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A few quick points on this letter from my perspective as Area F director:

  1. We have been trying for years to get horse owners to actively manage their livestock.  As noted many times on this site and elsewhere, the RDOS has absolutely zero control over what horse-owning members of the PIB do.
  2. Having said this, we have over the years attempted to influence the leadership of the PIB to take greater ownership of the horse issue.  The band has made progress recently in this regard (see posting). However, as of today, the PIB has not enacted bylaws regarding horse ownership.  The PIB has little formal authority to tell its horse-owning members what to do.
  3. Horses are not native to this area.  The species was introduced as livestock for commercial purposes.  If not managed as livestock, the horses multiply rapidly and do enormous damage both to "the built environment" and natural grasslands.  The flora in this region are ill-adapted to large hoofed animals.  The PIB recognizes this and are in the process of developing a grassland rehabilitation strategy.
  4. Given all this, I regard it as encouraging news that a horse-owner has taken steps to actively manage his or her herd.  Of course, livestock is private property so I know nothing about the details and have no expectation of being consulted.
  5. Based on past investigation into the horse problem, it is pretty clear that the number of animals at issue here far exceeds external demand. In my early days as Area F director we investigated horse adoption and similar programs.  We found little interest.  Indeed, we have reports of the opposite problem: horses from off the reserve have apparently been abandon on PIB lands.  This is negative adoption.
  6. As I have said before, I think we need to be realistic about the few options available to the horse owners for "herd management". We all have seen enough pictures of nearly-starved horses to recognize that doing nothing is the worst possible outcome for all, including the horses.

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