Readers Focus on Wild Horses

More than 1,000 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "What do you think should happen with wild/feral horses?"

results of poll on wild horses

Results were as follows: 

  • Use contraceptives on mares to reduce numbers: 65.39% (716)
  • Find more federal lands to house feral horses: 50.78% (556)
  • Other 24.66% (270)
  • Hold the unadoptable horses for their entire lives: 11.32% (124)

Readers shared their opinions for what should happen to the wild horses in the comments below.

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  • Do not destroy these beautiful horses.
  • Let all the bleeding hearts keep them for life.
  • geld more of the stallions
  • Cattle ranchers should buy their own land and let the horses be.
  • nature will balance out on its own, stop interfering.
  • mustangs can teach us alot about horses in a natural state
  • Stop murdering wild horses!! They are a National Treasure and should be treated as such!!
  • Also- make adoption easier. Just don't torture them! the deserve comfortable lives.
  • Land is hard to come by. Make adoption a better option for people!!
  • Leave them alone! They were here long before we were! This is their land and we are the intruders!
  • Let them alone! The BLM has made up all the claims that they need to be removed.
  • leave them alone!!
  • The BLM does a terrible job.
  • reduce number of cattle and return range to the mustangs
  • adopt, limit Gov.hold time,exportForiegn use, SLAUGHTER
  • Release them for sale to individuals or auction.
  • geld all stallions, remove most of them from the range and adopt
  • Make the rich cattlemen that are leasing federal land for pennies give it back to the horses
  • stop "giving" federal land to corporate cattle farms for grazing!
  • much hay is wasted here in the east, use it to feed the wild horses
  • There are no easy answers.
  • euthanasia
  • Legislation should be passed that allows ALL horses & donkeys to remain free & roaming 4 their lives
  • train the horses for riding and donate them to childrens hospitals, orphanages, safe houses,shelters
  • Leave Them Alone
  • euthanize them
  • Get the beef industry OFF the land!
  • euthanize old,sick,and unsound horses as deemed by veternarians
  • Quit letting large cattle ranchers force the mustangs onto less and less land.
  • foster, retrain and home to appropriate knowledgeable people
  • Have more adoption centers so more people can adopt.
  • Remove $1.25 cow/calf pairs from BLM land; contraceptives w/proper management
  • Stop letting cattle ranchers use federal land to graze private herds-use that for the horses.
  • Get the cattle off their lands and leave them alone.
  • Run the on throughbred tracks. That will thin their population.
  • even in the cases where animal population should be reduced, it should as humanely as possible
  • leave them alone
  • Slaughter the unadoptable horses
  • Stop giving their land to cattle.
  • ranchers should use NO PUBLIC lands for commercial business and keep our national trust lands safe!
  • plenty of room, surely, if cattle are excluded.
  • Leave them alone in their herds and free where they belong
  • hard decision! Birthcontrol will eventually stop the herd. we already are holding the horses so I gu
  • Stop turning people down who are willing to donate land to let mustangs run on their acerage!
  • They should be left protected alowed to stay in the wild 1974 wild horse &Burro act calls for.
  • There are millions of acres for these horses, why not let them take care of themselves. BLM, leave t
  • get cattle and sheep off federal lands, let mustangs held in pens for years go!
  • Stop low cost cattle grazing on federal lands
  • dispose of them as you would any other excess animals
  • These horses are part of our heritage and should be provided proper federal land to live naturally.
  • Geld some of the stallions and return them to the wild herds
  • I used to think they were better off rounded up for adoption but as the numbers increase in holding
  • Fund private rescue organizations to take care of them
  • leave them alone and protect them from humans. Let nature work
  • Horses is the foundation of USA
  • The important thing is to limit the number. The ones that we have now need to be protected.
  • selective euthanasia
  • lets be honest. most horse people are "users" and see no personal gain in wild horses
  • Euthanasia must be considered
  • Let them live on fedral lands, stop the lies and abuse for the almighty dollar!!
  • the blm are a bunch of money mongers.the horses have done well for many years w/out are involvement.
  • us based killer plants for humane slaughter
  • Geld every male possible
  • public/private partnerships to keep feral herds on private lands
  • These horses are a ntional treasure. We need to protect them.
  • Accept offers of private lands on which the horses could roam unmolested.
