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Are the wild horses of the American west native?

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posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 01:37 PM

Are the wild horses of the American west native?


In a case before a US federal court they are arguing that wild horses should no longer be rounded up to make room for cattle. If the claim is successful, it could change the way the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages tens of thousands of wild horses on federal lands.

"Right now, the BLM treats them as if they are a nuisance or livestock. They deserve more respect than that," says Rachel Fazio, the lawyer representing In Defense of Animals and other plaintiffs in the suit.
(visit the link for the full news article)

Related News Links:

Related Discussion Threads:
The Mustang Conspiracy: Part 1: Sex, Drugs, Corruption, and BP.
The Mustang Conspiracy: Part 2: BP and The Ruby Pipeline
CNN (Headline News) is covering the BP/Mustang Story!

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 01:37 PM
Clearly this is a subject that is dear to many. It may be because of the connection many feel to the horse as a companion to man. For others it is about the irony that lead to the horses reintroduction to the continent by despoiling invaders from Europe. For others still it's about the effect that commercial lust has on our environment and the apparent cooperation those businessmen get from the government.

In the plaintiffs' favour, there is no doubt that North America is the ancestral home of horses. The horse family evolved there, and it is almost certain that the modern species, Equus caballus, was present in North America for almost 1.5 million years before dying out about 10,000 years ago.

On the other hand, today's wild horses are the feral descendants of domestic horses from Europe, with a 6000-year history of domestication. Whether these horses can be considered truly native thus hinges on whether a few millennia of foreign domestication are enough to "spoil" 1.4 million years of native evolution. Animal rights groups are adamant that they are not, but the BLM's website labels as "false" any claim that the horses can be considered native.

This topic should never be quite 'out of mind' for many because it provides a common ground for those focused on honorable governance and those on environmental conservation. In this topic the two merge. I would have hoped that between both agendas, the BLM would have to acquiesce to reason, as opposed to profit (or political expedience.)

Plaintiffs: In Defense of Animals , Dreamcatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary , Barbara Clarke , Chad Hanson and Linda Hay
Defendants: United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Ken Salazar, Robert Abbey and Dayne Barron

Case Number: 2:2010cv01852
Filed: July 15, 2010

Court: California Eastern District Court
Office: Sacramento Office
County: Sacramento
jr,: Morrison C. England
Referring Judge: Dale A. Drozd

Nature of Suit: Other Statutes - Environmental Matters
Cause: 05:551
Jurisdiction: U.S. Government Defendant
Jury Demanded By: Plaintiff

This story seems to have it all........

(visit the link for the full news article)

Edit to add: According to Bureau of land management:

Myth #11: Wild horses are native to the United States.

Fact: This claim is false. American wild horses are descended from domestic horses, some of which were brought over by European explorers in the late 15th and 16th centuries, plus others that were imported from Europe and were released or escaped captivity in modern times. These horses have adapted successfully to the Western range, but biologically they did not evolve on the North American continent. The disappearance of the horse from the Western Hemisphere for 10,000 years supports the position that today's wild horses cannot be considered "native" in any meaningful historical sense.

For more of the BLM's officially stated position refer to the additional news link.... it's amusing in a sad way.

edit on 17-6-2011 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 01:46 PM
reply to post by Maxmars

Not exactly. My understanding is that there were horse ancestors in the US, they had been extinct, probably through hunting, for thousands of years. When the Spanish began exploring the American west, they re-introduced the horse to North America. Some, although not all, wild horse herds undoubtedly have their origins in horses brought over from Spain in the 16th century.

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 01:50 PM
Don't miss the excellent documentary works in the Mustang Conspiracy series .... they will add much to the debate.

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 01:51 PM
I've always heard that horses were brought over from spain.

And that native americans never saw a horse before the spanish brought them over. They thought they were big dogs. lol.

Wikipedia states that the horses died out at the end of the last ice age. Which jives with the american indian accounts.

Mustangs are basically feral horses.

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 01:51 PM
Since keeping wild horses and their habitat intact will mean more nature reserves i think that this is ok. I really doubt that there is such a lack of land for livestock in US.

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 01:52 PM
So wait, am I understanding Native Americans never had domesticated horses untill Europeans showed?, thats effectively what that article is suggesting. Im not really sure thats correct, is it?

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 01:56 PM
Here you go...

If I have time later this summer I think we'll do a follow up piece and see if we can keep the heat on the BLM.


posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 01:59 PM
reply to post by Johnze

All Camels and Horses originated from the North American Continent but migrated across to Asia and Europe and then onto Africa. Something happened about 3600 ago (some will say 10,000) which wiped out the Mega-Fauna of North America and so we lost the Horse and Camel although the relative of the Camel still exists in Southern South America.

The reintroduction of the Horse was by the Spanish.

