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Field and Stream Article

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  • barnaby1959
    Hi folks: I know this is a hunting list and I consider myself and husband hunters . While waiting for a doctors appointment the other day I picked up a
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 2, 2003
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      Hi folks:

      I know this is a hunting list and I consider myself and
      husband "hunters". While waiting for a doctors appointment the other
      day I picked up a magazine and happened to find this article. Does
      anyone else find this a bit offensive? I try to keep an open mind
      and remind myself that not everyone must love equines, I'll admit my
      opinion may be a bit slanted since I do own, breed and train horses,
      mules and donkeys, but come on. I'm sure that many of F/S
      advertisers use horses, mules and even donkeys for packing in/out
      hunters, gear and game. It seems pretty shortsighted of the editors
      to allow such an opinionated article. Am I missing something or
      overreacting?

      *****************************************************

      This is from the November 2003 Issue of Field and Stream by Thomas
      McIntyre

      HAVE YOU EVER SMELLED A HORSE? INSTEAD OF PANTING DISCREETLY when
      overheated, horses indulge in a grotesque bodily function termed
      lathering. the sickening aftermath of which makes the ruttiest
      whitetail
      buck smell like a splash of Paco Rabanne And donkeys are, if
      possible,
      worse

      Not that that's the real problem with horses and donkeys. Nor are
      they a
      concern on ranches and farms. Privately owned horses can perform
      arguably useful tasks by being saddled and ridden into places where
      more
      reliable modes of transportation, such as pickup trucks, cannot
      venture.
      And they can be employed to pack gear and game (and inevitably to
      kick/bite/throw their riders, buck off their loads and gallop out of
      sight, and step headlong off trails and plummet into bottomless
      ravines).

      As for donkeys, outside the bleaker quarters of the Third World,
      their
      primary value is to be bred with horses to produce the only sensible
      equine, the thankfully sterile mule.
      No law, though, requires anybody to feed, shelter, and care for
      domestic
      horses and donkeys if he is not of a mind to. For "wild" horses and
      donkeys, on the other hand, there is precisely such a law, making
      them
      the responsibility of all of us, whether we wish to accept it or not.

      THE RANGE WAS NOT HOME Wild horses is an oxymoron. Wild equines did
      evolve in the Western Hemisphere, but they also started going extinct
      here millions of years ago. The last native, truly wild horses
      vanished
      from North America in advance of mammoths, camels, and even lumbering
      giant ground sloths.

      The two species of so-called wild horse and donkey at large on our
      prairies, plains, and deserts today were never originally on this
      continent but are the result of Spaniards' and prospectors' losing
      their
      livestock-or cutting it loose to get rid of it. These feral horses
      and
      donkeys are about as wild as stray cats and park pigeons. Like many
      feral animals, they are whizzes at exploiting newfound habitats. As
      anyone who has ever followed a parade can testify, they are blessed
      with
      "straight-through" digestive systems that let them flourish on a
      high-fiber, low-nutrient diet. They can reproduce at an annual rate
      of
      15 percent, potentially doubling their population every five years.
      And
      predators have never represented a threat: In the early 1800's,when
      it
      was seemingly impossible to walk (rather briskly, to be sure) on the
      backs of wolves and grizzly bears from the Mississippi to the
      Pacific,
      feral horses estimated to number 2 million.

      As the West got won, however, those animals were caught and broken ,
      or
      shot and eaten, or just shot. During the first half of the twentieth
      century, government policy was pretty much one of eradicating feral
      horses and donkeys on federal land, with "mustanging" the accepted
      means. Mustanging involved using trucks and aircraft to herd the
      animals
      into pens, then shipping them to slaughter for pet food. (A very bad
      movie, The Misfits, was made about this. Its star, Clark Gable, died
      within weeks of the end of shooting, probably from acute
      embarrassment)

      ENTER WILD HORSE ANNIE In the 1950s, a righteously indignant Nevada
      ranch wife, Velma B. Johnston, later known as "Wild Horse Annie,"
      enlisted the aid of schoolchildren to rally support to outlaw
      motorized
      mustanging, which Congress did in 1959. The animals otherwise
      remained
      unprotected until, at the start of the '70s, perhaps as few as 10,000
      inhabited the open range, with the genuine promise that they would
      disappear entirely.

      Then in 1971, Richard M. Nixon, adding to his other official
      malfeasances, signed something stirringly titled "The Wild Free-
      Roaming
      Horses and Burros Act," solemnly and absurdly designating such
      animals
      to be "an integral part of the natural system of public lands," and
      granting them the kind of protection Hindu cows could only envy. And
      here the problem begins.
      In short order the population exploded (the figure today stands at
      about
      50,000 and counting). Congress had to revisit and amend its own law
      to
      permit the government to use motor vehicles, including helicopters,
      to
      gather excess feral horses and donkeys. The Bureau of Land Management
      now spends close to $20 million per year managing them. Every year,
      7,500 horses are "adopted out" by the BLM at a cost to it of $2000
      per
      animal (those adopting pay $125).