  • Use on the range management techniques provided by experts on wild horses
  • Castrate older males, retrieve federal grazing land from ranchers who only pay a pittance for use.
  • Gelding some of the inferior stallions would benefit as well.
  • Open the slaughter plants again
  • leave them alone as their is no problem with wild/feral horses!!!!!!
  • Leave them on the land that was set aside for them in the 1970's!
  • make adoptions easier so more people would adopt
  • controlled limited slaughter is more homane than starvation
  • selectively cull by slaughtering
  • Reopen/build processing plants. Meat to starving people.
  • adoptions should be monitored to make sure the horses are cared for. return unsold horse to thier he
  • Let Madeline Pickens intervene
  • cull or slaughter them
  • Stop leasing fed. land to cattle farmers.
  • leave them alone
  • kick the domesticated livestock off federal lands needed to support the wild horse population
  • geld studs
  • Spay the mares and castrate the stallions
  • Reopen slaughterhouses in the US
  • if we let them reproduce, we shoud "cull" them by any means necessary
  • Gelding a percentage
  • Stop the inhumane roundups in the extreme heat. Reduce the number of cattle grazing on federal land
  • leave them alone
  • What happened years ago? Open more land and leave them alone.
  • get rid of cattle on public lands.
  • they were here before we were
  • We need to redirect the resources into contraceptive control for herds.
  • get numbers down to a point that is good for the land and the average number of horses that are adop
  • The "un-adoptable" horses should be released into an area approiate for there living needs.
  • Life is tough, but culling some of the wild horses may sometimes be necessary (unadoptable ones).
  • the stallions should be kept on seperate lands for a length of time
  • Leave them alone
  • slaughter for food, locally
  • Need to protect wild horses like we do other wild animals!
  • don't roundup anymore horses than financialy can be taken care of
  • Reduce population with contraceptives (both mares & stallions) and euthenize ill or unadoptable hors
  • good treatment is a must
  • Need to rethink the use of slaughter houses.
  • The horses are fine right where they are. No additional land is needed, but less sheep and cattle i
  • Need to use contraceptives that can be darted into stallions for reduced fertility
  • More & better organized adoptions-I adopted a BLM mare and she's beautiful and SMART!
  • Combinationof solutions excluding slaughter and dangerous roundups
  • The greed of ranchers wanting wild horse habitat & poor management create this problem.
  • Promote ecotourism featuring wild horses; ask groups to sponsor herds - 4H clubs, riding clubs, etc.
  • This is a big problem and I have no idea how to solve it.
  • They shouldn't have to compete with cattle. The Range belongs to them!
  • NOT feral; horses originated in N. America, reintroduced by the Spanish in 1500s
  • Leave them alone and get the BLM out of there.
  • The BLM is an abomination! Helicopter roundups are an abomination. Leave the horses alone!
  • Euthanize all older un-adoptable animals, as much as it hurts my heart to say it.
  • Reduce amount of federal grazing land for cattle-give (back) to wild horses
  • Maybe geld some of the less hardy stallions
  • Comply woth the 1973 law and protect them in the areas they have been in for decades
  • adopt out! and fine those who are breeding the horses in captivity. Why breed when u can adopt?
  • These horses are a significant part of the history of our country, especially the West.
  • leave them alone !!!
  • Geld the stallions
  • Cull as the Australians do.
  • Restrict use of federal lands to farmers. They are part of the problem regarding horses and wolves.
  • selective culling take the poor quality first
  • Contraceptives and free roaming. Let nature do the rest..
  • Round them up to keep sustainable numbers and the unadoptable send to slaughter.
  • Unadoptable put down not fair to the horse to live contained-expense is high too.
  • Wiser mgmt of Fed land; stop spec interest grps (cattle) from monopolizing fed land for profit
  • Sterilize and find a refuge for unadoptable horses.
  • Do these animals really eat up all the grazing from the cows? I don't believe it. Leave them alone
  • BRING BACK THE SLAUGHTER MARKET
  • Stop use of federal lands for private grazing
  • Sterilize (geld) all stallions but a select few. Open adoptions to other countries..ie..Canada.
  • Gelding stallions
  • Set a maximum number of horses to remain in the wild and cull the remainder periodically.
