Seeking Support for Wild Horses
Seeking Support for Wild Horses. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.
In this day and age of computers, commuter trains and cell phones, the image of wild horses can really bring us back to square one but without help these iconic creatures may disappear forever and the would be an inexcusable tragedy. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has proposed a national solution to restore the health of America's wild horse herds and the rangelands that support them by creating a cost-efficient, sustainable management program that includes the possible creation of wild horse preserves on the productive grasslands of the Midwest and East.
SALAZAR: In fiscal year 2007 we were spending $53 million and we are now at a budget request of $69 million to take care of these wild horses and burros. Additionally, the arid Western lands and watersheds, in my view, simply cannot support a population that is this large without significant damage to the environment.
The plan would include moving wild horses to preserves in the
SALAZAR: Establish a set of wild horse preserves across the nation, we would look in particular to establish national wild horse preserves on productive lands of the Midwest and the East where there is more water and more forage than there is in the arid lands of many places like Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and other places across the West. We believe that the national preserves would provide excellent opportunities to celebrate the historic significance of wild horse, showcase these animals to the American public and serve as amenities that would drive local tourism and economic activity that would create jobs in those rural areas.
The Secretary would bring more attention to Western herds by "showcasing" them through special designations.
SALAZAR: I believe we need to better showcase the herds on the public lands where they already are in the West and places where we believe those places and those herds can receive special recognition. For that reason I will, as we implement this proposal, highlight special herds and ranges through a Secretarial Order, under the 1970 law that gives me as Secretary the authority to provide those designations. I will make those designations in a way that will provide monuments to these wild horse special places across the West.
The proposal would apply new strategies to balance the growth rate of the herds with adoptions.
SALAZAR: I’m proposing a new set of strategies that will insure that the herds on our Western rangelands are kept at more sustainable levels. We have to balance population growth rates with adoption demand. Together we believe that these proposals will put the nation’s wild horses and burros back on a sustainable track.
That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.