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 02:06 PM
reply to post by LibertyLover

If there were native wild horses from ...forever, then we can expect that resourceful native americans would have tamed them and utilized them ...forever, and would not need the Spanish coming with their horses to understand that such animals had other uses.

If native to America, why did they not survive in great numbers as did the buffalo which did quite well until the whiteman worked to destroy them?

Actually, I'm sure some extensive DNA work would prove or disprove this claim of native American horses.

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 02:08 PM
Horses just like hogs, are not native to the America's. And horses, just like hogs, should be culled when thier numbers become problemaitc.

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 02:09 PM
reply to post by Maxmars

if the horses are demed native - can the europeans who can trace thier roots to the 16th century - claim to be native americans too ?

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 02:10 PM
reply to post by Greensage

Nah, seems to be some debate about started doing a bit of reading. Seems fairly unlikey the Spanish managed to populate an entire continent with such diversity in such little time from the breeds they brought. Also, Native Americans had some very highly developd equastrian technology for a folk who apparently never seem them before.

Anyway scroll down a bit, heres one chaps theory about it, dunno how valid his theorys are of course, he could be a nutcase but it seems as though it is a matter of some contention. The problem effectively is, Europe wrote the Native Americans history for them, so in all likely hood its potentialy skewed with bias somewhat.

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 02:12 PM
reply to post by Springer

no offence but people seem to be confusing two seperate issues :

1 - are feral horses " native "

A - no they are not

2 - should feral horses be afforded better protection

a - yes they should

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 02:13 PM

off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 02:22 PM
Eh get rid of em I do not like horses. I do not see why they are so special and why people can ride them down streets next to cars leting them crap and piss all over and not having to pick it up. My dog cannot crap that much in a month but if one little turd hits the ground boy oh boy I better dive for it like it is gold. But a horse can let fly and do whatever. Then I got to sit in traffic going slow and missing lights for what? Yup a truck draging a horse trailer thorugh town to go take it to a ring indoors to jump little stuff. Wow that is stupid, your horse can jump well so can I. I think they should be food just like cattle. They died out here once and left to there own will die out again lets just hurry it up and make room for useable animals. Horses suck. I like all other animals just hate horses.

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 02:30 PM
Mustangs: The original wild horse mustang stock was of Iberian horses(Spanish horse) background ranging from many breeds of the area to Andalusian to Lustiano...
Later on the horses, may have had draft horse blood added in:

Another breed that probably contributed to the blood of the Mustang is the old-type East Friesian. For a period of over 10 years during the late 1800s and early 1900s about 150 stallions each year were purchased by the U.S. government from Germany. The old-style East Friesian of that time was a heavy warmblood or coach horse and was purchased to pull artillery or heavy wagons. So wherever the US calvary was found in battles in the west these horses were found, and undoubtedly some escaped and added their blood to that of the American Mustang. Source

Spanish genes have been diluted with most stock:

Most Mustangs are of the light horse or warmblood type. Horses of draft conformation are kept on separate ranges. The coat color is the full range of colors found in horses. While the Spanish blood has been diluted, many of the horses still exhibit Spanish characteristics. There has been a firmly held belief for several decades that there were no pure Spanish-type horse remaining on the ranges of the wild horse. But in recent years a few small herds have been found in very isolated areas which have been found through blood testing to be strongly decended from Spanish breeding. Among these are the Kiger and Cerat Mustangs.Source

Breed stock is European.

Technically speaking, they are traced back to being not native.

However, they present a huge part of history in the United States and should be preserved for that fact and that they are a breed of horse, not just a feral animal.

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 02:44 PM
reply to post by dreamingawake

That's the real question though, isn't it?

They are likely not the same species as the one that went extinct ages ago. But is it relevant? Does failure to meet that standard justify the casual and callous way horses are being managed by an agency which was created to 'nurture' the wild roaming mustangs? Some contend that the actions of the agency telegraph their doctrine that 'management' of the herds equates to extermination of the herds. Others contend that we should not be expending taxes and resources to manage what is essentially a romantic vision of the place horses have in our world.

Strictly from a perspective of logic, not only is the heritage of the horse irrelevant, but the horses themselves are irrelevant. Frankly, I'm not that logical. I fail to find any comfort in the logic that justifies the manner these animals have been mistreated by those contracted to "care" for them.

Also, it is not evident to me what the actual benefit is to the "management" they have been subjected to. If they were somehow a drain on our nation, or otherwise a danger to the population, I wouldn't hesitate to submit to the fate the BLM has evidently charted for them. But their treatment seems to be at the behest of, and for the benefit of, profit-driven political expedience. It is a part of the back story that merits examination.

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 03:01 PM
i higly doubt that they are related the relation would to the extent of a gorilla being grouped with an orangutan cuz they look alike but infact are different species

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 03:02 PM
I fully support keeping free range territory for horses and other wildlife.

Do we really need to exploit everything on the planet?

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