Clinician and TV host Ken McNabb and his television crew have been on-site in the Pryor Mountains covering the current conditions and challenges facing America's wild mustangs as part of McNabb's television series on RFD-TV. Certain special interest groups have been protesting the gather and Ken would like to explain why he believes the roundup is necessary and important to the health and welfare of the wild mustang herd in the Pryor. Bear in mind, the BLM has granted him special access in the last few weeks to the ranges that these horses run on, he has been privy to conversations within the BLM and has also grown up in the area, so he has valuable up-to-the-minute knowledge and historical reference that the special interest advocates attempting to block the roundup do not have.
"It is my belief after having traversed the entire range of the Pryor Mountain herd and having looked at the amount of grasses left, that if the numbers in this herd are not managed, and a hard winter sets in, whether it's this winter or next winter, there is going to be a large die-off in this herd.
"I have spoken with area ranchers who have told me they have seen this [large die-offs] happen in the past and that it will not affect the overall genetic viability of the herd - it has not in the past.
"In my opinion, horses that roam this range in 10 years will have their own issues to deal with and while I am very concerned with the longevity of this herd, I cannot in good conscience allow horses on the range today to suffer in hopes of what horses might look like in 10 years. In my 30 years of memory living in the area the horse herd numbers have been below 120 animals numerous times. The fact that the herd is 189 animals today and that there are no genetic defects to our knowledge clearly displays that the past management practices of the BLM have kept the horses healthy and that the genetic integrity of the herd has not been damaged. Having grown up roaming the Pryors long before many of the mustang advocates of today even knew these horses existed, I am understandably attached to the herd. If I thought that this herd would be damaged in any way, then I would clearly be
against its management. However, I believe unequivocally that the gather and ongoing management is in the herd's best interest.
"Our show which airs Sept. 14 [on RFD-TV, Dish Network channel 231 and DirecTV channel 345], will vividly show the range conditions of the Pryor Mountains. By then, the decisions will have been made and it will be too late for the show to make a difference in the outcome, however you will be able to see the range conditions I am talking about.
While there are those who would lead you to believe that this herd survived unmanaged for hundreds of years it is simply not true. The local Native Americans as well as settlers and ranchers, throughout history, have captured members of this herd for their own personal use. This was still happening through the 60s prior to the wild horse and burro protection act.
I have personally been involved in the activities surrounding the gather for the last 10 days and will be involved in various aspects of the gather and adoption process. I see absolutely nothing at this point to be concerned about and have personally been in contact with the contractor who will be performing the gather. We have extensively discussed his plan of operation and I feel confident that everything possible will be done for a safe and humane gather.
There are rumors currently flying around concerning secret plans that the BLM has to destroy individual horses. I personally know this not to be true. The BLM has no desire to see any of these horses eradicated. I have been amazed at the amount of attention given to making sure these horses are well taken care of. Please understand that this has become a very personal issue for me and I will continue to give you updates as the situation unfolds.
If your neighbor adopted several wild horses and then allowed them to starve in their backyard I would certainly hope you would call the authorities and tell them of this problem. In this scenario, the authorities realize they have a problem but their care of the horses is being brought to a halt by special interest groups. I am personally asking you to please call the responsible representatives, as well as your own representatives, in favor of the gather. Let them know that you do not want to see these horses left unmanaged to starve and die excruciating deaths when it can all be prevented with wise management.
Please contact the following people in support of the round-up and management of the wild horses:
Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar
BLM Director Bob Abbey
Call: 202-208-3801 or 866-468-7826
Call and write your own Senators and Congress people
Ask them to become informed of the current state of wild mustangs and support the management of the Pryor Mountain horses. Find your state offices here.
As always, may God bless you, your family, your horses and the trails you ride,