America’s Wild Horses Are Under Threat | NBC Left Field
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America’s Wild Horses Are Under Threat | NBC Left Field

August 20, 2019

There’s been a stand-off
over the number of wild horses in the America’s West for
almost half a century.
[SOUND] There’s been a stand-off
over the number of wild horses in the America’s West for
almost half a century. Today, we’ve reached the tipping point and
even the White House is weighing in. The future of the country’s wild horses,
depends upon what’s decided now. A federal law protects tens of thousands
of them roaming millions of acres of public land. But there are more horses out here
than there have been in decades and no one knows what to do.>>The animals get along. It’s the people that don’t get along.>>So horse advocates wanna protect them. Ranchers, who often need to use
the land too, wanna see fewer of them. And the White House wants to make
selling them for slaughter legal again.>>A little bit out of balance.>>Like a lot happening in America today,
striking that balance can feel elusive. But how does all of this play out for
the folks who are actually waiting for a solution? Well, let’s start here. Just north of Denver, Colorado,
we’ll go east and then north past a tiny community called Maybell,
to one place where the wild horses are. And Stella Trueblood and Connie Wagner,
two horse advocates who believe they have a solution to this overpopulation,
are gonna take us.>>Horses to the right. So what we’re trying to do
is treat as many mares and fillies as possible with
the drug called PZP, which is Porcine zona pellucida,
I think is the correct name for it. But basically, it’s fertility treatment that blocks
the mares from getting pregnant. It is made out of pig ovaries. They use slaughterhouse pigs.>>Is that one right up there?>>It would be ideal if the horses didn’t
have to compete with sheep for grazing.>>The sand washed basin just outside
of Maybell is one of 177 areas across the west where horses
are federally protected to live. The BLM or Bureau of Land Management
is the government agency in charge of both protecting these horses,
and managing this land. And it says the land can handle
no more than 362 horses. But over 600 are out here and
that’s where Stella comes in.>>They’re looking at us, of course, so I want to get to within about
40 yards if they will let me. So I’ll be shooting, hopefully,
the brown mare in her left rump. That was kind of a non-event. Well, this is what it looks
like when it’s injected.>>Does it hurt them?>>It does, I’m sure it does. Removal from the range. What’s a little jab in
the butt is what I say.>>Left hip, it was a mare brownie.>>An initial primary dose.>>Note, a PZP shot lasts for
just a year and Stella and Connie don’t get paid to do this annually.>>It’s a huge workload, so
we really rely on that volunteer workload.>>This is David Boyd from the BLM,
the government agency.>>There’s not really an easy solution. I mean, if there was,
we would be doing it. There’s not an effective predator
in North America of wild horses. It’s basic biology that populations
grow exponentially until something checks that growth. I mean, we really are at a critical point.>>Wait,
why exactly are we at this critical point? Well, like a lot of things,
this issue comes down to money. imagine you’re a wild horse, federally
protected on your own designated land, the government says there
are way too many of you, so periodically through controversial
means it comes along and funnels groups of you
into holding facilities. But these holding facilities are packed. And last year, 63% of the BLM’s
budget went just to feeding and keeping these horses in holding. Meanwhile, out on range, horse populations
about double every four years. And so, here we are the government says
the land can sustain about 27,000 horses, but today there’s 73,000 out here. Now, birth control is one possible
solution but that barely gets any money. Another solution comes
from the White House. The proposal for next year’s budget
would authorize that the quote excess horses be sold for
slaughter to help cut costs. That’s largely been prohibited
from almost 50 years. But this possible solution is something
the ranchers had been wanting for a long time.>>I don’t think they need to be all
gone but they do need to be called out just like we do our cattle, or-
>>Here’s Dawn Nottingham, a fourth-generation rancher.>>Organic eggs. That’s what we eat here.>>All right.>>Hi.
>>Hey.>>Another day at work.>>I think we’re considered the stewards
of the land, and that’s what we wanna be. We preserve every drop of water we can,
we save every spear of grass we can, and try to save it from
getting overgrazed.>>My uncle, my neighbor, that has
permits out there, they can’t even go out there with their livestock,
because there’s too many horses out there.>>This is my son, I’ve had him about
32 years here pretty quick [LAUGH] so, he is so he will sell cattle
to the cattle market for beef.>>The horse market,
there’s need to come back.>>And that would eliminate a lot
of this over population of horses.>>But
while the wild’s horses are endangered, the people who are fighting
against them are endangered, too. And horses are just part of that picture.>>Emmett’s been within
ranch work all his life, and he has to go to a side
job to keep his family going. And then come and
help me keep my part going too. It’s about the way it goes.>>I like driving a truck.
I like doing other jobs. But the truth is I’d rather
be back at the ranch. That’s my cup of tea. And the way it’s looking,
it’s getting harder and harder for younger ranchers and
farmers to do that.>>Now like the grandson,
we hope it will keep him involved [LAUGH].>>When I grow up I want to be a musicer,
a doctor, and a firefighter.>>My gosh, what about a rancher?>>I don’t know.>>It’s a way of life. And we seem to keep taking on and
the way things are set up right now, it’s like we’re pitted against each other.>>Lynn McCormick, a horse advocate,
has her own idea for a solution. Diverting more money to manage the horses
on the range instead of taking them off. And talk about small town living. She lives on the old property of Don, that
rancher, just a few miles from the basin.>>Horse slaughter is,
I guess, the easy way out. But I think horse slaughter
sets a bad precedent for future management of the wild horses.>>I’ll start to point out and say, this
is a domestic horse, this is a mustang, how’s that?>>They’ve brought cultures about,
they escorted us into the industrial era.>>This is a domestic horse.>>Nature put them here not for
just our own benefit.>>This is our Mustang Gracie.>>There is a huge political component, but the only way you’re gonna change that
is to start at the grassroots level. It’s important for
us to come together as neighbors. Nobody can deny the numbers.>>We’ve gotta figure something out. We’ve got this little window of time.>>This little window of time’s closing. And if this new proposal from
the White House goes through, in 2018 horse advocates will face
a whole new set of challenges. Could reopening a horse
market help ranchers? Could more PZP funding save the horses? Can both sides come together somehow and
find that balance?

