This article from Pro Publica is one of the most depressing things I’ve read in a long time. It exposes precisely what wild horse advocates have been saying for years: the current round up system is overloaded and broken, and thousands of wild horses are simply being taken from the wild with no clear end goal in sight.
It’s bad enough that there are now more mustangs in holding pens than in the wild, but this article offers incotrovertible proof that the BLM is turning a deliberate blind eye to at least one man who is buying horses wholesale and selling them to slaughter.
Here’s the thing: I have no fundamental problem with horse slaughter as a concept. They are livestock animals that are difficult and expensive to keep, and ending their lives in a quick manner is far kinder than letting them waste away in pain for years. However, the way slaughter is often done – shipping on overcrowded trailers, using the captive bolt system which has been proven inhumane for horses – is not okay.
What’s even worse, however, is the logic of the current wildlife management system the BLM is pursuing. Think about it: does the federal government round up deer and put them in holding pens? Is a sensible wildlife management policy one that simply rounds up wild animals and holds them en masse? The argument is that they’d die in the wild; well, yes, they would. That’s what happens to wild animals, sometimes horribly. It’s life. It makes me sad, but it’s a reality that the BLM would be better to go along with rather than thwart.