I'm just starting to clue into the full horror of the BLM/mustang relationship now, so forgive me if my facts are not entirely straight. While I've always looked askance at the BLM's high-stress roundups, I never thought too much further on the safety of our wild/feral horse herds in the United States. I took notice of the situation when the Texas parks department took to shooting burros to make room for big game in Big Bend Ranch State Park, and my general impression is that this is a very faulty system.
Here is the BLM's plan, so far as I can tell: 1) attempt to exterminate natural predators. 2) complain that the American mustang has no natural predators. 3) overpopulate public land with subsidized, privately owned beef herds. 4) complain that the public land is overpopulated and overgrazed. 5) ask American taxpayers to embrace "herd management," which amounts to terrorization and imprisonment of tens of thousands of feral horses. 5b)Say that this "management" is in the interest of preserving mustang heritage and genetic diversity, whilst endangering even the most genetically superior specimens with helicopter roundups, high-stress capture methods, and family-group disruption. 5c) lie about the deaths that occur during and immediately after these roundups. Forbid the public from observing, or establish remote "viewing locations" that are situated so as to hide the corral entrances and other high-risk areas. 6) Release traumatized, stressed, isolated horses back into the wild (where, in fact, natural predators DO still exist). 7) sell a few specimens to the general public, without particular attention to the public's practical ability to tame, train, and maintain them. 8) stockpile the remaining agitated herds in holding pens—for life.
Meanwhile, are we still killing coyotes and cougars in the United States? Are we still removing grey wolves from the endangered species list? Are we still grazing over 4 million domestic sheep and cattle on the same public land populated by American mustangs? At a cost, to ranchers, of just a couple of dollars per head, per month? And complaining that the 30,000 wild equines on this continent are a threat to this habitat?
If you—our government—want to ruin the genetic viability of the wild or feral horse population in North America, you're on your way. Please, for the sake of the mustangs and for those Americans who might still rally to save these unique animals, confess to what you're doing. Don't call it "management." Call it gradual extermination.