This has been a tough year for mustangs and their fans. While I can rationally agree with the BLM's announcement that euthanasia of several thousand horses in holding facilities is the only real option at the moment considering the massive amounts of horses and lack of adopters, there is one horse that I struggle with.
I first saw her a year ago while at the Kiger adoption in Burns, Oregon. Beauty was in the aged mare pen with several others 10 and over. Their chances of adoption were non-existent, unless someone that weekend spoke up and said they wanted one, the mares and geldings in that age range were sent to long term holding facilities where they were to live out their lives, watched over by contractors who would provide them with fresh water and plenty off good hay. It was a sweet life, really, when you think about it. No more hunger or wondering if you'd make it to the next water hole. Just hundreds of acres on which to roam with your long term friends and herd mates just as you had when you were free. No one knew that when Beauty and the others were loaded up, that they were marching down a trail that may just lead to their death.
30,000 horses is a lot. If you own a horse, stop and multiply the cost of that one and see just how much it's costing to care for all these horses in holding. It's not a pretty thought. In Oregon a gather was recently done in the Alvord Tule and Coyote Lakes Herd Management Areas. They hadn't wanted to. It's been less than 3 years since the last one. However, feed is in short supply and the horses are thin, their ribs poking out and backbones showing. It's nearly impossible to expect these horses to survive the harsh winter of no feed and deep freezes in this condition.
I honestly haven't got a solution. They'll die of starvation left to themselves. In holding, at least, it will be swift. Little comfort. My grandmother will soon respond to this post. She'll tell me (again) that I can't save them all. But what I wouldn't give to be able to save Beauty...