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  1. I very much dislike horses but then again my family works for the BLM. It is kinda funny seeing this from NBC.

  2. So when people mess with our wildlife and they stop seeing them they start crying that their getting extinct, it's a simple fix, just leave them alone, it's not hard

  3. The only difference between an American horse and an American citizen is the iq. the horse is an elegant and intelligent animal feeding of grass or fruits whilst the typical American feeds of cheese burgers at Mac domalds and has an average iq of 75.

  4. The horses aren't native to the land and struggled to survive here anyway, but the BLM has always been the horses worst enemy. They need to leave things alone and let nature take care of the horse population. The last thing they need is more money.

  5. Such crap, the wild horses are way above carrying capacity. Horse advocates want to protect them but not with science.
    We are one of the few countries that don't appreciate the value of protein.

  6. horses are just cows with faster running legs. so why are horses raised to a higher regard than cows.both living , grazing , animals. On the other hand horse hippies will say horses are smarter than cows. but pigs are one of the most slaughtered animal commercially and surpasses the intelligence of a horse , cow,and dog. with the the intellect of a 3 year old human this animal has hardly anyone defending them.either you care about all intellectual animals or your a wishy washy animal lover who only cares for animals that don't taste good . this is a petty argument to be made.

  7. why can't they move some of the horses to another area like the grand canyon or somewhere there is a big plot of land and people who love horses, if they start to slater horses it will only anger more people.

