Comments about ‘Gov. Gary Herbert slammed for wild horse comments’

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Published: Tuesday, April 29 2014 2:40 p.m. MDT

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Layton, UT

I love horses. I think they are awesome. The idea of wild horses hearkens back to romantic visions of the wild west. Wonderful stuff. But, I wonder if everyone remembers that they are feral animals. I mean there weren't herds of horses roaming the wild plains naturally, they all stem from escaped, or abandoned horses that were brought here by someone. Its not a lot different from the boa's in Florida, except people think non-native snakes in Florida are creepy, and wild horses on the plains are cool. This is not to say we should kill them all, but I think there should be some perspective of the importance of wild horses.

Mtn Tracker
Ephraim, UT

Thank you Governor! This is why Utah is a great place to live. We have a great man with a balanced perspective about these situations. Wild horse advocacy groups are no different than any other environmental groups. They want to control people, not animals. They could care less about what happens to the animal. None of them have an answer to how to manage them. These horses are NOT our heritage! They are about the same as a varmint. They bring little to no value to our economy or ecosystem. They're not indigenous to our area. They compete with a lot more than just cattle for food, and they eat incredible amounts more than their natural competition (deer, elk, desert sheep, etc). Please educate yourself before joining these groups!

San Antonia, TX

Can we get back to living without everyone being offended about everything in the world?

Get to work. Go solve a problem.

deseret pete
robertson, Wy

I think that are very few real ( Wild ) horses anymore. Many of them have inbred with horses that have mixed with them for various reasons.Lets get real about how many of these are really as valuable as some propose or so important to save.

environmental idiot
Sanpete, UT

Wild horse are much worse on the range than cattle and sheep ever will be. Horses have teeth top and bottom allowing them to graze much more efficiently and nip vegetation to the soil surface. The program costs $80 million a year to operate. If horse advocates want wild horses they should pay for it with there own money. It doesn't matter how big the pasture is, when you put a horse in it, it's just a larger corral.

Beaver Native
St. George, UT

Horses are neither native nor endangered and they are not generally considered a wild species either. While I would enjoy seeing a herd of horses in the wild, there is no reason to give them special protected status in the U.S. All domestic wild horses came from domesticated stock lines and the more there are, the less resources for native species. While they may have their place, their numbers on public land should be controlled, just as cattle grazing on public land should be controlled. I agree with dansimp. I don't believe the wild horses should be eliminated on public land, but their numbers should be controlled. If roundups are not adequately controlling them, we need to find another way to control their numbers.

American Fork, UT

How about a horse hunting permit, If there is money in it Utah and our legislature will usually be all over it. I've eaten horse meat before, it wasn't bad.

Brer Rabbit
Spanish Fork, UT

Wild horses are not indigenous to the West. They have no predators and they live a long time, often over 30 years. Without control of some kind, they will eventually over run the fragile flora and fauna of the desert areas. Since they are not managed they are much more harmful than cattle which are carefully managed and the populations controlled. Populations will need to be controlled even if the cattle were not there. The only control of the horse population is starvation.

Horse slaughter facilities need to be restarted not only to deal with the wild horses, but also domestic horses which are often disposed of with a backhoe.

Y Ask Y
Provo, UT

Wild horses ought to be well managed, along with other wildlife. And this should include efforts to change public perceptions about eating horse meat, which is very lean and tasty.

Richmond, VA

Cattle are raised for the benefit of feeding the population. Wild horses are preserved for what purpose exactly? So there! Unless there's a special need to preserve those animals, then I don't see any reason why their population should not be controlled for the benefit of the ranchers cattle. Or else start slaughtering them and sell them for meat too. If we don't eat them we can sell them to countries that do and grow the economy. Other countries are eating and selling horse meat, so why not us? No one is complaining about slaughtering cattle for food and it should be the same for the wild horses because it would be for a good cause...putting food on you plate. Thank you!

Virginia Beach, VA

Darn it. I have to agree with a Republican. Sometimes, they have good ideas.

What's the point in having so many wild horses running around? A few wild horses is cool. Thousands is an infestation, and if left to breed, their numbers will not decrease.

At the very least, they should be captured and neutered, and then released.

small school fan
Duchesne, UT

We have socialized medicine like the Germans, why not eat horses like they do, as well?

Of course, the BLM will have to run that to.

