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LETTER: The mustang as the state horse?

Lisa Kirk (“Horse sense,” March 3 letter) asks breathlessly, “What’s more Nevada than the wild mustang?” Perhaps Ms. Kirk should ask why Nevada is saddled with most of the West’s orphaned riding stock.

Now columnist Steve Sebelius (“State Horse, of course,” March 6) promulgates the myth that feral horses are harassed and persecuted on Nevada’s public rangelands. If this hollow accusation were true, the courts would easily stop what are necessary gathers to prevent overpopulations of these animals from damaging federal lands. These horses are livestock just as are cattle. Feral horses are no more wild than the feral cats that are allowed to roam Las Vegas in a clearly failed experiment.

Even abandoned livestock has to be managed eventually. Despite the reality of too many feral horses in Nevada, softhearted and softheaded citizens and journalists continue to push the baseless mythology of the mustang. If the federal government managed feral horses equally as they require cattle and sheep ranchers to manage their livestock, there would be far fewer feral horses guarding water holes against native wildlife and overgrazing. The federal Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act mandates that they must be managed “to maintain a thriving natural ecological balance.” Not hardly.

Even Mr. Sebelius has to acknowledge that Nevada legislators are making a meaningless gesture of designating these mongrel mustangs as our official horse. I suppose that it is easier than attending to something legislatively meaningful.

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