  8. They are not even Native animals they are an invasive species, there is no nature balance for them because they were not part of the life chain here. There is no predator that keeps there numbers in balance, why. The horses that we call wild are the left over heard and releases from the old ranches that use to turn there mares out and gather them once a year to get the 2 and 3 year old's for saddle and work horses and ones that got away from settlers. Yes they are great to see but a solution needs to be came up with that truly manages them, this gathering and punting up for adaption is not working people want papered horse's not wild so they sit in holding corals and live a said life. There are thousands in there and they are not adopted so all the people who keep saying poor horses if you don't want to see them go up for slaughter find homes for them. It coast the BLM a lot of money to feed and provided care and housing for the horses. I do like them I go ridding out through the heard here in Modoc county all the time but a better management and solution does need to be made up. The horses are the number one destroyers of watering holes not cows!! They do during droughts put a strain on native species. I know hearing letting them go for slaughter is hard or allowing France to buy them for food is hard but once we get the majority of the none adoptable ones dealt with and the numbers brought down then we can use contraceptives to help keep and manage the wild one and keep a lot less in holding corrals. To get it brought back under control and in manageable range management numbers hard dissensions have to be made if you don't want them to go to slaughter then homes need to be found fast for them.

  9. That is NOT AN OPTION!! Horses have a right to live. The sheep should live on private farms that are owned by the farmers! Don't suffer the horses to provide for the farmers!

  10. No other farmers use "public land!" Buy your own land and grow your herds! Farmers have no right to take horses lands!

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  12. Colorado has already disseminated their wild horse areas to a token few areas such as what was highlighted in this story. Only 2.7% of all American ranchers have Federal land permits and even smaller fraction of that number on wild horse dedicated areas. The ranchers in this story struggling to get by are not the typical ranchers on Horse areas. Eg. Three horse areas in Oregon (1.7 million acres) have one permittee that has 97% of the allocation of forage to 3 % for the horses. Same in WY three horse areas with 1.4 million acres and the so called rancher who with their billions of dollars got a consent decree from the local court (judge is a ranchers wife) to completely have the horses in their area Zeroed out within 10 years or by 2024. Remember Wild Horses were given this land by law and for their "principal use". The story is more than what they say. The stories facts have been shown to be inconsistent and exaggerated. The livestock minded, (all animals are for $$) are salivating at the Stewarts amendment to release our wild horses for sale emass. They are rounding them up in record numbers even when they say they have to many in holding with the lie of overpopulation. This Excess song was written and directed by the billion dollar meat industry and they are afraid of the truth.

  13. Get horses and send them to different places there are people who want horses and would look after him I was crying and if something doesn't happen they will be killed

  14. shooting birth control in them won't help. there's thousands of them and a few shooters. you'll never get enough to stop population increase.

  15. Reintroduce wolves to the area easy. Hunting a symbol of the American West just doesn't sit well with most Americans but killing all the wolves to protect the cows just wasn't a great idea in the long run.

  16. LIES there are fewer now… this is BLM lies we are losing them don;t believe their bs… They are trying to completely eradicate them.

  17. Why not geld stallions? With gelding it may change the way stallions treat them and allow them in herds as protectors of the mares since they aren't a threat to stealing them. Gelding if a lifetime thing. If there are more geldings less reproducing of foals will happen because there will be less stallions in need to expand their herds. Mares can also be spayed. They can be held in a pen until healed and then released into the wild again. The BLM could also purchase a large amount of land. Geldings the stallions, and/or spaying the mares so there is no more reproduction and they can live their life out happily. The payment would only be to make sure the grass is still available. Natural water streams should be available on a large enough amount of land.

  18. Why are you trying to stop the population of wild horses? And when the times come when there are fewer horses you will again trying to raise the number. Im getting confused.

  19. Horses are beautiful animals and to watch them run it makes you feel free. But that is a lot of horses. And I don't think giving mares birth control will do much. But what will work is to castrate the stallions and the colts. It will take a lot of people to pull this off but should see it working in a year

  20. These horses were here long before these farmers and sheep! Go buy your own land and graze YOUR ANIMALS on YOUR OWN LAND! The farmers in others parts of the US don’t bully their way onto BLM LANDS. How dare your come onto lands where these horses have been centuries and say, “There’s too many anything! I don’t come onto your property and say, “Well, there’s too many people on this property so we are going to slater 50% of them so we can have their portion!” Do you see how crazy this mind set has become?!!!

