It’s sad news for all the mustang lovers out there. It turns out the petition failed: wild horses are not an endangered species in the US. Wildlife authorities have made their decision and are saying that the North American wild stallion is no different from the domesticated versions.
The above should mean that the species being the same, and there being no particularly striking differences between the two types of horses, the wild ones should not be granted special status. But there are other parties who don’t have the same opinion.
You may or may not remember that last year, the Friends of Animals conservation group along with The Cloud Foundation presented a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, presenting arguments that highlighted the possible threat to and disappearance of around forty thousand wild horses. These animals are spread throughout federal lands in ten of the Western states.
The whole petition was rooted in the argument that there are in fact major differences between the domesticated and the wild version of the mustang. These differences range from distinct psychological traits to behavioral traits.
The petition further argues that after President Richard Nixon passed the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, over 40 percent of the habitat of wild horses was taken over.
Furthermore, the petitioners claim the wild horse had been native to the North American continent before it went extinct and was brought back by the Spanish in the 16th century. The Bureau of Land Management completely disagrees with this idea and has been firmly against the petition and special status of wild stallions, throughout the years.
The Fish and Wildlife Service rejected the petition on the basis that it did not bring sufficient proof in favor of its claim that the wild horses are completely different from the domesticated horses. The Service conducted a 90 day search for evidence after which they gave up and concluded that all horses are, after all, just horses.
Jennifer Barnes, a lawyer for Friends of Animals, naturally does not agree with this. The petitioners were distraught with the findings of the agency, and she added that the horses, being different, should receive special treatment. Their plan now is to further search for genetic differences between the two types of horses.
It’s been a wild ride for the wild stallion, and it will continue to be. Yet, as the situation further develops, the matters only get more and more complicated.
Image source: pressherald.com