May 30, 2016
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval pressing the federal government to increase livestock grazing on public lands after one wet winter in his state. At the same time, Gov. Sandoval is threatening to sue the federal government for more wild horse roundups, falsely pitting America’s iconic mustangs against Nevada’s waning livestock industry.
Here are 5 things the governor needs to know.
Number 1: Americans want wild horses protected.
Polls document that nearly 3 in 4 Americans support protecting wild horses, while only 29% want our public lands to remain open to livestock grazing. The will of the people should prevail in public lands management decisions.
Number 2: Nevada’s mustangs are an important draw for the state
Wild horses are part of the allure Nevada and contribute to the state’s top industry and employer – tourism. Wild horse viewing opportunities and tour operators abound in the state and its exclusive Mustang Monument resort is built around wild horse eco-tourism.
Number 3: The livestock industry in Nevada is in decline.
Livestock production doesn’t even make the top five list for industries in Nevada. Given prevailing drought conditions in much of the state, climate change and the declining American appetite for red meat, livestock grazing in the state will continue to decrease.
Number 4: There’s room on the range for mustangs.
Livestock ranchers have access to 45 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in the state, while wild horses are confined to just 14 million acres, which they must share with livestock. Statewide, wild horses are allocated just 8% of available forage on BLM land. Small adjustments in livestock grazing rates could accommodate Nevada’s current wild horse population, something that would be far more cost-effective for Governor Sandoval’s tax-paying constituents than continuing the endless roundup and stockpiling of wild horses in government holding facilities.
Number 5: Win-Win solutions are available for wild horse management.
Nevada doesn’t have a wild horse overpopulation problem, it has a management problem. Nevada’s wild horses can be humanely managed using the PZP birth control vaccine to lower population growth rates. This is a win-win approach that the Governor’s own Department of Agriculture is utilizing for wild horses under state control.
Governor Sandoval, it’s time to stop pitting wild horses against livestock and start promoting humane solutions. Listen to your constituents and take a strong stand for the preservation of these national icons!