  • stop eating beef leave them on the land
  • What is with the BLM> Running horses to death and fencing them off from H20 is barbaric
  • Do nothing to the horses. Take away many of the grazing rights for the millions of cattle
  • reducing numbers is only long term solution; public sentiment requires we hold excess horses
  • Slaughter and give the meat free of charge to the needy.
  • PZP - it works, humanely and with no behavioral effects
  • These horses are not wildlife, and in most cases not related to the original mustang. Alpo, or Food
  • lEAVE THEM ALONE!
  • Humans want to live forever, and the Horses must be allowed their live spans, we do NOT OWN THIS EAR
  • Let them remain wild.
  • no roundups,use contraceptives,charge per head of cattle grazed to pay for it,limit cattle nos.
  • Wild horses have managed to survive without human intervention. It is only since the BLM has decided
  • How about removing some of the 5.5 million cattle and sheep on subsidized grazing!
  • geld the stallions and colts
  • Keeping good quality stallions entire while gelding horses with faults.
  • castrate the male horses. Wouldn't that be easier than working on the mares?
  • Leae them alone, why is this a problem?
  • Contraceptives, then let them live in peace!
  • Euthanasia
  • return superior individuals captured to wild herds
  • the population will naturally monitor itself if left alone. Or geld stallions to slowly reduce herd
  • How about gelding the stallions ??
  • They should be left to roam the land they were given in 1971!!!
  • Horses should be humanely slaughtered and processed for consumption by humans or other animals
  • Herd numbers should be reduced and only the high quality stallions allowed to breed.
  • Easy:end taxpayer subsidized corporate cattle grazing on public land designated 4 wild horses
  • geld the stallions, leaving one stallion for every 100 mares. remove the older and crippled horses.
  • Good options but need to restrict range leases in favor of wild horses
  • My BLM mustang is a fabulous horse, my trainers wish they had a barnful. He was started at 7.
  • return unadoptable horses to the wild. Allow nature to take its course sometimes.
  • Turn the unadoptable ones back out on the range
  • Leave them alone & let nature take its course.
  • If it's really true that there are too many, use contraceptives & open more lands
  • Quit removing them from public land for cattlemen's benefit
  • Cattle and sheep ranchers have to share lands with the horses. With return of Pumas and wolves and t
  • Euthanize the unadoptable ones
  • Allow natural predators to return to the area.
  • Open the slaughter houses
  • pay ranchers per head to oversee sterilized bans
  • Reduce the number of cattle on public lands to allow for the horses
  • they should be treated as wild animals, not livestock and let Mother Nature take it's course.
  • its the biggest political jam-up ever. Mrs. Pickens offered to take and build a educational refuge..
  • If the horse can't be adopted out within 3 years it should be euthanised
  • cull and kill every year
  • LEAVE THEM WILD!
  • Consider them a national treasure and heritage!!! The day may come that "they" might appreciate the
  • leave them alone
  • Humane reduction of numbers is possible with contraception. Get Dr.Kirkpatrick involved!
  • Dispose of horses however necessary to reduce numbers.
  • Allow controlled slaughter
  • catch and casterate studs . Contol numbers in group and keep it managable
  • just leave them alone
  • also make the stallions gledings
  • Slaughter
  • use culls for slaughter appropriately
  • geld the colts, and only leave the very best intact.
  • keep the herds and adopt the foals and also let nature take irs course
  • leave them alone!!
  • Leave nature alonen did we become God.
  • Use population control on people so they do not take up all the available land.
  • Put someone in charge who has a clue what they are doing and send BLM to a desk in Washington.
  • slaughter for horse meat, a delicious meat and prized in all but English speaking nations
  • take cattle off hma's
  • The BLM has not done a good job of accurately counting horses and some of their lands have been sold
  • They are part of our heritage. They deserve to live.
  • all of the above and then some. Depends on the individual animal and their circumstances
  • geld males. no holding pens, humane euthanasia for sick/injured, absolutely none to slaughter
  • With no natural predators we need to actively cull the herd. They can't be allowed to reproduce
  • leave the prior mountain herd alone,:put the unadoptable ones on a seperate free range ranch
  • Too few choices. Can't solve with either/or answers. Good ol' boys w/cattle rule the lands and gov.
  • Compared to the 13 million grazing permits issued, 57K horses don't seem like they're a problem.