Silence Dogood
Caliente, NV

We had 20 acres of prime pasture when I was a kid. It would sustain 20 cows.....or 2 horses. So it's safe to say that a horse takes as much land as 10 cows...and there is absolutely no benefit to having them on public land other than it makes a couple of special interest groups "happy." Horses and burrows were NEVER meant to be wild. It a romanticized idea when as a matter of fact these wild horses need humans to properly care for them. Wild horses are very often starving, diseased, and lame. It's cruel to leave them on public lands. They need to be managed. They need to be extremely limited or eliminated on public lands. Horses were never ever meant to be "wild."

Steve B.

Sounds like Gov. Herbert knows what he is talking about. He isn't suggesting getting rid of all the horses, but holding the feds to the levels they claim are appropriate. Once the feds get hold of controlling an animal population it becomes political to an extreme and every animal they "manage" becomes a political football to be used by extremists who value critters more than hard working people. I would suggest that Antelope Island is an excellent example of good management by the State of Utah.

Diana Kline
Kansas City, MO

Thank you for writing this article, Lisa Riley Roche. Our native and Federally-protected wild Mustangs and burros needs to be protected. Thank you also American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and The Cloud Foundation. The BLM has no evidence of excess wild horses. In fact, eight herds have numbers that are too low, as do many of the burros. bit.ly/1mS67RT

My personal opinion is that cattlemen need to run cattle on their own lands, and not on our public lands.

Virgil Wolf
Cottonwood, AZ

There is fossil evidence that horses originated in North America and as published in an article The Surprising History of America's Wild Horses by Jay F. Kirkpatrick and Patricia M. Fazio 24 July 2008 in LiveScience "The fact that horses were domesticated before they were reintroduced matters little from a biological viewpoint. Indeed, domestication altered them little, as we can see by how quickly horses revert to ancient behavioral patterns in the wild....But the two key elements for defining an animal as a native species are where it originated and whether or not it coevolved with its habitat. E. caballus can lay claim to doing both in North America." In addition, there are studies that suggest that wild horses contribute positively to the ecological stability of their environment. Some of the Governor's statements about wild horse populations aren't factually accurate.

Saratoga Springs, UT

horse meat is also very high in protein and extremely lean. we had to put a horse down and he is now in our freezer.
with so many low income and hungry people i do not understand why these animals are not being put to good use. my kids love the meat. i can eat it if i put it in spaghetti sauce and chili. it's really a psychological problem.

Beaver Native
St. George, UT

@Virgil Wolf,

Per the article you referenced:

"The last prehistoric North American horses died out between 13,000 and 11,000 years ago, at the end of the Pleistocene, but by then Equus had spread to Asia, Europe, and Africa." Your claim that it coevolved with its North American habitat is bogus.

The fact is that the modern horse is NOT native to America. Having owned horses, I can vouch that the modern horse is also not friendly to native habitat. My cousin also bought some wild mustangs and placed them on my dad's property. To my knowledge he did not try to tame them, but fed them regularly during the winter. They had their run of 160 acres, so they were not unreasonably confined, but, being around humans, they lost their fear of them and would come running up to us whenever they saw us. Being fed by humans, they lost their wild characteristics. Thus, the modern horse is not wild by nature; only when left on their own do they display wild characteristics.

Having raised horses and cattle, I can vouch that horses are tougher on the environment and eat much more than cattle.


American Indian oral history informs us that horses survived the Ice Age in North America -- just as they did in Eurasia -- and were a part of Native American culture at the time the European explorers arrived. To our great shame, we learn from the oral history that, in the 19th century, the Federal government carried out an extermination-campaign against the indigenous horses to prevent the Indian people from leaving the newly-established reservations. There is no overpopulation of wild horses in Utah or anywhere else. BLM's biologically-impossible "data" consist of inflated estimates ... based on extrapolations ... employing assumptions ... according to projections ... derived from computer-models. The figures even include unborn foals -- fetuses. The so-called "appropriate management levels" (AMLs) are set below minimum-viable population (MVP) -- so far below MVP, in fact, that the herds' genetic viability is in jeopardy. Cattlemen would do well to invite wild horses to graze alongside their cattle. A Princeton University study found that cattle grazed together with equids gained more weight -- 60-percent more. As for program-costs, interestingly enough, the Department of Defense spends nearly the same amount ... every hour.

grand junction, CO

Something I can finally agree with Gov. Herbert on. Wild horses are feral animals and like any other feral animals, their numbers need to be controlled lest they destroy the range and themselves. BLM spends millions of taxpayer dollars annually gathering,feeding and stabling these animals and frankly the adoption rates are dropping. If we were talking about feral pigs or goats here, no one would be concerned. The Wild Horse and Burro Act needs to be revisited and revised so that sane and sensible management of these animals can occur. I like horses as much as anyone but I love my pristine deserts even more.

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