The unfortunate death of a wild horse
December 13, 2004
The unfortunate death of a wild horse on Friday morning on Highway 50 east of Carson City pointed all too graphically to the consequences of human-horse encounters.
A good number of passers-by witnessed the horse being shot by a brand inspector after its leg was broken in a collision with a vehicle.
These kinds of accidents involving wild animals happen with some regularity, of course, but it’s still jarring to see a wild horse destroyed. They do possess a special status in the hearts and minds of many Nevadans.
Fast-growing Lyon County has become one of the fronts for the on-going conflict between human development and wide-open horse-roaming range. The more homes, the more people, the more traffic – the more likely for wild horses and civilization to collide. The horses always lose, and sometimes the people do too.
Residents can do their part by not feeding the horses and by not encouraging them to become friendly. The farther they stay from roads and autos, the better.
But that won’t go far in easing the burgeoning pressures from growth in both the human and horse populations.
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While we encourage the on-going work toward adoptions of rounded-up wild horses and birth control among the herds, a harsh but practical solution is contained in a budget bill by Congress that would allow horses more than 10 years old or that haven’t been adopted after three tries to be sold for slaughter.
We don’t like the idea of horses going to slaughter. And we certainly wouldn’t condone any mass reduction of herds, even if federal agencies say they need to be cut by 5,000 in Nevada alone. Such a move would create a storm of protest.
But as a last option, it should be permissible for the federal government to dispose of wild horses. The alternative – a broken leg and a bullet by the side of the road – is not a pleasant scene.