The Roundups of the Wild Mustangs and Burros in the West

Topics: Western United States, American Old West, Wild horse Pages: 5 (1559 words) Published: December 24, 2012
Leonardo Sean Kruppa
Ms. Malott
Senior Project
14 September 2010

Problem Paper
The wild mustangs and burros in the West are a true legacy. The homelands on which the mustangs and burros have been free are essential for the wild mustangs’ and burros’ history. They have been roaming and there living for countless years. However, the Federal Government and the Bureau of Land and Management, BLM, have begun to put boundaries on these animals’ homelands, gathering them up into what the government calls, “roundups”. The Federal Government and the Bureau of Land and Management of the West United States are abusing, neglecting, and terrorizing the wild mustang and burro population.

Twelve thousand mustangs and over thirty thousand burros once roamed the Wild West and its vast sagebrush ranges of the United Northwest. The mustangs are also bred for their resources, “…however, hooves, ears, and tails are sold for glue and oil, ground bones and scraps for chickenfeed, hides for baseballs and shoes, blood for fertilizer, and casings for German sausage.” (Yakima 4). Jessica Yakima is a wild horse advocate who is very much active in Arizona and among the government roundup facilities. However, the Federal Government and the Bureau of Land and Management of Arizona and Nevada are not rounding them up for their resources. Instead, the roundups are motivated because of the desire to “clean up” the remaining mustang and burro population. Quoting the Director of Arizona’s Bureau of Land and Management, Bob Abbey states that the reason for their roundups is to “save range for the livestock…”. Arizona’s Bureau of Land and Management released this statement, “there is spread of disease amongst the horses and burro population.” The claim that disease is the reason why the government should be able to round up these mustangs and burros is competently false and untrue. There is no abnormal spreading of disease amongst the mustangs and burros. The wild mustangs and burros are the only living heritage and symbol of the history in the West, and as such, should be granted protection as endangered animals from all levels of government in the United States.

The wild mustangs and burros can be looked back on their historical heritage timeline, from their bloody battles on the old frontier to their iconic status in Buffalo Bill’s wild west shows, to their evolutionary origins on this continent to its return with conquistadors and to their plight today as they make their unfortunate last stand on the vanishing, wild range. Now, the wild mustangs and burros are being classified as a “nuisance”. The government has been using various methods to roundup these poor animals, subjecting them to every kind of mistreatment imaginable, sometimes resulting in death. Helicopters are flying low chasing the horses, “rounding them up” and putting them in overcrowded corrals. CNN and The New York Times have both recorded video of these government “roundups”. These actions terrorize, hurt, and sometimes kill the mustangs and burros. The wild mustangs and burros need to stop being rounded up so they are still living on the West’s range.

The problem is, “whether or not removing the animals helps or hurts the preservation of an enduring symbol of the west.” (Archibold 7). Randal Archibold, a writer for the New York Times, has recently begun to get involved with the animal activists that are present at the roundup facilities. Federal officials are removing about one hundred and fifty horses every week from different quadrants of the range, according to the Bureau of Land and Management. Bob Abbey, the director of The Bureau of Land and Management of Arizona, who oversees the roundups, stated, “The fact is right now we have three to five times the population of wild mustangs and burros that the range can sustain.” This is completely false; the population has grown, but not to that extreme; according to the Bureau of Land and Management’s...
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