  • Limit hunting of their natural predators. Allow the balance of nature to be re-established.
  • I bet the BLM is taking kickbacks ($$$) from the cattle assoc to destroy wild horses
  • Develop more training programs for "adoptable" horses to up their ownership value and help saleabili
  • A combination of all three and geld a few more of the stallions
  • humanely euthanize animals that cannot be adopted or supported on the avvailable federal lands
  • Give them to Madaline Pickens
  • Americans need to learn to live in hi-rise flats, which is far less demanding on land space.
  • They could be learned from still, we don't know lots. They could help other breeds in future
  • here is plenty of land. The BLM just wants to run more cattle on it and give land to pipeline, and
  • mare contraceptives are too expensive. should geld as many colts as possible!
  • LEAVE THEM ALONE -- WE WILL NEED THEY GENETIC POOL TO CLEAN UP THE MESS WE ARE MAKING IN BREEDING
  • care should be given to adopting out suitable horses - perhaps with some pre-training to avoid fraud
  • Leave them alone! We leave other wild animals alone why not them?
  • Go castrate and release stallions
  • These horses are part of our American history. They deserve a home and respect.
  • "unadoptable" horses should be sterilized & returned to the wild unless health precludes it
  • Should process and feed hungry
  • herd thinning by humane destruction
  • continue adoptions
  • leave the wild horses alone!~!!! They have the rifht to run free as intended by nature!
  • Get your facts straight!
  • Turn them loose again on their original ranges and let nature take its course
  • private citizens have offered to care for them for less than BLM costs, let them
  • It's a big problem.Wish I knew the answer for these majestic creatures.
  • Why do we have to kill everything WILD??????????????
  • create more incentives for adopters/trainers that then increase adoption
  • Slaughter, afteral, they are livestock!!
  • Humane slaughter is better then starving or being eaten by preditors.
  • cut back ranch animals, stop "air roundups", better management
  • There isn't a huge wild horse population now! The BLM is on the side of big cattle, & wastes $$
  • Adopt out what you can, manage the range at sustainable numbers. Give surplus to PETA.
  • People should let them be free, as they were meant to be.They were here 1st
  • Do not allow private cattle to graze on federal land so that the land can hold more of the horses
  • BLM -- STOP KILLING OUR WILD HORSES! STOP THE ROUNDUPS! You don't seem 2 care about the horses!!
  • euthenasia, sadly but necessary
  • These horses should remain free until adopted per LAW!
  • Make more available for adoption.
  • Leave them on the land that was inteneded for them.
  • Nothing. Leave them alone/
  • Wild Horses are a large part of American History & it is our duty to let them be wild & culled when
  • why round up the mustangs then put cows on the same range afterwards?
  • This country is supporting the "zoo"management practice with horses. Look what we do with domestics!
  • combination. better management, definitely leaving them on federal land
  • Take away the cheap leases from the cattle people.
  • Leave them ALONE!
  • Leave herds alone. Remove cattle from public lands. Work with Pickens on reserve.
  • euthanasia for unadoptable horses
  • Send to slaughter
  • Allow natural predation to control numbers; stop killing the mountain lions!
  • Leave them alone. They were here first.
  • We need to maintain small herds. Now more than ever we need go reduce the unwanted horse #s
  • If you can corral all of the mares to use contraceptives, why can't you corral the stallions to geld
  • send them to madeleine pickens for adoption into her program.
  • Euthanization.
  • Manage them on the land, not in holding pens. Reduce free range cattle, that eat all their grasses.
  • leave them alone!!!!
  • BLM cattle grazing fee is $1.35/head /mo for millions of cattle. Raise it.
  • Manage breeding for numbers/diversity; euthanize unadoptable animals
  • TPut an end to the BLM leasing publisc lands to cattle industry!
  • allow mrs. pickens & others to set up sanctuaries
  • Wild horses should be allowed to run free.There are enough natural enemies tokeep population control
  • Charge cattle ranchers market prices for grazing on federal lands, use funds for horse rangelands
  • Leave them alone, they are wild
  • Ship horses in excess of carrying capacity to foreign meat markets.
  • Leave them be!!