  21. Why not capture stallions and geld them? In the long run it will save thousands of dollars, is a life long fix and it will help thin the herds.

  22. If slaughter becomes legal humans with take it to far and make them pretty close to extinction like many other species we’ve made extinct

  23. You guys are so STUPID!! All you need to do is remove the stallions or neuter them and leave the mares.. When you need the numbers to grow again you put a stallion back with the mares to breed. Stop allowing ranchers to be so greedy, the horses were there first and helped to build America.

  24. These horse advocates have to put their personal feelings of attachment to these animals aside in order to come up with reasonable solutions. Horses are animals no different than pigs, cows, antelope, and deer. If the population of horses gets too out of wack they will destroy their ecosystem and once that happens, a reckoning will come for all life in that ecosystem (including horses) far worse than the sanctioned slaughter of a couple thousand horses a year in a designated hunting season. But these wackos want the government to get involved and get these horses on birth control? Unpractical insanity, and with whose money? The solution to this is not difficult, its remarkably easy. Horses need a hunting season and a market for their meat, problem over.

  25. Wow he government waste soooooooooo much money but cqnt,pay people the care do our wild horses!!!! The horses that made this country !!!!!!

  26. That is not right imagine of u were a wild horse u want to be free and Rome the land and just because there's a lot of horses then deal with is god made horses for a reason!!??

  27. I want to say one thing. We introduced horses into America where they have no natural predators = over population which destroys the land and starves the animals. Same thing happened in Yellowstone when wolves were taken out. So it is our responsibility to correct this. Either by finding a better solution to reduce reproduction or by culling and humane euthanasia. (Horses in holding are often beaten up by each other and do not get adequate food)

  28. so the govt says we have too many horses and not enough land but we can't get more landed and we can't get rid of the horses so…we're just gonna stay upset about it and use it for political fights i guess

  29. The NAS study found no evidence of an over-population. 70% of the herds are not even genetically viable. There used to be 2 million wild horses running free but now there are millions of cattle and sheep on our public lands. The BLM over-estimates the population. They do not double in their numbers every 4 years. 50% of the foals die before their first year and many adults also die. The BLM does not take that into account. Millions  of cattle cause the destruction of the range and water. Ranchers are being subsidized by our tax dollars and this is not fair to farmers who raise most of the cattle.

  30. Unfortunately, this video is full of disinformation. It's mostly a recitation of BLM's lies. Among those lies: BLM declares that wild-horse herds increase by 20% a year. But that's not true. Independent research shows that 20% is anywhere from 2 to 10 times higher than the normal growth rate. In actual practice, BLM reports even higher growth rates. In the 2019 data, for instance, BLM reported that Nevada's Blue Wing herd increased 753% just in the past year. That's biologically impossible, and it's not the only such phony figure. It is wrong to inject wild horses with the PZP pesticide because the alleged reason for doing so — overpopulation — is a fraud. An excess of wild horses is found only on BLM's exploding spreadsheets. Truth be told, most herds are culled down to the point that they are genetically nonviable. It is a disgrace that some misguided advocates and cash-hungry nonprofits have joined forces with the very parties that want our wild horses gone. Finally, I note that the well-meaning but improperly-trained women shooting the mares with the pesticide failed to wear protective gloves, which the EPA safety-warnings require when handling PZP.

  31. Hey, thats what's happening, The PZP that the BLM is shooting these horses with is gonna effect woman in Canada and Mexico. These countries are gonna find out that none of their women are gonna be able to have babies and the reason why is because the women in Mexico and Canada ate horse meat, that's sad, its population control, OMG, I pray that Canadians and Mexican understand this, and I'm no sciencist, but, PZP have not been studied enough. Wow, that's amazing, or the babies that are born will have disabilities and deformities.

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