Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Madeleine Pickens Still Defending Mustangs

Wall Street Journal Article. Click to read whole article.

Apparently, there's no stopping a woman with a mission. Here's a bit of the article in the Wall Street Journal which gives a good look into what Mrs. Pickens has been doing for the Mustangs these last couple of years.

Wall Street Journal Story, "Mustang Lover Roils the Range"

By JIM CARLTON


GOSHUTE VALLEY, Nev.—Nevada cattle ranchers, having long battled the land's harsh elements, now find themselves up against a new force of nature: Madeleine Pickens.

Mrs. Pickens, wife of Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, caused an uproar when she proposed the Bureau of Land Management let her fence off more than 500,000 acres of federal land to create a sanctuary for wild horses near a 14,000-acre ranch she bought in October.

Her proposal for the bureau to designate a "mustang monument" on those acres isn't sitting well in Nevada cattle country, where ranchers worry Mrs. Pickens's plan threatens to force them off the range. Nevada's estimated 450,000 cattle graze mostly on federally owned lands in a practice dating from the 19th century.

The Elko County Commission voted Nov. 3 to oppose Mrs. Pickens's plan. "What we're worried about is if she locks up ranches all over Nevada," said Commissioner Demar Dahl, a rancher.

If the plan went through, "something has got to give, and it will be cattle," said Robin Boies, a 55-year-old local rancher who grazes her cattle on federal land adjacent to her Nevada ranch. Hunters and off-road enthusiasts also object to the plan, saying it could bar them from a popular recreation area to which they have free access now.

Like many ranches in the West, Mrs. Pickens's ranch includes the rights to graze stock on surrounding federal land in return for payments to the government and general upkeep of the land. Her proposed mustang monument would be on these federal lands around her ranch.....read more.

4 comments:

  1. I clicked over and read the WSJ piece. I have a sneaking suspicion that in some way, shape or form, she (and the mustangs) will eventually get her way with that sanctuary. Somehow she'll iron out the cattle details.

    It's interesting that the mustangs have no natural animal predator and that this is used in the argument. Because even with no predator, doesn't nature have a way of controlling the population in other ways, like weather, disease, or other factors that might thin the herds naturally from time to time?

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  2. I agree that something is going to happen down there--it may not be as big as she wants, but I'd like to go see the monument when it's done.

    Abut the predators, Mustangs do multiply rapidly in the wild where there's enough food and water (and most people, in a sanctuary setting, would provide it rather than let animals suffer) so that's going to be a problem. I'm curious as to how she'd address it.

    I'd love to drive down and view the land in question. If she gets too many on it, she'll have the added problem of how tough horses can be on grass.

    Also, she said she'd move 10,000--which is a fraction of what's in holding, and I suppose derives from the number the BLM say are overpopulated on the range right now. When all this first started, it was a plan to save all the Mustangs, now it's only a "monument." So, I'm wondering what the goal is anymore and if it's worth the cost.

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  3. Hmmm...if this becomes a monument to America's wild horses would the thinking then be we don't need wild horses anywhere else. If America wants to see wild horses they come to the monument? Kind of like going to the zoo? Over population of wild animals is a sticky problem. I certainly don't know what the answers are, but people-shy and untamed horses I see all the time in the domesticated world. What makes mustangs an icon is they are truly free.

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  4. Yes, I agree with you that it's complicated, and I don't have the answers either. It sure doesn't sound like a refuge for 10,000 would solve the problem since there are so many more on the range and in holding.

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