The Wild Horse Is Us

The Wild Horse Is Us: An advocate of the American West’s mustangs blasts a proposed government policy to cull the herds.
By Tony Dokoupil | Newsweek Web Exclusive | Jul 1, 2008

After surviving the ice age, the industrial revolution and the slaughterhouse, America’s wild horse population is facing a new threat: the U.S. government. The Bureau of Land Management announced this week that it is considering euthanizing wild horses to curb the population on the range and in federal holding facilities. There are an estimated 33,000 wild horses living in 10 Western states, and another 30,000 living in government corrals. The BLM is billing euthanasia as a way to cope with looming budget cuts, while still maintaining the mustang as a living symbol of the American West. But critics say that the herds have already been thinned to the edge of extinction with periodic roundups and auctions. A century ago, there were around 2 million wild horses roaming the West; now the BLM wants to cut that population to 27,000. In “Mustang,” her new history of the wild horse in North America, Deanne Stillman explores why America is destroying the horse it rode in on. She spoke about the government’s new proposal with NEWSWEEK’s Tony Dokoupil.

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