      Ironically, adoption threatens the genetic rigor of free-roaming
      herds
      as the most desirable animals are removed from the range. The less
      desirable ones that are rounded up but go unadopted are fated to die
      in
      captivity.) In any case, adoption is inadequate to prevent feral
      horses
      from overpopulating. As for donkeys, they literally cannot be given
      away.

      Today, on front yards in towns like Reno, you're likely to see more
      feral horses than lawn jockeys. Feral horses and donkeys, because of
      their damnably efficient digestions, can wipe out feed for actual
      wild
      animals, such as big horn sheep; they can monopolize water holes; and
      they carry a little something called dourine, an equine venereal
      disease
      marked by inflamed genitalia, skin lesions, and paralysis. Yet
      somehow
      these animals are thought to symbolize, as the museum curator and
      writer
      Dr. Charles R. Preslon put it, "the spirit of wildness."

      THE FINAL SOLUTION? Some would have you believe that horses and
      donkeys
      are part of our Western heritage. Far from it-these feral animals are
      serious competitors with native wildlife and represent an
      unconscionable
      drain on the management resources of agencies such as the BLM.
      Therefore, the use of firearms (not adoption or preposterous schemes
      revolving around contraception) represents a sane method of reducing
      feral herds in key habitats.

      Nor would those equines have to go to waste. Back in Wild Horse
      Annie's
      day, tiny Bullhead City, Arizona, hosted thousands of visitors at an
      annual event in which a luau pit was dug in a vacant lot and 35
      dressed
      feral donkeys were slapped onto the barbecue. It's an idea whose time
      may have come again. Maybe the best way of honoring the true spirit
      of
      wildness would be with a slab of grilled horse or donkey ribs and a
      side
      of baked beans.

      If anyone else is apalled by this article, please feel free to fire
      away.

      >> To send letters to the Editors of Field & Stream Online, e-
      mail webmaster@...

      >> To send letters to the Editors of Field & Stream Magazine, e-mail
      fsmagazine@...


      Cathy Parrish ~ False Alarm Farm ~ Bonifay, FL
      Words that soak into your ears are whispered, not yelled.
    • karyn johnson
      Now, this is interesting..my model horse buddies got ahold of the online version of this story and raised ten shades about it. They bombarded the magazine
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 3, 2003
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        Now, this is interesting..my model horse buddies got
        ahold of the online version of this story and raised
        ten shades about it. They bombarded the magazine with
        emails about how outrageous this story was. I think
        Field and Stream listened, because the article was
        removed from their website.

        Karyn Johnson
        Glen Burnie MD


        =====
        Gun Control..the thought that finding a woman beaten, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose is morally superior to the same woman being tried by a jury of her peers for blowing the SOB away.

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      • Dr. Spencer Tomb
        Barnaby: Thomas McIntyre is a solid conservationist. He is not an armchair outdoor writer. I can clearly see why you are offended by what he has written and
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 3, 2003
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          Barnaby:
          Thomas McIntyre is a solid conservationist. He is not an armchair
          outdoor writer. I can clearly see why you are offended by what he
          has written and I would not write it that way. That said his point is
          that although horses originated and evolved in North America, they are
          ferral and introduced species and wild horses and donkeys do not
          belong on our western public lands.

          They are displacing the native species and ruining the plant
          communities out west. Horses are now being brought at government
          expense to graze in the Kansas tall grass prairie on large ranches.
          We are paying the transportation and the pasture rent and they will
          ruin the native plant communities. It is going to boil down to do you
          want horse welfare or native species like prairie chickens and prairie
          grasses.

          Spencer


          p.s. I hope I have not offended you by this frank reply
        • Cathy Parrish
          Spencer ... Certainly not! I can respect anyones opinion when it is presented in a reasonable manner. We all have the right to one. I do understand the
          Message 4 of 4 , Nov 4, 2003
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            Spencer

            >>>p.s. I hope I have not offended you by this frank reply<<<

            Certainly not! I can respect anyones opinion when it is presented in a reasonable manner. We all have the right to one. I do understand the threat to native species, plant and animal. However, Mr McIntyre dimeaner was more of a call to arms, insult (aimed at anyone that does have/admire/use equines) than anything else...in my opinion.



            Cathy Parrish ~ False Alarm Farm ~ Bonifay, FL






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