Battle Rages Over Culling Mustang Herd

Proposed euthanasia of growing wild horse population sparks debate
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2008 8:27 AM CDT
A foal from the Catnip mustang herd casts a shadow on another member of the herd. The government is boarding over 30,000 horses who weren't adopted in a program to save the wild herds.   (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
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(Newser) – In the debate over how to deal with America's wild mustang herds, both sides claim to have the animals' best interests at heart. Federal agency officials tasked with protecting the horses say the most humane—and economical—course is to euthanize some so the rest don't starve. But activists see more sinister motivations, reports the New York Times.

The Bureau of Land Management has tried to cull the ever-growing herd through the Adopt-A-Horse program, but is still left with 30,000 animals to board at taxpayers' expense. The "feral equids" wreak havoc on land already ravaged by drought, officials say—but animal-rights advocates see coddled cattle ranchers and their herds as the real strain on the ecosystem.