  • geld stallions
  • Allow Pickens to house them on a reserve
  • Limit the number of viable stallions as well as use contraceptives on mares--more taming
  • Beside using contraceptives for the mares, geld some of the stallions.
  • Consider humane euthanasia for unadopatable horses
  • Get the BLM OUT of the wild (not feral) horse issue, get cattle off the public/horse's land.
  • Castrate the stallions, slaughter the excess. No more tax dollars spend to feed these horses
  • geld colts
  • I think it is wrong to hold they in pens. they need grass to eat and water on Federal lands w/ birt
  • contraception, combined with euth/slaughter of excess numbers
  • it is our duty to take care of our heritage and that includes the wild horses
  • I dont know that there ACTUALLY is a population problem. Who can trust the BLM? Leave the horses be
  • Geld stallions of breeding age.
  • No paying to keep wild horse penned for life. Ship to horse eating courntrys.
  • Horses need managed and herds reduce accordingly like the BLM is doing. Sensationalism is hurting thi
  • these majestic creatures deserve nothing less than to be respected and admired.
  • Replace some stallions with good quality stallions, cull herds humanely, some must go to slaughter.
  • leave them be
  • too many cows and sheep on federal lands, open more up for wild horses.
  • gelding the stallions as early as possible would help
  • geld the males
  • selective gelding & spaying, euthenasia is necessary for unadoptable horses
  • MAN HAS TAKEN OVER THE PLANET. GIVE BACK TO NATURE.
  • It has worked on Assateague Island!
  • Capture and geld/spay.
  • euthanasia
  • Leave them alone! The federal government wants them gone because of cattle and oil/gas drilling.
  • the mustang is a treasure and should be treated as such!
  • All of the above have their place in the care of this national treasure, should not be in BLM care
  • Train the trainable for useful federal jobs, such as border and police patrols.
  • Let them live on the lands dedicated to them. NO MORE ROUNDUPS. Turn out the horses now in captivity
  • Leave them the hell alone. Throw the cattle off!
  • All the above. Unadoptable by BLM standards are not truly unadoptable.
  • The BLM should be stopped fromn having anything to do with the horses!
  • There should be a moratorium on the current round ups until this can all be sorted out.
  • Euthanize unadoptable wild horses - don't spend federal money keeping them in holding corrals.
  • Humane slaughter
  • Moniter health and euthanize only if necessary
  • Not sure what other options are out there but I don't feel they should be house for their entire liv
  • Leave them be
  • Ok Why do we need to move them in the first place. I only hear the how and not the why.
  • Stop allowing ranchers to use public land for their herds which limits the feral herd space.
  • let the people who live around areas where wild horses roam, manage them.
  • I really don't know
  • As with all herd management the BLM should geld colts
  • Geld all stallions, spay all mares. Or humanely put all extra horses down.
  • Periodically check and treat or cull
  • I do believe in holding unadoptables their whole lives...cruel.
  • Having worked for BLM, I know they needlessly cause the death of many mustangs.Too many cows!
  • Leave them alone!
  • Stop taking away thier natural land
  • Remove more cows and revamp the wild horse management program that BLM currently uses.
  • Geld all of the stallions & colts. Continue the program until they die out.
  • Contraceptives & castration are options
  • Allow Madelene Pickens to set up a sanctuary, as she proposed.
  • geld most of the stallions too.
  • geld some of the stallions
  • I am not aware of how much land is available but it would be preferable to leave these animals alone
  • Leave them alone. They will be extinct if the BLM continues their agenda.
  • humane processing of horse meat for protein starved nations should be explored
  • leave the wild horses alone. Nature will sort out the strong from the weak!
  • we have started a rescue and would take in several wild mustangs
  • use as protein source for human consumption
  • The BLM should kick off the COWS and allow the horses to roam as the horse and burro act dictates
  • different federal agency should control the herds/BLM has a conflict of interest w/cattlemen
  • The numbers really must be reduced. Geld all the males as possible. Euthanize older/inferior animal
  • Reduce the cattle grazing lands and give them back to the feral horses
  • Leave them alone we arent rounding up all the deer or buffalo on the plains they were here first.
  • blm has land, just wants to lease, make leases plan for a certain number of wild horses
  • Leave them where they are at and prohibit cattle ranchers from restricting horses
  • Stop the roundups - manage numbers on the range through contraception/gelding.

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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