One article states that there are 28,000 and another says 30,000 and they want to cut it to 27,000. There is also about that many in federal holding pens costing us 20+ MILLION a year. Every four years the population will double if not held in check.
No other animal in North America is afforded the same opportunity as the wild horse. Deer & Elk co-habitat with cattle but they have a yearly hunting season that not only eliminates overpopulation but contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars to that states economy. Don't get riled up I'm not suggesting a season on the wild horse but the solution is going to have to be outside the box.
Gelding is not the answer as it does not do anything to curb the numbers, as you could not geld all the stallions. The cost would be rather astronomical as well. Even if you got a vet school involved the cost of rounding up, darting is going to be high.
I know at one time they were talking about having sharp shooters come out to thin the herd as very few people want to adopt a mustang anymore. I "think" the cost to adopt is around $200. For that I could go to the sale barn and almost have my pick of halter broke, quiet, papered QH colts. It's a sign of the times.
Government mismanages everything, way to many "engineers" and not enough "workers" so accusations of mismanagement is not a shocker.
Right now there is no real incentive to adopt a mustang, the resell market sucks on them, hay and grain is high and the market for papered horses is at one of it's lowest points in a long time. One needs to figure out a way to make buying a mustang desirable again.
I did love the article on when they used mustangs in a "extreme horse makeover". Top sale horse went for $50,000 with the average being $3,000.
I have never been opposed to slaughter. I think it's a nessary part of life. I don't nessasarily LIKE it... but I do think of it as a "nessasary evil". what' i've ALWAYS preached is far more regulations on slaughter houses. On the care of the animals during purchase, shipping, right up till they are euthanized. Heavy fines and penalties need to be imposed on those breaking rules and CLEAN things up. That is all i've always felt was needed not this drastic "lets just close them down". someone was pretty foolish in their thinking. I think it should be withheld with ALL livestock and slaughter..not just horses. cruelty is cruelty and just because we have horses as pets doesn't make them any more or less prone to pain than say a cow, pig, sheep, chicken ect!
It was not hard to see the writing on the wall when it was announced this ban on slaughter would go into effect. I have noticed a bit of a swing in the "horse populations" view's on slaughter though. Seems like more and more people are feeling it was a nessasary evil and something needs to be done. Even if the economy was in a GOOD state, where are these thousands and thousands of animals going to go?? every horse lover in the US took two we probably couldn't come anywhere close to homing them all! It was bound to have a back lash of MANY horses suffering from starvation and neglect. As another person mentioned this was a VERY VERY short sighted law. there was no indepth study or plan of action to help counteract the thousands of displaced horses. I personally feel if nothing else the government should be supplying euthanazia subsidies for all these animals to help eliminate and dispose of these mass numbers of animals at least until the numbers are under control. I still see no end in sight for this... as far as i've seen NOTHING has been done to counteract this backlash by the government or anyone else....although things are looking bad to those of us in the industry they haven't gotten bad enough to draw that much attention to the general population. not many options now. It will be interesting (and extremely sad) to watch what happens over the next several years.
I DO believe the government will need to crack down and make some provisions in SOME way (the only way i can truly see is re-opening slaughter houses or offering some sort of rendering plant) because it's going to get very very bad before it gets better at this rate!