses,is more ethical than having them slowly starve or end up severely neglected because people have taken them and then realised they cant handle them and have lost interest.

Too many times, the media in the past, has reported mustered horses starving to death in holding yards. The Australian government tried controlling brumby numbers by shooting horses from helicopters. Some didn't die instantly, some mares were shot, there foals left to starve to death, as they stayed with their dead mothers bodies. I have read a couple of things about mustangs in America, dying of exhaustion and dehydration while being mustered in summer. Then horses left in pens for months, or facing extremely long journeys to slaughter houses in Mexico and Canada. this is definitely animal abuse to me. Not because they are killed, but because they are in a state of extended misery waiting to be killed. Surely its is better for a sensible animal welfare organisation to take over the muster, quickly sort which horses have potential for adoption, and which ones need to have the unpleasant decision of being killed humanly and as quickly as possible.

As far as i can tell this is exactly what happen in NZ and it seems to be working very successfully. Pat on the back for all those involved in this process. I know i had my two horses at my property (half way up the country) within a few days of being caught from the wild. The organisation looking after the adopting of the horses, has checked upon them again too. So again good work on making sure people are'nt going on to neglect or abuse horses. As i realise this can easily happen either through cruelty, but I'm guessing more through ignorance and people realising they don't have a clue what to do next with their wild horses. There is no gentle way to capture large number of horses from the wild, sort, load and distribute across a country. but the quicker the process, the easier for the horse.

i know there are a lot of website, groups etc out there who are so violently against slaughtering a single horse (some seem to be against adopting horses out as well). They constantly rally for support to have new sanctuaries for the horses....then what? You move Small herds of horses into a new and smaller area to roam....OK so then they go on to breed and soon outgrow these new sanctuaries......when does it stop. That is not a sustainable solution either....I know they love the animals, but some hard decisions need to be made ..maybe better to preserve a smaller number in the wild and find homes for the excess?? This would at least help the animals in the wild remain healthy and happy, preserve there welfare and the breed....? Some of these people come across like crazed nut jobs, who scream blue murder at anyone who dares to oppose them. Not my cup of tea, because they brand all of us who also want to help save wild horses, to look like crazy hippy wing nuts as well! Yes, I'm sure there are some evil western cattle ranchers, who are trying to kill every wild horse on their land...but there needs to be a middle ground...

Any how, i think you can train any horse to do anything, if you know what your doing. So why not save a wild horse that's destined only for slaughter?