A Battle Over Wild Horses

A Battle Over Wild Horses: Should mustangs be slaughtered? Our readers’ views.
By Tony Dokoupil | Newsweek Web Exclusive | Jul 14, 2008

If you drew up a list of things that divide the country, horses probably wouldn’t appear near the top. But they should, if the response to NEWSWEEK’s interview last week with wild horse advocate Deanne Stillman is anything to go by. She blasted the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed policy of euthanasia to curb the wild horse population, claiming that American mustangs deserve better than “a trip to the gallows.” But for every defender of the horse’s right to roam free, there is an equally hard-core realist who says that management is an inescapable reality. When people from those two camps met on Newsweek.com, it got as wild as the Old West, stretching more than 100 printed pages, including letters from the BLM and the governor of Wyoming. Here were the major dustups, and a taste of the reader comments.

1. Did the wild horses survive the ice age?
In my introduction to the interview, I wrote that they did. But apparently there’s more than one way to define “survive.”

2. Does the BLM have a legitimate reason to curb the horse population?
The answer to this question also depends on semantics, in this case the definition of “legitimate.”

3. What solutions other than euthanasia are there for managing the wild horse population?
Many readers rejected the idea of management altogether, often in ALL CAPS.

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