Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wild Horses Could Help Environment, Restore Rangelands

Wild horses could help environment
Peter Holter - Albuquerque

Wild horses could help environment In the USA TODAY article "Future unstable for wild horses," Bureau of Land Management's Celia Boddington is quoted as saying that with drought conditions, the bureau cannot allow herds to grow unchecked because that would be an "environmental disaster" (News, Nov. 18).

I suggest an alternative: Allow horses to graze under controlled conditions to help damaged lands recover from drought.

As late as the 19th century, wild lands were healthy. Predators kept grazing animals on the move, and their hoof action worked the soil so that their urine and dung were quickly absorbed. If the bureau managed wild-horse grazing, soil health would improve. Biodiversity would flourish. The enhanced habitats would allow horses to live off the land. This would reduce the need for slaughter and the amount of money the bureau spends on feed and transportation. With healthy plants retaining carbon, emissions would be reduced. The horses would play a positive role in combating the effects of climate change.

Covered soil retains significantly more water than bare ground, so those areas would become more drought resistant, and horses could rely on replenished rivers, streams and ponds for water.

Posted at 12:08 AM/ET, December 01, 2008 in Animals - Letters, Letter to the

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