The American mustang has long since passed from resource (for war, for ranching, even for movies) to designated “pest” in the eyes of the government. A couple of years ago I read Deanne Stillman’s excellent, detailed history of the mustang which takes in everything from the sea crossing from the Old World to nineteenth-century cattle trains, fifties Hollywood and the massacre of six mustangs outside Reno in 1998, and learned for the first time about the Bush government’s role in encouraging the extermination of the wild horses in order to free up more cattle ranching space. Laws fought for by the famous Wild Horse Annie were undermined to essentially give the notorious Bureau of Land Management permission to round up horses and dispatch them to slaughter.
Today I got an email from a friend with news of a fresh threat: BP. Yes, BP. Not content with flooding the Gulf of Mexico with crude, apparently BP needs wild horses removed from public ranges to facilitate the construction of a new pipeline. Here’s a video. I’m not totally sure of the reliability of the source, but I’m sure it’s grist to the mill for pro-mustang campaigners, and I find it utterly believable.
And news of a wild foal abused and shot in California after a BLM round-up.